This Art Supply Is YUMMY – Find Out Why!

By Nicole Tinkham


We don’t often describe our art supplies as “yummy”. We might use the words funky, creative, or exciting but never “yummy”. Not unless of course, we’re talking about Gelatos by Faber Castell or the supplies that go with them. If you’re not familiar, Gelatos are acid-free pigment sticks that glide and blend easily on paper or canvas. We’re really in love with the vibrant colors; they’re simply delicious. While they sound good enough to eat, we’ll actually be talking about the icing on the cake today in what is known as “Whipped Spackle”. Read on to find out why this art supply is so yummy and how you can use it in your next project!

What is it?? –> Designed for mixed media projects, whipped spackle is a textured gesso without the weight of heavy gesso. It’s ideal for creating dimension in mixed media artwork on any surface.

Just a few ways you can use it…

•    Swipe Whipped Spackle over a stencil for a raised texture design

•    Press textured items into it (bubble wrap comes out really cool), and it will hold that texture

•    Add COLOR to your Whipped Spackle creation by using powders, inks, Gelatos, and more

•    Use for art journaling, cards, mixed-media canvas, and just about anything else you can think of!

Best way to apply it: Palette knife! This is ideal for mixing in color and spreading it over a stencil.

Can you eat it??

NO! Unfortunately, Whipped Spackle is not edible. It does look delicious though with it being light and airy with an icing or whipped cream-like texture. We know the temptation to take a taste but we urge you to save it for your project 🙂

Don’t believe us that you may be tempted to eat Whipped Spackle?? Just check this out. YUM!

Want to try out Faber Castell Whipped Spackle for yourself?? Just stop into Keeton’s in downtown Bradenton or give us a call at 941-747-2995 to place an order. By the way, you might want to try out Gelatos too while you’re at it!

Have you used any of these YUMMY Faber Castell products before? Please let us know in the comments what your experience has been with them.

4 Techniques To Create Energy In Your Brushstrokes

By Nicole Tinkham


If you’re looking to do something a little different with your paintings, it may be time to add some TEXTURE! In some artwork, artists try to hide brushstrokes but other times visible brushstrokes can create a really unique effect that adds to the painting. The concept sounds easy but getting brushstrokes just right can be challenging. There are many different ways to achieve the look but here are our favorite techniques for creating energy in your brushstrokes.

1.    Use a palette knife

A palette knife is an all-in-one artist tool that’s great for both mixing paint and actually painting with. You can apply thick impastos for a unique texture. A palette knife is a great way to add layers (wet paint on top of wet paint if you want) and create brilliant texture.

25 Tips For Using A Palette Knife

2.    Use various brushes

PLAY AROUND with brushes! There are so many different sizes and styles (big, small, angled, round, flat, filbert, natural, synthetic, soft) and each one will produce a different effect. Experiment with various brushes, moving them around in different ways to make brushstrokes more dynamic.

3.    Use a thickening medium

Using a thickening medium gives your brushstrokes more dimension and creates a fascinating texture. If working with oils, we recommend Galkyd Gel which will hold your brush marks. Feel free to experiment with different types and see what gives you the results you’re looking for.

4.    Use the scratch through technique

This is an interesting technique with oil paints that is actually used to prove a wet on wet painting was done all in one session (artists often sign their artwork this way). To do a scratch through, use the tip of your brush handle and scratch through the wet oil paint, revealing the color underneath. It may take some practice but play around with it until you get it just right.

As you experiment and play around with your brushstrokes, remember that they should add to your painting not take away from it. Your brushstrokes should not be the subject of the painting. Quality brushstrokes should have meaning behind them. They should show a certain mood, emotion, or story. They should be done purposeful and not just to do them. Sure they could be loose, random, and fun as long as that’s the feeling you want viewers to get from the painting.

We know that every artist is different. Some try to eliminate brushstrokes and others try to accentuate them. We’re curious, which type of artist are you? Let us know in the comments!

29+ Prismacolor Pencil Tips & Techniques

By Nicole Tinkham

29 Prismacolor Pencil Tips & Techniques

You asked and we listened. One of the art supplies you were dying to learn more about was Prismacolor colored pencils. Great choice! Prismacolor brings an array of quality art supplies including markers, pastels, charcoal, graphite, and of course colored pencils. As far as colored pencils go, you can learn about ALL of your many options here. But we’re going to take that previous blog post a step further and bring to you exactly what you need to know about using them right here in this post. Here are the top tips and techniques for using Prismacolor Colored Pencils.


1.    Layering: Lightly layer colors to create new colors.

2.    Blender pencil: This is a clear colored pencil specifically for blending purposes. This colorless blender is used to fuse colors together. Hint: If you don’t have a colorless blender, you can use a colored pencil in a light shade.

