Oil Paints Review – Soho Urban Artist

Oil paints are the “classical’ choice for many artists, and with good reason. Oils have been used to create masterpieces that the collective consciousness still recognize today. Remember Michaelangelo’s Creation of Adam? How about Van Gogh’s The Starry Night?  Or the greatest painting of all time, Cakes by Wayne Thiebaud? 😉

So, whether you paint a deeply realistic portrait of your long dead great Grand-Pappy Ulyssis, or a day-glo abstract study of SpongeBob, each piece carries the hallowed legacy of oil paints.

Question is, what kind of brand of paint should I buy? After all, there’s WAY too many options, and too little money to try them all. That’s where reviews can really be handy.

Check out this article by Olivier Jennes over at Wonderstreet. It’s a great comprehensive article reviewing many of the major brands, as well as lesser known ones. They aren’t paid for their reviews and I’m not paid to plug them either. Just found it useful for me in my work.

One brand was not mentioned there, Soho Urban Artist. It might be because, it’s a house brand of an Art Store I regularly buy from, Jerry’s Artarama. I’m not affiliated with them either, and this review is gratis.
(Nothing in exchange for this review. No money, no coupons, no nuttin’. Hit me up Jerry’s Artarama, if you want to change that. 🙂 )

Let’s begin!


This review is for the Soho Urban Artist Oil Colors Set of 24  Each tube is 21 ml, aluminum-lined and is packaged in a cardboard tray.


The colors that arrive in this set are : Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber,Raw Umber, Alizarin Crimson, Vermillion, Cadmium Red Medium Hue, Cadmium Orange (Hue), Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Naples Yellow Hue, Cadmium Yellow Hue Pale, Cadmium Yellow  Hue Medium, Permanent Green Light, Sap Green, Pthalo Green, Ultramarine, Cerulean, Pthalo Blue, Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Dioxazine Purple, Paynes Gray, Ivory Black and Titanium White.


A high pigment quality and amount is key to creating great artwork. Certain bargain brands use more filler and less whole pigment to offset costs.  The filler is grainy and dulls the pigment. Sadly, that means your  work will not be as bright as it could be.

So, I am happy to report that the pigment quality for this brand is very good, it can even compete with pro brands. In fact, it’s marketed towards both students and pros.

Color Choices

While I have only experience with the 24 colors mentioned here, their open stock boasts more than 50+ choices of colors. That may be a bit limiting for some artists accustomed to more options, so fair warning.

Color Chart of Soho Urban Artist Oil Colors Set of 24.

Oil Content

A good brand uses a high ratio of oil to pigment. The types of oil used can be a number of plant-based oils, linseed being the most common.

For this brand, pure refined linseed oil is used as the binder. I’m happy to say that the ratio is perfect. Not too thick ( so, if you’re looking for heavy body paint, this is not it.) and not too runny ( add more linseed oil separately if needed).


Ideally, the best oil paints have a lipstick-like consistency. The texture of this paint is not like lipstick but, it is smooth, creamy and buttery. The pigment and oil don’t separate like some brands and remain consistent through long brushstrokes.


Oils have the capability of blending beautifully. Whether they be blended next to each other, or layered on top of each other, it’s one of the best parts of the medium. In the example below, Cadmium Yellow Hue Pale, Vermillion, Prussian Blue and Sap Green were blended together.

On the left side,colors were painted side by side, then feathered into one another. On the right side, a layer of color was laid down, then another layer was painted directly above it. That caused the paint to be mixed on the page. 

With both techniques this brand blends very nicely. The blending is clean and seamless.


This brands’ paints aren’t full body by nature, so they aren’t very thick. The thick brush strokes below required a few layers. So, if you paint impasto or prefer nice thick paint, it is highly recommended a thickening medium be added.


A tint refers to a color + white. In the example below, increasing amounts of Titanium White are added to Dioxazine Purple to create the values. The paint mixes cleanly and evenly, easily lightening the hue.


A shade refers to a color + black. In the example below, increasing amounts of Ivory Black are added to Permanent Green to create the values. Black paint is usually very strong, and this brand is no exception. The paint mixes well with no issue to create shades.

Gray Scale

Grays are the back bone of tones and used more frequently most may imagine, so being able to create clean values is important. This set came with Paynes Gray ( a cool gray with blueish undertones). Mixed with Ivory Black, the below values are created. Had no problem creating them with this brand, the mixing was smooth and the colors crisp.


Affordable but, extremely well made for the price. Consider it a bridge between pro-level paint and student grade. High pigment count and quality. Clean color mixing and beautiful blending. Small color options and light body paint. I use it frequently and would recommend it based on the above points.

To find a brand that suits your style/budget and needs, check this article out.

Whew! Long post, thank you for reading! As a reward use coupon code RED15OFF for 15% your purchase at my etsy shop.

What brands of oil paints do you prefer? What’s most important to you when buying oil paint? Color options, thickness, etc? Comment below!


