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Fore some reason I exactly knew what would be the main art supply in this pack. I not only guessed the type of the supply but also the brand AND I somehow knew it would be the kind of package that we actually got. Did I sense it? I’m not sure, but I was certainly very proud of myself! 🙂
So, what were the contents of Paletteful Packs in July 2022? Let’s check!
Royal Talens Ecoline Brush Pen – 10 Set
Talens Ecoline Brush Pen Set of 10 is based on dyes and Gum Arabic. The colors of the Talens Ecoline are astonishingly bright and brilliant. If you wish, you can easily decrease the color intensity through thinning with water. The Talens Ecoline Brush Pen is very user-friendly and handy when traveling and ideal when working at a place that needs be kept clean. The Brush Pen is ready for immediate use, and is odorless as well. You can use the Brush Pen for thin, precise lines or for energetic strokes, but also for filling in large color sections. The Brush Pen is suitable for both a quick sketch and adding the finishing touches.
LW’s NOTE: Even though I like the colours in this set of markers, I’d change some of them. I think the grey colour isn’t necessary, since we have black – instead of the grey marker I’d love some nice, juicy green colour. But it’s a lettering set, maybe these colours work much better for lettering than painting.
MSRP: $41.95 – available at SzałArt for 91,10 PLN / 18,52 USD. A huge difference between the recommended and actual price!
Princeton Summit Ultimate White Synthetic Watercolor Brush (#10)
Summit brushes are the next generation of white synthetics. They allow for maximum color holding capacity and are great for watercolor, gouache and fluid acrylics.
LW’s NOTE: The brush seems to be of good quality and has an interesting shape, both the handle and the hair. I didn’t have one like this before. I did expect a smaller brush though (this one is quite big), but it has a tiny pointy tip, so probably painting details with it should be still achievable.
MSRP: $17.95 – The Summit line from Princeton isn’t available in Poland. I found a similar brush, although I’m not sure if the quality is comparable too, the shape is very similar. It’s a DaVinci Casaneo Brush for 71 PLN / 14,40 USD on PaperConcept.pl
Tombow Dual Brush Pen (x2)
Flexible brush tip and fine tip in one marker. The brush tip works like a paintbrush to create fine, medium or bold strokes; fine tip gives consistent lines. Dual Brush Pens are ideal for artists and crafters. The water based ink is blendable and the resilient nylon brush retains its point stroke after stroke.
LW’s NOTE: Several months ago we got a set of 6 blue Tombow Dual Brush Pen markers so I went to check and… yes, the 452 is the same as in the October 2021 Pack, and now I have 2 of them! Don’t get me wrong, they are great markers, but I’d prefer to have some other colours, not only blue and, additionally, a double one.
MSRP: $2.95 ea. – available on Tinta for 14,80 PLN / 3 USD per marker.
Seth Cole Watercolor Paper 9×12
This is Seth Cole’s professional-grade watercolor paper features a cold pressed surface that is sized to withstand repeated washing and scrubbing. The specially treated neutral pH sheets enhance the brilliance of your watercolors with the best possible archival characteristics. Exceptional wet strength, versatile for all types of watercolor techniques.
LW’s NOTE: the paper sheets are very thick, more like cardboard. They have a slight texture looking somewhat irregular but it’s actually arranged in diagonal lines. My first impressions of this paper were very good and, to be honest, I love the summery yellow/orange cover colour.
MSRP: $19.95 – The brand isn’t available in Poland but in this case I won’t look for a replacement, because, as you’ll learn soon enough, I’m not exactly sure what kind of paper should I be looking for.
- Prompt #1: The 1980s
- Prompt #2: Picnic
- Prompt #3: Bird’s-Eye View
- Prompt #4: Milkshake
I first heard of Ecoline years and years ago when a polish artist RedPriestUsada mentioned it in her artworks’ used tools. I’ve always loved to try new art supplies, even back then, so I checked what this Ecoline was, but didn’t find anything exciting – just some inks or something like that (at least that’s the impression I got at that moment).
