Monday, August 14, 2017

Giveaway! Plus Review of Ooku Watercolor Pencils

I bought this set of Ooku watercolor pencils from Amazon on Prime Day. I used them to color a really cute image from Dreamerland Crafts for a card featured in a recent post. In this post I'll do a review of OOKU watercolor pencils and compare them to Prismacolor watercolor pencils. I will also be giving away my set of OOKU watercolor pencils (only used twice!) - details at the bottom of this post.

Here is the product description from Amazon:
  • OOKU® Artist Series - 48 Watercolor Pencil set with EXTRA Coloring Pencils Canvas Wrap, Watercolor Brush, and Pencil Sharpener INCLUDED for a FULL 51 Piece Artist Grade Kit for all skill levels.
  • Professionally crafted for artists, with everyday use in mind featuring vibrant pigments & soft shadows used dull, or crisp, bold lines with intense color when sharp. The soft core helps create creamy textures, easy blending, and extremely smooth color laydown when wet or when applied to wet mediums.
  • Draw Dry or Paint Wet, on Dry or on Wet mediums! All using our Dry or Wet Watercolor Pencils, for the fullest flexibility of color tones and watercolor painting.
  • These coloring pencils are ideal for all ranges of water coloring or dry sketching techniques looking for a softer yet solid tone. Try applied any assortment of water coloring techniques for a diverse range of color and texture ranges. Shade them on dry paper and apply a light water wash using the provided brush to get a watercolor look with unique blending effects - or wet the pencil tips and paint on dry materials.
  • OOKU 100% Money Back Guarantee: If our products do not satisfy you, we promise to offer a 100% money back guarantee for the lifetime of the product
Affiliate links may be included in this post. I participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program that provides a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites at no cost to you. This helps offset a small portion of my crafting addiction... uh, hobby. See notice at bottom of blog for a longer description.

Review and Comparison

I will be comparing the OOKU watercolor pencils to Prismacolor Water-Soluble Colored Pencils (this
OOKU Watercolor Pencils Roll Up Case
is what they call their watercolor pencils) 36 color set - their largest set. The Prismacolors are slightly more expensive, but there are 12 more pencils in the OOKU set. Prismacolor Water-Soluable pencils are lightfast, professional quality pencils that are made to match their other lines of pencils.

Although the product description says the OOKU pencils are crafted for artists, no lightfast ratings are provided. This is a selling point for artist grade pencils so likely they are not lightfast. I recommend keeping artwork made with them out of direct light. They are fine for sketchbooks or card making but if used for display art, I highly recommend using a UV filtering glass or Plexiglas when framing, and maybe even a UV coating over the artwork itself.

The OOKU pencils come in a roll up case that fastens with the attached elastic band. The set of 48 pencils comes with a small pencil sharpener and a watercolor brush. I didn't use the brush at all. It seems like the bristles are an okay quality (they are synthetic and come to a nice point - I didn't see any hairs sticking out) but the handle is cheap plastic. Inside the case, the individual pencils are held nicely in place by elastic.

OOKU Watercolor Pencils - Sharpened Tips
The pencils came sort of sharpened... in a strange manner. Some had squared off tips, others were slightly broken. I had to sharpen some of them before use. I would have preferred that the pencils come unsharpened. The pencils come with a small sharpener but I only used it to sharpen one pencil to see how it worked. I used my automatic sharpener on the rest.

The sharpener that came with it did an OK job. The tip came to a point but was not completely smooth. I tried another pencil with my favorite small/travel KUM sharpener and it sharpened perfectly. (There are many types of KUM sharpeners; my favorite long point sharpener is a bit bulky for travel.)

The paint on the casing of the OOKU pencils do a fair job of indicating the color inside. Probably the biggest thing that annoys me is that there are no color names or numbers on the pencils. I ended up numbering the pencils with a black Sharpie (on the very dark colors, I used a white paint pen). The Prismacolor pencils have both names and numbers but the casings are not colored - this is my biggest annoyance with these pencils since it makes it more difficult to find a pencil you are looking for at a glance.

