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Giveaway | Happy Birthday to Me and Mod Podge!

Today isn’t just my birthday (although that is cause enough for celebration) – something else special is having a birthday today. It’s Mod Podge’s 50th Birthday!

National Mod Podge Day

Mod Podge is celebrating all day today (Friday) with National Mod Podge Day, starting at 9am eastern. It will be filled with livestreams, projects, and giveaways. To get all of the details visit their special Mod Podge 50th Birthday page.

But why not get the party started here and now? It’s my birthday and I’ll giveaway if I want to!

Thanks to the wonderful and generous folks at Plaid, I’ve got a package of Mod Podge goodies to give away to one lucky Craft Critique reader!

National Mod Podge Day Giveaway

This package is a $50 value and includes:

  • 8 oz. Mod Podge Gloss
  • 8 oz. Mod Podge Matte
  • 8 oz. Mod Podge Dishwasher Safe Gloss
  • 2 oz Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium
  • Mod Podge Silicone Craft Mat
  • 7 piece Mod Podge Tool Kit
  • Mod Podge 4pc Spouncer Set
  • Mod Podge 4pc Foam Brush Set

HOW TO ENTER: To enter this giveaway, leave a comment below telling me what your favorite thing is to do with Mod Podge! Deadline for entries is 11:59pm eastern time on Sunday, May 21st, 2017. One entry per person. Sorry, US entries only. Winner will be chosen by random drawing.

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Faber-Castell Creative Journaling Kit

Reported by Erika Martin

I’ve long been a fan of watercolor pencils. I still have the set that my parents gave to me for Christmas when I was 12 years old. Some of them are worn down to a stub and others still have a bit of life in them but I refuse to use them anymore because they remind me of the Christmas when my parents could only afford to give me that set of colored pencils and a box of stationery. They were and are my favorite set. That was the set that made me fall in love with watercolor pencils. They also happen to be from Faber-Castell. I made sure that, when the opportunity to review one of Faber-Castell’s kits came up, my name was on that list to be considered.

I was thrilled to be sent the Creative Journaling kit to play with. Yes, yes, I know I’m supposed to “review” it, but I look at reviewing as playing, it’s so much fun!

Did you know that Faber-Castell is celebrating 250 years? WHOA! Faber-Castell, founded in 1761, is the world’s oldest pencil manufacturer and started out as a small pencil workshop in Germany. Maybe that’s part of my love for their products – my German heritage (my grandparents immigrated to the US in the 1950s). It’s owned by the 8th generation of its founding family. There’s your little history lesson for the day. *wink* (I love stuff like that.)
Being the earthy-crunchy, tree-hugger hippie Vermonter that I am, I really appreciate the environmental responsibility that Faber-Castell is passionate about. According to Faber-Castell, 

“80% of our pencils are produced from pine wood grown and harvested from a sustainable 25,000 acre Forest Stewardship farm, where millions of tree seedlings are planted each year. This conservation of natural resources also guarantees the consistent wood quality we are know for….We use environmentally-friendly water-based varnish and each pencil is constructed with a patented SV-bonding of the pencil pigment to the barrel to ensure longer lasting pencils.”

I’m always seeking out companies with art products that are also environmentally conscious, so this was a big deal to me.

On to my review of Faber-Castell’s Creative Journaling Kit.
This kit contains:
  • 4 Art GRIP Aquarelle Pencils
  • 3 PITT artist pens (black extra superfine nib, sepia superfine nib, gray brush nib)
  • 1 graphite pencil
  • a sharpener and eraser
  • 15 sheets of decorative papers
  • 9 illustration boards
  • gesso
  • craft glue
  • 12-page blank journal
  • 3 book rings




For those that are unfamiliar with “creative journaling,” I like how Faber-Casetll desribes it on their website and also on the first page of the illustration boards:  

“Keeping a journal is a private dialogue with oneself in pursuit of self-discovery and an archiving of one’s daily life. When you combine the written word with doodling, painting, or pasting in memorabilia you are creating an “Art Journal.” Creative Journaling (sometimes called Art Journaling) unites our love of writing with a visual poetry of images and offers a dynamic new venue for self-expression.”

 
The first thing I did when I opened my kit was to put a hole in the top left corner of the illustration boards with my Crop-a-dile and run a ribbon through it to keep them together. I much preferred having all my illustration boards together rather than having them all separate and floating around on my desk.

The illustration cards are full of great ideas, sample photos from other art journals, tips, techniques and inspiration. I used many of them while creating my art journal. I’ve been creating journals, mini books and altered books for many years and consider myself an advanced artist when it comes to those, but these illustration boards showed me new techniques that I hadn’t tried yet and got me to think outside the box. It doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie to this art form or if you’ve been doing them for a while, there is definitely something in these illustration boards for everyone to learn.