Years later when I was already into alcohol-based markers, I was trying to find the best ones for myself. Copics weren’t widely available in Poland back then and they still are very expensive now. I used to use Letraset (now Winsor & Newton) Promarkers and Brushmarkers but I was still looking for the best option and I found Ecoline markers in an online store. I knew they were water-based rather than alcohol-based, but they were still markers, so they should work about the same way, I thought. And Usada was using Ecoline, so it had to be good! I bought 2 Ecoline markers(579 and 374) and, long story short, I tried them, they worked “weird” (compared to alcohol-based markers), I didn’t like them, and I put them away, never trying them again.
When I learned I was going to get a whole box of Ecoline markers, I was excited to give this medium another go. Now I’m more experienced with various media than years ago and if they work like liquid watercolours it should be fun!
When the box arrived I was very excited. The contents looked so joyful and summery, the colours of the items are so bright and fun, and even the extremely cute sticker matched the theme! I couldn’t wait to start testing my new art supplies!
After the first test, which was just writing the markers’ colours’ names on the Seth Cole paper I was very impressed. The colours were beautiful and vibrant and the Ecoline markers – very “juicy”. They are filled with a lot of ink/dye that is flowing at the exactly perfect pace. The brush tips are soft, but not too soft, and although they are probably better for lettering than painting but they still work fine.
The blender seems to be not very useful for painting but the set is meant for lettering. Just to be sure I was doing everything right, I’ve watched some videos showing how to use the Ecoline blender – and it seems you can actually get amazing effects with it, but again, mostly in lettering. Maybe there are artists who use Ecoline for painting and found a good way to use the blender efficiently, but I personally don’t find it useful – plain water works much better.
After adding water, the Ecolines’ colours get pretty pastel-ish, while Tombows’s ink stays close to their original colours (just a little lighter).
While testing the Ecolines, I quickly noticed something interesting about the Seth Cole paper – the water soaked in it very quickly! My instant thought was that the paper probably doesn’t work very well with wet media and I have to test the markers on a different watercolour paper too, to have a comparison.
Adding more water and blender in my testing area confirmed that this paper doesn’t work good with a lot of water-based media, even though the information on the cover says it would withstand it. It also says the paper is printer compatible, so at first, I wanted to test out this statement with the final artwork, but, as you will learn, I didn’t end up doing it.
Using masking tape or eraser (I tried Hi-Polymer, Mono Zero and a kneaded eraser) doesn’t tear or destroy the paper in another way.
The brush is… amazing! The hair part is thick and holds a lot of water or paint, but its tip is very thin and pointy, so it still works great for adding details, just like I expected. What I did not expect was liking the brush that much! 🙂 I will definitely use it in the future projects.
I didn’t really like how the markers were behaving during the tests and it was quite confusing, because I know many people love them, even if it’s mostly for lettering. I thought maybe I was doing something wrong and I was actually supposed to use Ecoline in a specific way, which I didn’t know about. Either way, in my opinion, something was wrong between the markers and the paper. I may not be a specialist, but I’ve tested some watercolours and watercolour paper before and no matter what brand and quality, they’ve just always behaved differently than what I experienced with Ecoline markers and Seth Cole Watercolor Paper.
Because of a still fresh memory of how amazing it was to work with Holbein Watercolours on Strathmore Vision paper contrasting with the confusion from the initial Ecoline tests, I tested the markers on SMLT Watercolor Start Pad paper and the difference in the marker’s performance was really noticeable! They were much better soluble in water (and blender) after putting them down on the paper, they were fairly easy to “revive” with water and the blender after drying out. Basically, they behaved much more like they were supposed to, in my opinion.
Even though the markers seemed to be performing better on the SMLT paper, for this month’s artwork I still wanted to use the paper from the package, so I needed to learn how to make it work with the Ecolines. I decided to warm up a bit and understand the media better with some fairly simple sketches.
The first sketch I’ve made was an apple, because I loved the vivid colours of the markers and their juicyness reminded me of a nice, juicy apple but… as you may see on the photo, I had some trouble with painting with the markers on this paper. The notes on the paper’s cover say that the paper is meant to withstand big washes and generally a lot of water, so I thought maybe that’s actually how I was supposed to use it – with a lot of water. But the outcome was that the paint didn’t only spilled on the painting surface, it also BLEAD through the paper to the other side and even to the next page! The apple sketch was not only a struggle but also a disaster. Even the colours rather than being juicy and vivid, were all dull and washed out.
