Thursday, June 29, 2017

Chameleon pens and tops...

Hello my fabulous friends!

I'm sorry I've been MIA lately... It's been a little crazy around my house. Both my sisters came to visit with their babies, and we've been getting my mom ready for major surgery.

I've also been so busy playing with my latest addition to my art supplies that I haven't really been finishing projects as much as experimenting and learning.  

My birthday present finally came!!!

The complete set of Chameleon Color Tone pens! Aren't they pretty???

You've seen me work with these a little in the past, but I only had 5 pens...

And the NEW Chameleon Color Tops!!! They are the same colors as the pens, but are total game changers!

So, what are the Color Tops?

Well, if you recall from my last Chameleon Pen post (HERE), the color tone pens come with a mixing chamber on the top filled with clear blending solution. By putting either the bullet or brush nib of the marker into the mixing chamber and holding it vertically (with the clear on top), you are able to dilute the original color to just a hint of a tint, and as you color out, the color works it's way back to the original color... giving you a beautiful one color gradation. 


Then comes Color Tops...

They are the EXACT same thing as the mixing chamber that comes on each pen but instead of being filled with clear blending solution, it has COLORED ink..
(the same ink as the pens, so they are also refillable!)

So you can now go from a light to dark (or dark to light) using two colors instead of having white as your highlight (I LOVE that!)
You can mix colors that you generally can't mix without getting a muddy mess... like Tangerine and Turquoise... Simple smooth transition!
You can go from BLACK to a Red... Or red to black... again with a smooth transition.
You can transition between two similar colors like a purple and blue...

You can even stack multiple colors... like yellow-orange-red


You can still throw the clear mixing chamber into the mix!
So many possibilities!

Usually I stick to finished projects, or tutorials with finish projects... but I've decided to share a little of my learning process for these pens. The fact is, they do have a bit of a learning curve... It's not too hard to get the basics down of creating a gradation, but to get the detail and control that I want, it is taking some time to figure out. I'm ok with that though. I didn't expect to be a master right out of the box. I enjoy the learning process. 

I'm still experimenting and learning with these pens, but here's something to get you started...

I'm using Mama Elephant "Lunar Animals" stamp set, stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black ink (good for alcohol markers), on cheap Georgia Pacific white card stock.

Let's do a monkey... my nephew's birthday is coming up and I think a monkey card would be fun!

Started by adding some pink to the cheeks.. I'm using the bullet nib of PK3 at full strength for this. I like to dot for a softer edge. 

Ok... for the face, I used the NU3 pen with the NUOO Color Top...

If you read my last Chameleon Pen post, than you probably know how I colored the face....
 Start with the light color in the middle, and work your way down.
Fuse again.
Start with the light color in the middle and work your way up.
Fuse again.
Start with the light color in the middle and work your way left.
Fuse again.
Start with the light color in the middle and work your way right.

This should leave you with a lighter area in the middle of the face and darker edges... you can fine tune that technique to fit what you are coloring to achieve lights and darks where you want them... I'm just keeping it simple for this little guy. 

Notice going over the pink softened it.... but it didn't lose them... That's why I like to dot... Blending on the paper won't always get rid of all your lines. 

Ok... Now For the head and body... I used the BR5 pen with the BR1 Color Top

I love that the Color tops let me get a beautiful gradation without any white areas.

Some PK2 in the ears, and BK4 on the nose... And this little guy is good to go!

Isn't he cute?
I added some white highlights on the nose and eyes for a little extra pop. I used a tiny bit of acrylic paint because I don't have a white gel pen that works.... I REALLY need to get me a new white gel pen!

I know this is a very simple example, but since I'm still learning these pens, I had to start somewhere. 

I understand that these pens aren't for everyone. But I'm enjoying them!

Have a wonderful day!


Saturday, May 20, 2017

rough masking...

Hello my fabulous friends!

Today I wanted to challenge myself... Not just by participating in a challenge, but stretching myself beyond my normal comfortable rut...  Not that there is anything wrong with a nice rut, but sometimes you need to step out of it and try new things.

Stamps: Essentials By Ellen Fancy Thanks, Bokeh Dots, Courage
Ink: Altenew Sand Dunes, Frayed Leaf, Deep Iris, Lavender Fields; Clearly Kelly Urban set 

I very seldom do a true single layer card... as in, the stamping is done right on the front of the card base... I think it's because if I stamp on a separate panel, I don't have to be quite as afraid of messing up the whole card... But I wanted to challenge myself a little. 

I actually had a lot of fun with it!