3.    Glaze effect: You can also blend a colorless pencil with a colored pencil to create a sheer glaze.

4.    Wash effect: Using mineral spirits will give you a softer blend and wash effect.

5.    Wide coverage: Using a bristle brush, you can drag the color out to cover a large area.

6.    Smudge the color: Using a cloth, rub into the color and smudge to desired area.

7.    Pushing the color around: Tortillions can be used to push colors around. A tortillion is basically tightly wound paper used for blending.


8.    Rough background texture: Using sand paper under the paper will create a bumpy texture.

9.    Create patterns: Use a textured rubbing plate under the paper to create textured patterns. This is similar to the sand paper concept mentioned above.

10.    Impressed lines: Press a stylus into the paper to create grooves and color over them with a colored pencil.

11.    Using a textured paper: If you’re working on a paper with a tooth, remember that pressing down hard with the pencil could flatten the raised texture.


12.    Masking off areas: Using a removable tape will keep straight edges clean and not damage the paper.

13.    How to use the last little bit of pencil: A pencil extender is an accessory Prismacolor offers to get the most out of every stub.

14.    Easy solvent: This is a pretty cool tip. Hand sanitizer can be used as a solvent for Prismacolor pencils.

15.    Watercolor pencil: Watercolor pencils work like MAGIC. You’ll seriously be amazed. We have a whole blog post dedicated to them here.

16.    Creating black without a black pencil: Using several deep colors can create a more intense black than the color black itself.

17.    Light to dark vs. dark to light: There’s no right or wrong way to go about doing this. Do whatever feels comfortable for you.

18.    Wax build up: If you see a white film build up on your drawing don’t freak out. This happens (normally when color is applied heavily) when the wax from the pencil rises to the surface. Simply wipe away with a cloth.

19.    Experiment with different surfaces: Prismacolor pencils can be used on various types of paper, wood, paper mache, and more.

20.    Be gentle: When Prismacolor pencils drop or get banged together, the inside core could break. No good!

21.    Use on canvas:  Try them out on a gessoed canvas or illustration board for a different look.

22.    DIY Prismacolor paint: Rub Prismacolor Art Stix on a sanding block to get a powder-like version of the pigment. Stir in odorless mineral spirits and use as paint!

23.    Add details to an oil painting: Colored pencils can be used to add details like eyes or highlights in hair to an oil painting.

24.    Filling in the tooth of the paper: The rougher the surface of the paper, the sharper you want your pencil. This will help you fill in all the nooks and cranny’s.


25.    Final fixative: This one seals out the air. This prevents the wax build-up that you may have experience. At this point you cannot rework anything. The drawing is final.

26.    Workable fixative: Allows you to add more layers by coating the surface with a “tooth”.


27.    Erasing: Prismacolor pencils aren’t easily erasable but an electric eraser is the best way to go.

28.    Lifting color: You know that putty used to hang artwork on the walls? It can also be used to lift color from a Prismacolor pencil drawing. Get it here.

29.    Sharpening: Prismacolor pencils have a soft and delicate core. Be extremely careful when sharpening. Don’t violently wiggle the pencil around in the sharpener.

Thanks to our fans, here are a few more Prismacolor tips!

30. If you mess up, you can take a really sharp white colored pencil and sort of “erase it” -Jonathan

31. Use clear Scotch tape or art tape to peel up a few layers at a time without ruining the paper. You can get most of it off that way and it will give you a good base to start off with again. -Jonathan

32. “When using a solvent in tight places, look for very small Qtips in Nail & Cosmetic stores. They are invaluable! For even tinier Qtips, ask your dentist for the little ones they use on your teeth. They are great!” -Suzanne

33. “If the core is broken you can put them in the oven on 200 degrees for 2 to 5 minutes then take out and cool to room temp. I put them in the frig to cool faster. I also heard you could put in microwave but I have never done it that way.” -Virginia Estep

34. “I put my Prismas on a heating pad to mend if they break and in summer the car dashboard works well. I’ve tried the microwave and the wood casing cracked, so don’t recommend that method!” Ukknight

35. “Use ear cleaning buds to blend” – lewisimpson

36. “Don’t let your puppy get hold of your pencils!” –Trish Councell

37.” Using a heated surface will allow rich colours. A local artist uses a custom board, I’ve been experimenting with putting a heating pad under my art board.” -Greg

38. “I started sharpening my pencils on a nail file and spun it as I did to keep it even. This keeps the points from breaking as much. I also use rubbing alcohol to dissolve the wax so I can add more color on top.” –britcomeauxbooks