When you open the illustration board, it not only gives you a run-down of what is included in the kit, but also a list of optional tools and materials that you can use in your art journal. This is a great starting point for crafters creating their first art journal. My ‘aha moment’ came when I turned to the page in the instruction cards that gave a run down on working with Art GRIP Aquarelle Pencils. One of the techniques talks about color mixing. To be honest, as I was looking at the colored pencils in the kit, I wondered what in the world I would be able to do with just three colors. Well, let me tell you that I found quite a few things to do with just three colors. The color mixing experiment opened up a whole new world for me. By including the three primary colors in the kit, you have all you need to “create an incredible array of colors,” as the instruction board says.
I scribbled color in the shapes of triangles within a circle, as shown on the instruction card, and then used my wet paintbrush to blend the colors together in the blank spaces. Total eye opener for me!


So, I got to work on starting the front cover of my art journal using the blending technique that I had just learned with the Aquarelle Pencils. I used the black PITT artist pen to draw a scene onto one of the white blank journal boards.

I added some color with the Aquarelle Pencils.

Next, I used the paintbrush from the kit to blend my colors together.


When I needed brown paint for the soil in my scene, I took out a piece of watercolor paper to use as a palette. Knowing that green and red make brown, I scribbled yellow, blue and red onto the watercolor paper.
I used my paintbrush and a little bit of water to blend the colors together to get the brown that I needed.
I pulled the color off of the make-shift palette that I made to paint it directly onto my journal page.

I filled in the rest of my board and blended colors as I went and was so excited at the final result. I can totally see myself carrying a small journal around and just three colored pencils from here on out. Such a small amount of things to tote around, but the results are amazing and addictive. I’m looking forward to trying this color blending technique out on a big sheet of watercolor paper soon.


My next page was a combination of collaging, doodling and color blending. I started out by blending colors on a piece of watercolor paper and then painting it on my journal board as a background. I chose some collage papers from the kit to work with.
One of the instruction cards suggested building on a theme to tie your journal together. I used inspiration from my journal cover to decide to use a spring theme.
I cut some grass from a piece of collage paper and then used the craft glue included in the kit to adhere it to my journal page.
I did some doodling on the page with the black PITT artist pen to add some detail.

I cut some butterflies from the collage paper, along with a sun and added more doodling for outlines and journaling to complete my page.

On to my next page, I tried the “Unique Batik” technique from one of the instruction cards. This involved first scribbling and blending some Aquarelle colors together on my journal board.
I blended the colors together with a paint brush and water and then covered the board with plastic wrap.

The result was a very subtle batik pattern. A more dramatic effect could be gotten by using more water and/or not completely blending the colors before the plastic wrap was put on, as well as scrunching up the plastic wrap more. Definitely a technique I’ll be experimenting with more as I like the potential effects that this technique has.

I wanted to try out the brush nibbed PITT artist pen (Cold Grey color) so I tested it out on a rubber stamp by applying the ink directly onto the stamp.

I huffed the stamp a bit and then stamped it directly onto my dry batiked journal page.
I created some colors on a watercolor paper palette and pulled the color off with my paintbrush to paint in my stamped image.
I added collaged elements, doodling and journaling to finish it off.
I also tried the cross hatch technique done with the Aquarelles that was shown on one of the instruction cards.

Once the cross hatch design was dry, I turned to the Mini Sketches section of the instruction cards and tried my hand out at it with the brown PITT artist pen. I really like that the PITT pens are waterproof. It makes for great sketching before watercoloring.

Here are my two purple pages facing each other in my journal.
Next up was doing a gesso technique. The instruction cards include some quick information about gesso, which is a “white paint primer used to treat blank canvas or art board and to add texture to watercolor paint.” You can also use it as a white paint and to cover up something you’re not keen on having show.

The kit comes with a small 18 ml bottle of gesso, but unfortunately, the gesso is my kit was unusable. It was all dried up into one big clump. I always keep gesso on hand in my studio so I just pulled one of the bottles I had off my shelf and used that instead.

I started off by gluing down a piece of collage paper to a blank journal page using the craft glue included in the kit (which works great, by the way) and then lightly swiped over the entire page, collage paper included, with gesso.

This gave the page a subtle background that I was still able to journal over afterwards without competing with the pattern.

I next created a page that was completely collaged with different patterned papers and wanted to try stamping on it using the Aquarelle pencils as a make-shift ink pad. I scribbled onto a piece of watercolor paper and blended the colors using a wet paintbrush.

I then pressed the stamp directly into the blended Aquarelles.
I stamped the image onto my collaged page and I didn’t really get the look I was going for as the ink didn’t fully absorb into the paper.
I tried this same technique again and stamped on a piece of smooth, white cardstock and it turned out great. Depdending on the look you’re trying to get, it’s best to experiment first with your papers to see if your ink will absorb or not.
I used the brown PITT artist pen to doodle and journal in my collaged page and also used gesso around the edges.

