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It was my youngest daughter's sixth birthday recently and she received lots of lovely presents at her party. As she loves drawing and painting, many of her gifts had an arty theme which she was very pleased about. One such gift was a Flair Trio Colouring Fun Set which she couldn't wait to open and now absolutely adores using.
We obviously did not pay for this as it was a gift but I have checked the price on Amazon and it is currently selling at a reduced price of £6.99 but it's usual price is £7.99. (March 2011). In some ways this does seem a little on the expensive side for what you actually get in the set but I guess you have to balance this with the amount of enjoyment it has provided! The actual contents of the set are three trio pens (more about these later), one detail pen, ten sheets of paper, ten pre-printed scenes and an instruction sheet.
The main part of the set are the trio pens. My daughter was fascinated by these when she first saw them as they have three different coloured felt tips in each one. One pen has a combination of red, blue and yellow; the second has green, orange and purple; and the third has three different shades of pink. The nibs are not interchangeable so you cannot vary the combinations. The effect of using these pens is lovely. It is possible to make love twirling whirling patterns and also depending on how you tilt the pens, you can vary the thickness of the lines that you create. There is also a thin black pen that you can use to add detail.
When my daughter first started using the pens set she found it quite difficult to get the same effects that are shown on the box. Even though there are instructions, these are only shown as diagrams and more show what you can possibly achieve rather than showing or telling how to achieve the effect. However, after a bit of practice, she has soon got the hang of these pens and has worked out how hard she needs to press and the angles at which she needs to hold the pen in order to create the best effects. As a consequence she has produced some lovely artwork of which she is very proud!
As I mentioned earlier, there are ten pre-printed scenes to colour in. These are about A5 size and are pretty simple with images of boats, flowers, octopuses etc. the idea is that you go over the outlines with the pens and you can follow the colours used by looking at the instructions. My daughter has really enjoyed doing these and I have to say that her octopus picture is especially good. As there are only ten of these though, they don't last very long. They are probably worth saving until your child has got used to using the pens. Natalie started on these straight away and her first few attempts were not so good. It's probably best just to use plain paper first (there are only ten sheets provided) and let them just have a play around.
The idea of this set is lovely but I can't help thinking back to when I was a child when we would just tape two or three felt tip pens together and we created a similar effect. We could also vary the colour combinations too. I think this set would be more impressive if there was a way of interchanging the nibs but I guess that would make it more expensive too.
I do like this set in many ways and the pictures that can be produced are excellent. However, I can't help thinking that it really is not worth the price paid and I am thankful that this was a gift so that I did not pay it. It does make a lovely gift though and my daughter loves it!