Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Coloring 101: Bics and Sharpies

Bic Mark-It markers and Sharpie markers, A.K.A the Poor Stamper's Copics, are perfectly adequate substitutes for the much more expensive Copics. I have two reasons for not committing to the Copics. First, I am an ambivalent colorer. After all the coloring I've done in the past two weeks or so, I will be happy to have at least a few months of rocking and rolling on block stamps before touching another Prisma pencil, marker, or watercolor again.

Second, given my ambivalence to coloring, it's rather shocking the diversity of coloring media I hoard own. These include watercolors, watercolor pencils, watercolor crayons, Twinkling H2Os, prisma color pencils, Bics, Sharpies, SU markers (the full 48-color set), aqua painter and SU reinkers, and chalk.

Wow. That list is highly embarrassing. But I think it definitely explains my strength of resistance to the allure of Copics. If, unlike me, you enjoy coloring or have lots of money to spend, I will say that, in my admittedly limited experience, Copics work better than Bics or Sharpies, both in blending more easily and in color selection. Perhaps the biggest problem with using these Copic substitutes is that the colors tend to end up being pretty intense. I understand you can get lighter results with Copics. You get what you pay for, but in this case, the cheap substitute will work in a pinch, as long as you're not too picky.

When I bought the Bics and Sharpies, I made a sort of cheat sheet to experiment with blending. It's come in handy for remembering which colors blend better.


Here are some of the combinations I used in today's tutorial. Aren't all the colors pretty?


Below is the method I've pieced together from various blog tutorials and videos and a bit of practice (a very little bit). If you really want to learn how to do this sort of shading, I highly recommend looking for a mentor more confident and experienced than I. But if you're happy with a little knowledge, I'm your woman.

To start, stamp your images in Memento or Palette black ink on PTI white or Gina K deluxe cardstock. I can't tell a difference in the blending on either paper, but the Gina K will not bleed through and is therefore preferred for one-layer cards.

Start coloring by taking the lighter shade and covering the entire area. [Note: the blue butterfly is finished, the green one just has one layer of light green sharpie.]


Then, add an area of the darker shade using small, circular penstrokes.


Go back over the dark and light areas with the light marker, working out from the dark area toward the lighter area. In my experience, this one pass is inadequate to get a really nice blend, so add more dark ink.


Then, go over the whole thing again with the light marker with small circles, repeating until you have the color blend you want. This second pass of the light color should give you a lovely blend.


I repeated this on a bunch of butterflies to make these. I cut one out, thinking to use them as I had used the butterflies from the Twinkling H2O post, but alas, I got lazy.


So I pulled out a 1" square punch and made a very simple grid. Unfortunately, the two gems in the corner are a bit too big, but I like the colorful effect of the butterflies anyway. And see how I used that one butterfly I cut out? Clever, eh?


For this second card, I used Gina K paper (the aqua is PTI) because I wanted to stamp the butterfly directly on the card base. Despite laying down a lot of ink, there is no bleed-through on the inside of the card.



And now you know everything I know about shading with Bics and Sharpies.

Supplies
Stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white, aqua; Gina K Deluxe white
accessories: rhinestones, markers, punches

46 comments:

  1. Great tutorial and beautiful cards!

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  2. Thanks for posting this. It's a great tutorial especially for someone like me who will never own copics (unless of course I win the lotto).

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  3. Tee hee...I'm afraid it will have to be the lottery for me, as well, if I'm ever to have Copics! I own four Copics + one blender. I have no clue what to do with them. Thanks for showing the tutorial on the Sharpies, as I DO own those! Lovin' that butterfly card! Your gems are just the right size! Loved your cards yesterday too, don't know why I didn't get here??? My favorite was the first one!

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  4. Great tips. They all apply to Copics as well. One question I have - does the paper "pill" when applying several layers of Sharpies or Bics? I'll have to get some of GinaK's paper to try. Wonderful card. And BTW - I'm not wealthy - I've just slowly added Copic colors as I can afford, over two years. That's good because it makes me practice with what I've got - but it's also very frustrating to have a limited supply when wanting to be able to practice some of what the "Big Guns" teach on their blogs. Thanks for a great post.

