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Beware these sets...Extremely poor quality
on June 25, 2013
This set is of extremely poor quality. Every material is cheap. Some people might try to rationalize that it's okay to give something like this to a child, because hey, kids don't care if the supplies are crap, right? Well, some kids do care, and the ones who don't know any better will still be frustrated that the materials don't "work" properly. The colored pencils are extremely cheap and don't even compare in quality to Crayola colored pencils, which aren't the best quality from an artist's standpoint. The pastels are horrible—like greasy crayons...again, a set of Crayola oil pastels are of much better quality than these (Crayola actually makes a pretty good set of oil pastels, and Amazon sells them). The "watercolor cakes" are a complete joke. They're lightly glued in, and every time the case is closed, several of them fall out. The drawing pencils are so cheap that you'd do way better to just use a regular #2 school pencil to draw with. Ours also came with markers, which were the low-quality throw-away type you get when you buy a book from the dollar store with markers included. My kids were gifted two sets over Christmas, and while we appreciate the thought behind it, it was shocking how crappy and cheap the quality of ALL the materials was. I don't fault the giver at all, but rather the distributor of such crappy quality materials. The case looked nice, however the wood is flimsy like some type of balsa wood, so don't expect it to be very protective or to hold up to a lot of wear & tear.
It's unbelievable that this set could ever be priced as high as $39.99. Right now it's on sale for $12.95, but honestly, it's still not worth even that much. Don't fall for the temptation to get "80 pieces" for just a few bucks. Those 80 pieces will cause your budding artist much frustration and disappointment. Also don't be fooled by the picture. Some of the items look like they're nice enough, but they're not worth having even for free. My family and I all tried everything out and I wouldn't be writing this strong of a review if there was anything worth even $12 in the set.
Before I sound like an art-supply snob (I'm not! I'm not even really an artist, though my husband and son are), let me say that this review is not in any way about me trying to sound superior and knocking discount-store art supplies. This is me saying that, while there *are* better options out there than Crayola-type supplies, this set makes Crayola-type supplies look like expensive professional supplies in comparison. I'm saying that these materials are basically disposable junk, not fit for anyone to use. I felt obligated to do a review, to save someone from wasting even a few dollars on something this bad. You or your gift recipient deserve much better than this. You'd do so much better to buy separate, decent sets of oil pastels, watercolors, colored pencils, and drawing pencils. None of these items are necessarily expensive on their own, anyway. Again, Crayola makes decent oil pastels. For colored pencils, Prang makes sets that are low-priced but surprisingly high-quality, and if you really want a treat, splurge for a Prismacolor Premiere set. Prang also makes fairly high-quality watercolors at a reasonable price. Either search for these things on Amazon, or visit Michael's, Hobby Lobby, or JoAnn and check out what they have, especially when they have sales. For around $50 you can purchase every type of supply listed in this set, but you'll be getting very good quality materials-- something that, when it comes to art supplies, definitely matters...even for kids!