Feature image from the inside front cover of Call of Cthulhu.
I read a lot of faerie tales and myths as a kid (okay, I still do), and was particularly into the HP Lovecraft inspired Cthulhu Mythos for quite a while as teen. As an adult, I especially enjoy reading other authors playing in that sandbox cos I legit love the idea of shared universes that anyone can write in.
When a rep from Chaosium asked if I would be interested in receiving a review copy of their Call of Cthulhu colouring book, I jumped at the chance. HELL YES, I WANT TO COLOUR GREAT OLD ONES, AYFKM?! So, yes, I received a free copy of this colouring book in exchange for an honest review.
What I liked: The illustrations in this book are GORGEOUS. Artist Andrey Fetisov has done an outstanding job bringing these stories to life in ways that are legitimately fun to colour (click here to see more of his work).
I like the fiddly little detail work, especially with fine-tipped pens (<.3mm or GTFO, amirite?) and there’s a lot of this. Even though it’s the size of a normal colouring book, you’ll find yourself getting lost in the intricacies on the page for hours. I coloured one page, and spent more than a week doing so, probably around 18-20 hours total? So, for someone like me, this is a huge bonus.
The book is bound with staples, so it’s super easy to get it to lay flat. I didn’t have any problems with the ink smearing when I used lighter colours or a blending pencil. Love that.
I also really dug the fact that opposite the main page is a mostly blank page with a smaller illustration and a quote that inspired the page you’re working on. This was great, not just for inspiring ME, but also because it meant I didn’t really have to worry too much about using pens or markers, cos the paper was thin enough that they’d definitely bleed through. Which brings me to…
What I didn’t love: The paper is thin. If it weren’t for those mostly blank backs of the pages, I’d have loved it a lot less than I do. I’m only considering this a minor nitpick. What bothered me slightly more about the paper is that it’s not a whole lot different than what I use in my printer at home. I found that it would only accept so many layers of light colour before it just wouldn’t take any more, which made me wish I had pressed harder to begin with. Still not a huge deal, since I print shit out at home to colour all the time, you know?
Would I recommend it: Hell yes. Especially if you’re a fan of the Great Old Ones. Or even if you’re not and are looking for a colouring book with more of a horrory madness vibe than a lot of other stuff that’s out there. I’ve looked at a ton of horror colouring books and most of them look amateurish, or they’re printed with terrible ink that makes it impossible to colour them.
You can head over to Chaosium and purchase it here. If you buy the physical colouring book, you get a free PDF copy, which is pretty awesome (in case you want to practice or test colours or even use a different medium).
The blog has been quiet since I went on vacation last week, but I’ve been Pinterest-ing up a storm and I have a new obsession: fiber arts, up to and including macramé. I’ve dabbled in it previously–a former roommate taught me some basic knots for making jewelry–but I find myself wanting now to make big wall hangings or plant hangers. Here are the tutorials I’ve found along the way.
Welcome to Weekend Roundup, where I gather up all of my craftaholic tendencies and give you the best of what I find. This week, coloring techniques! Because sj and I have been coloring up a storm and it’s fun as hell, but also I like to be good at things so I’ve been trying to get better at colored pencils.
(What, you say? It’s Monday, you say? I’m a little late, yes, but better late than never!)
First: A tutorial about blending that I found really helpful. It covers five different methods of blending that anybody can do.
Welcome to Weekend Roundup, where I go down a rabbit hole of craft addition and resurface with a bunch of tutorials and tips articles on a theme. This week is one of my fave new hobbies, embroidery. I’m not that great at it yet, but I’m enjoying the heck out of it; even better, it’s really inexpensive to add to your craft arsenal! How many crafts can you say that about?
We bought all the items we’re reviewing; we have not been compensated in any way to review. I, Susie, did receive a refund on the Laneco pencils due to dissatisfaction. We may receive money from affiliate links at no extra cost to you.
Coloring has been such a craze that there was supposedly a shortage of colored pencils; you wouldn’t know it, though, from all of the different options available out there. Which cheap colored pencils are good? We reviewed five brands to find out.
Things I liked: The amount of greens and blues, the harder wax for lighter application of color, nice for ombres and shading, good blending
Things I didn’t love: The awkward plastic case, no color labels at all, only ONE YELLOW COLOR (??!!!? – those other yellowy colors were oranges), the number of muddy brownish colors, three almost identical reds
Overall, I do like this set okay, with a caveat: I color with a light hand, and I like being able to put on really light applications of color. Some of the softer wax color pencil sets I’ve used don’t allow for that as well. I don’t know if it’s the BEST set value, though the lower price certainly does change my perspective on it a bit.
Here’s my color swatch. I laid down a lighter layer and then did the “shading” with as heavy as I could color in. It’s messy, but 72 is many bubbles to color:
These pencils definitely didn’t all saturate a whole bunch, but a lot of them did. I actually liked them better the more I colored the swatches, enough that I went to Amazon and added an extra star to my review. And look how many greens! So many! It would also be good for skin tones, with all the browns. For $8.99, if you color similarly to me (lighter pressure, lots of gradients) and you like the colors, I can say they’re not perfect but I’d actually buy them again. They also blended the best of the three I used.
What I liked: Unlike Susie, I press hard when I colour. I like to make sure everything is filled in, and if I’m colouring, I want those colours to be as vibrant as possible. Instead of typical blending from one colour to the next, I colour on top of the other colour until I get the exact shade I want. I’m working on this, cos it’s not really that great a strategy. These were great for my style of colouring. I also like that they have the typical #3 pencil hexagonal shape. I have arthritis in my hands, and can sometimes have a hard time gripping smoother barreled pencils. They stood up to a lot of abuse from me. I also liked that each pencil has a number to indicate the colour, and the numbers progress logically.
What I didn’t love: Oh man. The box they were shipped in was awful. It was the thinnest cardboard imaginable with no real padding. This led to a ton of broken tips when I opened them AND meant that a lot of them had shattered cores that I only found out about once I tried to sharpen them. One of the pencils was worn down to a two-inch nub after trying to colour in the background of just one page. I absolutely love them, but would not purchase again if they came in the same packaging.
I tried to show what each pencil was like with soft, medium and hard pressure in the swatch I coloured. I totally forgot to label those things on the bottom right, but they are blended with just the two colours, blended with a white pencil and then erased.
Here’s a page I coloured using just the Raffines:
Laneco “Soft Core” 48 pack (comes with 2 packs), on sale for $12.99 (regularly $70.99? Supposedly? Not even worth that much tho), reviewed by Susie
~ $0.14/pencil, 2 of each color
What I liked: Eh? They’d be really good for people who color with solid fills. Multiple yellows! Bonus pencil extenders were nice.
What I didn’t love: How they felt like drawing with lipstick. I found them hard to blend and hard to lay down consistent color when coloring with medium-to-light pressure. Also the packaging. They came in a big box with flimsy trays inside that were hard to get pencils in and out of.
I did an unboxing video just because I found the packaging really unusual:
These look a lot like the Raffine Marco set. In regards to softness: I have a range of pencils in different brands because the Blick’s near me sells single pencils; I have a couple of Polychromos pencils from Faber-Castell, which are “soft” too, in that they use minimal wax blended with oil. These Laneco pencils are not “soft” in the same way; to me, like I said above, they felt more like drawing with lipstick.
I also didn’t love how hard it was to blend them. You can see in the swatches below that I actually had to start another bubble and try really hard to get a nice blend, and I also had to use the white pencil (which I don’t normally do for blending).
I was so disappointed that I reached out to the seller. Laneco issued me a full refund, so they do honor their money-back guarantee. I don’t see myself using these regularly and will probably give them away. (I wanted to ship them back but it would cost me almost ten dollars. Nooope.)
Considering that it’s two packages of 48 instead of 96 full colors, I don’t think this is the best value possible for $12.99 by far.
What I liked: These are A LOT like the Marco Raffines I reviewed above. A lot. Like, almost the same in how they colour. So all of the likes I mentioned above apply here, as well.
Something else that needs to be mentioned, though, is how amazing the Sudee Stile customer service is. Before the pencils had even arrived, they messaged me via Amazon to let me know that they were working on perfecting their packaging and asking if I would please let them know if I received any busted pencils, and that they would either replace or issue a partial refund for anything their shipping was lacking. Like, wat? Are you kidding me? How awesome is that?
