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Hanna-Mae Illustration

Illustrator & eco clothing designer

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Monthly review- Derwent Inktense watercolour pencils

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been putting Derwent’s Inktense watercolour pencils to the test with interesting results. As promised, here’s everything you need to know…

Product name: Derwent Inktense watercolour pencils (24 set tin)

Price: £18.99-£40.75

Rating: 4/5

About: A tin of 24 watercolour pencils which can be used with or without water.

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Having relied on the same brand of watercolour pencils for the past 9 years I was excited to try these and, I admit it, slightly sceptical that they would live up to their implied vibrancy…but I was pleasantly surprised!

Although it took me a little while to get used to the softness of the tips (more on this later) when I got stuck in I was delighted to see a vibrant drawing begin to emerge. The quality of these pencils are evident, and provide an intensity I personally find hard to achieve with other, ‘normal’ watercolour pencils.

What I like about these pencils is the control you get. They’re very versatile in the way that they offer the best of both worlds; if you want a softer, subtler effect this can be achieved by using light pressure, whilst if you want the promised ‘inktense’ effect this is achievable by layering and applying the right amount of pressure. The fact that the drawing may be left as it is, or diluted/smoothed over by applying water with a brush afterwards also demonstrates this versatility. I found I was happy with the effect I had achieved without feeling the need to add water.

However, as you can tell from the comments above, it would take someone who has at least some experience with watercolour pencils to understand about the amount of pressure you need to add, which is why these wouldn’t spring to mind when thinking of children or beginners. I feel these pencils are suited more to practicing artists, particularly as they’re quite expensive.

As I mentioned earlier, the tips of these pencils are very soft. Whilst watercolour pencils are often very soft in comparison to ‘normal’ coloured pencils, these seemed softer than the average. So, if like me you like to work with a very sharp tip you’ll need to sharpen these often and with a scalpel/thin craft knife. Due to the soft nature of the tips they’ll become ‘blunt’ quicker, particularly if you’re using them with the aim to produce that promised vibrancy.  This makes them less cost-effective so there’s a bit of a trade off: vibrancy or pencil life?

To conclude I’d say that these are a genuine pleasure to use, which will be picked up by artists who appreciate their materials. They’re something I would use for a special piece, or if material costs were included in a commission, otherwise, these are good to put on Christmas and birthday lists!

wherebuyThe most competitive prices seem to be on amazon, but these pencils are available in stores too. The Range stocks Derwent Inktense 24 tin (as well as 12) at £29.99, whilst Hobbycraft stocks them for £30 and are currently offering those who join the Hobbycraft club 15% off their first online order.

 

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Undiluted watercolour pencil drawing, Hanna-Mae Williams

 

 

 

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watercolour pencil drawing with ink background. Hana-Mae Williams

 

 

 

 

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Monthly Tutorial: Neatening a seam by hand

As well as being an illustrator I’m also an eco clothing designer and sew all my clothing entirely by hand. Over the years I’ve learnt some basics that have roved invaluable and that I use time and again. Today I’ll be guiding you through how to beat unsightly, fraying seams, using my latest project (a skirt).

step1

So you have your sides sewn neatly together and are left with a raw edge. Turn your work inside out. Trim the edge using pinking shears if you didn’t do this when cutting your initial pieces of material. The zig-zag will prevent further fraying. You’ll need to make sure you have at least 1.5cm excess.

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step2

Fold one edge over on itself until the tips of the zig-zags slightly overlap the sewn edge, and pin into place. Do this all the way along, taking care not to accidentally pin to the excess material on the other side.

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step3

Do a simple running stitch all the way along to hold the fold, like below. Keep the stitches quite small and close together so it will look neat on both sides.

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Back
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Front

step4

Finish off in your usual way (I use a double knot)

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step5

You now need to do the same with the other bit of excess material. Repeat steps 1-5 on this bit.

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step6

Once you’ve done steps 1-5 on both edges, use a hot iron to press your hem open.

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step7

Turn your garment the right way, and you’ll be left with a neat, subtle line like the one below.

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tip

Monthly Review – paintbrush cleaners

paintcleaners

What put me off oil paints initially was the fight to get my brushes truly clean. I tried a few tips (and stained a few sinks!) before finally discovering what worked best for me. I used to keep a set specifically for using oils and always found there’d be trace amounts of paint left behind on them,tainting the colour I was trying to create. Some people swear by washing up liquid, but as I often work with small brushes for fine detail, I find the condition of my brushes just as important as the removal of paint. In this months review I’ve brought you three of the best conditioning cleaners, their strengths, downfalls, and where to get your hands on them!

cleaner1

Name: Water washable oil brush cleaner

Brand: Daler Rowney

Price: £5 – £6:50

Stockists: Jackson’s Art Supplies

Rating: 3.5/5

Benefits:

  • Low odour (solvent free)
  • Biodegradable
  • Conditions brushes whilst cleaning, using natural oils

Negatives:

  • Slightly tricky to pour (if pouring into smaller pot)
  • Can separate slightly
  • No longer stocked in high street stores such as Hobby Craft/The Range

How to use: As this can slightly separate be sure to shake first, then pour a moderate amount into a smaller pot. Wipe excess paint off your brush using tissue/paper towel before swirling your brush around a few times in the cleaner. Tap off excess before swirling in a jar of water and drying on paper towel.

cleaner2

Name: Turpenoid Natural

Brand: Weber

Price: £5 + depending on size (236ml shown in photo)

Stockists: Jackson’s Art Supplies , Amazon

Rating: 4.5/5

Benefits:

  • Low odour
  • Doesn’t separate
  • Conditions brushes whilst cleaning
  •  Nontoxic
  • Can double as a medium

Negatives:

  • No longer easily available in high-street stores such as The Range/Hobby Craft
  • Tricky twist cap (though good if you have inquisitive children!)

How to use: I pour a little into a separate pot, wipe the excess paint off the paintbrush wish paper towel, then swirl the brush a few times in the cleaner. You can either wipe with a paper towel and carry on, or swirl in water then dry (as I do)

cleaner3

Name: The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver

Brand: B&J

Price: £4+ depending on size (Available in 4 sizes, 75ml shown in photo)

Stockists: Pegasus Art , Jackson’s Art Supplies , Amazon

Rating: 4/5

Benefits:

  • Suitable for all paints, not just oils
  • Conditions brushes whilst cleaning
  • Beautifully presented
  • no odour
  • Cleans incredibly well

Negatives:

  • One of the pricier cleaners
  • Some waste, as you have to wipe away left over paint grime from the top

How to use: Wipe off excess paint from brush, swish in water then carefully rub in circular movements on the solid block of cleaner. Swish brush in a clean jar of water before drying with a paper towel.

winner

And the winner, by the tiniest whisker is… Weber Turpenoid Natural! Whilst I noticed how conditioned my brushes were, and how well The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver cleaned my brushes, I found Turpenoid Natural lasted longer and cleaned just as well. However, if you’re looking for a universal brush cleaner, as opposed to just oil cleaner, I would highly recommend giving The Masters a try.

Happy painting!

 

psst! Now that you’ve got the cleaning up afterwards sorted, why not head on over to these tutorials for some inspiration?

Painting clouds with oil paints

Treetorial

 

 

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