Art supplies Reviews

Paletteful Packs – November 2022

To learn more about Paletteful Packs click HERE.

For my final thoughts and artworks scroll down to the last section of the post!


Paletteful Packs November 2022

Cretacolor Metallic Pencils (x4)

These highly pigmented, brilliant color, artist quality pencils offer a soft, rich, creamy and slightly waxy stroke. The extra-thick 6.4mm core offers ample useable color and the 11mm hexagonal wood casing gives comfort to grip. All colors blend and layer easily. They are opaque and provide great coverage, allowing for both fine and broad lines. The lead has also been glued to the casing to prevent breakage. The pencils feature a transparent lacquer except for the 3/4″ tip that conveniently indicates the true color of the pencil.

Cretacolor Metallic Pencils

LW’s note: I used to have similar pencils when I was a kid and they weren’t anything special, I think they were mostly cool-looking gimmicks. For that reason, I wasn’t particularly excited about the Cretacolor pencils but I was curious about what they can actually do when given a fair try.

MSRP: $12.32. I didn’t find the separate Cretacolor The Brilliants pencils in polish online stores. The only option to get them seems to be buying the whole set of 12 colours in a metal case along with a fancy black paper sketchbook and a “mega” sharpener. The whole set is available for 220PLN / 49,70USD on PaperConcept (currently it’s on sale and it’s only 165PLN / 37,28USD). It seems like Derwent has some metallic pencils too, which you an get on Szał for 7,60 PLN each and that would make 6,87 USD for 4 pencils.

POSCA Paint Markers (White and Silver Extra Fine)

Are you ready to work with one of the best and most versatile markers on Earth?! POSCA is a paint marker popular with artists and creative hobbyists. An essential tool for creation and self-expression, it is used by professionals and amateurs every day on all types of materials. We highly encourage you to visit POSCAʼs website to explore all of the various ways people use these markers. The non-toxic and water-based opaque paint covers well, is blendable, dries quickly, and can be overlaid when dry. You can use the markers on paper/board, wood, fabric, glass, ceramic, plastic, metal, minerals, and canvas.

LW’s note: A great addition to my slowly growing POSCAs collection 🙂 POSCAs are really good paint markers and usually quite opaque so they’re perfect for many purposes. I tried them personally and I love them.

MSRP: $4.45 ea. Available on for 16,30 PLN each (3,68 USD)

Sakura Gelly Roll Bold White Gel Pen

Gelly Roll Pens are great for journaling, doodling, crafting, illustration and much more. These pens glide smoothly, won’t bleed or blot and dry to be waterproof and fade-resistant.

Sakura Gelly Roll Bold White Gel Pen

LW’s note: Another well-known and trustworthy supply. They get the job done if you want to add tiny dots of white on your drawings or sign your artworks.

MSRP: $1.66. Available on Szał for 7,40PLN (1,67 USD)

All-Stabilo Multi-Surface White Pencil

A water-soluble pencil that will mark clearly, densely and legibly on any surface including acetate, paper, glass, metal, photo and film. Wipes off with a damp cloth on smooth surfaces and erases on paper.

All-Stabilo Multi-Surface White Pencil

LW’s note: It’s definitely an interesting pencil. Not a full-on watercolour in pencil but an aquarellABLE one 🙂 It’s actually the same line of pencil as the blue one from January 2022 box. I was quite curious about how it will perform on black paper.

MSRP: $1.75. Available on SklepikPapierniczy for 7,90 PLN (1,78 USD).

General’s White Charcoal Pencil

This handcrafted white charcoal pencil is encased in cedar, and is extra smooth for easy laydown. It is popular for use on dark papers and fabrics or to bring out highlights over black charcoal drawings. Try it with a wet brush for a unique wash effect.

General’s White Charcoal Pencil

LW’s note: Just by looking at the General’s charcoal I get “war” flashbacks and got worried about it scratching the paper. The initial tests didn’t suggest any potential issues with this charcoal though, so maybe the problems I had with this brand’s charcoal in the past was an isolated case.

MSRP: $1.66. General’s art supplies aren’t easily available in Poland and I didn’t find this white charcoal at all in polish online stores. Instead, I found Koh-i-noor Gioconda white charcoal in pencil, which is available on Szał for 3,50 PLN (0,79 USD)

Stabilo Pen 68 Metallic

With its sturdy bullet tip and brilliant, intense color, this fiber tip pen is perfect for layout detail and sketching. The odorless water-based ink will not bleed. It also will not dissolve toner or ink of permanent markers. The pen can be left without their cap for 24 hours without drying out.

Stabilo Pen 68 Metallic

LW’s note: Another supply I didn’t expect much of, at least art-wise, because it’s another one I know from good old school times so I associated it with kids’ or school/office supplies. Stabilo is a good brand though, even if not one I’d associate with art.