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  5. Sue,

    I have never had the paper pill on me at all...either PTI or Gina K. I use a very light touch with the pens, but I do lay down a lot of ink, esp with the Bics and Sharpies, where the blending takes longer to achieve. GinaK's paper is very, very smooth and heavy. After using PTI for two years, it feels weird using something so smooth!

    Susan

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  6. Great Tutorial and love both the cards. TFS.

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  7. what a great tutorial post!! and I am totally in love with your grid butterfly card!! Awesome!!

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  8. Thank you SO much for this tutorial! I would love to own a set of Copics, but I could not possibly afford them. Perhaps Santa will bring me some this Xmas. :)

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  9. Simplicity in everythng...even in coloring and shading...you always bring it down to simple (defined for me as quick, easy and not intimidating and fruggle) love to learn how to use what I already have...
    blessings
    patti moffett

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  10. Thanks for the great tutorial Susan. Love the cards!

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  11. The tutorial is great and comes in handy just now because I went out and bought a set of those Bic markers you refer to so this tutorial will be used over the next week as I practice!

    I just LOVE your butterfly grid card ~ I'm going to have to case it for certain using different images :o)

    Love the 2nd one too, but the grid one is just FABULOUS!!

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  12. Who knew sharpies could work so well! Love the colourful grid butterflies and cutting off part of the wing adds a touch of whimsy!

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  13. Thanks for the tutorial. I cannot afford Copics either. I will look for the Bics or Sharpies and try out your paper recommendations also. Right now I have Martha Stewart markers and rarely use them because coloring is so hard for me and I've had trouble with paper pilling. I really appreciate your providing economical alternatives to the costly Copics.

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  14. What a great tutorial Susan! I love the BF grid - must case! Have a great day!

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  15. I had no idea you could shade with Sharpies. Thanks for the great tutorial.

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  16. Thank you for the great tutorial! I was hoping to find a substitute for copics and this is perfect!!!

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  17. Thanks a ton for this wonderful tutorial...I am on a learning curve now..but please tell me one thing, sometimes the ink just blots way fast before I can start applying..even just touching the tip of the Sharpie, makes the ink blot into a large dot.
    Is this because of the paper I use? Do these work as well on watercolor paper?

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  18. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I have lots of sharpies and won't be venturing into the world of copics anytime soon, so I'm glad to finally have instructions on how I can use what I have. Your blog is always so informative - thanks again.

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  19. Tejal, having the right paper is critical to this technique, which is why I specified PTI or GinaK cardstock. I've used other sorts of papers and not had as good a luck, although Bristol Board seems to work okay, and you might find that more easily. I've never tried them on watercolor paper before. Lots of Copic fanatics swear by the super-smooth cardstock from GinaK, which really is wonderful. I don't know what you have available to you, but you might want to experiement with different types and see what works best for you.

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  20. Great post Susan. I could be wrong but I think Australia is a fair way behind in all these different colouring pens. All the information I have gathered has been from PTI and related sources OS. I was unaware of Sharpies but am very happy with the results I am getting with my limited number of Copics

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  21. Oh, SUSAN!!! What a cool layout on that first white card with the 4 squares and b-flies! LOVE!!!

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  22. Clever you are!!! This first card is sheer genius"Love everything about it and don't mind those gems that you find too big! Thanks for tips on coloring!

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  23. Your cards are amazing. Thank you for the tutorial. And thank you for mentioning the type of paper you used. I am still on the outlook for a paper without bleeding ... I now just need to find it here in the UK (LOL). I

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  24. Wonderful instructions. I've been contemplating my coloring ability, and know it is lacking. I'm hoping your instructions will help. Thanks.

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  25. LOVE these cards! Really, Ms. Lateblossom, how do you keep out-doing yourself? And the tutorial was great: visual and easy to understand. Thanks!

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  26. Thanks for the tutorial. I had no idea that Sharpies could do this??? I guess I've been living under a rock! LOL Great job and love your cards, especially the 4 butterfly one.

