150 Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core

150 Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils

I’m back with another great deal on Prismacolors today: it’s the big honking set of 150 Prismacolor Premier Color Soft Core Pencils! This is pretty much the holy grail set for Prismacolor colored pencil afficionados: soft, creamy, rich pigments lay down smooth as butter on your surface of choice. The wax-based soft core makes blending and layering super easy, and you can use odorless mineral spirits (my favorites are the Mona Lisa and Gamsol) for fantastic blending abilities, turning your drawings into paintings.


Right now, this set is deeply discounted at Amazon, so snap it up … you won’t regret it!

Prismacolor has been the go-to brand for colored pencil artists in North America for several decades now, and for good reason. Let’s start with the fact that, like any good artist quality colored pencils, these pencils are extremely lightfast. And then there is the question of blending: while you can achieve great results with a smaller set due to the easy blendability, the range of colors in this set means that you will spend more time creating the art you love and less time blending colors to get the exact shade you want.

Note that this set does not include a colorless blender, but whether you need that depends on your art technique: as I alluded to above, I much prefer blending with OMS (Mona Lisa is what I have right now, but Gamsol is pretty much identical). If you do want/need a colorless blender, they are very cheap on Amazon as well. Check out the double-2-pack of Prismacolor Blender Pencils (yes, that’s four pencils, rather than just 2).

While working with the Premeirs, keep in mind that erasing is not going to be easy due to the rich pigmentation in these pencils. The best way to work is to start with the lighter colors and build up the intensity and depth of color as you go.

Pro tip #1: Storage: You can keep these in the gorgeous metal tin they come in (6 removable plastic trays), or, better yet, invest in some of the pastel storage boxes I reviewed in an earlier post. Those boxes allow you to have all the colors in plain sight, which makes it much easier when you are working on a more intricate piece of art.

Pro tip #2: Sharpening: Due to the soft cores (and occasionally not-quite-centered cores), you want to sharpen these pencils manually. Either use a hand-held sharpener like the Mobius & Ruppert Brass Round Double Hole Sharpener [use the larger hole] and rotate the sharpener while holding the pencil steady with your other hand, or, my favourite technique, use a craft knife to take off the wood casing around the core, then just gently rub the core on a sandpaper block to bring it to a nice point.

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GoPro Fusion: Try your hand at VR today!

GoPro Fusion

I’ve been eyeing VR-capable cameras for a while now, and the GoPro Fusion seems to blend in the fun of the GoPro with the elements of VR that I’ve wanted to play with.

The package as shipped contains the Fusion camera, the case, a Fusion grip (a.k.a., a selfie stick) with a long thumbscrew, a single rechargeable battery (you may want to stock up on backup batteries, as with any GoPro), mounting fingers, a USB-C charging cable, and one each of the curved and flat adhesive mounts that are standard with the GoPro line.

The Fusion is heavier than the standard GoPro cameras, so make sure any mounts you use are capable of handling the extra weight [you may want to stick with the official GoPro accessories until you are confident of 3rd party accessories].

The camera shoots footage in 360 degrees, giving you an amazing panoramic view of the world you’re passing through. It records up to 5 hrs of footage (assuming you have sufficient storage!) if you have an external power supply to the camera, otherwise the battery lasts approximately 70 to 80 minutes (per the manufacturer’s specs, assuming WiFi is off).

The Fusion also requires two high-performance microSD, microSDHC or microSDXC cards with a Class 10 or UHS-II/III rating or higher. The memory cards are not included, you’ll need to purchase them separately.

You will need to use the GoPro mobile app or the GoPro Fusion Studio app for desktop, and for editing 360 degree videos, you’ll need a 3rd-party app like Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere. Keep in mind that because of the front and back cameras, there is no viewscreen, so literally the only way to view the video is using an app!

Note that this camera is only waterproof up to a depth of 5 meters (16 feet), unlike the older GoPros that could be used at depths of up to 10 meters (32 feet) without a housing. If you’re not looking for the VR capability, you may want to save your money (and expand your underwater range) by going for one of the standard GoPro models.

