If you are an arty, crafty bod then you might know that it is the craft trade show season! Yay! What with CHA or Creativation, as it is now called, just starting RIGHT NOW in the US and going on until 23rd January. Then we have Creativeworld in Germany 28th to 31st January followed by CHSI or Stitches in the UK 19th to 21st February. So be prepared to see a lot of exciting new products flood onto the market in the next few months! Well, actually, some can take many, many, many months to get over to the Europe, so yep, patience is need!
So ok, before we all go new product CA-RAY-ZZZZ (crazy, in case you weren’t sure!), ‘coz you know that we will! We can’t help ourselves! I thought I would do a run down of some of my current favourite art and craft products that you can get your hands on now to play with and try out whilst you wait for the new stuff to filter through!
[I do use affiliate links and there are some in this blog post, which means that if you buy after using one of the affiliated links I get a small amount of money with no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!]
In no particular order we have:
1. Gouache Paint
I am just loving painting with Gouache, I feel it is being a little ignored by the craft world at the moment and the designers seeming to be getting all the fun with it. If you haven’t yet played with gouache paint it is often described as an opaque watercolour paint, but I think it might be best to think of it as thicker, brighter paint than watercolour but a thinner less ‘plastic-y’ paint than acrylic, perhaps closer to the chalk paints that have been very popular. Ok, that is a very rough description of it, but I hope it gives you an idea of what it is like!
I’m still playing and discovering what it can and can not do for me, I love the strength of the colour, which makes it perfect for scanning projects and I think that it is why it is strongly favoured by a lot of designers. I’m thinking of doing a longer blog post on these so keep your eyes peeled and let me know if you have any particular questions you would like answered.
2. Watercolour Paper And Sketchbooks
Ok, so am I the only one who gets excited by paper? No surely not! I’ve tried lots of different papers for lots of different uses and will probably keep experimenting with different ones. There are a lot of papers that I could talk about but I’m going to concentrate on just a couple today as these are top quality at really good prices.
I’ll be honest, I am a little wary of some craft companies (not all, but some) that package together ‘art’ quality paper for a BIG price and the paper just does not hold up to the promise. Shop around guys! Because you can find better quality paper at smaller price points.
Ok I’ll get off of my soap box! Here are some of my suggestions of paper that are good quality and at a good price:
- Curtisward Paper Pads – Curtisward is collaborating the St Cuthberts Mill papermill to bring out a great low price point, high quality watercolour paper. So for example their A4 10 sheets of hot press (that’s the really smooth surface one) is £4.79 (plus the postage of course). Well worth trying out their whole range (which I plan to do btw).
- Seawhite Sketchbooks – I love Seawhite sketchbooks and if you haven’t discovered them yet then I would strongly suggest you try them out. You can find them on their wholesale website, or their customer website and also from places like Curtisward and CassArt and a load of other art shops. They also make branded products so you might already be using Seawhite’s products but may not have realised it! Again shop around, their products can be at different prices from different sources.
- Fluid Watercolor Blocks – ok so these are not like super cheap but if you have ever tried buying watercolour paper in blocks then you will know that blocks can be pretty expensive. Blocks are great for fast watercolour work, or out in the field work, because they are gummed on at least two sides so that the top layer stays flat, meaning that you don’t have to stretch the paper or tape it to a board to do some watercolour techniques. At the moment the re-branded fluid pads (I think they are re-branded and not a new product but I could be wrong) can be found at discounted prices in places like CassArt so grab them! (But leave me some!).
3. Watercolours and Mop Brushes
Watercolours are also still in my top medium to work with list and I play with different brands and different qualities. I don’t think I have a complete favourite brand, although I still love the Prima Marketing Decadent Pies colour palette, but that is more for the colours than the paint itself. Again shop around, I have no help for you on what to buy, I am afraid, I tend to go for artist quality where I can and when I spot a discount. But I also have some student and craft quality paints which are useful for testing stuff out and just messing about with.
Teo Yi Chie from Parka Blogs has a great YouTube Channel that is worth watching for watercolour paint comparisons.
4. Ceramic Palettes
Alright so one of the palettes in the picture above is actual plastic, and one of the watercolour sets too, but I am really trying to cut down on the plastic in my studio. Let’s face it there is just too much plastic everywhere. But plastic is cheap and easy and finding alternatives is actually quite hard. So I’ve turned to some small ceramic palettes, like the little flower one in the bottom right of the picture above and I am trying out an aluminum one too.
This little seven-well porcelain palette from Curtisward is the cheapest I have spotted so far and is great for watercolour. If you have any non-plastic alternatives please do let me know! I am not beyond using tableware by the way!
5. Masking Fluid And Fineline Tips.
Ok so my last product is not a money-saver tip and does actually require the buying of two products! You can also find masking fluids that already come in a bottle with a fineline tip. But this is my favourite masking fluid, not that I’ve tested loads, about three brands in total so far but this one won.
Oh yes! Super easy pen applicator. Takes a little practice to learn how hard to squeeze to get which line thickness but it is a very handy little thing! I did try a 20 gauge as well but I think it was too small for the consistency of the masking fluid. Oh and by the way you can get refills of the masking fluid which work out quite cost effective.
These are my favourite art and craft products, well at least this month, so what are your current favourite products? And if you are watching Creativation, Creativeworld or Stitches what are you really looking forward to seeing?
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