But to be honest, I actually didn’t hate the washes’ look on the apple, they just weren’t what I wanted the apple to look like, so I thought maybe something that’s supposed to have a lot of blurs would be a good subject for an artwork done with these art supplies. For that reason, I tried painting a mountain view.
And, oh boy, did I get a blurry image! It was meant to be washy and pastel but not to that extent! And I struggled with the process of painting a lot, the paper bent heavily from too much water and generally working with this supplies’ combination was a pain. Therefore my final verdict is – this paper is NOT meant for wet techniques, I really don’t understand why the producer labelled it as watercolour paper. It may work for lettering but it does NOT work for painting with thin water-based media.
Just to validate my opinion, I wanted to find some other opinions online, but I couldn’t find any. And neither I found any tips on how to work properly with this paper, so, for another comparison, I decided to use a different paper and paint the same apple as an exercise.
For this test, I chose the same paper as for earlier comparison – SMLT Watercolor Start Pad paper. On this paper the colours still came out a bit washed out, but the general painting experience was much more pleasant, and I definitely didn’t struggle as much this time.
For the last test, just to be sure, I decided to try the markers on Strathmore Vision paper because I was still very impressed with its performance from 2 months earlier. I also suspected its smooth surface may look good with the watered-down ink from the Ecolines. And like before, the Strathmore paper was absolutely wonderful and I realized that’s the paper I wanted to work with this month.
Because my tests proved to me the Seth Cole paper wasn’t suitable for wet media, I was curious how would it perform with dry media, so I did some testing. And the results made me pretty sure the best media to use on this paper would be pencils, but because I’ve recently drawn a pencil artwork, with a heavy heart I made a decision to skip this paper completely for the July artwork.
With the supplies thoroughly tested (and a proper paper chosen) I could prepare for painting the final artwork. I decided to use Prompt #4: Milkshake and generate my reference image in an AI programme. After many tries – Dall-E gave me the image I wanted.
I still didn’t feel comfortable with using the markers for an actual artwork so I postponed it for a long time and then life happened, so it took me a long while to finish the painting, but recently I needed some rest from digital commissions and so I decided to just paint the damn milkshake and have it done 😀
Painting the July artwork still wasn’t a smooth process, as it was in the case of watercolours. I still had some issues with painting with Ecolines, but I think I eventually managed to fix most problematic places. What is important though, for the waffles I used different water-based markers – Karin Pro. And to be honest – they were much easier to use than Ecoline. At times, they actually were quite fun to paint with! Similarly, Tombow Dual Brush Pen markers were much easier to use.
For the blue background, I used a Holbein watercolour because I couldn’t trust the Ecolines to make an even(ish) area of colour and dry nicely.
The SUMMARY (TL;DR)
- The Ecoline markers are beautiful, juicy and fun to use. They have amazing vivid colours. But… They aren’t easy to use as paints. They dry fast and the edges of the painted areas get very dark so it’s hard to get smooth gradients. The markers are popular among many lettering artists though, so I suppose they are perfect for lettering.
- The Tombow Dual Brush Pen markers are of good quality and aren’t as painful to use as Ecolines. I’ve only been able to test blue shades though, so I can’t say how they blend with each other when it comes to different colours.
- The Seth Cole Watercolour paper is amazing for dry media, especially pencils, but, ironically, horrible for wet media, including watercolours. It does NOT withstand heavy washes – a decent amount of water or Ecoline blender makes the paper bend heavily and markers’ dyes can even bleed through the page. Any water or thin paint soaks into the paper instantly so it’s very difficult to paint on it.
- The Princeton Summit Ultimate White Synthetic Watercolor Brush (#10) is great. Even though it’s quite thick, it still allows for working on details. Due to its size, it can hold a lot of water or paint, which doesn’t dry out too quickly. Working with it is a pleasure and I will definitely use it in future.
Phew! Another long post! Hopefully, it was interesting to read it all. Thank you to all Ko-fi supporters for making this post possible to write! <3
Have you tried any water-based markers? Did you have similar experiences to mine? Or maybe you have a completely different opinion? Let me know in the comment and see you in the next post!