49. “After applying color to my artwork I will go back over all my sharp borders with a black gel pen. It really makes the color pop!” Davey Barnett

50. “To elaborate on NOT using a microwave: Some of the colors actually catch fire due to material used. I believe the gold paint on the casing is also a fire hazard. Microwaves just use far too much heat all at once. You want to bind the cores together, not nuke them to oblivion. For more even coverage color in a circular motion as opposed to side to side or up and down. I’ve found it especially helping while blending.Stump starting to get too small for the extender? Glue it to the end of a new pencil and keep sharpening and coloring.” –Lindsay Graves

51. “A prismacolor artist from Illinois named Dooley created great effects by dry brushing gesso with them. He started by using gesso to create bright highlights. He also used oil pastels in large areas, such as backgrounds on large drawings.” Sara Frenz

52. “You can left layers of color by using a curved exact blade. Gently scrape the excess color of very gently and brush them away.” Chandell Coombs
53. “Use prisma colors pencils and water colors paint together. The wax in the leads is resistant to the watercolors and easily whipes away with damp clothe or q-tps. Makes it easier to create large backgrounds. Or base colors for large areas that you can ten add more olor and texture with your prisma color leads.” Chandell Coombs

54. “I use a powdered stick deodorant (Secret sheer dry) either before laying down color or after the color has been laid down to blend smoothly using a Q-tip. The color moves so easily and blends very nicely. You can even lay on more color if you want!” -Peggy H.

55. “Rub with aloe vera impregnated tissues wound around a cotton bud to achieve the shine after the final layer of Prismacolor pencil. Color can bleed a little so best to ‘shine’ one color at a time and best to use the resealable pocket pack of tissues, as effect of aloevera disappears in a large box of opened tissues.” -Penny

56. “The best pencil sharpener I’ve discovered yet for prismacolor pencils is the kiss brand eye/lip pencil sharpener. It seems to sharpen away less wood and core. Also, not only does the colorless blender pencil blend colors together nicely, it covers the tiny white spots that show through the pencil, and brightens the pigment tremendously!” -Tabby

57. “I wouldn’t recommend this for fine art, but for more casual stuff it’s very cool: you can blend & smooth heavy layers of color using a plastic eraser. I have a Staedtler Mars round plastic eraser in a hold – it moves the color around quite a bit without lifting off much of it, isn’t real good for tight places or exacting work, but for sketchy stuff or large areas it’s nice!”
“Also – I’ve microwaved PrismaColors to ‘repair’ broken inner lead & it seems to work BUT – be careful – I start run it for 5 – 6 seconds & still sometimes the paint blisters a bit. But it’s better than shredding away 3/4s of a brand new pencil trying to get a tip. (I love ya, PrismaColor except for that!!)” -Nancy

58. “Chartpack Markers carries a colorless blender that works wonders.” – Jason Jamaal

59. “White color pencils can make your colors look darker and blend colors together.” – Kayla

We don’t want this to be the final list of tips and techniques for working with Prismacolor pencils. How about we make a goal right here, right now to get this list to 50. We want valuable tips from REAL artists like you that are reading this blog. We can’t do it without YOU! Comment below with any experiences you’ve learned from when using colored pencils in your art. Have you ever experimented with a unique paper? Have you found a trick to fixing broken pencils? Are you an expert at storing and organizing supplies? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.

How to Tell Good Abstract Art from Bad

By Nicole Tinkham

How to Tell Good Abstract Art from Bad

When looking at a famous abstract painting do you ever think “I could do that”? If you’re wondering how something so simple can be considered a masterpiece, you’re not alone. Is it really as easy as we think or is there true artistic talent behind these works of art? Believe it or not, there’s science proving that there is in fact a difference between a painting done by a professional and random splatters on a canvas. Before trying to re-create a masterpiece hoping to make millions, pay attention to this blog and see what the experts have to say as well as what to look for in a professionally done piece.

The Research

A study done by two psychologists shows that statistically people CAN tell an abstract painting done by a professional artist vs a child, chimp, gorilla, elephant, or monkey. Which is surprising considering those monkeys aren’t half bad 🙂 In the study, 72 undergrads (40 psychology and 32 art majors) were asked to determine which painting (shown side by side) was done by an adult artist. Paintings were grouped together by similar attributes such as color and medium. Non-art majors chose the professional painting 65.5% of the time and art majors chose them 67.5% of the time. Researchers concluded, “ people can recognize that a work is good, but still not like it.”

What to look for in “good” abstract art

Just because this research tells us we can distinguish an abstract painting done by a professional vs a non-artist, that doesn’t mean it’s easier for us pick out certain paintings from others. Here’s how to tell good abstract art from bad.