OOKU Watercolor Pencil Swatch Chart

I made swatch sheets for both sets of pencils (I do this for all my media). I used the numbers I wrote on the OOKU for identification. For the white pencils, I added a bit of black cardstock on which to swatch, to show opacity/vibrance. I used a waterbrush on the bottom half of the swatches. Most colors stayed fairly true to color, although some changed slightly (e.g. number 15 looked more yellow). They did look a little more vibrant as the color became thinner - showing more of the white below - and filled in the tooth of the paper. None of the colors separated (although the Prismacolor Mulberry looks like it did; I think some of the Ultramarine Blue dust got in it at the bottom - it didn't happen when I tried the color again on another sheet of the same paper). Note: I had used a different paper with the OOKU (watercolor paper), which is why the papers look different in the photos. I used a thick bristol paper with the Prismacolors, which is whiter than the watercolor paper.

I did not find the OOKU pencils to be "creamy" - they were slightly scratchy going on but the color lay-down was nicely pigmented. The cores are somewhat brittle - you have to use a light hand when coloring with a sharpened point or they will crumble and/or break. I had no trouble once I learned how much pressure they could take. They blended fairly well dry, but very well when mixed with a wet brush. The Prismacolor pencils are more waxy in feel - they blended well both ways. There was a little crumbling with a sharpened point on these as well (not so much as the OOKU though); I could use more pressure when coloring with the Prismacolors, which resulted in more color being laid down more quickly.

Prismacolor Water-Soluble Watercolor Pencils Swatch Chart

When I applied a wet brush to the tips of the pencils, I got much more pigment with the Prismacolor pencils, although the OOKU worked fine, they just took a bit more effort. In general, the Prismacolors were slightly more pigmented and quite a bit softer, making it easier to get color from them.

For each set, I applied the dry pencils to wet paper, carefully so as to not destroy the tooth of the paper. The OOKU went on somewhat lightly while the Prismacolors went on strong. Both pencils were difficult to blend out after this application.

Dipping the tips in water produced strong color from both, however they were also more difficult to blend with a brush after this. It took some scrubbing with the brush to dissolve them and the marks didn't go away completely, although this may vary with colors used. My guess is that the wet color dyes the paper somewhat, making it more difficult to move.

OOKU Watercolor Pencils Compared to Prismacolor Water-Soluble Pencils

Both pencils shined when colored evenly on dry paper and had water added with a brush. This could also be done by scribbling colors on some scrap paper and using it as a palette, picking up the colors with a wet brush. Overlapping colors allowed them to mixed beautifully. The pencil marks dissolved away easily in most cases (some colors were more stubborn than others).

The white OOKU pencil is the weakest pencil in the set, in my opinion. The Prismacolor definitely outshines the OOKU here.

My favorite pencils in the OOKU set are the silver and gold metallics. I have metallics in other watercolor sets (not the Prismacolor) but they don't work very well - using water on them makes the metallic look go away. These still had some shine even when used with water. I am so tempted to keep them (but I won't!).

Watch the following video to see the pencils in action and get a closer look at how the case rolls up.


As a thank you to my subscribers, I am giving away this set of OOKU watercolor pencils, including brush, sharpener, and case. To enter, just "like" the video above and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Shipping to United States address only. I will be randomly drawing a winner from my subscribers! You have until Midnight on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. I plan to announce the winner the following day.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Travelling the World to See You Charm Accordion Card

My friend is returning to Chile, her original country, after living in the U.S. for many years. She was one of our first friends when we moved to NC over 22 years ago. I made this card for her as part of her going away gift. The map of Chile is subtly in the background behind the globe (cut from a sheet of patterned cardstock by Tim Holtz, from the Correspondence paper pad). We hope to visit her one day so we will definitely be "Travelling the World" to see her.

The stamp set "Travelling the World to See You" is by Dreamerland Crafts. It is a high quality polymer set of clear stamps in a slightly smaller size than their rubber stamps - perfect for smaller cards. The stamp set also comes with dies for some of the stamps. I could have used the dies for this card but since the area where I wanted to put the boy is much smaller than a standard card front, I decided to use masking. The card base was made with the Charm Accordion dies by Karen Burniston. The card is a "mini" size, measuring 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches. It's super cute!

To color the images, I used some inexpensive watercolor pencils I recently bought on Amazon during Prime day. The brand is Ooku; it includes 48 watercolor pencils, plus a sharpener, brush, and case. This is the first time using them. They worked better than I had expected. The biggest issue I have with them is that they are a bit crumbly - a light hand should be used when coloring. The set does contain a lot of useful colors so if you need a set of watercolor pencils and can't afford an artist quality set, these might be the perfect solution. I will be posting a mini-review of them coming up, plus giving away the set I used on this card! Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for your chance to enter.

