Kuretake Gainsay Tambi Starry Set Review and Christmas Cards Part II

As I mentioned in a previous post I plan to spend my spare time in November making watercolor Christmas cards. I have wanted to pick up a Kuretake Gainsay Tambi Starry Colors watercolor set for a while and Christmas cards seemed like the perfect excuse. This is an affordable set at $12.00. The Kuretake Gainsay Tambi Starry Colors set contains six mica based watercolors five golds and one pearl. They come packaged in cardboard each paint is held in an individual pan. You can leave them in the original box or pop them into your preferred pallet. But, they are larger diameter than most pans.


The paints range can be quite opaque to semi-transparent depending on your water dilution.  They show well on both white and black paper. They should work really well for creating gold accents and gold brush calligraphy. The six colors are blue gold (no. 901), red gold (no. 902),  yellow gold (no. 903), champagne gold (no. 904), light gold (no. 905), and white gold (no. 906). The white gold looks more like a pearl to me. I am just in love with the champagne gold (no. 904). They do seem to be a bit tough to get going. They do not initially absorb on to the brush well. I did get good results by dropping water on the pans, letting it sit a moment, and then lifting with my brush. 

I have not gotten much time to play around with them yet. But, here are a few ideas I put together quickly last night.


I am looking forward to painting with these more and hope to post some more card ideas soon. I do wish Kuretake would offer a silver or platinum set now that I have seen what they can do for gold watercolor.

Happy Art Journey,



Inktober Supplies: The Search for a Cheap Gray Marker

After watching the LethalChris Drawing: Inktober 2016  Secktch Book Tour on Youtube I was inspired to give markers a try as a media again. Chris the artist of this channel uses gray markers pretty effectively in his sketchbook to provide tone and shadow. Which seems much easier than my current method of diluting ink.  I have dabbled with markers in the past but I have never picked them up seriously. Generally, I never get far with them because I find the streakiness frustrating. However, this can be overcome with premium alcohol based markers and like everything else in Art, practice.

Chris uses Copic markers in his videos which from what I understand are pretty much the last word when it comes to quality in the marker world. But, the closest art supply store to me that sells them is over fifty miles away and they are $12.00 USD. I just can’t bring myself to drive that far to spend that much on something, I am not sure I will stick with after Inktober is over. I know I can get a gray Copic Ciao set (their smaller entry level marker) on Amazon for $20.00 USD. But, I didn’t want to wait for delivery. Although, after all the fuss of this week I wish I had.

The Markers


Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pens Brush Shades of Grey

I started with the only grey marker set I could find at the art store near family I was visiting last weekend Faber-Castell Shades of Grey.  These markers have a great price point I paid $18.00 USD. They are even less on Amazon. They are single tip brush marker. They are great for sketching. The pack also comes with a mix of cool and warm grays which I like a lot for tonality. The marker bodies are colored base on the ink inside which is useful and makes things go quicker as you don’t have to take the time to look at the cap straight on to see which color you are holding.


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Inktober drawing for day 11. The prompt was “run”.


Faber-Castel with India and White ink.


My biggest complaint is that they seem dry out of the package and I don’t think they will last all that long. Also, they are very streaky and no changing my coloring pattern seemed to alleviate it.  Nor did going back over the initial layer help to fix the issue. I had a vision of a bright white moon against a grey sky so this pack was not going to be a good choice for what I wanted to accomplish. But, I do think they make a good on the go sketching pack so they will find a home in my mobile art kit.

This is my Inktober drawing for day 10 the prompt was gigantic. As you can see the markers are extremely streaky.

Art Alternatives #coloring


I went to my local art store and asked what they had for grey markers. I was pointed in the direction of the adult coloring supplies. Art Alternatives #coloring are cheap I paid $10.00 USD. #coloring comes with 3 grays, black, and a blending marker. They are dual tipped with a brush and bullet ends. These markers are nice and wet out of the box and you can cover large sections easily. There can be some streaking but that is overcome with using a circular motion. These are certainly designed with coloring in mind.

