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


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

simple thanks...

Hello my fabulous friends!

I want to thank you for your patience.. I haven't posted in a while.

A couple weeks ago, I sustained a head injury... I'll be fine, but I've had a lot of headaches, dizzy spells, and a hard time concentrating. Every time I sat down to try to create something I just couldn't do it... It has been very frustrating!

I was finally able to put together a simple card today, so I think I'm on the mend! 

Inks: VersaFine Onyx Black; Altenew Warm & Cozy set; Hero Arts Lime Green, Green HillsVersaMark
Paper: Die Cuts With a View
Other: White embossing powder

This is a simple card that was very quick to put together. I stamped the flowers in black, then stamped in the various layers of color. I've been wanting to try out my new orange Altenew inks, so I thought this was a great opportunity. 

After stamping,  fussy cut along one edge of the flowers and layered it over some patterned paper. I also heat embossed the sentiment on one of the stripes from the patterned paper so that the color matched perfectly.

I'm thinking that I might make a few more in different colors like fuchsias and yellows since I have leftover patterned paper. This is the kind of card that is super easy to mass produce!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Saturday, April 8, 2017

twinkle twinkle little bear...

Hello my fabulous friends!

Remember the 30 day coloring challenge in March? Well, here is one of the images I colored for that challenge....

This is an old stamp from Crafters Companion, but I love it, and I thought it would be perfect to welcome my cousin's baby later this summer.

I kept it pretty simple to finish it off... I layered it on some patterned paper and then onto a card base. I also added a sentiment. The sentiment is actually one stamp, however I only inked up a portion at a time so I could use different colors and make it fit how I wanted it to. 

Stamps: Crafters Companion Shooting Stars; Unity Twinkle Twinkle
Ink: VersaFine Onyx Black; VersaMark;  Zig Clean Color Pale Rose (230), Olive Green (043), Mid Green (046), Pale Green (045), Haze Blue (302), Orange (070), Light Pink (026), Brown (060), Pale Pink (028), Light Brown (061), Mustard (067), Bright Yellow (052), Oatmeal (064), Light Gray (091), Blue (030), Dark Brown (062), Green (040), Cornflower Blue (037)
Other: Clear embossing powder, white embossing powder

Now to store it in a safe place until it's time to send it and not forget where that "safe place" is... 
Wish me luck! LOL!


Monday, April 3, 2017

blue flowers...

Hello my fabulous friends!

It's a new month, and that means new challenges!

Today I'm playing along with Altenew's Inspiration Challenge...

 Aren't those color GORGEOUS?!?!

It's definitely not a color combo that I normally work with, but I'm kinda really LOVING it! Especially the blue with the teal... swoon!

 That's one of the things I love about participating in challenges... It forces me out of my normal 'ruts' and I find new ideas that I adore!

 Here's my take...

Other: clear embossing powder; Pretty Pink Posh Sparkling Clear sequins

I started by stamping the images with VersaMark on bristol paper, and heat embossing it with clear embossing powder. I then put down a layer of Cornflower Blue, and added in some Blue and Turquoise  Green in the shadows, blending it out with water.

(If you want to see a step by step of how I do varigated flowers with Zig Clean Color markers, you can check it out by clicking HERE and HERE...)

BTW... The black you see along the bottom edge in that photo is actually the BACK side of my MISTI... It is magnetic, so I just use the MISTI magnets to hold my paper in place while watercoloring. Pretty cool, huh?  It makes it super easy to adjust, and move around while I'm working.

The leaves were done first in Deep Green, then Turquoise Green  was added in... I actually am really loving that color combo, and my 'go to' green blend for leaves may be changing!

I had a hard time getting the yellow flowers just how I wanted, so even though they are tiny, they are a blend of 3 colors... Bright Yellow, Lemon Yellow, and Light Brown. 

I then stamped my sentiment (using two different stamp sets... I love that you can do that to create your own sentiment!)

And hand sketched a border using a Distress Marker... I love that they have the plastic nib on the one side so you can doodle fine lines with them!

To finish things off, I added some 3mm clear sequins... However,  that didn't quite look right, so I colored them yellow with the YO2 Chameleon pen... Since these pens are alcohol based, they work beautifully on plastic. Use the bullet nib so you don't damage the super soft brush nib.  (You should be able to use whatever alcohol markers/inks you have to do this...)

What I do, is take a 3 pieces of masking tape... The first one goes on my desk sticky side up. The other two go on the ends of the first piece, sticky side down to tape the tape to my desk.. Then I can just stick the sequins onto the sticky tape and color away. It has enough tack to hold the sequins while coloring, but they come off really easy when you are done. It works great!

(and yes, I know the picture above shows pink sequins, but it is a lot easier to show in a photo how well the markers change the look of the sequins with a darker color. The yellow is light and subtle (which I LOVE, but it doesn't photograph quite as well...)

Anyway... There is actually some sunshine today (3rd day in a row!!!! I think we are going for a record!)  So I'm going to go soak it in. :)


Friday, March 31, 2017

Zig Clean Color tips and tutorial...

Hello my fabulous friends!

I'm sorry my poor blog has been slightly neglected the last few weeks... I've been busy with thedailymarker30day color challenge, and posting daily on my Instagram account. (click HERE to check it out!)

