Category Archives: Coloring Supplies Reviews

Mystery Mosaics – Brainteaser and Coloring Zen!

 I saw a lot of awesome stuff at Toy Fair last winter, and the MindWare booth was right up there as one of my favorites. You see, MindWare specializes in “brainy toys for all ages”.

 They have a ton of great activity and coloring books in their collection, and today I’m reviewing Color by Number Mystery Mosaics : Book 13. This book has 18 separate images, including 4 double-sized ones.

 Bonus, unlike most color by number books, MindWare has created their own matched set of color pencils!! I won’t lie, this really is what excited me about the brand. I like color by number things, but hate digging out coloring supplies to match, much less trying to remember which number is what color! This 36 color pencil set not only comes in a sturdy tin travel box, but each pencil is labeled with both its color and the corresponding number! And! All the MindWare CBN books are standardized!

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Intimidating isn’t it!

At first glance the pages looked super hard and I wasn’t sure I was up for this challenge!

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 But I decided to start small and focused on a single number and took it one row at a time.

Slowly but surely, my pattern grew!

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I really love these pencils! The colors are nice and bright( with the exception of #31 White Peach, which is too pale for my eyes); and they lay down smoothly. Having the prematched numbers took away all the stress, so I was able to fully enjoy coloring.

The above photo showing the camper is one of the 4 extra long coloring pages in the book. These 10 by 15 inch folded double spreads allows you to explore a larger image with great detail.

If you want to color with something other than the MindWare pencils, I colored this sunflower with basic Sharpies and it turned out great!

Disability Notes: I will admit that Mystery Mosaics is an advanced book, and may not be for everyone. You may not like it if you have eyesight issues or problems with fine motor skills. If you are a colorist who has anxiety about choosing colors, this set may be something to try! However, MindWare does have a set of color by number books called Color Counts that feature larger coloring areas. I’ll be reviewing one of those during my Shark Week special.

Where to buy: Mystery Mosaics: Book 13 and the 36 Colored Pencils Tin are available on the Mindware website. The book is $7.95 USD and the pencils are $19.99 USD. MindWare has tons of other Mystery Mosaic books are well as other coloring and activity books, so you’re sure to find something for nearly every taste!

MindWare : Website / FaceBook 

Disclosure: I received this coloring book for free in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©2019 MindWare Corporation. The coloring is mine. All links are direct; I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

 

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Pilot FriXion Pens and Markers – Erasable Coloring?

Early this year, Pilot came out with a new line of pens and markers. They’re called FriXion, and are a new approach to an age-old problem for  anyone who uses an ink instrument. “How do I fix a mistake?” Erasable pens aren’t new, but most are either not effective, nor marketed towards colorists.

I like many colorists, love to try new mediums. I originally reached out to Pilot regarding their gel pens, and my Rep instead recommended I try both their FriXion Color Sticks and FriXion Colors Markers.

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FriXion Colors Erasable Marker Pens
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FriXion Color Sticks Erasable Gel Pens

Pretty, aren’t they? I’m going to tackle these separately. Pilot FriXion Colors Erasable Marker Pens is a mouthful, so from here on, they’ll be refered to as Markers. The set I received is a set of 12 colors.  Each marker has a smooth white body with a colored cap and eraser. The company states it is a bold line, but I found it to be comparable to a Sharpie® Fine Line Marker.

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When coloring, I found that the markers were smooth, so long as I didn’t try to cover large areas quickly. The ink is quick-drying and does not smear. While the color is not as vibrant as some of the other Pilot products, it comes out a really pleasing chalk-like matte.

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Colored with FriXion Markers, art by Johanna Basford

Now the FriXion Color Sticks Erasable Gel Pens, AKA Color Sticks, were really exciting for me. The set I received included 16 Color Sticks, and are a thin rigid plastic in the color of the ink, with a clear cap and color matched eraser.  IMG_5306

The pens are amazingly smooth and the ink is nicely pigmented. The color lays down nicely and has the same matte finish as the markers. It’s been years since I’ve colored with gel pens, and I can’t deny that the Color Sticks have reawakened my love of the coloring medium.

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Colored with FriXion Color Sticks, art by Celtic Mandalas

Now, the important thing about the FriXions….Do they really erase?

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Top row is markers, bottom row is Color Sticks

YES!!! They erase like a dream! FriXions use a thermosensitive ink that disappears with the friction of the eraser. Now, the darker colors may leave a slight tint behind on the paper, and the more you erase on the same spot, the harder it is to deposit ink on that spot.