I used my Pocket Pentel Brush Pen for outlines and details. The coloring was done with #coloring markers.

The brush tips are very soft and already show signs of wear after two drawings in a 5x7in sketchbook. These won’t last long. The cap colors are way off from the ink appearance on paper. The warm looking cap actual holds a cool gray, while the cool appearing cap holds a warm gray. The blending marker does not really do much. These are a good option if you are just starting, broke, and/or cheap. (All of which apply to me currently.)

Spectrum noir

Because I was not happy with my first and second purchases I went to my local craft store and picked up a package of Spectrum noir cool grays for $15. They are dual-ended with bullet and chisel tips.


These are less streaky and blend better than the previous packs. They are nice and wet out of the box. They are comfortable to hold with the rubber grips. Another nice touch is they are hexagon shaped and will not roll all over your workspace. I am pretty sure my work with them will become less streaky with practice.


Revisiting the “gigantic” prompt form the 10th.


Day 12 Shattered

I think these are not bad given what I paid for them. My only complaint is that the lightest gray is already running dry. So despite their large size, they don’t seem to hold that much ink.

Final Thoughts

I think I may have been better off just buying the Copics given I just spent $43 on markers that I am not in love with. But, this has been a good learning opportunity. Also, I still don’t know if Copics are as awesome as they look in the YouTube videos. It is hard to know what the real value of something is without trying it first. Perhaps I will pike up two or three Copics to try in the near future.

August SketchBox Review

My August Premium Sketchbox(this link gives me sharing credit) arrived a couple of weeks ago so I think I should take the time to review its contents. I originally purchased a 3-month subscription in an attempt to force myself to learn to use new art supplies and styles. Also, I have an art supply problem. I really really really like new art supplies. Actually, I love new art supplies. Being short on cash last month I decided to suspend my account until December because I wasn’t really feeling the expense was worth it. The most fun I was having with it was looking at the featured artists’ work. I am regretting it a bit this month as I really enjoyed the contents.

What is Sketchox?

Sketchbox is a subscription service of art supplies sent monthly. It comes in basic and premium subscriptions. Each month you get a box with art supplies, some cool art work, and products descriptions.  SketchBox comes in a neat box featuring an artist’s work using the contents from a previous month’s box. Unfotuently I must have recycled the box and product description card because I can’t find them in my home office for the life of me.  So you will have to take my word for it that the products pictured below actually came from this Month’s box. (Go me at failing sigh…)

The Contents this Month


Paint Markers and Refills

The first thing I saw was the 3 empty acrylic paint markers from Montana Markers and thought “well that is not entirely useful”. Luckily, two water-based refill colors were included Shock Yellow Light and Cyan. One marker is fine the other two are extra-fine. I mixed the colors on the 2nd extra fine to get a nice turquoise. I have to say I like the


markers. I use paint markers for the silhouettes in my constellation art quite often.  So far these three have not had the usual problems I experienced with other brands becoming bleedy and/or flow stopping suddenly even if the pen is half full. I find when the flow stops on my Sharpie paint markers if I press down on the nib to reinitiate the flow I risk breaking what I guess to be some kind of semi porous seal turning the markers into an overflowing unusable mess. I have not had that problem with these Montana Markers at all so far. On the left is a quick art journal entry using the markers. There was also a Dewert Graphink Line Painter .5 in color #06 (hot pink).

Black Artist Tiles

The last item I removed from the box was black Artist Tiles which I really had no idea what to do with. So I made gift tags for my sister in law’s baby shower. Her nursery theme is Alice in Wonderland. The pink, blue, and yellow are the markers from this month’s box.


The bottom line is Sketchbox worth it?

In all honesty, I am not sure. I think it would make an excellent gift. Your loved one can get lovely surprises in the mail for one month, three, or for a full year and think of how awesome you are each time. But, for self-gifting, I am not sure. I guess I will get back to you on the topic in December.