Affiliate links may be included in this post. See Notice at bottom of blog. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. There is no cost to you.

Making the Card

1. Stamp monocular (hand held telescope) and boy from stamp set Travelling the World to See You (Dreamerland Crafts) on masking paper (or Post-it Tape) in waterproof black ink. Cut around each. Stamp the monocular on Bristol or watercolor paper so there will be enough room for the boy and the cloud. Mask the monocular. Using the boy stamp, line up the eyepiece with the boy's eye and stamp. Mask the boy. Stamp the cloud so it looks like the boy is sitting on it. Stamp globe in a separate area.

2. Watercolor the images (you don't need to color the globe base). I used Ooku watercolor pencils (see intro for information on them).

3. Once dry, cut around images - cutting the Earth away from the globe base. Using a black brush marker, from the back side go around edges to cover white. Lightly ink some edges of the images with Pumice Stone Distress Ink and an ink blending tool. Note: when I mounted the Earth on the card, the parts that stuck up were too white on the back so I used a gray Copic marker (N4) on the back, as well as on the edges of the dimensional tape; unfortunately, the marker went through the paper - something I should have thought of! I ended up adding more Distress Ink to help blend it. You do not need to add as much unless you like the look. Instead you may want to use a gray pencil to color the back (same in step 5).

4. Die cut card base and center charm holder/frame (Charm Accordion) from postcard/stripped double sided patterned cardstock (Correspondence, Tim Holtz Idea-ology). I used the bottom left corner of the postcard side of the paper for the card base. Keep the small frame inside piece of the charm holder for step 5. Die cut 6 copies of the corner decoration (swirls) from muted blue cardstock (matching the blue strips on the paper). I couldn't find one that matched perfectly so I used a very light pink/purple Copic marker on some blue/gray cardstock. It changed the color enough to match. Instead, you could match the red or beige stripes (and/or use Distress Ink to help with the color). Die cut 5 stars from gold glitter cardstock (I used Core'dinations Glitter Silk Cardstock). Cut the charm loops off of 4 of them. Optional: find the quarter sized map (Correspondence, Tim Holtz Idea-ology); use the base Charm Accordion die to cut out the desired section to decorate one of the panels. I cut it such that Chile would show on the left side under the globe. Trim off tabs and adhere to card base where shown (striped side, left panel). Die cut "jump ring" from light gray cardstock (I cut two copies and glued them together to make it thicker). Assemble card as shown in video below.

5. Color back sides of globe and boy where they will stick out using gray watercolor pencil or a gray colored pencil for this. Using dimensional tape, adhere to card as shown (be cognizant of how the card will operate, i.e. the globe must remain inside the window so it can swing without touching; the cloud will go under/towards the back on the right side in the open position). In black ink, stamp sentiment "Travelling the world to see you" on light gray cardstock (note: mine has a slight wood texture stamped in the background in VersaMark Ink - left over from another project; it is unnecessary but if you like the look you could stamp a subtle background pattern before stamping sentiment). Die cut using square decorator die (Charm Accordion). Use ink blending tool to add Pumice Stone Distress Ink to edges. Cut off diagonal corners from striped frame (saved from step 4) and glue on to adorn edges around sentiment. Adhere stars and corner decorations where shown (I used dimensional tape under the top left star for the front of the card). Adhere the sentiment using dimensional tape as shown, overlapping one glittered star.


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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Always By Your Side Twist Circle Pop-up with Lyra Rembrandt

Dreamerland Crafts Always By Your Side Karen Burniston Twist Circle Pop-up

This darling stamp is entitled Always By Your Side. I thought it would make the perfect image for my husband's anniversary card (our 27th!). We were friends before we started dating and are still besties, doing most things together - working out, martial arts, watching movies/TV, traveling, board gaming, riding Segways (purchased for our anniversary a couple years ago), and more! If only he liked crafting as much as I do! Oh well, no body's perfect.

