The latest box has arrived from Artful, and as always I am super excited to receive it. This is actually my third box from the company and the previous two haven’t disappointed, so I am truly hopeful for this one too.
The box design is gorgeous! It really promises to have exciting goodies inside, I’m thinking something to do with drawing or watercolours, although I’ve seen preview snippets so I do have a good idea whats inside.
It’s a lettering kit, what great timing! The book is labelled with “Lets learn about calligraphy”. The box includes 8 Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pens. I have a couple of these already and many brush pens from other brands, so I’m pretty comfortable with what these are and what they are capable of. 5 Tombow Twin Tone Dual Tip Markers and I’ve not seen these before so it will be good to have a play with these. A Tombow Mono eraser, Tombow Mono 100 HB pencil, Tombow A4 Bristol Paper Pad and 4 Greeting cards and envelopes. And of course the 100+ page Artful guide book that usually introduces techniques and artists relating to the topic. This is definitely a good value for money box, I can’t complain about that.
I am learning how to do lettering at the moment (as my Instagram challenge should allude too), so this is great timing! These pens are also supposed to be great for use as watercolour pens. I have used my other brush pens like this before by swiping the pen onto plastic to lay down some ink, using a paint brush with water and hey presto easy watercolour, so it will be nice to see if the Tombow work as well.
There are no loose leaf lettering practice sheets in the kit so anyone brand new to lettering and calligraphy may be floundering a little. Also the inspiration and tutorial video that was released went a little fast, and didn’t “teach” so much as skimmed through quickly and occasionally slowed down a little to tell you what to do.
In terms of teaching I am afraid to say this book and video is so far the weakest I’ve seen from Artful. However, anyone with a little knowledge can get up and running pretty quickly. Anyone like me that has been practising, will already have drill sheets and so on, but ultimately you just need to pick up a pen and write, draw or paint with it. Maybe if it had been billed as an “exploration into brush pen art” rather than “learning calligraphy” I may feel better. The artists featured in the book really discuss their art form well and its nice to read about them. But I would have preferred much more lettering and calligraphy writing material rather than drawing.
I have spent today playing with the pens to do some writing:
In terms of the watercolour aspect, I followed the instruction in the book for the Fox tutorial, although I didn’t draw the fox as I just wanted to swatch. So I swiped the pen onto the Bristol paper then used a waterbrush pen to add water and sweep the colour. I actually found it quite difficult to move the ink and it even scrubbed at the paper making a mess of the surface. On further reading of the book and the brief guidelines it states to add a little water, let it soak a little and then you can move the ink. I tried this, and whilst better, it didn’t perform as well as i would have liked. This is probably down to technique and needs some practice.
Overall this is a good box in terms of what you receive, the products are definitely worth the money. I cannot fault the brand Tombow at all, it’s a quality product and in this kit make a great starter set. I’m pleased I’ve got it, but I’m not sure it will keep me engaged for 3 months until the next box arrives. Moreover it will swiftly find its way to my craft stash rather than being out and ready to play with at first opportunity.
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed here are my own. I paid for the products discussed, I received no payment and I am not affiliated in any way with any brand mentioned herein.