I started out by stamping the sentiment. No, I didn't need to use a MISTI for this, but I wanted a nice crisp impression, and the MISTI ensures that if the first try is slightly splotch it can be fixed, no problem. 

Next I added three sketchy circles.. I LOVE these circles! They are so fun! 

The three-some arranged in a triangle is a common design principle that reliably looks pleasing to the eye. Odd numbers and visual triangles just tend to look good. 

 It's one of those things you learn in art class...

Next I added some clusters of flowers. These flowers are layers from the new Courage set. 

This set was designed to support Breast Cancer Research. This means a lot to me. I've known several women who have fought breast cancer. Both my Grandmothers died from cancer. My dad had cancer years ago (he's been in the clear for a good 10 plus years!). And currently my mom is fighting colon cancer. Cancer is such a horrible disease that affects SO many people in many different ways. Research gets us closer to a cure.. And a cure to one kind of cancer gets us just that much closer to a cure to other kinds of cancer. Together we can win a war that no one, on their own, could hope to beat. 

(sorry for the soapbox... back to stamping...)

Normally I am a meticulous masker... In other words, when I build scenes I start with the image in the fore front, then carefully mask it to add things in behind.... I wanted to stretch myself, so I didn't mask the flowers at all... They are layered right on top of the circles, and you can see the circles through the flowers... 

At first it really bothered me... (I'm a BIT of a perfectionist....) But when I let myself just relax with it, I ended up liking the look and the freedom of not having to mask.

I did do a LITTLE rough masking... I've been watching some videos of people building backgrounds using this technique... Where you mask your image (in this case my flower), but only very roughly. Instead of stamping the flower on another paper and fussy cutting it so it covers the image perfectly, I just tore a piece of post-it note into the approximate curve of the flower and went with it. 

It isn't perfect, but I really wanted to see if I could do the technique and like it. I love the results in other people's projects, but I wasn't sure I could pull it off... (did I mention I'm a bit of a perfectionist? LOL!)

Ok... Here's a close up of some of the stamping. 

I really liked the sketchy, imperfect look of not doing detailed masking.. And it has the benefit of being far less stressful and time consuming! Apparently masking is one of the reasons cards take me so long to make... This one was super fast and easy!

 This project was inspired by Ellen Hutson's PinSights challenge for May.. 
Aren't those colors just GORGEOUS???

There's plenty of time left to join in this challenge... 


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

a little different blending...

Hello my fabulous friends!

I just wanted to stop in real quick today to share what I've been working on today (in-between the yard work and house cleaning)...

Stamps: Altenew Garden Treasure; Essentials By Ellen Fancy Thanks
Dies: Spellbinders Belly Band One
Paper: Strathmore Bristol; Heartfelt Creations Daphne Collection
Other: Pretty Pink Posh Sparkling Clear sequins, clear embossing powder

In the details...
Like I often do, I started out by stamping the images on Bristol paper with VersaMark ink and heat embossing with clear embossing powder. I didn't color it the same way I usually do though.. I wanted a more distinctive color change from the pink to the yellow than my usual technique would give. So, I started out by scribbling a little Light Brown Zig Clean Color at the base of a petal, and a little Pale Rose Clean Color at the top of the petal. I then took my water brush and blended the Light Brown up about a third of the way, and cleaned the brush. I then blended the Pale Rose down about a third of the way. I then used the middle third to blend the two colors together. I dabbed off excess water from the center portion to make the colors lighter. I did that for each petal. I really like the soft blend between the two colors!

The leaves and remaining flowers where more my usual color layering.

The clear sequins were colored using my Peony Pink Chameleon Pen. I love doing this.. it turns out so pretty!  

I wanted to give the card a bit of a tattered and vintage feel, so I inked around the edges with Antique Linen Distress Ink. I then scruffed up the edges and went over the very edges of with a little Ground Espresso Distress Ink. I then took it over to my sewing machine and did a basic stitch around the edge. 

It's been a while since I've done that. My sewing machine has probably  been feeling rather neglected... Isn't it funny how our go-to techniques change? Re-visiting old favorites can be a lot of fun, and a great way to mix things up if you feel you're in a rut, or have creator's block...

I hope you have a wonderful day!


Thursday, May 4, 2017

amazing daisy...

Hello my fabulous friends!

After enjoying some serious sunshine this morning, the clouds have rolled in, and now I'm enjoying thunder... I have to admit, one of the things I miss about where I grew up, is the thunderstorms.  I love a good thunderstorm, and we very rarely get a GOOD one where I live now... 


On to today's project!

