Affordable Adult Coloring Colored Pencil Set – An iZiv Marco Raffine Colored Pencil Set Review

ColoredPencilsEver since I was young, I have always had an interest a wide range of arts and crafts projects. As I grew up the one interest that still remained, mostly because it was something that I could still manage to fit into my busy schedule, was the joy of coloring. Long before the popularity of adult coloring books, I would scour the internet for books full of challenging patterns to color. Needless to say finding coloring books that would challenge the mind, while being a source for stress relief were a bit hard to come by, since coloring books at that time were targeted primarily to kids. In the past few years adult coloring has become much more popular, and with it the emergence of a wide range of challenging patterns to suit nearly any taste. But that’s a topic for another post, onto the real reason for my rambling today, my experience with the iZiv Marco Raffine colored pencil set.

When it comes to coloring, in my opinion, one can never have enough colored pencils, so I am always on the lookout for kits that offer the most color variety for the pirce. After having purchased a bunch of coloring books from Mindware many years ago, I had purchased the largest Prismacolor colored pencil set available in store at our local Michaels craft store, at the time. In the past few years, I learned that the set I currently own is not the largest one offered from Prismacolor, and while making another Prismacolor purchase is not currently in the budget, I am always on the lookout for more colored pencils to add to my collection.

On one of my many visits to Amazon, I came across this 72 count Marco Raffine Fine Art colored pencil set offered by iZiv. Preferring to have the biggest selection of colors to choose from, I tend to opt for the largest package of colored pencils that I can find, while remaining within an affordable price point. For me, a small set of 10 pencils is just not enough of a selection for my coloring projects. Although 72 pencils was still a smaller count,, especially when compared to the 120 count Prismacolor set I already owned, I couldn’t help but give them a try as there was a chance that it contained colors that were not in my existing collection.

When I ordered this colored pencil set, iZiv was a new seller on Amazon, and my particular purchase took a very long time to arrive at my home as this pencil set was shipped directly from China. It appears that it is currently not eligible for Prime shipping, so if you order this set, be prepared for a bit of a wait, as items shipped directly from China take a bit to arrive in the US. IMG_0779

Once the coloring set finally arrived at my home, I was quite impressed with the quality of the colored pencils for the price. At the time of this writing the 72 count colored pencil set is $20.99 on Amazon, making them quite affordable, especially when compared to the cost of the more expensive Prismacolor sets that range from $10 for a 12 count to around $60 for the largest 150 count package.

When I finally had a chance to sit down and give these artists coloured pencils a try, I would have to say that the one thing that actually surprised me is that the set arrived pre-sharpened, and ready to use. All the pencils in my Prismacolor set were not sharpened, so you need to make sure you have a pencil sharpener handy IMG_0780the first time you use the pencil set. While this may not be a big deal to some, I thought it was a nice thought that the manufacturer actually took the time to think ahead and prepare this kit to be ready to use as soon as its opened. In my particular colored pencil set, a few of the pencil tips arrived broken, but that is to be expected, and was in no way a negative for this particular product.

Next was time for the real test, how these pencils performed when compared to the more expensive Prismacolor colored pencil set. I have always subscribed to the theory that you get what you pay for, and more times than not, products that cost more tend to have a better quality than those that cost a lot less. After tracking down the IMG_0704coloring books that I had purchased many years ago, I found a design I liked and gave these pencils a try.

In order to give a true comparison, and at my husbands recommendation, I used both the Marco Raffine pencils and my Prismacolor pencils on the same page. Needless to say I didn’t get a chance to finish coloring the page, as other things required my attention, and I haven’t had a chance to sit back down and do more coloring. In the image at the right, the top two triangles were colored using the Marco Raffine colored pencil set, and the bottom triangle was colored using comparable colors from my Prismacolor set.

Overall I am very happy with the performance of the Marco Raffine colored pencil set from iZiv. My husband also tried these pencils, and utilizing the exact same technique with both brands, he could not find a noticeable difference in the finished product, making this colored pencil set a great choice for any artist on a budget.


The Perfect Set for Coloring Intricate Designs – A GL-Sail Gel Pen Review

I have always liked toGL-Sail dabble in a variety of crafts, with coloring being one of my most favorite, but until recently the selection of challenging coloring books was nearly non-existent, since coloring was a past-time targeted towards kids. In the past few years adult coloring has grown in popularity and with it a wide selection of challenging coloring books for adults to choose from.

I finally broke down and purchased a few of the popular coloring books from Johanna Basford, and after taking a look at the detailed designs in her books, I realized that my existing colored pencils may not be fine enough to complete the sharp, fine lines that her designs required.

While gel pens have been recently marketed as great for use in adult coloring books, I personally have not had any experience with gel pens beyond those I use for general writing tasks. When it comes to coloring I always prefer to have a choice of as many colors as possible, but unlike colored pencils, a wide selection of colors in gel pen sets can be a bit hard to find.

One day on one of my many visits to Amazon, I happened to come across the colored gel pens from GL-Sail. These pens marketed themselves as a fine tip pen, in a set of 12 different colors, that should satisfy a variety of coloring needs. After having looked at the intricacy required by my new coloring books, I figured I had nothing to lose, worst case I just would end up using them as writing utensils if they did not work out as I had hoped.

When this set arrived at my home, I immediately liked the set before I even tried them. IMG_0912[1] They came in a sturdy plastic case that clips closed, and the pens actually snap into the case, decreasing the chance of them falling out and getting lost during transit. I always like brands that put thought into storage for their products because it makes my life so much easier. With this case I can easily store the pens when not in use.

Now for the fun part, the test of these pens. Of course when you have not one but three different coloring books to choose from, it can be difficult to just choose one design to work on. After flipping through some pages, I finally decided on one of the smaller designs in the Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford.

I started coloring with this gel pen set and I immediately fell in love with these pens. The tips were fine enough IMG_1313[1]to handle the intricate designs in her book, which you can see at left.  The one problem I did find was that while the fine tips were good for the small spaces, they did not work so well for larger areas.  Another problem that I found was that, at least for me there were not enough colors in this set to meet the variety that I like to have when coloring. This in no way should be considered a negative for the product itself, as the pens work great. But as you can see in the photo at the left, there was not a lot of variety in the final product. All my nuts are the same color, and the nut caps seem to blend together because I did not have enough color variation in the kit, and I did not want to use other products in this test.IMG_1314[1]

I do want to include a word of warning to the lefties out there when it comes to using these colored gel pens. I have been a leftie my entire life, and that has always come with problems, specifically when it comes to using pens. While these pens offer great color coverage, they do not dry quickly, so if you do not plan your project out, you may soon find that you are unintentionally smudging areas that you just colored, not to mention ending up with a fair amount of pen on your hand like I did. Luckily with a bit of scrubbing and soap, the pen comes off without much effort.

Overall, I am very happy with this colored gel pen set, and my only negative is that I really wish that it came in a larger color selection. This set came with two different greens, a purple, two different pinks, two different blues, orange, red, yellow, black and brown. No where near enough variation for me. I will more than likely use these with other tools in my coloring arsenal in the future.


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