I created shadow effects for the flowers using the grey brush tipped PITT artist pen.

I still have a few pages to fill up in my art journal, but for now, I put the book rings into the journal to assemble it and added some knoted ribbons on the rings to dress them up.

The Creative Journaling Kit retails for $29.95 and comes with a total of 35 pieces, all housed in a handy and sturdy case.
In reviewing the Creative Journaling Kit I learned some new techniques and had my mind opened up to the possibilities that exist in just three watercolor pencils in the primary colors. I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of the process of art journaling and highly recommend this kit to anyone looking to get into art journaling.
Pros:
  • Well rounded kit with everything you need to get started with art journaling.
  • Instruction cards in the kit include a good variety of techniques and information on how to use the items in the kit.
  • These may not seem like a big deal to some, but I love that the kit also included a pencil sharpener and artists eraser. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my kids are always stealing my sharpeners and erasers (they call it “borrowing” but I never get them back).
  • The kit even included craft glue in a convenient size for taking on the go. Great for artists that want to travel with a kit but not take large bottles of glue with them.
Cons:
  • The gesso in my kit was dried out and unusable.

 

GIVEAWAY
The cool folks over at Faber-Castell are giving away Stampers Big Brushes to one lucky reader! Just leave a comment on either of the Faber-Castell reviews today answering the question in the Comments section of either article to be entered to win!
Have you tried any Mixed Media projects? What do YOU think of this journaling kit?
 
One comment per person, per article, please. Winner will be selected on Saturday, June 4, 2011.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Faber-Castell Stamper’s Big Brush Pitt Artist Pens

Reported by Heather Fuentes

You know how you want to love something for one reason but then you end up loving it for an entirely different one? That’s what happened to me with the Faber-Castell Stamper’s Big Brush Pitt Artist Pens from Design Memory Craft.

I’m by no means a stamper, but I’ve been doing lots of art journaling lately, so these seemed like a good tool to add to the journal arsenal. They come in lots of different colors, but the ones I’ll be working with are Pink Madder, Chrome Yellow, Cobalt Blue and May Green.

I love that the ink colors are written on the pen barrels because even though I’m only working with four pens, as I add to my collection in the future, I will always know which shade of which color I used.

The nibs are firm and fully saturated so there is no need to pump or press the tips. This will prevent fraying and tearing as can happen with some markers. It is sort of like a paintbrush in its shape and the way that you can disperse the ink in either a thin or wide stroke.

Here are a couple of the big brush pens next to a regular Pitt Artist Pen so that you can see the size comparison.

The pens contain india ink, which won’t bleed or run. It is lightfast, which means it won’t fade over time. The ink is also odorless, waterproof and archival quality.

Now, the packaging says that it is perfect for applying multiple colors to stamps and for use on all types of paper and canvas. Remember when I said I wasn’t really a stamper? Here’s what I found when testing it out on one of my regular mix media journals.

It was SUPER easy to apply the colors to the stamps but I just couldn’t get a crisp image. I tried several times to no avail – the ink is very fluid and it just kept pooling up and making the image come out kind of splotchy. Maybe there is some secret stamper tip that I need to know but if you don’t mind the sort of messy look (which I truly don’t), then maybe it won’t matter to you.

It was easy to get the ink where I wanted it with these pens, which I’d never be able to do with ink pads because I’m just not that precise.

Now on to what I ended up loving the pens for! First, I tried stamping with Staz On and then filling the stamped image in with the pens. That was pretty fun and easy to do. I created a simple card on watercolor paper and an art journaling page.

As I said before, the ink is very fluid so you can easily blend with your fingertips or a dauber. I even took a wet brush to the eye section of that owl stamp to get a more muted look with the yellow pen.

The pens are great for just freehand drawing as well. The nib lets you control the size of the lines you draw and is awesome for filling in large spaces. Here, I first covered the large area of her hair with the yellow pen and then used the yellow pen to brush some of the pink ink straight from the nib. I then blended some of the pink into her hair to give it a little more depth.

Overall, I liked the pens more for coloring than for stamp use. The fluidity and depth of color was certainly the best part of these pens!

Pros:

  • Great coverage for large images or hand drawing.
  • Super fluid ink with no compression necessary.
  • Works on lots of different surfaces and doesn’t bleed through to the other side of art journal pages.

Cons:

  • Faber-Castell suggests storing the pens horizontally, so no pen cups for these big brush pens!
  • I couldn’t get them to produce a crisp image when applied directly to the stamps.
GIVEAWAY
The cool folks over at Faber-Castell are giving away Stampers Big Brushes to one lucky reader! Just leave a comment on either of the Faber-Castell reviews today answering the question in the Comments section of either article to be entered to win!

Have you tried a product like this? Have you used them for stamping or just drawing? We want to know what you think!

One comment per person, per article, please. Winner will be selected on Saturday, June 4, 2011.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!