What I didn’t love: The colours come in some random order and the numbers make zero sense. I had to rearrange them into something approximating ROY G BIV, or it would have driven me insane. You’ll notice on my swatch (uh, if you bother to count, that is) that it’s not really 120 colours, it’s 119. I received duplicates of one colour (luckily, it’s a pink, so it’ll get a lot of use, anyway) and did not receive one colour at all. A few of the tips were broken, and one pencil refuses to sharpen at all without immediately breaking. So that kind of sucks. One of the pencils is not labeled at all, but through process of elimination, I was able to figure out which one it was.
BUT, I messaged the seller once I had discovered this, and they repeated their offer to replace the pencils or issue a partial refund. I got $4 back, which brings the price of these down to $19.99 (or ~17¢ a pencil). And that’s pretty great.
So, the case these come in is great for shipping, but a little unwieldy for actually seeing the colours as you want to use them. This, however, would not keep me from purchasing these again, especially if they stay around the same price they currently are.
Here’s a picture I coloured with them, the top part is almost all pencil (except for the black), and I only used a light to medium pressure to achieve these tones.
What I liked: I actually really liked this set more than I expected! What colors it had were curated well and the colors saturated pretty well, for the most part.
What I didn’t like: I’m actually pretty pleased with these for $6 or $7 dollars at Kroger, to be honest. They don’t erase well, but they erase enough for my purposes (sometimes I use my eraser for effects and such).
This isn’t my first experience with Cra-Z Art pencils, though I was a little taken aback when I looked at Amazon and found out that these are Cra-Z Art since it’s not apparent from the branding. I’ve said to sj that I actually really liked my first cheapie set, so it’s not a surprise that I enjoy these, as well.
If you’re looking for a cheap and fast in-road to coloring, I would definitely recommend this set. These are available at a lot of stores (even grocery stores, apparently!), so you could pick them up in person. They blend well, they shade well, and they have a nice curation of colors that you might choose as an adult. I’m going to be moving these pencils into heavy rotation ASAP.
We hope these reviews helped at all! If you’ve had experience with these sets, or if you decide to buy one, let us know in the comments!
I wanted to try to start doing roundup posts (though I can’t promise one every weekend) because I fall down a LOT of craft-tutorial rabbit holes. I’m not the kinda girl who wants to look at one tutorial and do what’s in the tutorial; I want to look at as many tutorials as I can find until I really have a grasp on what I’m doing. I will watch so many YouTube videos.
This week, my research topic has been Shibori fabric dyeing techniques. Shibori-dyed fabrics are similar to tie-dyed fabrics, but with a lot more different variations of techniques. The overall concept is “resist” dyeing, or blocking off parts of the fabric so that they don’t get dye on them and other parts do, making a pattern with the dye. Psychedelic tie-dye isn’t everyone’s style choice, but Shibori patterns can be more subtle and fit many different styles.
Without further ado, here are some awesome tutorials I found that will help you learn all about Shibori, too!
DIY Shibori from Honestly WTF. This is a really good start-to-finish tutorial that goes over how to work with the dye (a little bit less straightforward than Rit but nothing to panic about) and some cool techniques to use. Fun fact I learned from this tutorial: Indigo-dyed cloth looks GREEN until it oxidizes!
Shibori Dyeing from Seamwork Magazine. This tutorial explores a lot of traditional Shibori techniques, including the Japanese names for the techniques. This article has fun facts about dyes and some techniques not covered in the first tutorial.
I thought, hey, why not show everyone that they, too, can make inexpensive pendant chains?
Okay but, for real, I’m sorry that I did not speak more clearly in this video. I will do better. I’m new at this filming business!
I needed to sit down and make pendant chains because I was listing this pendant right here for sale on Etsy:
Which you can get here if you want it, I dunno if you like to wear things on your neck. I will have these in stock until I run out and then . . . we’ll see? (This is why I’m not really a businessperson.)
Anyway, I thought, hey, why not show everyone that they, too, can make inexpensive pendant chains? I think these will come out to between 1 and 2 dollars each. (The ones I made were actually about 70 cents each, but it depends on what you can find at your local craft supplier, so I don’t want to oversell it.) The chain I used is super sturdy, too–it’s not the really flimsy type that will break if you breathe on it wrong . . . though if you like the more delicate chain, I’m sure you can find it!
If you would like to learn other versions–like ribbon, cord, etc–drop me a comment here or on YouTube and I will film that, as well. Happy crafting!