Paper:  Strathmore Bristol; WRMK washi sheets;
white card stock
Stamps: Altenew Spring Daisy,  Amazing You
Dies: Tim Holtz Mixed Media
Other: Angelina Fibers Gold Iris; clear embossing powder

I have had this random sheet of Bristol paper sitting on my work table for quite a while... I had stamped some different daisies and leaves from the Spring Daisy stamp set with VersaMark, and embossed with clear embossing powder for another project, and ended up not using these one.. I figured it was time to use them!

So, I watercolored my flowers and leaves using Zig Clean Color markers. Getting the exact color I wanted took a little experimenting. For my flowers, I ended up doing my light base layer in Light Violet so when the rather bright Pink was layered on top, it brought in cooler shadows and help tone down the color somewhat. With the little bits of Wine Red into the shadows it pulled it right to the perfect magenta color I wanted. 

I have learned that with these markers, you can get a TON of different colors by mixing up what colors you layer together. 

After fussy cutting each flower and leaf, I played around with the arrangement. When I got things how I wanted them, I covered the whole arrangement with Glad Press n' Seal, and pressed down.. making sure to rub over all the different components of my arrangement so they all stuck to the plastic.

Doing this allows me to pick everything up (without things shifting) and flip it over to add adhesive. After the adhesive is added to the back, I can put it on the card where I want it, and gently peel off the Press n' Seal off and add a little glue to any areas that may need it. I have never had any problems with the adhesive on the plastic ruining a project... it is tacky enough to hold it, but won't hurt it. 

I die cut this awesome background using Tim Holtz's Mixed Media die, and layered that on top of a card base covered with a WRMK black Washi Sheet.... 

I wanted to add a little texture and bling, so I put some dry adhesive on my card, and made a messy nest of Angelina Fibers. I then glued the flower cluster over top to help ensure they don't go anywhere.

I really like these thin tinsel like, fusable fibers... There are so many things you can do with them! 
For more inspiration and techniques using these fibers, click HERE.

This project was inspired by Altenew's May inspiration challenge... I love all the amazing projects that get entered into this challenge! So much inspiration! Check it out HERE!



Saturday, April 29, 2017

yellow, blue... and Altenew..

Hello my fabulous friends!

After a couple days with sunshine, we are back to rain... Oh well, more crafting for me. LOL!

You may recognize this flower from my last post... I wanted to color the same image with my Zig Clean Color pens... Same flower, different look. I love that!

Ink: VersaMark, VersaFine Onyx Black, Sharpie Fine Pen,  Zig Clean Color Bright Yellow (052), Deep Green (044), Turquoise Green (042), Peacock Blue (038), Dark Brown (062)
Paper: Strathmore "Bristol", DCWV "Glitzy Pastels", Paper Studio "Country Road"
Other: Clear embossing powder

To start things out, I heat embossed several leaves and flowers with clear embossing powder on some bristol paper.

The flower was painted with Bright Yellow. After it dried, I added another layer of the same color into the shadows and blended it to help build the dimension.

(You can find a detailed tutorial on how I paint with these markers HERE)

The leaves are painted with a combination of Deep Green and Turquoise Green. (isn't that a pretty color combo for leaves?)

The little flowers were painted with Peacock blue

I added in some Dark Brown into the center of the flowers and the stamen.

I decided to add in a little more detail to the yellow flower, so added some stroke lines using Bright Yellow.

To finish things off, I fussy cut along the bottom edge of the flowers and matted it with some Glitzy paper... That was attached to the card base with foam. The sentiment was stamped in VersaFine ink.

The colors for this card were inspired by Altenew's April Inspiration Challenge. It's such a fun combo! 

The challenge is ALMOST over, but you still have a little time to join in the fun!



Thursday, April 27, 2017

chameleon pens and shimmery detail...

Hello my fabulous friends!

Today I wanted to share a fun twist with layering stamps, and also give a brief intro to Chameleon Pens.  
(Sorry it's picture heavy... I planned on doing this as a video, but ran into some lighting and camera set up issues... until they are fixed, I'm stuck with photos.


Ok... So for those who don't know, Chameleon Pens are an alcohol based marker that has a built in blending chamber to allow you to achieve multiple tones of the same color with a single pen. 

I have seen good and bad reviews for these... I can only share my personal experience, and that is limited. I was not paid, nor even asked to write this, however  I was sent these 5 pens as part of a design team thing.. that being said, I have enjoyed playing with them so much my parents bought me, for my birthday, not only the entire 52 pen set, but also the new color tops that have yet to hit the market... I believe the kickstarter thing said they would be shipping out sometime in May. I'm super excited!

