“ Manufacturer: Reeves / Type: Painting „
This is a review of Reeves Paint By Numbers Acrylic kits in General.
Those of you who have read my other reviews will know Mr Norton is currently not working and is struggling with a knee injury baffling four GPs and has thus been a little down recently. To cheer him up, I bought him a paint by numbers kit made by Reeves from The Works for £4.99 a few months ago as he mentioned he would like to try painting (whilst I was sat at my easel for 7 hours one day!).
For £4.99, I got a large (A3 size) board with ten small pots of acrylic paint and a brush all inside a large cardboard sleeve with a colour image of the end result picture ("how it should look") on the front. The first kit I bought was of an underwater scene with a few sharks, some coloured fishes and coral etc. I thought it would be a good painting for Mr Norton to start on as it had some large areas of colour so I thought it would not be too fiddly to paint.
When I got it home, Mr Norton was happy with my choice of picture and made a start on the picture straight away. I have been painting since I was three, but he has had little experience painting and really did not know if he would love or hate it. For £4.99 I thought it was worth giving it a go. With the kit you get everything you need bar a box of tissues (or some kitchen roll) and a jug of water and later something to mix your paints on.
Mr Norton proceeded to open the card sleeve, pop off the tear off paint holder (a coloured cardboard strip with ten round holes in it for you to stand your paint pots in) and attempted to assemble the "desk easel" the pack boasted it had. The desk easel failed miserably as the card is very flimsy so is not strong enough to hold up the picture especially when you put any pressure on it whilst painting or if you need to keep referring to the picture to see what you are painting.
*Help/ Reference Points*
With the shark scene, we were glad to see the back of the pack had a black and white layout of the board with all the numbers on it in case you accidentally paint over a number so you know what you have to paint. On the front of the pack, there was a colour picture so you have two points of reference. Mr Norton has now done four of these kits choosing from a series of around 40 designs from this range.
Unfortunately, one of the four packs did not have the black and white image of the layout and numbers on the back which Mr Norton did not realise until he had painted over some of the numbers (which you will do as they write some of the numbers with arrows pointing at smaller areas) so he had to try to work out how to make the colours in the missing spaces from the colour picture. This was quite challenging and made the pictures something to work on and keep his interest as if there had been no need to mix any colours it might have become tedious.
*What you Learn*
These kits are excellent for a total beginner as they are very easy to do. Your primed A3 board has blue lines all over it which are the outlines of your image and show you where you paint which colour. There are numbers written on the board to tell you which colour you need for that space. The difficult part is around 80% of these kits will be made up from colours you have to mix yourself. Mr Norton began by painting all the single numbered areas such as 17 (white) or 6 (yellow), 22 (red).. then he had to combat the sections such as 17/22 (pink) and he had to mix the paints.
You can keep referrinng to the picture on the front of the card sleeve (as long as you do not use the sleeve to make the "Desk Easel") as a guide of what colour you are trying to achieve. I thought this was self explanatory, but found Mr Norton running out of colours such as white and black as he would begin with the DARK colour and add the LIGHT colour so to get a pink he would have used too much of the 22 (red) to start with and had to use heaps of the white to try to get a pink for a very small section. Fortunately, I have lots of acrylic paints in the house so I was sent to fill the empty paint pots on a few occasions. Something you need to be aware of if you have never painted before. You do not get anything to mix the paints on either but you can use a piece of card or something like the lid to a margarine tub.
Also- if you paint all the easy parts first, you may find if you have a particularly fiddly picture (such as Mr Norton's second picture a New York city scene complete with sky scrapers with hundreds of little windows) you need to not only mix lots of different colours and your paints will dry out of you leave your mixed colours for over an hour, but that you have lots of tiny areas left and you may have painted over the numbers so you can get confused about what goes where and what colour you need to mix. There are around 40 different pictures to choose from so it is important to pick on you really like as it will help when you get into it and need to stay with it through the mixing fiascoes and painting over the numbers!
These sell for £5.99 online which is a superb price for an all you need kit.
I have done an e-bay search for paint by numbers kits and found there are also smaller A5 and A4 pictures but it is only really one or two power sellers who have these listed and they all seem to be the same price. £2-4 for a smaller picture £5-7 for a larger picture plus postage. We have had four of these Reeves A3 kits- a shark scene, a New York scene, a panda bears with bamboo scene and a lighthouse and beach scene so far and Mr Norton seems as addicted to it as I am to dooyoo! He is working on an OIL version now, but this is proving a huge step up and is going slowly.
-The flimsy desk easel feature,
-One box which did not have a replicated black and white guide on the back to show what number goes where
-On the lighthouse scene, all the paints seemed to be the wrong colour when we looked at the image on the box. The sky was in part a light blue but they gave us a much darker grey etc., The colours on the sand/ sky were all a few shades off - i'm not sure if we got a bad box?
-Around two of the ten paints in each box was very runny which meant Mr Norton had to paint a few extra coats on of these colours (the mustardy yellow was the worst culprit!).
-You are not given anything to mix your paints on (a piece of plastic would be more useful than a flimsy desk easel Reeves!).
-There is no guide to teach you the basics of mixing paint (ie always add DARK colours to LIGHT colours) so you may use too much paint and could run out of some colours if you mix up huge amounts of colours that only cover about 1cm square of the board! So you have to just be aware of this. Otherwise, I find they give you more than enough paint.
-Board, brush and 10 paints provided
-Easy to do
-The brush is a decent quality size 2 brush that you will use again
-The paints are decent, they are much better than the poster paints you get with childrens paint kits, they are acrylic paints but some of them may be runny or see through (meaning more coats)
-There are around 40 designs to choose from so there will be something for most people- the images are not all designed for the over 70's ! As some people might think as this is called the "senior range"- Mr Norton is 30.
-It is up to you how much you work into the picture at the end so the picture does not look like coloured camouflage- sometimes you have to smidge some areas or blend some areas so it does not look so much like a paint by numbers! This is why it is good for all abilities.
-There are more complex designs and some simpler ones- the range seems to cater for all abilities.
-You will get your money's worth as the quickest Mr Norton has been able to complete one is 40-50 hours so far (one week of a few 12 hour painting shifts!).
-You can buy additional paint sets online for £3.99 and a mixing kit to show you how to achieve certain colours (I see this is sold as an addition and not included free).
Overall, I would recommend this for anyone who would like to try painting, for anyone who used to paint and enjoyed it and wants an introduction to getting back into painting without having to think up something to paint yourself then draw it out! It is also good to sharpen up your technique if you have never painted dogs before and want to use this as a learning tool- you will learn a lot doing these.
Even Mr Norton has commented his last picture is "leaps and bounds" better than the first. This loses one star for the card desk easel and for the three misshaps ( a few runny paints, no guide on one box and nothing to mix the paints on). But for the price, range of designs and ease of use, I am still awarding this 4 out of 5 as I think these are fabulous kits.