Best of 2017 Runway Review – Spring/Fall – Couture/Ready to Wear – Fashion Illustration

Every year, fashion houses and designers debut their collections to crowds of buyers,celebrities,industry giants and of course spectators. While I’m no professional fashion critic, I enjoy seeing the new designs. I enjoy illustrating the designs even more so.

Hence, the reason for this post. I selected my favorite pieces from various designers, seasons, and type all from this year and created matching fashion illustrations. All of which were painted by hand with watercolors.

The original is on the top, click to see the rest of the collection. My illustration is on the bottom for comparison, click to see more info. Which did you like best? Also, what pieces did you like from your favorite designers?


Tommy Hilfiger Ready to Wear Spring 2017


Classic, timeless colors topped with a cute scarf!I loved how effortlessly cool this look was, she could walk out on to the street and not look weird. The boots add some edge and scarf add some attitude.

Tom Ford Ready to Wear Fall 2017

Office to Restaurant to Gallery Opening all without missing a beat.Black is always in style and this look would have some real longevity in your closet. The brightly colored socks add some color to keep the pieces from being too depressing.

Zuhair Murad Ready to Wear Fall 2017

Stoppin’ traffic. Or fellow rich debutantes who envy your wardrobe.Zuhair Murad is one of my favorite designers to watch, simply because his work is always beautiful, feminine and he doesn’t seem to skimp on the glamour, even in his ready to wear pieces. This dress is just too cute. ‘Nuff said.

Oscar de la Renta Ready to Wear Fall 2017

Taffeta sometimes has a bad reputation, but it’s one of my favorites to work with. It just needs a great cut with no fuss so it’s trademark sheen can be seen. The pockets are also just perfect!

Valentino  Ready to Wear Spring 2017

Granted, I’d never wear a neckline that plunging, even with the sheer paneling. But the flounce, cut and shoes of this piece along with the color combination was something I couldn’t ignore.

Lanvin Ready to Wear Fall 2017

The way this dress combines both grecian draping and casual cool is realy appealing. Wear sneakers and the dress is a casual, wear with flats for garden party, wear with heels and shiny accessories for an evening party.

Elie Saab Ready to Wear Fall 2017

I love coats, though I don’t live in a place where the snow rises 3 feet every winter. Regardless, this coat caught my eye. It’s nice to see a coat that stands as a stylish look on all it’s own.

Elie Saab Couture Spring 2017

Elie Saab is another of my favorites, since his clothes are always romantic and opulent in nature. This neckline is different but, felt new, it complemented the lace and bead work of which he’s so well known.

Zuhair Murad Couture Spring 2017

Zuhair Murads Spring Couture Collection this year was jaw-dropping. In fact, it was very difficult to choose a favorite since each one was stunning. This one won out by a very slim margin. The bright, rich color of sapphire blue however, along with the pleats on the side were just beautiful!


Thank you for bearing with such a long post, feel free to comment on your favorite!

Posters of Fine Art Events Pt. 1

Anybody out there enjoy the ballet? or Opera? While these genres of entertainment tend to have the reputation of being ‘snobbish’, I don’t agree. The performances themselves are breathtaking and really show the talents of the human body and voice.

I’m no critic or scholar though,more of a casual fan. So I would totally lose on a game of Fine Art Trivia. To pay homage to this art, here’s a collection of posters I created, that features well known ballet or an opera.

I first created the main illustration by hand, scanned it in, altered it digitally and added the appropriate text. Which one and version do you prefer?

Madame Butterfly Version 1

Madame Butterfly Event Poster – Version 1

So for this version, I illustrated Cio-Cio san from the back focusing on her hair and collar of her kimono. A red butterfly tattoo ties in her name, while the color hints at her sad fate. The brushstrokes are quick, light and heavily inspired by sumi-e painting.

Madame Butterfly Version 2

Madame Butterfly Event poster – Version 2

For version two, I only focused on the short sword of Cio-Cio san instead of her. The lower half is dipped in blood that drips to form a butterfly. This version is cleaner, less cluttered and more direct. The short sword, and blood butterfly hint at the tragedy that befalls the poor Madame Butterfly.

Swan Lake Version 1

Swan Lake Poster Version 1

For this version, I illustrated by hand Odette, the tragic (depending on the version) version of Swan Lake. This version is more dramatic and busy, featuring a close up of her face. Her makeup is bold, but her expression sad. Her wings are white that symbolize her pure heart, but the slowly are turning from white to gray to black. The black feathers hint at Odile, the treacherous dopple ganger who (temporarily) confuses the love of her life, Prince Zeigfried.


Swan Lake Version 2

Swan Lake Ballet Poster – Version 2

Version 2 is more somber and toned down in comparison. This version features the lower half of Odette en pointe. Her tutu is made of delicate, wispy feathers whiter than snow. Sadly, two fallen feathers black as night hint at the sad,dark future our heroine must endure at the hands of the dark Odette. The background color is a deep blue to add more atmosphere to the work.

Each version gives a different spin to the performance, which do you prefer?