Schipper Paint by Number Kit – Bengal Tiger
Pros: The finished product is even nicer than the picture on the box
Cons: A couple paints weren’t the best, cheap brush
I love tigers. I love crafts. It’s a no-brainer that I would do pretty much any craft that involves tigers. Lately I’ve been indulging in paint-by-number kits. Not the ones that little kids do. These are adult-sized kits, with adult-sized complexity.
When I saw the picture on the box for the Schipper Bengal Tiger, there was no doubt in my mind that I would purchase it, and spend several weeks painting it. I thought the picture was gorgeous, with a giant close-up tiger head against a lovely, subtle background of the Taj Mahal, over a reflecting pool. For a tiger-lover like me, this was a perfect project.
The most important thing when choosing a paint-by-number kit, is that you love the picture. And, if you can find testament that the final result comes out like the picture, that’s all the better. In this case, I am telling you that the finished product is even better than the picture. The colors are much more vibrant than what’s depicted. There are 28 different colors on this 16″ x 20″ board. The tiger contains mostly brown and gold tones, but there are also hues of purple, gray, red, and pink.
The background Taj Mahal and the reflection are vibrant oranges, reds, and deep purples.
And the fancy background design with the squiggles and curlicues truly makes this image different from the norm, where the background is typically some sort of jungle scene.
After determining that you love the picture, the next thing you want to know is the quality of the paints. For the most part, the paints in this kit were superb. The acrylics mixed easily, with just a little bit water. Once mixed and watered to the right consistency, the paints remained in good shape for the several weeks that I worked on the project. The paints separated after a while (which is normal) but they did not dry up. A quick mix (I used toothpicks) and I was good to go, with paints of the perfect consistency for covering the board, without running or dripping.
You’ll note that I prefaced all of that with “For the most part”. That’s because a couple of the paints were not as good as the rest. For whatever reason, a couple of the paints did not mix well, and did not cover well. I’m not talking about how some of the light colors require extra coats, simply to cover the numbers and the outlines. That’s to be expected. I’m talking about paint that won’t spread smoothly, no matter how skilled you are with a brush. In these cases, several coats were required, just to achieve a smooth look.
On the other hand, I’m thrilled to report that the paint canisters opened easily. The last kit I did had paint canisters that were impossible to open without the use of some tool. The Schipper paint canisters were simple to open and snapped closed tightly. However, they come un-numbered. Schipper provides numbered stickers and the first thing you have to do is apply those stickers to the canisters so that they are clearly labeled. It’s not a huge deal – just use care to number them in the correct order!!
The canvas was a very high quality. It’s coated in such a way that urges smooth paint coverage. The shapes and numbers were clear and easy to read. They also provide a paper template with all of the shapes and numbers drawn out. This is an important item to include in any paint-by-numbers kit. Because once a number is covered on the canvas, it might be difficult to tell what it was. So, corrections and touch-ups could be difficult. If you buy a kit that does not include a paper template, I suggest photographing (or copying or scanning) the board before you start painting.
My board had no errors that I noticed. What kind of errors might there be? A space with no number, or a space with more than one number. Usually there are a few of those, but not in this case!
There are some very narrow spaces in this picture. Mostly, when it comes to the whiskers, and fine details in the tiger’s face. Also, the frame-like portion of the background requires some very straight edges, if you want it to look right. I sometimes used a toothpick to fill in the small spaces, as well as to make corrections. Luckily, acrylics are very “forgiving”. Even a fairly light color can correct a fairly dark color. Also, there is no mixing or blending required with this kit. Still, with such a detailed canvas, this is really not a craft for little kids. I would say it’s really for adults, or older kids with a lot of patience.
I also made a few adjustments to the colors. For instance, it’s hard to see in the listing’s picture, but there is a bit of green in the background. I liked the green tone, and decided to add more of it. I also lightened part of the reflection, and the sun rising (setting?) behind the Tah Mahal. With 28 colors to choose from, I felt I could do pretty much whatever I wanted to adjust the picture, just slightly.
Schipper did a great job with the instructions. They come in multiple languages. The English instructions were clear and comprehensive. They discussed how to make sure the paints are watered to the correct consistency. They explained, in case anyone isn’t clear, that the point is not to ‘color in the lines’ but, rather, to make sure you cover over the lines. They offer suggestions about what order to paint. (I ignored all of that, preferring to paint in my own preferred order – from top-left to bottom-right.) They give suggestions for framing, and information about how to order extra paint, should it be necessary (in my case, it wasn’t necessary, there was more than enough paint).
The kit came with one brush, which I very quickly discarded as it was really cheap, and inadequate. I went to Michael’s and bought a few really good acrylic brushes. It’s worth it, believe me, if you want your picture to come out well. Spend a few bucks on brushes!
It took about two months, painting probably an average of an hour a day. I found the entire process relaxing and enjoyable. I loved seeing the picture “come through” as I painted it. Schipper products can be bought online. I’ve already bought the next one.
So how did mine come out?
Other paint by number kits: