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Art Supply Review : Mitsubishi KH20 Pencil Sharpener

This is my new favorite pencil sharpener. It’s easy. Quick. Light. Quiet. Efficient.

What else could you want?

I got this pencil sharpener specifically because I was tired of being frightened to sharpen my Caran d’Ache Museum watercolor pencils. I also thought it was probably time to upgrade since I was doing more work with graphite.

This was definitely an awesome upgrade.

Facts Where Does it Stand?
Name Mitsubishi KH 20 Handheld Pencil Sharpener
Color Black, red, blue
Type Handcrank desktop sharpener with autostop, rubber grips, blunt and long point modes
Point Type Blunt and Long point
Size 13 x 8.5 x 8 cm
Body Material Plastic
Blade Material Metal
Made In China
Price

It’s pretty surprising that this pencil sharpener is made in China, that’s not exactly what you would expect from Mitsubishi. Despite that, there’s no reason to assume that there is any kind of deficiency in quality. The sharpener is sturdy and works very smoothly.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Stabilizes pencil while sharpening Too large to travel with
Autostop Can shorten pencils a great deal
Can sharpen (slightly) larger pencils Not metal, so maybe not super sturdy?
Both long and blunt tips Sometimes sharpens a bit off center
Huge waste receptacle, with viewing hole Does not include desk clamp, must be purchased separately
Fairly quiet
Includes a hole for a desk clamp
Easy disassembly for repairs or troubleshooting
Rubberized base for stability
Rubberized clamps do not damage pencils

Who is it for?

This sharpener is ideal for anybody who just wants to get a good tip every time with no fuss. They are sharpeners that give a sharper point, but not much sharper. If you don’t want to spend time fussing around with those, this is perfect. You could go through an entire collection of pencils in a few minutes and have consistent results.

Since the cutting mechanism is not entirely made out of metal, I wonder just how long the blades will remain sharp. I’m not sure if there is a replacement available.

The blunt tip is an interesting added feature. It’s probably not interesting for most pencil users, but for artists who use colored pencils, it can be helpful to have a broader tip sometimes.

I have seen it recommended that after sharpening several colored pencils, it’s a good idea to sharpen a graphite pencil to make sure that the blades are not excessively dulled.

The Last Word

  • Price: ★★★
  • Quality: ★★★★
  • Overall: ★★★★

I don’t think anybody could go wrong with this sharpener. It’s a good price, good quality, and it doesn’t mar your expensive pencils!

Official Website

Availability

In USA

In Europe

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Rotring Tikky Graphic Technical Pen | Inktober Art Supply Review

Rotring’s Radiograph and Isograph are probably the most well-known technical pens and that they had been in the market for a very long time. But how does their cheaper, non-reusable version stand up?

Facts Where Does it Stand?
Name Rotring Tikky Graphic
Color Black
Tip Size .1, .2.,.3, .4, .5, .6, .7, .8
Tip Material Metallic fibre-tip
Reusable? No
Type of ink Pigmented
Archival? Uncertain
Made In China
Price $3.50

I didn’t have any problem using these pens. The alliance that I got from them were not quite as crisp as I would prefer, even on very thick Bristol paper. Because of that, I probably wouldn’t be using them very often for delicate work.

Quality Where Does it Stand?
Drying Speed .1 mm dries in two seconds, .3 mm dries in three seconds, .5 mm dries in eight seconds
Pooling The bigger sizes will pool if left in one spot
Feathering Feathers on Bristol paper
Bleeding/Showthrough none
Appearance over Pencil normal
Waterproof yes
Copic/ Alcohol Marker proof yes
Eraserproof yes

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Line is dark black and pretty solid Bleeds on Bristol paper
Ink flows very quickly and smoothly Makes a thicker line than some other pens for the same size of tip
Ink reservoir window lets you know when the pen is running out Ink can smudge even when you think that it is dry
Copic, water, and eraser proof Bigger sizes pool ink at the end of lines

Who is it for?

Anyone who really wants a technical pen that can keep up with their fast movements. Since the ink flows very quickly, there is no stopping or sputtering of the line. This is great for anyone who doesn’t want to slow down.

However, depending on the way you like to draw, the ink might actually be too much. It bleeds a bit, and the lines are a bit thicker than normal. If you want superduper fine delicate lines, this is probably not the pen.

The Last Word

  • Price: ★★★
  • Quality: ★★★
  • Overall: ★★★

Official Website

Availability

In USA

In Europe

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Art Supply Review: M Graham Artist's Gouache

When I ran out of some colors in my Winsor and Newton gouache set I decided to try some different brands. At the top of my list was M Graham gouache. I am really happy that I decided to try these since they have definitely lived up to the artist grade gouache claims that I have heard about.

