View Full Version : Experiment

07-24-2015, 05:46 AM
Hello all,

Has anyone here heard of the Art & Parcel subscription box (UK)?

I am not usually at all interested in subscription boxes as I would rather spend the money on something I actually want. In fact usually I prefer not to spend money at all. However, in this case I thought I would give it a go.

After looking at peoples work here I have realised that I am so much more timid with art than I was when i was at school many years ago. Now I tend to stick with the same things and try to make them work for me rather than think what will work to create the image I want, which might be multi media. I also don't experiment and play like I used to. I miss that.

I thought I would give this a go to try to be more open. My self imposed challenge is to try out the contents of the box over the month. Not just a swatch, but as part of an image in my sketchbook or elsewhere. I will give it a few months and see if I am getting personal value out of it. May not work, but if it does it will be brilliant.

My intention is to use this thread to post some of my experiments so if this stays blank you will know it isn't going well!

07-24-2015, 07:08 AM
First quick sketch.

New items used- liquitex paint marker and FC pitt pen in white


07-24-2015, 09:08 AM
It sounds interesting. What did you get in the box? I'm wondering if I'd like to do this. It will be interesting to follow your experiments.

Nice sketch. Is the white pen really opaque?

It's always good to experiment and try new materials :)

07-24-2015, 09:16 AM
The items were a frisk layflat pad, a stylefile marker and a white pitt artist pen

There were also a number of samples- liquitex marker, two sennelier watercolours, w&n artists acrylic, a paintbrush, an oilbar and a paint spray can.

12.50 a month. Not money I can afford to throw away but willing to give it a go if it encourages me to develop different skills.

Oh, and thanks- yes the pen is pretty opaque. Better than any other I have used. Not the finest point to it so couldn't easily use for fine detail but otherwise great.

07-24-2015, 09:30 AM
Pans of watercolour or tiny samples?

I've used one of those layflat pads as part of a joint project and they do live up to their name.

Thanks for the pen info

I agree , not money I can throw away either, which makes me wonder .... To try or not?!

They have a FB page (https://www.facebook.com/artandparcel)

Why oh why are all free samples (I've had several of those with orders from Jacksons) always red or occasionally ultramarine.? As someone with more art materials than she should have, I'm not sure about value for money for me yet.

07-24-2015, 10:01 AM
The watercolour is 5ml foil pouches of their artists watercolour. I intend to put them in empty pans and use from there.

The acrylic is 14ml and the spray paint is a very cute 30ml. The samples are supposed to just be a bonus I think.

It says there is no minimum subscription time and you can actually buy one off boxes. I still have some reservations about spending on what is essentially a lucky dip but also feel excited about the next box so see that as a good sign- no buyers remorse yet. It probably depends what someone wants to get out of it.

The oilbar- I have no idea. I have never used oil paints and have only used oil pastels at school so don't have experience of anything oil based apart from pencils. I haven't got the first clue what to do with it but I feel like it is part of what I have paid for so I will give it a go. What is the worst that could happen? It is very unlikely that I would give it a go if it hadn't been sent to me and I may end up liking it.

I have opened the pad and yes, it appears to do what it says on the tin. Is it reasonable robust? The cover is thinner than I am used to.

I would post a picture but have used my ipad quota for the day!

07-24-2015, 10:07 AM
Yes, my experience with samples is they are mainly ultramarine.

The samples I got were-

Azo yellow medium- acrylic
Cinereous blue- watercolour
Rose opera- watercolour
Cadmium red- spray paint
Cadmium red- liquitex marker
French ultramarine- oilbar

My stylefile marker was also ultramarine

If you have a large range of supplies already they might not add much for you. I have loads (LOADS) of supplies but just lots of the same thing rather than different types and makes so worth a shot for me.

07-24-2015, 01:41 PM
Yes, I think you will have fun with the supplies :). Thanks for the further details

Oil bars I wasn't keen on. They make very broad marks. I tried them when at uni but wouldn't bother again. That's me though and others love them.

