150 Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core

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.

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.

GoPro Fusion: Try your hand at VR today!

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.

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.

Phone holders

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.