So around a month ago I got this random email from Artline asking if I’d be interested in being part of some ‘artistic projects’. There was no mention of sharing the outcome of these so I figured I would blog about my experience. Of course I said YES!
I was told they wanted 3 images. One to be done just with the Artline markers, the second to be done with the Artline markers but in a different style to the first and to be recorded being done and third to be done with any Artline product and have a summery theme. I thought ok, I can do that. So they sent me a package *squee* who doesn’t love to receive packages of free products?!!
I was given the 3 different style of Artline Stix, there is the drawing pen, the bullet tips and the brush tips. If you don’t know what they are go here: http://artlinestix.com.au/ They have lego-type bumps and divets on two sides of their rectangular shape. They had also asked if I could come up with any cool designs to inspire the kids with… I tried. Oh did I try. Unfortunately I found it very frustrating, as did my 3 kids ranging from 4 to 15. The biggest issue was they came apart really easily. The next issue was the limit in size and shape of them. I did get some connector pieces and they were cool, and some toys that would cling to them, but no matter how hard we tried we just couldn’t come up with very much at all. So I kind of gave that up for a lost cause. Perhaps someone more spatially capable would be able to come up with something. I’m more of a 2D artist not a 3D artist. I was also given a bunch of their permanent markers and Artline 200 pens which I adore.
So then I decided to set to work. Seeing as I was doing my 100 mandalas in 100 days challenge I decided the first thing I would try would be a mandala.
The first thing I really noticed was that the black pen tip was very weak. It looked really watery and not a dense dark tone like I prefer. I soldiered on though and got through it using each of the different tips to try them out. I decided they were probably not something I would ever use for a mandala again and that these would be better suited as something for my children to use. To go from the mandala below, to the one I did with the Artline Stix… well, you can see the difference for yourself and it is all in the products you use and how they can be used. Perhaps I need to do the exact same mandala design as the one above but with some of my other products to really show the difference in quality and feel, but I think you get the picture.
After that experience it actually took me awhile to get myself back in to gear to get the other two images done. Then I was sitting there one day thinking, hang on, they are ‘water-based’ that means they should be water activated!! Now that excited me cause water activated products can be lots of fun for mixed media artists. So I thought, before I do the video which is meant to show a few techniques of how to use the markers, I would try them on the ‘Summer’ themed piece. It worked beautifully!! I laid down just a little bit of the ink and added water and the pigment actually went a long way! I was impressed. Now this was something I would definitely use these guys for. Because I could use any of the artline products I went over the top with some of the permanent markers for a little interest and voila!
I don’t know if you can notice the beautiful subtle flow from deep pigment down to light watery pigment. I was really impressed with how far the pigment extended with water. With a bit more practice I could really get used to using them as a water-colour-type pigment.
After I had played with that and discovered it could be used in that manner I decided to go ahead and do the video. I’m not sure exactly what they wanted in the video. The details were very loose and lacking specifics, right down to whether I could share my experience or not. I would assume if they didn’t want me to then they would have very clearly stated so. Besides, while they may not be the best marker on the market, for something cheap that you can incorporate in to your mixed media pieces and not feel like you’re breaking the bank account, these are a good option. Plus, your kids will definitely love them, my younger two do. So this is the video I ended up doing. I fast forwarded a lot of it and stopped here and there to explain the different techniques I used.
I decided to do a cute little pussy cat xmas design because it is that time of year and… well I love cats! I really want a cat too. I want a Singapura to be exact, but because you can only really get them from breeders then it is a morally difficult decision to make. Anyway it was fun to make the video. I hope you like it. At the end of the day whether you decide to buy the Stix or not really depends on what you are after. They are not even in the same league as Copic or Mepxy but for a water activated marker they are ok. Especially if you don’t have a lot of money to spend. Honestly, at the end of the day, the products you use really do make a difference though. I used to hear that saying about how a bad *insert profession* always blames his tools. However, since really diving in deep with art the past 2 years and trying out all these different products, cheap and expensive… I have to say, the tools really do matter. If you get cheap mediums, you will get childish and cheap results. I even heard someone say recently that no one is going to know the difference between if you hang a painting in a museum that is made with cheap student paint or the more expensive paint like Golden or Liquitex, etc… but I actually think they really would. They may not know or care how much you spent on the paint, but the difference between what the cheaper products can do compared to the amazing versatility and endurance of the more expensive products make a huge difference in this artists opinion.
I don’t know. Perhaps people out there can make the cheap stuff work for them, if so, more power to them! I’m happy for them. But I’m quite the lazy artist. I don’t like to work too hard for my outcomes. So I’d rather get the better quality and let it do a lot of the work for me so I can just enjoy the process and end up with a piece I’m happy with at the end of the day without having to spend a lot of time to get the same end piece. I don’t get anywhere near as much time to play as much as I’d love to, so when I do sit down to play, I want it to go quick, easy, smooth. That’s why I love my copics.
But like I said, these aren’t a bad product. My kids definitely love them. The lego-like style to them give them that added fun factor. The fact I can use them in mixed media work is a huge bonus. It really depends on what outcome you want.