MSRP: $2.75. Available on PaperConcept for 8,50 PLN (1,92 USD).

Holbein Artists’ Colored Pencils

Smooth and easy to draw, blend and overpaint with, Holbein Artist Colored Pencils are produced to meet the high demands of exceptional performance and handling characteristics of artists worldwide. Ideal for drawing, illustration, sketch and design, the Holbein Artists Colored Pencils are oil based and highly pigmented. They feature a medium-hard 3.8mm thick lead/core. You are also able to draw on watercolor, gouache, and acrylic color.

Holbein Artists’ Colored Pencils

LW’s note: Now this was a supply I was extremely interested in. I have some Holbein watercolours from one of the previous boxes and I absolutely loved them, but I had no idea the same company makes colour pencils too. So when I learned I was going to get Holbein colour pencils I actually got excited. Sadly, I had no idea we would only get 2 of these pencils but it’s still something! The colours we got are 040 Rose and 011 Cherry Blossom. Also, I need to note here, that the difference in their length of the pencils is caused exclusively by my puppy’s teeth, not by how quickly the pencils use up! 😀

MSRP: $3.95 ea. Available on PaperConcept for 16,90 PLN each (3,82 USD).

Princeton Sable Synthetic Blend Round #2 Brush

This high quality short handled brush is wonderful at holding water and is made to last. It will be a great addition to your brush collection as they go above and beyond many other brushes on the market.

Princeton Sable Synthetic Blend Round #2 Brush

MSRP: $7.95. Sadly – it’s not available in Poland.

Strathmore Drawing Journal with Black Paper 7″ x 10″

These acid-free, heavyweight black sheets have a medium surface that is ideally suited for pens, soft pastels, and charcoal.

LW’s note: This sketchbook seems extremely high quality and elegant with its leather-looking hardcover. The paper, too, is thick, durable and rather smooth. It’s not really black though, more like dark grey, but I think in terms of paper it can be considered black. Unfortunately, it’s quite reflective, so it’s hard to take good photos of it without having much lighter areas of reflected light on it. Still, it is a very high-quality paper, as expected from Strathmore.

MSRP: $31.50. This one is also not available in Poland. There are other black sketchbooks with the same density of paper and their price goes from about 18 PLN (4,07 USD) to 70 PLN (15,81 USD). I’m not sure about the leather-like covers on them but the paper inside might be similar.

Derwent Artists coloured pencil

Derwent Artists coloured pencil

This pencil wasn’t listed as one of the contents of the box, so I suspect we were supposed to get another Holbein pencil but something went wrong – maybe there weren’t enough of them in warehouse, so instead, we got the Derwent pencils. Paletteful Packs didn’t actually put on their website information about how many of the Holbein pencils we were supposed to get, which is unusual for Paletteful Packs, so it only makes me more sure about my theory. But either way it doesn’t matter – we got the Derwent pencil and there’s that 🙂

I’ve never been a fan of Derwent pencils, to be honest. They feel kind of dry compared to other professional colour pencils I’ve tried. They are still great pencils and I’m sure you can draw amazing pictures with them, I just personally prefer different brands.


  • Prompt #1: Sunflower
  • Prompt #2: Cat
  • Prompt #3: Moon
  • Prompt #4: Crown

My thoughts

For this month’s artwork, I initially chose prompt #3 “Cat”. It felt perfect because at the end of October 2022, I lost my beloved kitty and I was grieving in November (I still am, but last November was particularly hard). I even had a certain, simplified style in mind but I ended up abandoning this idea because I drew a similar thing earlier, in order to relieve some of my grief.

For the trial sketch, I chose a night view of snowy mountains and I planned to draw a realistic cat later on, instead of my first idea of a stylised picture, but I spent so much time on the sketch, that I decided to draw the cat another time, and for this month I just wouldn’t use any of the suggested prompts.

The initial tests

Paletteful Packs November 2022

As usually, the first test was swatching the supplies on the paper from the pack.

All the supplies actually seemed to work pretty well on the black paper and I was very surprised by that. I did expect POSCAs and Sakura Gelly Roll to be just as good as they were, and I suspected Holbein pencils and perhaps even the Derwent pencil to perform well, but the Cretacolor pencils and the Stabilo Pen 68 were nearly a shock to me – they looked beautiful and were much more opaque than I expected.

I mentioned I used to have metallic colour pencils as a kid and they were similar to the Cretacolor ones. As the matter of fact, while writing this blog post I remembered I recently found those old pencils! So I obviously got curious about how would they perform on this paper and… another surprise! Even though these pencils are from some random brand (to the point I couldn’t even find its name on the packaging!), they still looked great on the paper. Now, I’m not sure if it’s because of the wonderful paper or if these old pencils were of similar quality to the Cretacolor ones, but in my opinion, the pencils of both brands are barely distinguishable on the paper.

