Review: Unleash Your Inner Artist

29 June 2010


I’ve always wanted to be able to draw. I tried my level best in Art at school and often thought that my paintings were epic, sadly the teacher used to look at them in faint horror and give me a D. The thing is, in spite of my obviously deranged belief that I can draw, I can't.

However, I’ve been told that anyone can learn to paint and draw. They just need patience and teaching and an open mind. So, with these uplifting words in my head, I took the Wilkinson range of art products and set off to unleash my inner artist.

Can I just add, before I start, that the entire kit came to less than £10 and the lessons were entirely free (I’ll explain how in a minute) so you can also try out this artist malarkey without spending a fortune on it first.

The Charcoal Artist


The set of 12 charcoal pencils from Wilkinson cost 97p and I used them in conjunction with the Wilko Charcoal Pad (A4) that cost 97p. That’s less than £2 for an entire art kit.  The pencils have to be sharpened before you can use them so if you don’t have one of those lying around you may have to get one first.

The charcoal pencils were surprisingly good to use. They went on the paper smoothly and were easy to grip and manage. To my uneducated eye, they delivered a great quality picture and I really liked how they felt. Although I did have to keep reminding myself to not brush against the paper with my hand in case I smudged by genius artwork.

pencilsSo, I had the paper and the pens but no clue on how to actually use them. Somehow stick figures felt a bit wrong.  I started out at where I learned what kind of charcoal did what, how to apply spray fixative and other such things that I had no clue about.

For example, I didn’t even know that there were so many varieties of charcoal on sale! Still, as a beginner I thought that perhaps I should rather learn how to draw first, and worry about poncy paper and charcoal properties later.

Welcome to YouTube. The land of teaching videos for free. If you would like to get one on one lessons with talented people then click here, choose your tutor and get started.

The charcoal and paper we got from Wilkinson worked brilliantly with these tutorials and I can honestly say that they were worth every penny.

Total cost on tools: £1.94

Art genius factor: I can now draw a flower in charcoal. With grading. Or is that shading?

 The Crazed Painter


The second kit we got from Wilkinson included a set of acrylic paints in twelve different colours for £2, a pack of 15 brushes for 97p and an A3 sketch pad with 30 sheets for 58p.  Again, for these prices, you can dive straight into the world of painting without having to spend squillions. Wilkinson also have packs of two stretched canvases for £2.50 for those of you who feel like branching out and making wall hangings.

I am sure that there are clued up artist types out there who could set me straight on the varieties of acrylic paint in the world, however, I have to say that these paints were just fine. The colours were rich and the paint smooth.

0253386_lThe paints did dry really fast, but this is quite normal for acrylics and you can keep them moist by spraying a mist of water over them every now and again. You may also need to invest in a palette so your paints don’t bleed into one another. You can even invent your own “wet” palette by putting a damp piece of paper under a piece of wax paper and then plopping your paint on top of that.

The moisture should keep your paints happy for slightly longer.

I also experimented a bit with these paints by mixing them together to see if they would make fun and funky colours. Which they did, obviously, but they did it nicely and I got some really awesome shades as a result.

Again, I got my lessons in how to paint with acrylics from the wonderful world of YouTube experts.

Total cost on tools: £3.55

Art genius factor: My painting of the sea looked like a painting of the sea. Although my daughter asked me what the bird poo was, and that was my artistic representation of a ship on the horizon.  

And Finally


This was a very easy review to write because the products were so cost effective. It’s always awesome to learn something new, or to tackle an old issue and see if you can beat it. I realised that, while I may never be a Van Gogh, I can paint a vague resemblance of a thing and other people can recognise it.

These products are worth every cent in fun, learning and creative expression. And the best part? My tot could pick up a charcoal pencil and create her own masterpieces beside me.

What do you think?

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