A group I belong to filled an A4 frisk lay flat book - a double page spread each - for a competition organised by the SAA and Frisk. I liked it to use. The cover did feel thin but quite robust. I only did the one spread in it before passing it on to the next contributor. I used ink, watercolour and cp in the image and all worked fine on the paper. Some members went to one of the art materials shows the SAA organise and were given the book there to take part.

I like opera rose but with W&N it's a fugitive colour, I wonder if Sennelier is?

I've got a pretty wide variety of stuff collected over time so it might not be for me. I was very tempted to try just one. Willpower never was my strong point ....

07-24-2015, 11:38 PM
Looking forward to seeing what you do with the new supplies. I see lots of red and blue sketches. :) The bottle of red liquid is great.

07-25-2015, 04:41 PM
So cool!!

Minerva C
07-26-2015, 05:26 AM
This looks like fun!
I really like your bottle.
It is a good idea to try new things. Oh my, now I will probably start buying more stuff...

chammi kaiser
07-26-2015, 12:11 PM
Like getting a 'Lucky Packet' every month. Loved them as a child. I like the bottle and good for you trying out all these exciting new products. Have fun. Looking forward to seeing more.

07-26-2015, 12:39 PM
Thanks, I think I like the idea of having one off things and using them in a different way and in different combinations. I might find something that works together that I would never have thought.

I can say with confidence that oil items do not mix with me, which I guess makes sense as I am water based 😉

All I had was one oilbar and I managed to get it everywhere and it is horrible to get off. On top of that, the sketch I was doing has not worked at all. I am waiting for it to dry to see what I can do. I may still post whatever it turns out to be- maybe as a reminder to myself to not buy oil paints

07-26-2015, 04:19 PM
Bit of a disaster but this does include the stylefile marker, blue watercolour, white pitt pen, oilbar and yellow acrylic. I also used the brush- which was a bit rubbish.

The sketch was done from a sketch I did on holiday.


07-27-2015, 03:59 PM
Experiments are good. While this may look like a disaster to you, it's charming in it's own way. Learn from it and move on. :)

07-27-2015, 05:09 PM
Agreeing :)

07-28-2015, 06:44 AM
I would love to see a photo of your new supplies :)

Love your sketch!!

I am using a white pen at present on black paper, and my favourite to date is a UniBall Signo

07-28-2015, 11:25 AM
Pretty taken with the Pitt pen. Haven't done anything groundbreaking with it but just like it, and it is likely I will replace it when it runs out. I like that it dries quickly and I can use other colours over it.

I have a small collection of pitt pens. I know many people prefer alcohol markers but I like the pitt pens, so there! So the stylefile pen hasn't won a place in my heart. This one will still get used. Really strong colour from it.

Oilbar- just no. The next box will probably contain all oil stuff and I will have to find someone to give it all too. I am messy and oil definitely does not go well with Skin, clothes and bedroom carpets. Plus I tend to forget and put something on top of the picture before it is dry and then transfer it to several different surfaces.

I haven't used the sketchpad and with all the partially used sketchbooks I have going at the moment I don't want to start another. I have opened it and poked it about. Looks good- quite fancied trying this when I saw it advertised so pleased I have it.

I like the blue watercolour. I only really do pen and wash sketches with watercolour but I quite like the idea of trying new colours. Before this I had cotman colours in several sets I have been given over the years plus w&n artists quin gold because I fell in love with it. So the odd additional watercolour may happen.

The liquitex pen gives good strong colour and is fun but I don't see myself buying any. I just don't think it would add anything to what I have.

The acrylic was just acrylic to me. I rarely use acrylic (although it is my favourite 'painty' medium) so I don't know enough to know if it is a good example. I have splashed it about a little then added it to my stash to be used up at some point.

The brush is a bit pants in my opinion. I dont have any 'good' brushes but all of the ones I have feel better than this one.

The top fell off my liquitex spray paint when I opened it and I managed to spray myself putting it back on (as I said - messy). I will probably just use it to spray our house number on our wheelie bins- sorry if that pains any spray paint people.