Random metallic pencils on Strathmore paper

The tools

Cretacolor Metallic Pencils

These metallic pencils worked much better than expected – on the paper they went nice and smooth and had good coverage. I can’t tell if it’s because they themselves are so good, or was it the paper’s effect or perhaps both, but the pencils definitely felt like some kind of expensive pencils dedicated to this particular paper. I’m very surprised they worked that well and I think I’ll continue using them for journaling on this black paper.

POSCA Paint Markers

They are great, high-quality markers and will be perfect for journaling, especially on the black paper. Art-wise it depends on your style and what exactly you want to use them for. I definitely can recommend them if you are looking for markers with opaque paint in them.

Sakura Gelly Roll Bold White Gel Pen

Same as in the POSCAs’ case – the white gel pen will be perfect for some specific tasks. On black paper it’s quite opaque, so you can draw lines, dots or shapes with it, or even write, so journaling should be a pleasure when using Sakura’s gel pens. For art, as far as I know, it’s mostly used for tiny white details, like light reflections in the eyes, etc. and you can of course still use it for this purpose in your black paper journal! 🙂

All-Stabilo Multi-Surface White Pencil

I haven’t tried it on any surface other than paper but according to the official information, you can use this pencil on nearly any surface. On paper it behaves fine, although I had some issues with it. Maybe on paper it’s better to use it as a watercolour pencil rather than a regular one. It worked well for blending the Holbein pencils, so there’s that.

General’s White Charcoal Pencil

My trauma from using General’s charcoals is almost gone after using this one – I had absolutely no issues with the white charcoal, at least as long as I was using it as it was intended, because it wasn’t good for blending other pencils from the pack. The charcoal on its own was great though, it felt kind of like using chalk on a blackboard. Otherwise, I don’t think it was a good match for the rest of the supplies from the box.

Stabilo Pen 68 Metallic

This pen was one of the biggest surprises of the box – I expected it to be a mediocre office supply but on the black Strathmore paper it was 100% opaque and had a beautiful, metallic colour. I had no issues with the pen even when writing over colour pencils. I didn’t really use it for my art and I think it would be good only for some particular styles or tasks, but for journaling? I definitely recommend it!

Holbein Artists’ Colored Pencils

They were absolutely great, went on the paper as smoothly as if they were greased 🙂 It could be because they are in fact oil-based, but the smooth paper’s surface definitely helped with it. For me, it was a great experience, but I know some people may not like it and they might actually prefer more waxy Derwent pencils. But personally, I will definitely get at least several more of Holbein’s colour pencils, because, although I still prefer my Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils, I would like to be able to compare them more thoroughly and see what the Holbeins are capable of.

Princeton Sable Synthetic Blend Round

It’s not the first time we got one of these brushes, so I’ve already praised them multiple times and I didn’t change my mind this time wither – it’s a great brush which I wish was available to buy in Poland.

Strathmore Drawing Journal with Black Paper

I’ve never tried Strathmore paper before subscribing to Paletteful Packs but by now we’ve got several types of Strathmore paper and I know it’s a trustworthy brand. I may not be sure of some other supplies, even some high-end pencils may be broken inside and POSCA markers may clog, but Strathmore paper will be always top-notch. The Journal pad is absolutely amazing. The leather-like covers make it feel extremely high-end and fancy and the paper inside is of great quality. I plan to sometime buy a Strathmore Journal with lighter paper, but I’ll first use this one, because it would be a big shame to let it waste!

The artwork

As I said before, the original plan was to draw a cat, but I ended up with the night landscape only.

For transferring the sketch onto the Strathmore paper I used the same method as in the case of charcoals, except I switched the colours – since this month the paper was black, I used General’s white charcoal as the transfer layer. It worked great and the transferred sketch came out on the paper nice and clean.

The colouring process was pretty standard, the only difference from the regular colouring with pencils was the black paper.

I did have some issues with blending the pencils at the beginning though – I started blending them with a more predictable tool in my opinion – charcoal, but soon enough I discovered it wasn’t a good idea, as it somehow made it nearly impossible to add more pencil layers on top of the already blended ones. Fortunately, I managed to save the area blended with the charcoal by painting over it with a watered-down Stabilo pencil and I also used that pencil for blending the rest of the image when I needed it.

After I got a bit more experience with the supplies, I was able to slowly but surely finish the picture. I added stars using both POSCAs and Sakura gel pen and the last thing to do was the most boring one – draw trees with the Derwent pencil. I think this was the reason the picture took me such a long time: not only the task was boring but I also didn’t like the supply I was drawing with.

Final thoughts

Drawing on black paper was generally a fun experience and an adventure. It allowed me to think a bit differently about the colours and use art supplies I’d never thought about in a slightly different way. I think that’s exactly what Paletteful Packs are about – finding out new tools and being challenged to learn new things and styles.

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