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  27. Excellent tutorial. I decided not to wait for you and stamped a flock (?) of b'flies esterday for fun. I sponged, I Sharpied, I watercolour markered. It was great fun, and your tute will add to what I learned on my own. :) I think it's neat that all over the place, CASEs of your first card are going to appear over the next few days! Thanks for all you do for us loyal followers, Susan. :)

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  28. Love both the cards, Susan. Your coloring tips are great and the cheat sheet is a really good idea. Thanks for sharing!

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  29. Love your cards and also the tutorial on the Sharpies. I own lots of Sharpies but only a few Copics. I, like others, will only own a lot of Copics if I win the lottery. Copics are just too expensive and I'd rather spend that money on new stamps lol!

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  30. You are so clever. I see that you used green for both the word "flight" and for the butterfly you cut out. Great touch!

    The second card is so well-balanced, with the scallop border mimicking the curved butterly wings. Makes my balance-loving nature sigh with happiness.

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  31. Great tutorial Susan and I was very impressed with the results. Great cards too!! Hugs Kate xx

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  32. There are so many of us that can't go the Copics route right now and your detailed information for alternatives will truly help us. Lovely results and thanks for the new ideas on your great cards.

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  33. Fabulous cards! Adore your designs. Love how the colors pops. Great blending with the Bic's.

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  34. Terri (blindstamper)May 19, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    Wonderful tutorial and great cards! Like you, I have all the coloring options, but rarely use them (too tedious with poor eyesight and a magnifying galss!). Thanks for sharing!

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  35. What a wonderful tutorial - simple and EXTREMELY useful! Thanks so much for having an email sign up - I love getting your blog on a daily basis! Amazing how beautiful a OLC can be! I have cased a few! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

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  36. Thank you, thank you!!! I thought I was one of a few untalented cardmakers that just refused to use Bic markers!! I bought a huge pack of Bics at Michaels and used the 50% coupon so got them at a great price! They have always worked great for me but I just didn't know how to blend them! Now I do and I will stick with them even if I win the lottery!! OK, maybe I will buy another pack of them if I do!! I can find a better use for my craft dollars!

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  37. You're my gal. I feel exactly the same way about Copics as you do. All I see is $$ signs plus I don't have the talent, so it's an easy decision whenever I get the least bit tempted. I just look at your beautiful cards and I know that is where I belong. Thanks for the affirmation.

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  38. Thanks for your tutorial.

    I love that butterflies card. Lovely.

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  39. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Susan for your valued directions. I am just now getting "brave" enough to even try any shading with my coloring, and I own both Bics and Sharpies. Your blog is a real treasure! :)

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  40. Great tutorial, Susan! I didn't realize that Sharpies came in so many different colors! The blending looks as good as Copic coloring! Very impressive!

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  41. I can't imagine where I was on May 18th and 19th that I missed this fabulous tutorial. But I have looked for Sharpies since you first mentioned them and all I find is sets of 8, mostly primary colors. I have zillions of LePlume and Tombow markers but have been unable to blend them. Next trip to Michaels (more than an hour away, I'll go with a coupon and get the sharpies and maybe life will be all fine again.

    The intensity of the Copic colors puts me off, and I'm worried I might feel the same way about sharpies. PrismaColors I've loved, but I added to my skimpy set, to get some flesh tones, and they no longer blend with Gamsol since Mexico is where they have gone for production. I finally got a Prismacolor Blender Pencil but that is only slightly better than no blending at all. VERY frustrating. By the way, the pilling of paper when blending is caused by trying to blend what doesn't want to blend. Too much pressure simply damages the surface of the paper. Been there, done that way too much, even on Gina K. paper.

    This is a GREAT tutorial and I'm glad you linked to it because I otherwise would have missed it. Thanks a bunch, you talented lovely generous person.

    Bahb

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  42. WOW! These are gorgeous! Thanks for the tips.

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  43. Thank you for the tutorial! Someone sent me a link to ur blog from a forum where I had asked about a cheaper alternative to copics.. Im glad they linked me here.. i'll have to try this! and your cards are amazing!

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  44. this will help with my graffiti

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Thank you so much for taking time to comment!