I will say that there is a learning curve to them... but I would expect that when picking up a new medium or tool, so I don't see that as a negative, just inevitable. 

They are also longer than a normal marker.... this is because of the mixing chamber. I haven't felt that there is much of a problem with that since I generally take the chamber off when I'm coloring anyway.

 Ok... let's break this pen down... They have a brush nib on one side, and a bullet nib on the other. There are two caps (obviously)... one of the caps is a special cap that not only caps the marker, but ALSO caps the mixing chamber. The mixing chamber is filled with a colorless blending solution (the same solution that is in the blender pen), and has a nib inside the chamber.

These markers are refillable, and all THREE nibs are replaceable. 
The idea is, you take off the mixing chamber, and the cap for whichever nib you want to use (it works with both the bullet and brush nibs)

Then you put the marker nib into the chamber the same way you cap a pen and hold it vertically with the mixing chamber on top.

See how the mixing chamber nib is touching the marker nib? When held upright, the blending solution is pulled, by gravity, into the marker. This is called fusing. The longer you fuse, the lighter and longer the tonal blend will be.

Then you color... you can see that it transitions from a hint of pink into the darker pink as you color out the blending medium. 

*note: Don't leave the marker in mixing chamber while the pen is laying down... the colored ink will wick into the colorless blender... If this accidentally happens, hold the marker in the proper fuse position until all the colored ink has been pushed back into the marker...  If you can't get it all out, you can replace the mixing nib. However, if you leave it for long enough that the colored ink wicks all the way through the blending nib into the chamber, the only fix is buying a new pen.

So, you can get something like this using only one pen.

Now, to be honest, while it looks cool, it isn't really my style... it doesn't look organic enough for a flower... So... Here is what I do...

*for this tutorial, I have stamped the image on regular card stock using VersaMark ink. I then heat embossed with clear embossing powder. You don't have to heat emboss, you could just stamp the image with any ink that doesn't react to alcohol markers... I just chose to emboss.

Step 1: Using the bullet nib, add ink into the areas you want darkest using a flicking motion. For this step, don't fuse the marker... use it just like you would any other alcohol marker.

This step adds both depth to the shadows, and a little bit of texture to break up the tonal transition so it doesn't look quite so uniform across the petal. The the length of the flick and how many lines you add is up to you, and will change depending on what you are coloring.

Step 2: Fuse your pen and color your first petal with side to side strokes starting in your LIGHTEST area and moving into your dark areas. Make sure to overlap your strokes slightly

How long you fuse depends on the size of the area you are covering and how quickly you want it to blend back into the full color... Until I got an instinctual feel for it, I stamped an extra image on a scrap paper for me to test out different fuse lengths.  For this petal I did about 10 seconds.

Step 3: Fuse your pen again (I fused for about 6 seconds). This time color the petal using up and down strokes starting in the middle (marked by the little triangles) and working to the outside. 

Step 4: Fuse again, and repeat doing the other half of the petal.

Doing this adds some dimension and shadows to the petal giving a  more rounded look. It also, again adds texture and breaks up the uniform tonal change into something a little more organic.

Here the flower is finished using only 1 marker. 

Here you can see them side by side... Going through the extra steps gives the flower a lot more dimension and an organic feel.  You can choose which way you like the best, or come up with your own way.. this is just what I like to do.

Ok.. Now, let's take this a step farther.

This is where the layers to the layering stamp come in...

Step 5: Stamp the detail layer with the least amount of surface area (what is normally done in your darkest ink) with VersaMark. I'm using my MISTI because I find it the easiest way for me personally to get the perfect alignment on layers.

Step 6: Brush some Rangers Perfect Pearls over the image using a dry paint brush. The powder will stick to the VersaMark.

I'm using the Perfect Pearl color of Perfect Pearls, but I've done others with gold and it was very dramatic and pretty!

Step 7: Using a clean dry paint brush, brush off any loose powder. You are left with a beautiful shimmer adding detail to your flower.

Here it is with the light catching it.... isn't that AWESOME? 

You can add the Perfect Pearl details using the same technique but coloring the image with different markers, watercolors, or even stamping the the solid stamp as intended. It's just a fun way to add a little extra 'WOW' factor to your stamping. 

Ink: VersaMark; Memento Rich Cocoa; Chameleon Pens Peony Pink (PK4), Green Apple (GR1), Mellow Yellow (YO2)
Paper: SEI Poppy; white card stock, kraft
Other: Ranger Perfect Pearls Perfect Pearl; Pretty Pink Posh Sparkling Clear sequins; Angelina Fibers Blue Magic Crystalina; embossing powder