Comparison – Wite Out Quick Dry/Extra Coverage/Super Smooth

Previously I’ve compared the two major brands of correction fluid: Liquid Paper and Wite Out. Back then I didn’t take a look at the fact that Wite Out comes in a few different kinds (but there is one that is basically “regular”), so I’ll attempt to rectify that this time. Now, the various “flavors” of Wite Out do go in and out of production, with the majors being “quick dry” (regular) and “extra coverage”. I also have a bottle of “super smooth” that I picked up second hand and surprisingly still works (it’s old enough to have the previous graphic design) but that type is currently out of production. How do they compare?

photo-1-2photo-1-1

Quick Dry – The standard of correction fluids and one that I’ve looked at before. Quick Dry is fairly “standard” in properties; it dries shiny and little warm in hue (yellow-ish). It is a bit finicky and tacky, sometimes making it difficult to get a smooth finish with multiple strokes. It covers regular pen, pencil and stray marks well (though it sometimes leaves a divot where the ink “repelled” it. But on darker lines like those made by Sharpies it only minimizes the effect.

photo-4

Extra Coverage – The other currently (easily) available Wite Out, Extra Coverage is smoother, dries matte, and is colder (and much more white) in hue. From my experience it layers well, always being fairly flat, even minimizing visible strokes. It covers pens and permanent markers with ease (though it’s still got that weird divot displacement thing going on) but doesn’t blend in as well with the paper. And, though I did no super thorough testing, it actually seems to dry faster than the “quick dry” or at least not remain tacky as long, but that could be because my “quick dry” bottles are older.

photo-2

Super Smooth – Being no longer available I have no idea what a “brand new” bottle of Super Smooth would be like, but I would hope it’s better than what I’ve got here. The bottle is old enough that it has a brush (not a sponge) applicator, and that’s not an asset since this particular type is very fond of clumping up. It’s visually similar to “quick dry” but more matte, and it doesn’t cover nearly as well (it just makes things look kinda hazy) forcing one to reapply it, causing many clumps and visible brush strokes. It dries much slower than the other two as well (maybe that’s why it lasted this long) and while it may be “smoother” in the technical sense I don’t see that as much of a positive either in the abstract or the comparison.

photo-3photo-3-1

If I had to pick a winner it would be “extra coverage” as the only flaw I see in it is that it doesn’t quite match the color of the average sheet of paper. The “regular” “quick dry” is still a good product but one I will be using less often now. It depends on whether or not you want the correction to blend in or completely cover up the mistake. But if there is one thing to take away from this, it’s that I now understand why “super smooth” was discontinued.

 

Review – Master’s Touch Palette Knife

I’ve been painting recently, and have a new appreciation for palette knives (foolishly I never used them before), both for controlling paint on a palette, and for painting. Unfortunately I’ve found no real resource that says if there are consistent sizes and shapes for palette knives, and I don’t believe there really is. So instead of this being a review of a specific size or shape of knife, this will be a general look at the quality of the Master’s Touch brand of inexpensive and easily accessible palette knives.

20150414-225713.jpg

The particular knife style here is slightly unconventional, and appears in the least amount of photos I see online, though it is the shape used by Bob Ross, so it’s got that going for it. The handle is a light, okay finished wood with a lanyard hole and the Master’s Touch logo imprinted on it. It’s sturdy enough and it works. Following that is what appears to be a “brass” “section” ring that is dented and losing its finish. It holds the blade in place, fairly sturdily, but also not centered. The blade is stainless steel, quite flexible and tapers down to a very usable edge. It is finished well enough, and doesn’t get thin enough to cut easily, but I suppose if one really tried they could make it dangerous. In some places the brushed finish isn’t nearly as well done, but these places don’t really matter in the scheme of things.

Overall it’s a nice introductory tool. It obviously has some quality control issues, but they aren’t major and don’t prevent the tool from functioning or make it dangerous. It’s inexpensive, and I would recommend it to anyone who isn’t sure if they really want to paint and are just trying to get into it, upgrading in the future is always possible and still isn’t a lot of money. And even if one doesn’t this tool will likely be able to last a painting lifetime.

Review – Uni Paint Pen

So you want to paint, but you’re better at drawing. Or you want to mark on some surface unsuitable for Sharpie or other permanent markers. Well, the Uni Paint PX-21 by Sanford may be for you.

This pen is oil-based and needs to be shaken up like a spray can before use. It has a “fine” point, which means a medium or even broad point if you compare it to anything that is a not a paint pen. The line it writes is solid and about as thick as a large Crayola marker. This particular version is the black version which is especially solid, though it is fairly shiny, somewhere between a Sharpie and a matte black spray in terms of marking on plastic. It does mark on literally anything, though some shiner plastics and polished metals have it wear off easily.

20130512-001155.jpg

The body of the pen is metal and feels solid in the hand. A shiny label has all the necessary information printed on it, including warnings and such. This label makes the pen slightly slippery in the hand so tight gripping is necessary.