1. Consistency
This refers to the consistency within a painting as well as the consistency of an artist’s portfolio. If a portfolio is all over the place with a few stunning pieces mixed with low quality work, the artist is either still developing or doesn’t quite know what they’re doing. Same goes for within a single painting. The flow must be consistent from one side of the painting to the other with planned and precise strokes.

2. Color
Colors that don’t mesh well together are a dead giveaway that the artist isn’t a professional unless of course it’s done deliberately in which case it has to be obvious.

3. Texture
Most of the time, good abstract art is compiled of layers. There’s typically and underpainting and these layers often create texture.

4. Meaning
All great art has some sort of meaning behind it. Some type of emotion, whether positive or negative gets thrown onto the canvas. There’s thought and planning put into it. You’ll know when an abstract piece is done at random. It lacks personality.

5. Complexity
As an artist completes more and more pieces, they grow and learn new techniques, which is evident in their work. In contrast to what you may think about abstract art, the techniques used in this style (by a professional) cannot be easily replicated.

6. Comfort
Uncomfortable paint strokes will tell you right away that the artist is an amateur. Experienced artists are confident and produce every mark with intention. Paint splatters may look random but they’re put there for a reason.

There are so many different feelings toward abstract art. There are many people that simply don’t understand it, others that think they can replicate it, and of course the abstract artists themselves who put much more time and thought into it than many non-artists realize. Tell us, what do YOU think? Does this research and qualities of good abstract art change your mind about it?

Comment below or connect with us on Facebook!

2 Key Things the Pastel Artist Needs to Know About Paper

By Nicole Tinkham

2 Key Things.jpg

Have you ever started a project and thought something just didn’t feel right? Selecting the perfect supplies before you begin a project is essential. When working with pastels, your focus is probably on which type of pastel to use as there are two main options: oil and soft. You can learn all about the differences between these two here: What is the difference between oil and soft pastels? What you may not have put much thought into however is the paper that you’ve selected. When working with pastels, there are two important things to consider when selecting paper. Let’s take a look at how color and texture can transform your pastel artwork!


• The importance: The color of pastel paper determines the mood and atmosphere of the final piece while pulling the picture together. Simply put, the choice of color is not something you want to overlook.

• Why it’s important: Pastels don’t cover the whole surface, therefor the paper color will come through and you want that color to provide unity to the piece as a whole.

• Color range: A wide range of tints and shades are available from black to white and everything in between. Just take a look at the image above for some of the available colors.

• Warm colors: These include colors such as raw sienna and reddish brown. Use them to bring out light colors such as yellows and creams.

• Cool colors: Pale grays and blues are your cool color choices and they reflect just the opposite of warm colored paper. These are ideal for rainy or winter scenes giving a “cool” feeling.

• Make your own: If you want to take your creativity a step further, you can make your own colored pastel paper using a staining technique. Tea, coffee, and red wine can be used to tint the surface before you begin.

• Tooth: You’ll often hear the term ‘tooth’ used to described texture in paper and it simply refers to the paper’s coarseness. Think about a rough watercolor paper to get an idea of what we’re talking about here.

• Why textured paper: The ‘tooth’ of the paper allows the pastel to stick to the surface which is difficult to achieve on a smooth surface.

• Canson Mi-Tientes: This type of pastel paper can be found in a variety of colors and offers one side with a textured surface and the other with a smoother surface.

• Strathmore pastel paper: This paper may be more delicate but is great for light applications. Strathmore pastel paper comes in a variety of colors and can also be used with other media such as colored pencils, charcoal, and graphite pencils.

• Sanded pastel paper: Sanded paper is ultra course and is able to hold a lot of pastel pigment.

• Rough watercolor paper: Watercolor paper can be used with pastels because of its toothed texture. This will provide a gentler surface ideal for blending with your finger.

• Bristol and illustration board: Cold-pressed Bristol and illustration boards are perfect to use with oil pastels.

Pastel vs Pastel

Pastel actually has two different meanings. You’re probably familiar with the shade, which is a series of pale colors (whites with a hint of color). Pastel sticks, however are not necessarily pastel colors. Check out the image below to see just how vibrant the colors can be!


Pastel paper is relatively inexpensive so next time you’re in, grab a couple different sheets and see which you like best. Make sure to take note of the color and texture choices! If you need any help deciding which paper to use for your project feel free to stop in and see one of our art specialists or give us a call at 941-747-2995.

Are you a pastel artist? Head on over to our Facebook page and post a picture of your most recent pastel drawing. If you’re on Instagram, make sure to tag us in your photo (@keetonsonline).