Sunday 12 November 2017

Product Review Series | Odorless Mineral Spirits; Gamsol

Hi everyone, thank you for stopping by. I hope you're having a great day.

I have received quite a few questions regarding Odorless Mineral Spirits (OMS), which I use and how to use them. So for today's review I will be discussing Gamsol.

Gamsol is an artist's grade OMS that can be purchased at your local art supply store or online for a relatively low cost. While it truly is odorless there are still vapors and you must use adequate ventilation. Do NOT inhale, taste, swallow or get in contact with eyes. Avoid contact with skin.

  • Relatively inexpensive. I paid $16.40 for 16 fluid ounces (1 pint or 2 cups) at my local art store in Calgary.
  • Absolutely odorless
  • Clear liquid
  • Locking Top

It's not really practical to keep it in it's original container for small crafty uses such as colouring with pencils. I have mine stored two ways.

  • The first (left) is in a top press bottle - this allows you to press a small amount for dipping and avoids terrible spills. 
  • The second (right) is in a small baby food jar. I added a craft sponge to the bottom so I can just dip my blending stub. This is how I carry it when I am travelling.
Always keep you containers tightly sealed and away from children and pets. It really does look like water so please be smart and safe whenever you work with any type of chemical.

For blending, I use very inexpensive blending stumps. The ones on the left are my preferred type; they are basically rolled up paper and can be purchased for just pennies a piece. The ones on the right are more compact and will absorb a lot more of the OMS, this is good if you are trying to blend a large area in the background or a large image, I don't typically do that - but I have a couple. Just in case.

I prefer to have one blending stump per colour so that they don't cross contaminate. There is nothing worse than going to blend a light colour and having a different colour smear over because there was pigment left over.

If having individual stumps is not practical for you, you can always clean off the stumps on a scrap of paper or by using a piece of find sanding paper.

For the purpose of this example I have stamped the dog from Simon Says Stamp's "You are Pawesome" stamp set with Memento Tuxedo Black ink on 110lb cardstock.

The top image is coloured with Prismacolor Premier coloured pencils. These are a soft core wax-based pencil.

The bottom image is coloured with Faber-Castell Polychormos coloured pencils. These are a hard core oil-based pencil.

When using Gamsol with coloured pencils, I lay the colour down where I want the shadows to be the darkest (as you can see in the picture above).

Once I have my shadows places, I dip my blending stub in the OMS and work in small circles pulling the colour towards the centre. With both of these images I applied the Gamsol, then used a lighter brown and repeated the process, pulling the colour towards the centre again.

My observations:

  • The Gamsol worked far better on the wax-based colour pencil (top) than it did on the oil-based (bottom). I found I had to work harder to move the colour with the oil-based pencils with less of a result.
  • While the OMS did blend out the harsh lines in the oil-based image, it did not get rid of them completely and you are still able to see pencils lines even though I went over it a few times more than I did with the wax-based image.
  • The colour stayed truer with the wax pencils, while it brightened the colour of the oil pencil. Handy to know if that's what you're going for.
  • Does not leave a residue or "oily" mark on paper after it has dried.
Overall, I don't typically use OMS when working with coloured pencil. I will pull it out if I can't get the blend I want, or if I'm using a paper with a lot of tooth, but for the most part I use the colours themselves to get my blend. I don't use the blending pencils at all. 

If your paper has a lot of tooth (you can see this by the little white dots that get left behind after you lay down your coloured pencil) the OMS will help to get an even coverage by "melting" the pigment and allowing it to settle in those spaces.

If you're in a hurry to get something done or you just want to play around I highly recommend using the OMS - it will "dissolve" the waxy build up and allow you to apply more layers of colour. For me, I prefer to use a light hand and layer, layer, layer the pencil to get the look I want.

If you are going to purchase an OMS - go for the good stuff. Don't mess around with cheap products that give off an odor of paint thinner. You'll just end up with a headache and be unhappy with final result. Always work in a well ventilated area and close the lid of your container when you aren't using it. 

I hope you enjoyed today's review. If you have any questions about this product or a suggestion for a future review, drop me a line in the comments section below, I love to hear from you. If you haven't already, please follow me on the right side bar or over on Facebook, so you don't miss any future posts.

*disclaimer: I am not sent products to review, nor am I paid to review them. I review the products that I use and that I have paid for with my own money. I am not rewarded, paid or provided with incentive to do so. All reviews are based on my personal experience with the product and are my opinions only.

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