When I met… Ken Oliver

This is a shockingly late, shameless promotion for all that is Ken Oliver. We’ve been Facebook buddies [like him here] for a little while (after all there aren’t that many gentleman crafters at shows and we need to stick together), and I have had the pleasure of saying hi a couple of times in person at trade shows. This February he was here in the UK promoting his new ‘own brand’ crafting goodies, and he was kind enough to do the whole selfie thing with me, demonstrate his new Color Burst watercolours and give me a promo pack of 12×12″ Studio series of papers and a 6×6″ sampler pack of his other papers.

IMG_6118_w

I thought I’d use the 4×6″ journal cards sheet from his Studio collection to start off my new Project Life scrapbook, and they worked perfectly. The papers are printed on a satin finish light cardstock which feels smooth to the touch. There’s no bleed through from the Sharpies I used for some of the handwritten text, which is a bonus when working on double sided papers. As one might expect from an artist that’s been in the trade for years, the designs and colours used all work together beautifully. One slight hitch I noted when gluing things down – the satin finish does resist water-based liquids a little, as I found when I was using Zig Memory Systems two way acrylic glue. Something to be aware of, though that didn’t turn out to be too restrictive in practice – it might be more of an issue if spritzing with water/Color Burst (something I’ll test out).

IMG_6120_w

Ken was also demonstrating his Color Burst watercolours. These are fine crystalline colours, conveniently dispensed from fine nozzle bottles. They appear to be similar to Brusho crystals (becoming very popular in the UK) in their reaction with water, both to make a watercolour paint, and in spritzing on the page to make vivid backgrounds. Where Color Burst beats Brusho, in my opinion, is the finer, more even crystal size and the fine nozzle capped bottle. I’ve knocked over a holed Brusho pot into my distress ink pad storage box, and the turquoise crystals continue to find their way into projects, much to the annoyance of my Tuesday night ladies… The reverse of my Project Life page shows a couple of samples from Ken’s beautiful Watercolored Memories 6×6″ papers (top left, bottom right), and the rest are Ken’s own demo sheets showing the vivid colours and dynamic reactions of the crystals with water on watercolour paper.

IMG_6119_w

Thanks to Ken for having a chat, demoing his fabulous products, and especially for the goodie pack. Sorry it’s taken me so long to fulfil my promise to post about our chat!


Chameleons on Noah’s Ark: trialling the latest alcohol markers

ColouredThe image I’ve used is a digistamp from The Stamping Boutique sponsors for this month’s Crafting Cafe challenge – check their blog later in the month to see the card I make with it.

But the purpose of the colouring in was to trial and review the deluxe set of Chameleon Pens I recently purchased. There have been a fair number of reviews online, both good and bad, and a fair number of my Facebook friends had indicated they hadn’t got on with them at all and had returned them. I watched all the available videos I could find, as well as the shows on Create & Craft, found a good offer and went for the full set.

For the uninitiated, the pens are a basic dual tip alcohol ink pen – there is a bullet point and a brush-like nib. In addition is a reservoir of the solvent attached to each pen with its own  brush nib. In use, you put coloured tip to solvent tip, keep solvent on top and the pen upright for a defined period, and then start colouring – the solvent dilutes the colour, resulting in a tint which develops the fuller colour as the ink flows back into the nib. Thus from one pen, you can get all the shades. The ink on the page is also translucent, and along with other alcohol ink pens, blends whilst wet and overlays once dried. The deluxe pen set includes all 20 colours, a blending pen and a detail black pen, along with some spare nibs and an instruction sheet. They are in a handy holder which also presents the pens for use when open.

For my full review, read on… but in the meantime here’s the executive summary. I think in terms of colour intensity, blending, bleed and application, these pens are pretty much like-for-like alongside Letraset’s ProMarkers. Their USP is the many shades, one pen however:
PROS> no swapping pens constantly, no need for several pens or layers to shade light to dark, mix time allows for planning next area (i.e. time isn’t wasted). CONS>Getting large areas the same shade is very difficult unless keeping to undiluted pen colour; may need to use a different colouring method.

CONCLUSION: These are a great addition to my alcohol pens, and best suited to detailed images needing obvious shading. I’d not recommend them for large areas of same shade colouring – I’d stick with several ProMarkers. I certainly don’t regret buying them and definitely won’t be sending them back!

CCTPurpleDalia

Continue reading