If you’re wondering “where is the VR?”, like I was: imagine this: you take a 360 video of an experience, say a climb up your local hill late in the day, arriving at the top just in time to take in a spectacular sunset. You’re recording every minute of that view all around you. Back home the next day, you edit the video and send it off to your friend, who uses a VR headset to view it … and sees what you were seeing the night before! That’s almost time travel … and very definitely the core of virtual reality.

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Phone holders

Sdandun Phone holder

We’re loving this new phone holder from Sdandun on Amazon … the 360 degree rotation feature makes it really convenient to view the phone from all angles in your car.

This holder can hold phones in a range of sizes from 4.0 inches to 6.5 inches and mounts quickly with the quick-snap installation. It sticks securely to most surfaces, unlike many other phone holders we’ve tried that barely have any grip.

Spill something on the holder? Just rinse in water.

Your phone never looked better in your car!

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.

Prismacolor Mixed Media set

Prismacolor Mixed Media Set

Love Prismacolor Premier? Looking to graduate from student grade colored pencils to artist grade? Not sure if colored pencils are the medium for you? Have you been looking for a better quality colored pencil to use in your adult coloring books than what your school-age kid uses?

This Prismacolor Mixed Media set has everything you need to get started!

  • 48 Soft Core pencils
  • 6 Art Stix for unbeatable blending
  • 12 Verithin pencils for intricate details
  • 12 Water-Soluble pencils to create liquid effects
  • 1 mini sharpener

With all of this, plus a nifty discount (as of the date of this blog) on the already very reasonable price, how can you go wrong?

This set is great for many types of art, from freehand drawing and blending with Gamsol or other odorless mineral spirits to hours of soothing colouring in adult coloring books. If you’ve had a hankering to try out watercolor, but don’t want the mess associated with paint in tubes and pans, the 12 water-soluble pencils included in this set provide plenty of scope for experimentation.

The ArtStix are woodless colored pencils with the same soft, creamy cores as the Premier pencils, making it easy to layer colours for superior blending and shading.

Prismacolors have a long history of providing richly pigmented artist quality pencils with great lightfast ratings and superb creamy lay-down of color. Generations of artists swear by the Prismacolor Premier pencils, and many use the Verithin for finer details, as the colors blend beautifully with the Premier line.


Try out this set, you won’t regret it. And with the nifty 20% discount available as of the date of this post, you’ll keep some money in your pocket while you enjoy your hobby with more great tools.

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.

 

Rubber Cement Erasers

Rubber Cement Eraser Pick Up

I’ve been using rubber cement quite a lot recently, because I purchased a giant bottle of it on sale from my local art supply store.

Well, the problem with rubber cement is that it oozes everywhere. And worse, it doesn’t always come off neatly. Rubbing with your fingers removes it, but it leaves my fingers feeling weird. So I’ve been looking for a solution.

Turns out, there is this thing called a rubber cement eraser! The Grafix RCPU Rubber Cement Pick-Up is small (2″x2″) and does a nifty job of cleaning up the mess I seem to make every single time I play with the bottle of rubber cement. I’m getting better at spreading the cement thin, but I still have issues with size perception, so I still dab on a bit too much and this eraser is perfect for picking up the excess without damaging the surface.

Bonus: From reading the reviews, it appears to work well at removing masking fluid from art work in progress. I tried it, and am impressed … no more masking fluid fingers when I rub off the masking fluid to get to the next stage of my watercolour (or Inktense!) paintings!

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.

Storage boxes for art supplies

I have a lot of art supplies. A lot. Especially when it comes to markers and colored pencils. Like hundreds and hundreds.

When you have the biggest set of multiple lines of colored pencils and then you go crazy buying Copic markers and Winsor & Newton Pigment markers (which, by the way, need to be stored flat rather than up-ended in a pen holder!) … well, you quickly realize that traditional drawers aren’t going to do it.

Storing the markers and pencils in the tins they arrived in works – to a point. It’s not as easy to see all the colours at a glance, and you wind up with a ton of pencils scattered all over your desktop when you are trying to work on a drawing.

