Monday, July 31, 2017

Borrowing Mum's Cotman Paints and New Canon Powershot Camera

The finish line, the end of the road, the epilogue of a book, everything comes to an end but an end always means a new beginning, a new chapter and a new journey. #WorldWatercolorMonth has come to an end and boy have I seen some incredible artists with some incredible work this month. Of course this doesn't mean the journey of an artist has ended but we’ll have to wait until next year to celebrate this month once again. As a new watercolorist of only a few months this was a big time for myself a time to learn and get deeper involved in the watercolor world. I actually finished 4 watercolor pieces this month, yeah four. What did you say? I’ve only showed you three this month? Hmmm wonder what that means.

Yes just in time to wrap up the month I finished one last project. Funny enough this means i’ve finished a project every week this month. Without further ado let me show you this new finished art project, just a warning it’s full of 1930s class.

I’ve been dabbling in some car illustrations after creating a father’s day card featuring a 1957 Chevy Bel Air. I mean I'm a huge car fan, especially of classic cars, so to illustrate them seemed like a great idea and to my surprise I'm not half bad. It's not a technical drawing by any means, I'm sure I could probably pull some sort of patience out of myself and get super technical but I love illustrating in this style, my style.

This car is none other then a 1938 Talbot Lago T-150 CSS. To many car enthusiasts you probably know this car but I'm afraid I didn't know the name of this beauty when I first discovered it. This French Automobile manufacturer sadly faded into obscurity after the 40s and I rarely hear anyone really talk about it when describing 30s and 40s motors. This sucks because this is a beautiful car which prompted me to make it my next illustration. I decided to go with a burgundy like color for the motor and while my color mixing probably isn't superb I really love how this came out.

You probably noticed something else as well, the classy looking (And pretty tall.) lady standing next to this car. Well in an experiment of sorts I wanted to actually illustrate someone next to a car. It was tough to originally pinpoint where she should stand but I found a few references to help. Probably would of been if I knew how tall the car was but information about this car is scarce. Anyway I decided to do more than just a random person and use a character I’ve not touched on much. This is Rachael Scarlet from my novel series Dream Eclipse. I’ve illustrate her before a few months ago and more recently side by side with Aeris her best friend. Rachael is also from a very Rich family thus the classy outfit. Unlike Aeris and Luna I don't really want to dive to deep into her character yet but i’ll be drawing her more in the future so maybe i’ll slip some more details out soon. I'm really plugging away at Dream Eclipse and after many years of building up the world I'm finally solidifying it. As much as I would love to get book 1 done this year I'm not making any certain dates but I think I'm on a roll.

It seems Im always poking my nose into my Mums new cool supplies, from raiding her yarn stash to what I got to do yesterday. I may or may not have borrowed some of Mum’s paints to try out for you guys. With my Mum being just as avid with watercolor as myself (I got into watercolor because of my Mum and Sister.) she has some really cool supplies and paint brands. One of these is a brand i’ve been tempted to upgrade too in the near future, Winsor & Newton Cotman.

Photo Taken With My Nikon Coolpix S3300 (This is important for later keep that in your head.)

My sister also recently upgraded to this brand and never turned back to her Sakurai Koi with her artwork improving even more so because of this. While she got a 12 color pan set my Mum grabbed herself a 24 pan set which is what I got to try out. Yeah don't let Mum know I'm doing this okay? Im making her a color chart so that should make up for it.

Photo Taken with Mum's new Canon Powershot ELPH 190 IS

Winsor & Newton Cotman brand watercolors are student grade watercolors compared to Schmincke’s Artist Grade Horadam Aquarell watercolors which I got to try out last Friday but these might be a huge step up from what student grade paints i’ve been using so far aka Sakura Koi. (Also they’re a lot cheaper then Schmincke.) I'm not saying Sakura Koi are bad they’re pretty good but these Cotman paints I believe might be the best Student grade paints out there.

This comes in a much larger box then Sakura Koi’s 24 set does and much larger than Annie’s 12 pan set but unlike my sister’s pan set this box does not have that odd and annoying blue plastic part that you have to detach to open the box all the way. Mum has told me a lot of people who bought this box complained about their nails breaking when opening this box but I can safely say nails are not necessary, actually pressing firmly on the top lip and lifting the lid will do just fine.

Photo Taken with Mum's new Canon Powershot ELPH 190 IS

Inside the box you can see Mum has put a lot of use into these awesome paints and what really caught my eye is the fact you can mix and match these paints in any order you want.

Photo Taken With My Nikon Coolpix S3300

When you first receive your set all of your cakes will come wrapped and already set within the pans allowing you to place the pans in any order you want in these sets of four in which you can then move your sets of four around anyway you want. One of the disadvantages of this however was sliding, yeah the pans apparently slid around due to gaps in between each pan but Mum the genius she is came up with the idea of cutting up some black sponge to place in between each pan, stopping the paints from sliding around and reducing any risk of paint spilling from one pan to another. Oh yeah apparently there’s this big empty spot to the right of the box which I guess can be used for adding additional pans but Mum has turned it into a brush cleaning sponge area as it doesn't seem useful for anything else at the moment.

Another part of this set is the removable pallet at the top, to my surprise it's a double layered pallet with the top being removable revealing more pallet space below for all your mixing needs. You can place this removable pallet on the lower part of the paint set.

That aside I was eager to check out these paints and see if they were worth being my next upgrade and yeah I think without a doubt i’ll be upgrading to these paints. As you can see the paints are really vibrant and rich to the point I question if these should even be classed as student grade, they feel like artist grade paints but let me just go out on a limb and say I'm a novice with only a few months experience so I'm very early in my artist journey. This is why I'm very eager to try out as many different brands of paint as possible. The Colbalt Blue in this set is a much deeper Colbalt Blue then my Sakura Koi set. (Which is classed as Colbalt Blue Hue apparently, didnt notice that before.)

Photo Taken with Mum's new Canon Powershot ELPH 190 IS

Really these Winsor & Newton Cotman paints are great and while I haven't tried their professional brand just yet (Would really love to at some point.) these are some of the best paints I’ve tried yet. Annie my much more talented sister has gone a lot more in depth on these paints with her recent review on her Winsor & Newton paints on her blog Lady AnnaVintage so I recommend you check this blog to give you definitively answer whether to buy these paints or not. You can read her blog here: .

For those wanting to purchase this specific set I got the link for you on Amazon!

You may of noticed a slight difference in photos throughout the first part of the blog as well as a little tag under each image indicating different cameras and that’ll be because Mum let me use something else of her’s today. Yes we have a brand new camera in the house in the form of the Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 IS!

With all new tech I get pretty excited to try it out so Mum has let me use it for this blog and discuss it in a little bit of detail.

In an interview with my Mum she expressed her eagerness to find a camera that was compact enough to fit inside her handbag as well as have great quality photos and ease of access in regards of transferring images from the camera to her iPad. Well two of those wishes came true at least. This camera while not as thin as my Nikon compact camera which has been my primary camera throughout this past year of ZAK Entertainments life time its thin enough to be perfect for mobile use. Were out and about almost all the time with scenery and perfect photo opportunities around every corner so a compact camera is perfect for Mums situation. As far as quality the quality of this camera is comparable to my Nikon which Ive always praised for being the best quality a compact camera can get (Other than Annies slightly higher tech Canon she got for Christmas but thats a little bit less compact than mine.) if not better. Sadly transferring photos is where this camera falters. Its Canon Camera Connect App on iTunes seems to be absolutely useless after one use leaving the only way to download photos to your iPad from your Camera to the temporary server you can upload your photos too, though this costs time and internet data. Oh yeah and Mum wasnt too keen on the blue but shes warming up to it.

While my Nikon Coolpix S3300 has a 16 Megapixel capture with a 6x zoom this camera has a 20 Megapixel capture with 10x zoom but I have to say the quality isnt extremely different from mine, which is for the most part what Mum wanted, a camera similar to mine. It does have its perks such as software wise as it seems to have more program options including a low light mode which is pretty cool actually as well as a Macro Mode and an Infinity mode for shooting long distance which is a plus over my Nikon. You can also have a grid layout for better positioning as well as some other cool guides that I didnt dive into much. (This isnt a proper review, just me trying the Camera out thats all.) Apparently this camera doesnt have as many flash options as my Nikon and the Flash seems to be in a bit of an odd position but other than that it seems to have everything you need to take great photos, with exposure settings, white balance settings and ISO settings.  

To my surprise this camera has a few editing options you can use after you take your photos. While it doesnt have a red eye reducing flash it does have a red eye remover which works great. You can also view the histogram and other details of your photos which is cool for professional photographers.

Below is a photo my Mum took of a cow at a local farm, she seemed pretty camera friendly.

Like I said earlier this camera is going to be used outside a lot and as you can see from this it really does the outdoors justice. Heres a similar shot I took from my Camera below of our Moo Cow friend.

Mums camera seems to be just a little bit more detailed than my camera; though considering my Camera is a few years old it’s to be expected.

Overall this camera is great and does everything you want a compact camera to do for a pretty good price too. While there are more powerful cameras out there such as Annies Powershot as well as her professional DSLR Camera this camera gets the job done with a quality to take amazing shots. I didnt get to try out the video function of this camera however so that might be a task for the future if Mum will ever let me use this camera again, she loves it too much. You can buy this camera through Amazon, just dont expect the Canon Camera Connect app to work, it doesnt really matter what Canon camera you have this app just does not work at all.

With that said and done I have one more photo to show you guys before I leave you all for the day. For those celebrating #WorldWatercolorMonth I hope you enjoyed and poured your heart and soul into your work. Ill be continuing to paint but I think its about time to kick the knitting back into gear a little with winter coming up soon. I do have a illustration in the works however so you might see that within a few days.

This was ZAK Entertainment

See you on Wednesday!

[Photo Credits Go to Didomum and Zachary Kuhn]

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