Overall, I think both the Color Sticks and Markers are a great addition to any colorist’s collection.

Disability Note: Because of the fact that FriXions are erasable, I can highly recommend them for people who may want to transition from pencils to ink-based coloring. These are great if you have a problem with hand tremors or seeing fine detail. If you do make a mistake, the eraser can clean up your edges.

Where to buy: All of Pilot’s many FriXion product lines are available on their website. Over the last few months, I’ve been seeing FriXion Color Sticks and FriXion Markers at my local art and mass market stores. The prices vary by store, but neither set is more than $20 USD.

Pilot : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received these markers and pens for free in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©Johanna Basford and ©Celtic Mandalas. The coloring is mine. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Hoolanda Watercolor Brush Pens Make My Coloring Pop!

Just before Christmas I received a package from Amazon. Inside was this lovely set of watercolor brush pens. I’d been following Hoolanda on Facebook, and was more than mildly interested in trying a new coloring medium. The package had no note, so I’m working under the assumption that it came from Hoolanda itself.

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Photo Copyright Hoolanda 2018

I’d never tried watercolor pens before, but curiosity is one of my personality quirks/flaws. At first blush, I found the 20 colors in this set to be a nice mix of light and dark shades. The two included water pens confused me until I researched tutorials online.IMG_5205

The nylon brush tips make for smooth color saturation; allowing fine, medium, and bold strokes. I experimented with different papers and styles of coloring books.

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I learned that the flexible brush tips could fit into the tiniest, narrow places, and that multiple applications would layer color, adding depth and shadow.  The only downsides I found were the water based ink would bleed if it got wet after drying, and that you can’t let the brush pens sit in direct Virginia sunshine. When the pens get over warm the water condenses out of the ink. IMG_5197

Disability Notes:  I really can’t think of any major issues with these brush pens. The price is affordable, Amazon delivers, and the caps both fit on the back end of the markers and have a Cap Nub. Much like all markers, they will bleed if left uncapped.

Where to buy: You can buy Hoolanda 20 Watercolor Brush Pens at their website on Amazon. The set I received retails for $15.99 usd.

Hoolanda: Website / FaceBook

The art I colored for this post came from Creative Haven® Butterflies & Blossoms Stained Glass Coloring Bookand Johanna Basford’s World of Flowers.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary set of markers from the manufacturer in exchange for review.  I purchased the coloring book used on this post. The opinions are my own.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Winsor and Newton ProMarkers: Rich Tones Set

I’ve gotten a bunch of new coloring books to review on my docket, which means I find myself craving new shiny art supplies to color with.  I reached out to Winsor and Newton, a British company that’s been around since 1832. They had just released a new marker line called ProMarker™; and I was madly curious about them.  I received a sample of 6 markers in rich tones, and I have to say, I’m hooked!IMG_3966 These colors are SO pretty!! These are dual tipped markers, having both a bullet tip and a chisel tip. ProMarkers™ have an alcohol based ink,  which is classed as a permanent ink, but can be blended.

Okay, the outside is nice, but how do they color??

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Oh, my goodness! I’m in love, I really am. The ProMarkers™ are round, thick and fit well in my hand. The bullet nib moves smoothly over the paper with minimal bleeding. The chisel tip covers large areas well; though, since I hadn’t used chisel tips before, it took a little time to get the hang of.  I’m new to professional grade coloring markers, as my default is usually a Sharpie®.

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I think that out of the six colors, the Marine and the Maroon are my favorites. All the colors are amazingly rich and each layer I put down just added depth.  While the different size caps for the two tips mean that you can’t place one cap upon the other when working, I do love the little Cap Nub (my phrase). The Cap Nub makes it so that the round marker doesn’t roll off of your work surface, which is super important if you color in bed or using a lapdesk.

Disability Notes:  These are great for marker lovers with mild to moderate arthritis (don’t overdo!), and can be used on the couch or in bed since the Cap  Nub keeps them from rolling. Warning!: If you have brain-fog or a short-term memory issue – Remember where you put the cap down!

Where to buy: You can buy Winsor & Newton ProMarkers™ in sets or individually at their website or a high-end art supply store. The Rich Tones set I received retail for $24.99 usd.

Winsor and Newton : Website / FaceBook

The art I colored for this post came from Timeless Creations™ Mystical Journey Coloring Book.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary set of markers from the manufacturer in exchange for review.  I purchased the coloring book used on this post. The opinions are my own.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!