Friday, August 23, 2013

Ticonderoga pencil and ProArt charcoal & graphite pencil reviews

I went to town yesterday, going to town for me means a 3 hour drive (one way!), we do have closer towns but to go to one that has any real shopping, it means a day trip.

I went to Hobby Lobby, I love that they are a Christian organization, there is a Michaels in that town, but that store is almost always poorly stocked and very messy, the first time I went there I thought they were about to close the store (for good) in the following days or week... so it's Hobby Lobby for me from now on, sorry Michaels, you had my heart and my money when I lived in Fort Worth, but the town I shop in now, well that store leaves a lot to be desired...

I went straight to the drawing and paper section of the store, as usual. I was looking specifically for some Ticonderoga brand pencils. These came recommended by an artist I watch on YouTube. You can find Mark Crilley's art supply video here, it should start right at the point where he briefly mentioned the Ticonderoga pencil, then he quickly goes on to the (Heavenly chorus) Prismacolor black pencil... ;)

I have never been wowed by a regular graphite pencil before, but these are pretty good, they are smooth and lay down a good line of graphite, they blend well too. You should be able to pick up a box of Ticonderoga pencils at any decent art supply store, they are prices inexpensively enough, if you have a Hobby Lobby nearby, you can sign up for their email newsletter and they will send you a 40% off coupon each month.

The other thing I purchased there was a 10 piece pencil set by Pro Art. These have 7 graphite pencils from 2H to 6B in hardness, it also contains 3 charcoal pencils in 2B, 4B and 6B (hardness).  I played with all of my pencils today, I used to do pencil and charcoal drawings, in the charcoal I used the different hardness' of charcoal in stick form and in vine form, but I've never played with graphite pencils in the different hardness', I had a lot of fun today, sketching, doodling, and shading some of my tangles (see my previous article below with a review on a shading Zentangle book).

The one in the middle is the one I purchased at Hobby Lobby, after seeing the prices on Amazon, I wish I had seen the first one in the line up! Oh well, I did have a 40% off coupon so I didn't pay too much at HL...

Well, this is my review of pencils today, hope you enjoyed it and let me know if you plan on using any of these pencils for shading...

"Made in the Shade a Zentangle Workbook" book review

As promised (teased) last night, here is the review on the book Made in the Shade a Zentangle Workbook by Cris Letourneau.

I received this as a birthday gift last week, my friend M asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I quickly jumped on this book, I had been wanting it for a while now.

This is a fairly new book, it's 124 pages long so it's no lightweight when it comes to content. As the title suggests, this is all about shading your tangles and doodles. This book is both for the newby and the seasoned doodler, there is something for everyone in here.

Cris is a CZT, certified Zentangle Teacher which means attended a seminar given by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. She has been tangling since October 2010.

This book is chock full of demonstrations on the various ways you can shade, you can take one doodle and shade it in multiple different ways and come out with completly different works of art.

Shading takes an ordinary doodle and makes it pop off of the page, creates depth and complexity that wasn't there before. I have been tangling and doodling for a while now and wanted to take my work to the next level, this book showed me the way to do that.

There are many exercises in this book, and room on the pages to practice what she teaches, though she and I recommend that you photocopy the work pages and work from those instead of working directly in your book, that gives you the opportunity to practice more than once on a particular thing, you can also see yourself growing as you learn.

You can take an ordinary tangle or doodle and shade it in different ways and end up with different looks, I like to create a tangle then photocopy multiple copies of it so that I can play around with different ways of shading and coloring it.

There are lots of full page tangles that allow you to see details that you wouldn't see if it were small. This gave me a lot of ideas and inspiration, it will for you too :)
 This is one of my favorite pictures in the book, she teaches how she shades a seahorse tangle. The following page is a full page illustration of the unshaded seahorse tangle for you to practice on.

This is the page that sold me on this book, you can clearly see the difference between the unshaded tangle and the shaded one. It really does add depth to your work, making it pop off of the page!

  • This book shows you step by step instructions for shading artistically.
  • Tips and notes to help you develop your own style
  • 60 exercises to learn new techniques
  • 50 ideas for shading 20 official tangles
  • 4 complete projects to teach you to analyze a tile and use shading to create a focal point, improve contrast, add dimension and enhance the overall design
  • 12 new tangles
  • 36 tiles, 6 ATCs, 3 Zendalas,and 4 ZIAs from artists around the world
Cris' website is:

Made in the Shade: a Zentangle Workbook

I also reviewed this book on Bubblews

A Teaser, for now...

This is just a teaser! I know, not fair huh? Well it's just for tonight, tomorrow, well looking at the clock, it's tomorrow now, let me restate this, after I go to bed and wake up, I have a new book to play with, I'll give you a hint, it's about Zentangles, and it's about shading... :)

I also have a few new goodies purchased in town earlier that will hopefully help me create some new and fantastic Zentangles and doodles with flair!

See ya when I wake up :)

Oh and I added a new Zentangle blog to my line up, if you have a Zentangle or doodling blog, let me know and I'll add it here, I love this artform and I love spreading the love. My email address is:


I think you are smart enough to figure out how to make it work. Be sure to put doodle or Zentangle in the subject line.