So I finally caved and got real storage. Those pastel storage boxes are really versatile, and there are a bunch of options for the number of drawers you want.

The most popular seem to be the 3-drawer variety and Amazon has even elevated this 3-drawer Art Alternatives pastel box with the Amazon’s Choice label.

It’s gorgeous, nicely finished and stained, lined with foam (model A only … model B ships without the foam!), with dividers inside so you can separate your pencils from your erasers or pastels or pens or whatever. If you are shipped the model without foam, the solution is simple: just line the drawers with shelf liner!

Unfortunately, for all its pluses, this particular brand does not come in a 5-drawer model. And you remember I said I have a lot of art supplies. So I had two choices: either buy multiple Art Alternatives 3-drawer boxes, or find a company that had a larger box. I went with option 2.

The Vencer 5 Drawer Wood Art Storage Box is perfect for my needs: it has 5 drawers, and the price was right. While the box isn’t as nicely finished as the Art Alternatives box, it’s functional and I can paint the outside if it really bugs me.

One minor annoyance was that the dividers are glued in place (unlike the other box), but it was easy enough to wiggle them back and forth until they came off and then I can replace them to where I wanted them! Well, in my case, I simply removed them altogether to make room for more supplies.

Tip: if you find the drawers sticking as you pull them out, simply rub soap along the edge where it sits on the runner … problem solved!

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.

Super Glue … for glasses?

Gorilla Glue Super Glue

Recently, Mum’s glasses broke. The little piece that sits across the bridge of her nose just detached itself on one side and basically rendered the glasses useless. We ordered her a new set right away, but in the meantime she needed something to read with while she waited for her replacement glasses.

I asked around, and while some recommended going to a jewelry store and getting it micro-soldered in place, others suggested super glue. Not just any super glue, but the Gorilla Glue Super Glue.

I’m cheap. So I tried the super glue route, and to my surprise, it worked. This glue works on a variety of materials, including metal, ceramic, leather, plastic, wood and more. For me, the metal-to-metal was all that mattered. Bonus, this dries super fast! They recommend just 10 to 30 seconds. We left it longer, not wanting to take a chance, and it doesn’t seem to have done any harm.

The glasses were useable again, Mum lasted out the wait for the new glasses,  and now she has a spare set in case anything happens to her brand new pair!

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.

 

Scientific Calculators Revisited

Casio FX-300 MS Plus Scientific Calculator

If your kid has recently gone back to school, chances are, he or she will soon be asking for a scientific calculator (probably already has!).

The Casio FX-300MS Plus Engineering/Scientific Calculator is a good all-round scientific calculator that will serve well through high school and undergrad math and science classes.

This one takes a 1.5 volt LR44 battery. The add-on program at Amazon brings the price down quite nicely, so it’s a good idea to just buy a spare when you buy your calculator.

Pros:

  • You can see the whole equation at a glance
  • Nicely sized buttons
  • Large variety of mathematical functions (229, to be precise)
  • Fractions can be viewed as fractions or as decimals
  • Well priced

Cons:

  • Difficult to see the numbers if the calculator is flat on the table
  • Quality Control seems to occasionally miss a defective loose button

All in all, this calculator is a good choice at a great price.

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.

 

So I’m a Spider – So What? [Manga]

So I'm a Spider - So What?

We’ve been reading some manga recently, and after a few series, they all start looking similar. A stand-out is Okina Baba’s So I’m a Spider, So What.

This series is about a girl who is reincarnated into a different world, one that’s more like a video game. She herself is reincarnated as a spider … and as she grows in experience and abilities (see, video game!). There’s a dungeon, and monsters that she has to defeat to level up.

Okina Baba originally presented this as a web novel back in 2015 … the current version is a manga adaptation of that novel by Yen Press, which acquired the rights in 2017.

Not having read the original Japanese, the story still is clearly told from a different world view than that of the average American teen. The series is a fun read, and manages to explore both human and other-world psyches in a light manner.

Well worth the price of purchase, and quite a stand-out in a rather crowded genre.

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.