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Reeves brand art supplies - An informal review - The art of Thornwolf — LiveJournal
Reeves brand art supplies - An informal review
(X posted to the ArtSpots forums)

I figured I'd share my thoughts on a brand of art supplies I've been using for years: Reeves.

I will start out by saying that this brand is PERFECT for anyone wanting to experiment with a new medium without wanting to invest in the huge fancy expensive sets right off the bat. I made this mistake before with my oil paints. I bought the expensive set, didn't know how to use them, used them once, failed, sold them off out of frustration. But with Reeves I've been able to mix and match and try things out before I invest without the buyers remorse! They offer a great variety in different kinds of mediums: Watercolor (both tube and cake), Acrylic, Oil, Gouache, Chalk Pastel, Oil Pastel...and they're available almost anywhere. Michaels and Aaron Brothers has them I know for certain, I think Dick Blick also has them (I'm almost certain they would anyways). To give you an idea of the price, the large set of watercolors cost me 8 bucks and some change at Michaels. They can range between 8-12 bucks depending on the set, but try that vs. 80 bucks for a full set of oil paints without even a brown in the set! Not bad at all I'd say. Here's what the packaging looks like (this is the watercolor set btw)

And this is their logo for reference:

Currently they are what I use when I'm painting something. I use both the tube and the cake watercolors depending on the project, and they are of decent quality. The tubes I have are very small but they've lasted me for my entire gallery if you check all the images I've made where watercolors were involved. I've had it for years and its still going! The cake watercolors are also pretty good. Theyre not "the best" but they get pretty good coverage and decent color quality.

And again, if you like the medium you've experimented with, you can always go out and buy a higher more expensive quality, but as my personal word of advice, this brand is, again, excellent if you're just trying things out (or like me, just wanna keep some inexpensive art supplies hanging around for regular use!)
8 comments or Leave a comment
gab From: gab Date: February 1st, 2007 05:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for posting... I'll be sure to look out for that brand next time! :)
From: asathena Date: February 1st, 2007 05:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Oo! Thanks for the tip! :)
cesarin From: cesarin Date: February 1st, 2007 05:53 am (UTC) (Link)
might watch for these when I go to the US, cause very few brands are advailiable over here :O
pac From: pac Date: February 1st, 2007 05:56 am (UTC) (Link)

to no one in particular reading the comments

i highly recommend using a lower cost art supply if you want to try something out... i also recommend if you're really interested in the medium and/or have tried it and liked it, it is worth every cent to get a higher quality pigment.

in my own personal experience, i like to try every piece of art media/equipment out there, and it's worth trying all you can. however, nothing beats the predictability of quality, the faithfulness of decent pigments. i have been trying out various water based painting mediums (watercolor, gouache, acrylic) and one thing i've noticed about mediums is you truly do get what you pay for (it's one of the only instances where this is consistently true). art /supplies/ can have corners cut (pallets, supports, some solvents, and a myriad of other items can be substituted with household/hardware items), but if your save your money to buy anything art related, make it paints.

another helpful thing i've learned over the years is brush quality only really matters in watercolor brushes. buy only brushes designed for watercolor only, it's quite worth it. brushes labled "all media" aren't sensitive to the characteristics of watercolor and don't hold water like watercolor brushes do. with oil or acrylics, the quality doesn't matter that much (i use those value packs for acrylic painting all the time). THAT said, it's also not necessary to get the highest quality watercolor brush. any soft bristle like a sable will do. i use a line called winsor newton cotmans... probably the best cheap brush you can buy for watercolor. i have several!

i too keep a slue of mid quality art supplies around for occasions where top quality won't be an issue (drafts, sketches, under paintings, etc). personally, my pref for lower end watercolors are w&n's cotman. they're just about as widely available as the reeves. good prices, great paints. in my opinion (and it is just my opinion) reeves really isn't up to snuff for REALLY getting a grip on what watercolor can do. most of their colors will separate in the tube (which most low end paints will do including some cotmans) and i don't buy any of their roducts anymore. however, you can't argue with rices if you're looking to just try something out. and really, people have done wonders with 10 cent bic pens.

while i'm at it, i already mentioned in my own journal about my new found love of blick's new line of artist colored pencils. less expensive than prismacolor (not as cheap as reeves or other student grade pencils) but they have great quality. i won't give up my prismas or fabers, but they're a terrific alternative.

FWEW! sorry about the rambling D: i love geeking out about art supplies. i can't stop myself c_c
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: February 1st, 2007 06:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: to no one in particular reading the comments

I agree with all of this!

Blick has a line of colored pencils? This I /must/ try out!

And yes absolutely seconded on the "if you like it invest in the better quality". I have a set of Golden brand acrylics and am looking into buying some better watercolors once I have another project in mind. I know that the quality of the pigment greatly improves the intensity of the color, but man oh man do I wish I found this brand when I bought my oil colors. That was an expensive venture...
nesting From: nesting Date: February 1st, 2007 07:09 am (UTC) (Link)
watercolors are a wonderful media for anyone wanting to experiment with new materials... they were what I learned to color with a few years ago.

i prefer van gogh & grumbacher watercolors, reeves aren't my favorite. koi brand watercolors suck, two of my friends in high school got them and i wasn't impressed with the paint at all. I love the brilliance intensity and saturation of van gogh/grumbacher colors. I don't like the design of the van gogh tubes though, because if any of the watercolor gets in the cap, it will seal the cap on. grumbacher has a good tube design.

because white watercolors are too transparent, I use permenant white gouache by windsor&newton in my paintings. I mix it with everything. it's great stuff.
synnabar From: synnabar Date: February 1st, 2007 09:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, having been through years of art college and *having* to buy the expensive brands, I definitely agree, for the most part you get what you pay for. If I was good enough to do huge canvases and charge hundreds for 'em, damn straight I'd be using strictly high-quality stuff.

~BUT~ Reeves are a lot of fun to experiment with! I completely agree with you. :) I have tried their watercolor, gouache, and acrylic, and I'm very happy with them. I use them at Cons when I paint badges because they are easy to transport, clean up, and organize, and if the paints get lost or stolen, no big deal.

I know you aren't talking about brushes, but I have to second pac's statement that watercolor brushes are the way to go with watercolor paints if you want to paint the "classic" way. They really do hold the water/paint much better than other kinds.
darklingmare From: darklingmare Date: February 2nd, 2007 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Reeves - grief that brings back memories!
That was THE paint we used in primary school - I always loved the dalmation on the bottles and the smell of the cheap poster paint will always be nostalgic - but apart from primary school supplies it isn't a common brand here in Australia.

I use Windsor and Newton watercolours - I got given a set with a wooden chameleon for my birthday a couple of years back and they are really lasting me.

I agree on the good brushes but good paper =oh the difference= having worked on skungy paper then on real paper then tried to go back - its nes pas possible! (<-mangled french)
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