Find the Best Oil Pastels for Landscapes, Still Lifes, and Portraits
July 22, 2022

Made from pigment mixed with nondrying oil and a wax binder, the first oil pastels were invented by the Osaka-based company Sakura in 1924 for use in Japanese schools. While oil pastels never caught on with Japan’s educators, they interested artists—including Pablo Picasso, who collaborated with the French manufacturer of art supplies Sennelier to develop […] Continue reading

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Nature and Geometry Blend in Beguiling Symmetry in Oliver Chalk’s Voluminous Timber Vessels
May 31, 2022

Only two years ago, Canterbury, U.K.-based artist Oliver Chalk began creating bold, geometric vessels out of wood. Having worked previously with fabric to design and produce large-scale installations for events, his interest in experimentation with new materials and techniques led to working with found timber. Carving detailed forms from the hulks of trees found in the local countryside of Kent, the artist considers the practice of turning and whittling sculptures to be a means of communication and an expression of self through symmetrical shapes and striations. More Continue reading

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The Best Charcoal Sketch Sets for Inventive Drawing
May 21, 2022

From early cave painters to Pablo Picasso to Roberto Longo, artists have long loved the expressive potential of a soft charcoal pencil or crayon. Each sweep of charcoal offers intense black color and easy blending for preliminary studies, lush landscapes, or photorealistic portraits. There is a wide variety of artist’s charcoals on the market, each […] Continue reading

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The Best Rubber Stamp Cleaners for Avid Scrapbookers
March 11, 2022

All rubber stamp users know that while rubber stamps may leave crisp impressions when new, they all eventually need a good cleaning. For that, special cleaners have been developed that not only remove glommed-up ink but also condition the rubber to prevent it from drying out. Some of these products are industrial strength, while others […] Continue reading

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The Best Kneaded Erasers Will Bend to Artists’ Needs
May 5, 2021

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, we may receive an affiliate commission. A kneaded eraser is an essential artists’ tool for erasing, yes, but also for blurring edges, highlighting, and using other subtractive drawing techniques. It is made of a flexible gummy material that you can […] Continue reading

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The Best Acrylic Matte Mediums for Artists and Hobbyists
April 20, 2021

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, we may receive an affiliate commission. Acrylic medium is a versatile product for use with acrylic paint and in mixed-media projects. A liquid that’s milky when wet and translucent when dry, it can be added to acrylic to increase fluidity; […] Continue reading

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The Best Charcoal Pencils for Rich Effects With Less Mess
April 13, 2021

Love charcoal but hate the mess? Pick up a charcoal pencil, which is composed of compressed charcoal inside a protective layer, typically wood. Suitable for drawing, sketching, or smudging, a charcoal pencil offers a familiar feel and provides you with a lot of control over your marks. Even in this more structured form, it can be manipulated […] Continue reading

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The Best Craft Kits and Gift Boxes for Kids
April 2, 2021

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, we may receive an affiliate commission. Delight the young artists in your life by giving them a set of creative tools. A bounty of markers, crayons, or clay can satisfy kids on rainy afternoons or long car rides—or during endless […] Continue reading

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The Best Painting Grounds for Readying Your Surfaces
February 13, 2021

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, we may receive an affiliate commission. To properly prepare your painting surface, you need to cover it with some type of ground, depending on your medium of choice. The correct ground creates an ideal surface absorbency and tooth for your […] Continue reading

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Around the Block: David Zinn’s Quirky Chalk Cartoons Spring to Life in a New Short Film
January 15, 2021


If you’ve walked the streets of Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the last few decades, you’ve probably spotted the wide-eyed monsters and mischievous dragons of David Zinn (previously). Since 1987, the artist has been drawing chalk-and-charcoal creatures in site-specific works that wash away with the rain. Drain pipes become robotic dogs, a pillar morphs into a giant pencil, and a green monster pops out of a brick walkway.
A new short film directed by Jonnie Lewis dives into Zinn’s practice by animating his signature cartoon cast that greets the artist as he walks around the city. More Continue reading

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