I fussy cut the image to be featured inside the card on a twist circle pop-up (using Karen Burniston's new dies!). I kept the card front rather plain, with the real surprise inside. I used Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor colored pencils to color the image. These are oil based pencils, which go on pretty smoothly and blend well. I have the full set of 72. Unfortunately the colors are not best suited to portrait work (or people images) - the flesh colors are really lacking. There is basically only one for fair skin and maybe one for very dark skin - there aren't any suitable middle browns or tans. I much prefer Faber-Castell Polychromos (set of 120); they are even smoother and also oil based. I think the two sets would be great to use together though - extending the color range of both sets.

Karen Burniston Twist Circle Pop-up Card Front Your Next Stamp Papers

Affiliate links may be included in this post. See Notice at bottom of blog. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. There is no cost to you.

Making the Card

1. Cut light pink cardstock 4 1/4 x 11 inches; fold in half to form a 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inch card base.

2. Using the largest circle die from Snowman Twist Circle pop-up set, cut both a scrap piece of white cardstock and the light green heart patterned paper (Hugs and Kisses Paper Pad). Optional, go around the edge of the white cardstock with a matching light green color (even lighter than the paper) - I used a Copic marker for this. Adhere the white circle to the back of the patterned circle; this extra layer will give the patterned paper more support.

3. Cut red cardstock 3 3/4 x 10 1/2 inches; fold in half. This is the piece that you will use for the inside of the card on which the twist circle base will be cut. Also use red cardstock for the arm. Watch the following video to assemble the twist circle pop-up part of the card but leave the light green heart patterned circle off for now.

4. Cut two pieces of paper with lips 3 x 4 inches: the paper is 6 inches so cut off 4 inches first then cut it in half. Adhere one to each side of the card inside as shown. Cut another piece from the scrap 2 x 3-3/4 inches. Adhere to front of card where shown.

5. Using Memento Tuxedo Black ink, stamp Always By Your Side (Dreamerland Crafts) on colored pencil friendly white cardstock (I used Strathmore 500 Series Bristol Plate Surface). I recommend a fairly smooth cardstock for this. Color image with colored pencils; I used Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor 72 Set. Fussy cut around image; use a craft knife to cut out inside areas. From the back side of the image, use a black marker, such as a Copic Multiliner with brush tip or Memento Tuxedo Black marker, to go around all the edges - this will hide the white edges and give it a more polished look. Adhere image to light green heart patterned circle as shown, using dimensional tape. Hint: to make edges of white dimensional tape less noticeable, color the edges with a black alcohol marker, such as a Sharpie or Copic, before adhering. Adhere to twist circle arm as directed in the video.

Dreamerland Crafts Always By Your Side Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor

6. Using stitched die from Snowman Twist Circle pop-up set, die cut red cardstock. Using dotted border die, cut pink paper and light green gingham (Hugs and Kisses Paper Pad). Using the smaller circle, die cut pink gingham (Hugs and Kisses Paper Pad). Adhere the light green gingham inside piece of the dotted border (not the border itself) to the center of the red circle. Adhere pink dotted border around it (you may have to gently nudge the border into place in some areas). Adhere pink inside piece of dotted border to inside of card where shown. Adhere light green gingham dotted border around it. Adhere pink gingham circle in center.

7. Die cut "Thinking of you" and "my friend" from red cardstock using Word Set 1 - Greetings (by Karen Burniston). Adhere in circles as shown. Cut a strip of light green hearted paper about 5/8 inches (3 rows of hearts) by 5 1/2 inches. Adhere to card front as shown. Use dimensional tape to adhere "Thinking of you" circle to front where shown.

8. Embellish with various sizes of crystal sequins as shown (7 on card front, 3 inside around sentiment).

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Karen Burniston's New Dies and Stamping Bella Squidgie Card

Karen Burniston Pop-up Stamping Bella Squidgie Card

I wanted to make something special for my little sister's birthday. She loves Karen Burniston's dies and Squidgies stamps by Stamping Bella. I made her a pop-up card with a Squidgies stamp of two girls hugging and made them look a little like us. Both of us like purple, but since it's for her birthday I let her wear the purple dress. We also both tend to hoard Doodlebug Designs paper - I used one of my precious for the front and inside of the card.

Karen Burniston Pop-up Stamping Bella Squidgie Card Inside

Affiliate links may be included in this post. See Notice at bottom of blog. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. There is no cost to you. And I really appreciate it. I spend too much on craft supplies!