Most of what I did for the daily challenge was coloring images, not completing projects, so I didn't have much to blog about... The good news is,  I now have a bunch of things colored and waiting to be turned into cards and blog posts. ;)

That being said, I've had some people asking questions about how I colored some of the images. I know I've done walk throughs for this in the past, but I took some pictures of my experiment with pinks and purples and thought I'd share it here in hopes of answering the questions I got. 

Step 1: Stamp the images (Altenew Spring Daisy) on Bristol paper using VersaMark ink and heat emboss the images with clear embossing powder.

What this does is create invisible lines that you won't see until the color is added, and once the color is there, it remains delicate and subtle. I love the look! It also makes watercoloring easier... the embossed lines will resist the watercolor and create little wells, making it easier to "stay in the lines".

Step 2: Add your first color (Lilac 083) one petal at a time by scribbling some ink into the areas that will be the shadows (for me, near the center of the flower and wherever petals overlap). Use a water brush or slightly damp paint brush to pull the color out into the lighter areas. This can take a little practice, but once you get the feel of how much ink and water to use, it goes pretty quick. 

Step 3: Once your first color is dry, add your second color (Pale Rose 230) the same way you did the first layer... One petal at a time, scribbling a little ink into the shadows and using your damp brush to blend the color out. You will need a lot less of this color.. This is to create variations of color, so you don't want to completely cover your first layer, just add a little interest. I only added the pink to SOME of the petals...

Step 4: Add your third color (Violet 080) the same way you added your second color... This time, color most of the petals you didn't add pink to, and a few of the ones you did add pink to.. This creates a lot of variation and interest to your flower. 

Remember to keep your shadows and highlights in mind. 

Step 5: Color the center (Yellow 050) and blend it with water. Dab off some areas with a  paper towel to create some variation.

Step 6: Color around the outer edge of the inside of the flower (Light Brown 061). Blend inward with water, leaving the center Yellow. Dab off some areas with a paper towel. 

Step 7: Add your first color to your leaves (Mid Green 046) the same way you did with the petals.

Step 8: Add your second color (Olive Green 043) into your shadows and blend out the same way you have for the rest of the project.

Now you have a gorgeous variegated flower!  I love this color combo!

1) Practice! It can take some practice to figure out how much ink and water to add for the effect you want. 

2) Patience! About halfway through the first color I look at the coloring and think it looks awful and want to throw it away. For a long time I thought I just couldn't watercolor well, but then I finally figured out that if you STICK WITH IT, and finish all the layers, it ends up looking awesome!

3) Keep scraps of the same paper you are working on near by so you can test out your colors, try layering in a different order (yes, that can change the look!), and just figure out what you are doing without risking your project. 

4) Paper towels! You can lighten your colors or add highlights by going over the area you want lighter with clean water and then dab it off with a clean paper towel... The smoother the better. If you have a very textured paper towel, that texture will transfer... So, unless that is what you are going for, smoother is better.

5) Went outside the line? Don't throw it out! Try painting over it with clean water and dabbing it up with a paper towel. You may need to do this a few times, but for most colors, I've had a lot of luck "erasing" mistakes.

6) Use a CLEAN paper towel! Yes, I have ruined a project by using a paper towel that had dark red ink on it when I was working with yellow.... Ink on the paper towel will react to the water on your project, and you will end up with colorful splotches in places you didn't want that color.

7) Wet the whole area! What I mean by this is, when you add layers. make sure you wet the whole area... clean water where you want to keep the current color, and the blend of the new color where you want that. This will help keep a smooth look. When you rewet some areas of watercolor, but not the whole area, when it dries it tends to leave harsh dark lines along the edge of where the water was... 

8) Experiment! Try mixing different colors. Try layering them in different orders. Try adding more or less ink, or water.... you can get so many different looks just by making small adjustments.

9) Have fun! After all, that is what it is all about!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

spring coloring...

Hello my fabulous friends!

Despite all the rain we've been getting, signs of spring are finally here! Deer, Eagles, daffodils... even humming birds! Soon the bunnies will start making an appearance in the yard. 

In honor of spring, this is yesterday's coloring challenge piece.

I love this bunny stamp... It's from a set I got free with a magazine quite a while ago... 

Ok, let's be honest, I bought the magazine for the stamp set... LOL!

Here's the finished card..

Stamps: Michael Abrams Somebunny to Love; Altenew Painted Butterflies
Ink: VersaFine Onyx; Altenew Evening Gray; Zig Clean Color Light Brown (061), Brown (060), Mustard (067), Blue Gray (092), Bright Yellow (052), Green Gray (093), Oatmeal (064), Pale Pink (028), Mid Green (046), Olive Green (043), Light Blue (036), Pale Green (045), Lemon Yellow (051), Light Gray (091), Light Pink (026), Lilac (083), Pale Rose (230), Haze Blue (302)

The pot was colored with Light Brown as the base color, and Brown to build the shadows.

I wanted to keep the daisies white, but also look natural and soft, so I started with Blue Gray in the shadows and a very watered down Mustard in a few areas to grunge it up a bit. The center is Bright Yellow and Mustard.

The stem and leaf are my go to greens.. Mid Green and Olive green. 
The bunny is Green Gray, Oatmeal and Pale Pink.

All the fun patches, and little extras are colored with Light Blue, Pale Green, Lemon Yellow, Light Gray, Light Pink, Lilac, Pale Rose

I finished it off with a very light wash of Haze Blue... 

I doodled a border with a sharpie liner pen, and a simple sentiment from Altenew's Painted Butterflies.

Here's to spring... and hopefully some sunshine!