Stats

Quality Where Does it Stand?
Lightfastness 31 out of 35 colors in the line have an LF I rating of Excellent, and 4 out of 82 colors in the line have an LF II rating of Very Good. All of the colors in the line have a very high permanence rating.
Where Is It Made? USA
Identification (Color Labeling and Accuracy) The tubes have color swatches on the front that are fairly accurate. They also have the name in English, French, and German. The tubes also include the series number, like fastness rating, pigment number along with the pigment name, vehicle, and ASTM D – 4236 confirmation.
Tube size 15 mL (.5 ounces)
Price Around $5-$8 per tube

Colors Reviewed

  • Quinacridone rose – lightfastness I, PV 19
  • Hansa yellow (primary) – lightfastness II, PY3
  • Pthalocyanine blue (primary) – lightfastness I, PB 15:3
  • Raw Sienna – lightfastness I, PBr7
  • Burnt Sienna – lightfastness I, PBr7
  • Lamp Black – lightfastness I, PBk6

Swatches

There is so much pigment in these paints. It’s just totally vibrant. It’s also very clear that they do not add a new pacifiers to the payments because classically transparent pigments like Quinacridone rose and Phthalocyanine blue are not opaque unless they are applied extraordinarily thickly. That’s fine with me because you can always add white to make your pigment more opaque if you want to.

The opaque paints like raw sienna, burnt sienna, and lamp black are completely and totally opaque.

All of the colors water down very nicely and they are not chalky at all. They have a velvety matte finish that is just wonderful to look at.

Mixing

There is absolutely no problem mixing these colors. The all mixed very cleanly. Actually, there is so much pigment in some of the colors that you may need to water them down to get the shade that you desire.

Re-wetting

M Graham gouache re-wets very easily. There is no problem and the colors are not diluted. You do not need to scrub of your brush, and you can get very opaque colors with little difficulty. This is totally different from the Winsor and Newton gouache.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Lightfast Colors Not easily available outside of the United States of America
Re-wets very well Product line is not as large as some other brands, although that is probably because they focus on lightfast pigments and single pigment colors
Artist grade gouache Not all paints are completely opaque without adding white
Does not contain chalk or pacifiers
All the colors dilute extremely well
Great price

Who is it for?

Anyone and everyone who is interested in learning to paint with gouache! The colors mix beautifully. It takes a lot of the frustration that I felt with the Winsor and Newton gouache out of the painting process.

The M Graham paints are even slightly cheaper than the Windsor and Newton paints, so it seems like there are no downsides.

The Last Word

  • Price: ★★★★★
  • Quality: ★★★★★
  • Overall: ★★★★★

I love these paints. They’re the best gouache that I have ever used. I would recommend them to anyone.

The only potential downside is that it is a little more difficult to acquire these paints over here in Europe. There are only two places that I know of where they can be bought in Europe, and that’s at a more expensive price than available in the United States.

Outside of that, I don’t see any reason why anyone would be upset with these paints unless they really do not want to modify the opacity of their own paints with white.

Just Go Buy Them Already!

Availability

In Europe

Other Discussions

Art Supply Review: Winsor and Newton Watercolor Marker

I'm not really sure what I was expecting when I bought this!

Something between a watercolor marker and a Copic marker? An alternative to the Tombow dual brush? Something to allow me to do watercolor lettering without lugging around paints and water?

Well, this pen is none of those. And that's not necessarily a bad thing!

Stats

Quality Where Does it Stand?
Ergonomics/Feel It’s a bit thicker than normal pens, so that can be a bit uncomfortable.
Tip Type Felt
Firmness Medium
Ability to Flex Medium
Tip Size Broad
Sharpness Medium
Ink flow Wet
Pigmentation Dark
Self Cleaning Unknown
Bleed No bleed
Watersolubility Watersoluable / Not Waterproof
Copic/Alcohol Marker Proof Yes
Smell No smell
Lightfastness Very Lightfast
Acidity Unknown
Toxicity Non-toxic
Color Availability 36 colors

Pros

  • Holy cow! This thing is pigmented. Just like the Faber Castell Pitt pens, these watercolor markers are actually formulated with pigments. However, instead of Indian ink, these markers use the same pigments that are used in watercolor paints. I really didn't expect the color to be so intensely pigmented, but they are wonderfully deep and rich. It is a very very wet pen.

  • In terms of handling, I would say that this is somewhat like the Tombow dual brush pen but a bit stiffer. It gives wonderfully thick downstrokes.

  • This is actually meant to be a watercolor marker, and the intense pigments definitely would result in beautiful hues for painting or sketching as well as calligraphy or hand lettering.

  • The colors blend out very easily with a bit of water.

  • You might not care about this if you're not into watercolors, but the fact that each brush is labeled just like a tube of water color would be makes it really easy for me to understand what is going on inside of the brush.

  • The color label is very accurate, so you don't have to second-guess what color will be coming out on the paper.

Cons

  • The nib is nice and flexible, but only to a certain point. It seems to stop somewhere halfway up the brush, which is kind of weird.

  • The tip of the brush is not very sharp, so upstrokes are not as thin as I would like.

  • Something about the brush seems a little squishy or unstable, so it's a bit harder to control than the Tombow dual brush pen.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Actually, this was very close to having five stars. I mean, high lightfastness, non-toxic, no odor, what’s there not to like?

However, I have a bit of difficulty managing this pen in comparison to the Tombow dual brush pen, so it gets knocked down one star.

Still, I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a highly pigmented, lightfast brush pen.

Other Reviews Of This Pen

Where to Get It

Official Website

Water Colour Markers | Winsor & Newton

Elsewhere