Making the Card

1. Cut purple cardstock 7x10 inches; fold in half to form a 5x7 inch card base. Cut pink cardstock to 4 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches. Cut balloon paper (Doodlebug Design 6x6 Pad: Fairy Tales) to 4 1/4 x 6 1/4 inches. Adhere to pink cardstock. Cut a length of teal ribbon and wrap around bottom of this piece as shown - adhering ends on back. Adhere to front of card.

2. Using the stitched circle die (Snowman Twist Circle), die cut window in front of card where shown (be sure to open the card first - don't go through the back of the card). Hint: I run the die through 2 or 3 times before removing just to be sure to get all the layers.

3. Using the largest circle die (Snowman Twist Circle), die cut two pieces of plastic packaging (you may need a shim/metal adaptor or precision base plate to cut through).

Die Cutting the Pieces
I originally did my steps in a slightly different order but you can see the pieces here.

4. Do this two times: die cut purple cardstock using stitched circle die and another larger circle die 3 1/4 inches in size (if you don't have a larger circle die, trace a circle about a quarter inch larger around the die and cut manually). You should have two circle frames. Use same die or trace outside of one of the frames to cut a pink circle (not frame) - this will be for the inside image.

5. Adhere one of the plastic packaging circles to the inside card over hole. Adhere one circle frame over it to hide edges. From the front, cut dimensional tape in thin strips (thinner than frame). Hint: carefully cut slits along one side of the tape in a few spots to help it conform to the circle. Stick down one side of tape around front hole without leaving any gaps, keeping slits to the outside and leaving the backing on top so it won't be sticky when you add the shaker bits.

6. Add shaker bits: chunky glitter, small beads, sequins, etc. I found some birthday hat glitter at a dollar store and put a few in, as well as hearts, Xs, and Os. Save a few sequins in the same colors for the front of the card. Once all the bits are inside, peel off backing from tape and adhere plastic packaging circle. Glue frame on top to finish off the shaker.

Stamping Bella Squidgie Copic Coloring

7. Stamp image (Huggy Squidgies) in black ink (e.g. Memento Tuxedo Black) on alcohol friendly cardstock (X-Press It Blending Card). Color image with alcohol markers. Optional: enhance image with colored pencils. I colored my image with Copic markers (see bottom of post for list of colors) then used Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils to add pleats to the skirts and some shading as needed. I added a couple extra strokes to the pink dress girl's hair as well. I added a line for the ground using a black Copic Multiliner pen. Die cut image with largest circle (Snowman Twist Circle). Adhere to pink circle (step 4).

Copic Coloring Huggy Squidgies
I colored the background like this then desaturated it a bit with some very light orange then lightened w/colorless blender.
8. From purple cardstock, die cut the arm (Katherine Label Pop-up). Watch the following video for assembling the arm. You will adhere the image to the arm by first lining it up in the window as shown in the video. Hint: you may want to use a small piece of removable tape at the bottom of the image to hold it in place before closing the card.

9. Tie a bow with teal ribbon; adhere to front where shown. Adhere sequins as shown. Cut teal cardstock 3/4 x 4 1/4 inches; stamp with party hats or other birthday themed stamp using VersaMark ink (have some go off the edges). Die cut 3 copies of Happy Birthday sentiment (Word Set 2 - Birthday). Carefully glue one on top of the other, lining them up to create two thick words. Optional: add clear Wink of Stella then Glossy Accents. Once dry, glue to front of card.

10. Optional: Use left-over strip of balloon paper (1 3/4 x 6 inches) as an accent inside the card. Frame it with pink cardstock (2 x 6 1/4 inches) and add a small piece of teal ribbon near the top. Adhere as shown. I also put a piece of pink cardstock (4 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches) on the back of the card to give it a bit more support. This also gives you a place to write a longer note.

Closed Card

Copic Colors Used
  • Background: 0, B00, BG02, BG05, BG07, YR000 (just a small amount to desaturate the darker blues), YG17, YG23, YG95
  • Cheeks: E01, E95
  • Pink Dress Girl/Purple Dress Girl
  • Skin: E000, E00, E11, E13/E00, E11, E13
  • Dress: RV02, RV04, RV08, RV09, G0000 (desaturate)/V09, V12, V15

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