Still experimenting - my lovely dog, from life.


07-28-2015, 05:24 PM
You have a blue dog?!?! Kidding. :lol: Great profile. Love the fur and the shiny nose.

07-28-2015, 06:37 PM
Well done!

You have a blue dog?!?!

But of course! Blue dogs are the best! :) :) :)

chammi kaiser
07-29-2015, 03:52 AM
I am enjoying your experiments with your 'Lucky Packet'. Love that blue dog. Pitt Artist Pens are great. I particularly like the sepia coloured one.

07-29-2015, 03:53 AM
I did say that the oil paint got everywhere...

07-29-2015, 03:57 AM
Thank you Debby, EP and Chammi,

I started with the grey pitt pens- so I could do quick and simple value studies. Liked them so much that I have picked up a few packs since then. I put them in my amazon basket and when the price drops I buy them.

08-11-2015, 06:37 AM
August's box has had a mixed reaction from me.

About a month ago I bought some cheap lino materials as I fancied having a dabble. However As I didn't know how I would feel about it I limited my purchases. I only bought one piece of lino. Doh! i have been hesitant to use it!

Anyway, the box I received contained, amongst other things, a lino cutter, two small pieces of lino substitute and an ink pad. I jumped right into it and made a print. I had so much fun doing it. I will definitely explore this more.

That is the good news. The bad news is that the box promises at least 40% saving on RRP and I was not convinced. I may be wrong, but the items I was able to look up didn't even bring it to the price of the box itself so that was a bit offputting.

Here is a picture of the items (they were packed really well but it is easier to see what is actually there minus the packaging).


For some reason it has turned my picture around- doesn't really matter, you can still see what is there.


As mentioned above-
Lino tool
Stamp pad
Mastercut printmaking blocks x 2 (10cm x 10cm)

Staedtler Noris eco HB pencil
Staedtler Noris colour- orange
Free sample pack of Sugru
Pentel oil pastels- red, yellow and blue
Love hearts (?)
Eco Seawhite Sketchbook
Offcut of board (from a framing job of some kind I think)

Apart from the doubt (can't say 100%- just my opinion) about value for money in terms of RRP I am a little disappointed with the items in terms of the quality.
After the last package containing, what I see as artist quality items, this box appears to be much more student quality. I was hoping to try out items that I might want to use in the future. I would much rather get fewer things, but I guess if each item is of lower value they can put more things into the box and have a better chance of some things being of interest to a wider range of people.

Obviously this is all my opinion and you will find people on the facebook page that are thrilled with the contents. I am not intending criticising the box on a general level. Just saying this one wasn't what I hoped or expected.

I will post a picture of my printing efforts tomorrow. Ipad photo restrictions stop me doing that today. I hope this is still of some interest to people who may consider such a subscription box.

08-11-2015, 02:13 PM
Thanks for sharing your box and opinions.

08-12-2015, 03:18 AM
The promised first printing attempt.


chammi kaiser
08-12-2015, 05:25 AM
I think your first attempt is great. :thumbsup: Couldn't have been easy keeping that cutter moving without taking off half of your finger :eek: . How long did this take you?

08-12-2015, 06:30 AM
Thank you Chammi, it actually took me longer to draw it out than to cut it. I have drawn my dog so many times but it was difficult to plan it in just black and white. I blocked the picture into solid black and white and then broke up the solid blocks as I was cutting so it had more texture. It isn't skillfully done but I like it anyway.

It took me about 1 1/2 hours, but I am slow and faff a lot!

the postman has just delivered a very welcome surprise. I had a supplement to August's box and a letter explaining that it was to make the box value for money. The products included were much more the sort of things I was hoping for.

Staedtler pigment liner 0.1 ( I have tons of these but use them all of the time so it will definitely get used- actually I only have one 0.1 left)

Derwent Graphik line painter in red (of course!) - I have heard of them but never tried it. It looks kind of similar to the liquitex marker from last months box but with a finer nib.

Derwent inktense pencil in peacock blue ( at least it isnt ultramarine)- I have never tried these either. i haven't wanted to invest in any because of lightfastness issues I have heard of but I will happily use it in my sketchbook as lots of people seem to love them.

They are now going to include the RRP in the package so I guess other people questioned it too.

I may give it another chance next month.

08-12-2015, 02:12 PM
Sweet print of the dog. Glad they stepped up and sent you some more goodies to make the investment worth it.

08-15-2015, 05:38 AM
Thank you Debby,

Quick sketch of last night's sunset using the staedtler pencils- HB and orange. The actual colour was much pinker but I had orange so...


08-15-2015, 05:35 PM
The sunset looks like the ones around here. We have a lot of smoke in the air due to fires and the sunset is orange like that. Great job.

Joan T
08-16-2015, 12:22 PM
Fun to see your pieces done with what come in the box each time.

08-16-2015, 04:34 PM
Thank you. I think I have actually learned a lot already, not particularly about the supplies but about me!

There are things that I would probably be able to achieve a basic level of competence with if I worked at it but I don't get 'that feeling' when I use them. I am not particularly skilled with any medium but there are some that make me feel excited when I try.

I LOVE coloured pencils and graphite I really want to become skilled with them.

I enjoy using soft pastels, art pens, acrylic and to a degree watercolour and now relief printing, but I am happy just to play with them.

I expect it is obvious that I just don't get oil pastels... ( or oil bars....or oil paint...)

Pentel oil pastels in red, yellow and blue- based rather loosely on a photo of a shop in Amsterdam. I loved how it was rather dull weather but this shop just glowed .


08-17-2015, 12:58 AM
I'm enjoying your lucky dip boxes by proxy, this is fun! I like the idea of the Liquitex spray can artist grade paint, but Cadmium Red is not a very useful monochrome color. That's one that I wish they'd done in Ultramarine since nocturnes would work with or without white or gold accents. I got one of those as a freebie with some other stuff from an order. Can't remember which online place, might have been Jerry's or Cheap Joe's.

Love that sunset, it's spectacular. You rendered your dog beautifully. Hate to say this but Pentel oil pastels are the very cheap ones, you can get a box of sixty for about five dollars in the USA. You handled them beautifully. I have a website on oil pastels and reviewed many brands there if you ever want to follow up with oil pastels.

I like oil sticks and find those easier to handle than oil paints, but then I've gotten used to pastels and oil pastels so it's just a bigger stick. Love the perspective in that shop sketch! It's wonderful!

08-17-2015, 07:50 AM
Thanks Robert, I have had fun, but I am wondering if this is the best way for me to go about it. I have a plan...

Yes, the Pentel pastels are what they often use in primary schools here. It seems that some people got a larger box of those and a small pack of Conte instead of the graphik marker and the inktense. I am much happier with what I got! The Conte are nice to sketch with but I already have several packs, mainly as free gifts.

This is a sketch of where I walk the dog every morning. I am lucky that although I live in a town I am so close to somewhere this beautiful.

Inktense pencil in peacock blue


08-17-2015, 03:32 PM
Amazing shop. The perspective is really good. Love the monochromatic landscape.

Joan T
08-17-2015, 09:31 PM
Nice job on the shop and also the landscape!!

08-18-2015, 06:11 AM
Thanks Debby and Joan. I couldn't tell the difference between the inktense pencil and my watercolour pencils- I can't use those either!

I picked up the first red object I could find to have a go with the graphik painter pen. I tried brushing water on the page and flicking the ink at it. People do that and it looks great. Mine looked as if someone had spilt their drink on their drawing. I just scribbled instead. I quite like how well it shows over the black but it wasn't instant love.

Tomato using staedtler pigment liner and Graphik line painter. I acknowledge that it looks like it has been shot, but no one can say that I am not giving it a go- out of my comfort zone here!


08-18-2015, 05:23 PM
:lol: I had to laugh at your comment of it being a shot tomato. You are definitely giving it a go. Good job.