The cap matches the color of the paint. It has ridges that are sharp and cut into the skin. It also fits very snugly onto the end, meaning it is quite difficult to remove, which is both a hindrance and a benefit.

20130512-001204.jpg

Also be warned that since it is an oil-based pen it stinks mightily and will give you a headache after a few minutes of constant exposure. The label even tells you to put the cap on immediately after use, though this is most likely also to not let the paint dry out.

Overall this is a great little painting device. It is especially handy for touchups on plastic and metal painting. Or, if you’re like my relatives and have a shop were regular markers and price tags have a hard time sticking to the stock. It’s not really a home item, or one that will be useful to canvas painters, but it certainly will have its place with sculptors and model builders.

Review – Bienfang 12 Watercolor Brush Pens

If water color trays aren’t your style, there are of course other options. Like the Bienfang watercolor brush pens for example.

20121001-174311.jpg

The pens come in a dozen colors and with a blending pen. The colors are roughly two of the standard assortment: two greens, two yellows, two reds, two blues, an orange, a brown, a black and a purple. They vary in shades enough to make them unique from the standard assortment of bright crayola colors, but they still aren’t the most natural of colors.

20121001-174317.jpg

They come with the color separated from the brush like most brush pens. One must remove a ring to expose more thread that the cap can screw into to connect the two. The design is one of the best I’ve seen but leaves no room for more color. Once a pen is used fully there is no option but to discard it. The color must also drain into the brush before use and the body of the pen must be constantly squeezed to keep fresh color in the brush. But this is common on many cheaper brush pens and is no real problem.

20121001-174323.jpg

The brushes themselves are nice and tend to keep a point (once they are full of color). They do have a tendency to have a problem with the cap but that may just be me having a problem putting them back on. The color is applied in nice, smooth strokes if the brush is full and does layer and blend as expected. They are rather muted, though, and are hardly distinguishable from similar colors in the set until multiple coats are applied. Even then it is hard to tell the two reds or yellows apart. The color is also not true water color and is resistant when dry and stains clothes, so one should be careful when using it.

If one likes the watercolor esthetic but does not want the hassle of the tubes or trays, I’d say this is a good replacement. It does not, however, have all of the benefits of full water color. It is pleasant looking and nice to use but simply cannot capture the full water color appeal. I personally have found very little use for full water color and only a little more for this. I am not a fan of using either, but if you find that you are in need of a watercolor look, I would recommend a look.

Review – Prang 8 Water Color Set

Ah, watercolor! It brings me back to the days when I sucked at art but loved it all the time. And it was so easy to get off your hands and clothes (and unfortunately the paper, too). Well it turns out that it is a legitimate art medium. But, are those fancy tubes really necessary? Can’t we just use the same old Prang tray that we used when we were kids?

20120921-231702.jpg

 

 

Well, you can, but they’re much harder to use. For starters they are completely solid, meaning that the water necessary to use them is much greater and the colors will still appear washed out on the paper. And of course there are the standard problems with working with water color to deal with.

 

The colors themselves are the standard bright, crayola-type colors that every “children’s” art supply set comes in. However, with them being water based paints they are much easier to blend and tone down than many other art supplies. Realism is still hard to achieve, though. The colors also have a tendency to be sticky and/ or runny, never quite balancing.

20120921-231707.jpg

 

The brushes are okay but definitely the worst part of the set, being cheap and imprecise. Better brushes or better yet foam pads are necessary.

All in all, I think getting better paints would be a necessity for any serious work as the paints are hard to work with. At the least better brushes. But they are serviceable paints and will get the job done in most cases and in the hands of an experienced painter, nearly all cases.

Review – Yellow Dollar General HB No.2 Pencils

By: Austin Smith

All right, on to the art-making things. Let’s start with pencils, specifically HB or No.2 pencils. The ones I’m reviewing today are from dollar general and are 10 cents apiece. So they’re the cheap, starting pencil.

The pencils are small and light, roughly 6 and 3/4 inches to start, with about a half inch eraser. The wood is cheap, it’s splintery and rough. The paint is applied poorly, with parts flaking off and wood showing through, but it does its job and the letters are easy enough to read. The eraser is all right, it erases, but not all the way. Usable for sketches and writing. The eraser is hard and sometimes smears the graphite instead of erasing.

But that is all roughly cosmetic. One can get other erasers and the paint does its job. It’s really about the graphite. And that’s hard to screw up. HB’s are a fairly hard pencil, really medium, leaning to the soft end. They’re easy to draw with and give a large amount of control. The lead is not brittle, and stays in its wooden case. The pencil is suitable for sketches and of course writing like its main use in schools.

The wood being cheap makes it difficult to sharpen, making it lean more to one side or the other, the lead is also slightly off center. It’s cheap, but usable.

This pencil is a nice cheap way to sketch. And is useful in creating a draft for a sketch to be inked later. It being cheap it is available but it is also cheap, not the best pencil available. It does its job but it’s nothing spectacular.