Friday, May 7, 2010

What's Perking? And More of the Little I Know about Coloring

In addition to Antique Engravings, last week's order included Hero Art's clear set titled What's Perking? It's another outline set, but much more my style than Antique Engravings, with clean lines and simple designs.

But they still need to be colored, so I tried several different techniques, just playing around. (Please know that you're only seeing the relative successes; there were plenty of failures filed in the trash!) The best way to learn is to play without fear of failure.

I LOVE that!

Since I put so much into coloring these images, I kept the card layout very simple and the same for all three cards. The oval stamp is from A Muse and provides a simple ground for the cups and coffee pot. It really is a must-have image as far as I am concerned (A Muse, you owe me for that!), but you can substitute an oval punched mask and sponging ink, too.

First up, colored pencils.

I don't use odorless mineral spirits or anything else to blend colored pencils. New readers may not yet know that I am allergic to anything that smacks of, you know, WORK. I'll look for shortcuts and easy substitutes and cheaper options whenever I can. Prismacolor makes a blender pencil that is colorless and works well to smooth out the pencil strokes and blend shading. The effect may not be the same as OMS or baby oil, but it's good enough for me.

Next up, a combination of Copic and Bic markers.

The dark gray is a Bic marker, but the light gray is the one Copic marker I bought with the intention of trying to outline images. My outlining ended up in the trash, but the light gray was perfect for this coffee pot.

Simplicity Tip: When you're cutting out images with open spaces like the inside area of the coffee pot's handle, use a craft knife to cut out the inner space first. Then, cut out the whole pot. In this case, I wouldn't have cut that area out at all, except I got sloppy coloring and went outside the lines.

Finally, just Bic Mark-It markers blended.

I'm struggling with getting a good blend using the green shades in the Bic Markers, but I have a few ideas. If they work, I'll share them, but the greens on the larger cup here seem a bit too flat to me, especially inside the cup. The yellows shaded and blended beautifully, I thought. I'll keep you posted.

Stamps: Hero Arts; A Muse oval
ink: Palette Noir, or maybe Memento tuxedo black; VersaColor for the ovals
paper: PTI
accessories: prismacolor pencils, Bic mark-it markers, dimensionals, one Copic marker; a little stickles on the first card because I was feeling whimsical


  1. i've noticed with the bics, only some of the color families blend well, and you need ALOTALOT of ink to get them to blend

  2. I haven't used the bics.....would be curious to see what you could use to blend them...
    very cute cards and great to let a gf know you are thinking about them!!

  3. Only just discovered your blog and I LOVE it. Thank you also for sharing all the techniques. I am still learning the art of colouring. I prefer to use 'normal' colour pensils or Koh-i-noors which I then blend either with OMS or with just a bit of a damp (water) sponge or soft brush. I have a couple of Copics but I don't feel very comfortable to use them ... too scared to ruin the image (LOL). But I will give it another go and will also try the Bic markers.

  4. Thanks for sharing your coloring attempts. I have this set, but haven't used it yet. I think the cards are fabulous.

    Thanks for the comment on my punctuation card, even though I cheated a bit and used mathematical symbols instead of punctuation.

  5. Susan, I love all these cards. They'd make great b-day cards, but also delightful notecards. I love the coloring and shading. You're good at this! And that oval base is sooo perfect. I'd better get one from HA. I looked through their site yesterday for the "swish" grounding you've put below trees, and I just can't find it. Might they have discontinued it? And I just got the Bic Mark-Its! I'm so excited! Thanks for your tips on cutting and shading --- I need them!

  6. Whoa! This is gorgeous stuff..I did not know you could blend prisma pencils so well without OMS. I have been going back and forth on trying to buy prisma I know I should..just one question though..for a beginner what set would you advise and where would be the best place to buy them? (I live in India and am totally dependent on my friends to buy me stuff)

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Sue, the swish is discontinued. Your best bet is ebay. It's in a clear set called Friendship Messages. There's another wood-mounted set of swishy shapes I use, but I can't remember its name off the top of my head. It's also discontinued.

    The oval I used on today's post is from A Muse...the large oval. The small oval is also a great stamp.

  8. Okay! I have to know what you blended your Bic markers with. I have a set, but they are SO bold, I don't know what to do with them. They do look very pretty in their clear clam-shell box! As always, your cards are wonderful, and I appreciate your coloring tips!

  9. Tejal,

    Ordinarily, my advice is to start small, play around, and see if you really like something before going all our and stocking up. In your case, however, that might not be so helpful. I bought most of mine individually over several years, buying a few shades of colors at a time when they were on sale, but I have access to them that way.

    If you're sure you want to color with Prismas, I'd go ahead and buy the biggest set I could afford. To my knowledge, none of the sets comes with a blender pencil, so you might need to get that separately. Also, definitely buy an electric pencil sharpener. It's WAY worth it to keep your points sharp.

    Good luck and happy coloring!

  10. So cute!! I really need to practice coloring a bit more. And thanks for the tip on cutting out the handles - just looking at them and thinking about cutting them out gives me the heebie jeebies.

  11. I'm back! I just realized, as I visited Donelda, that I was supposed to use flock on my card this week! I was such a nervous wreck over actually making a CAS card, that I totally forgot the flock! I fired???

  12. Copic? Didn't think I'd read about you using copics! I agree outlining with copics is really hard but then I'm trying to follow your advice to try without fear of failure (well I'm attempting this!). Really like these cards, I like the white card base but I think I prefer the green and yellow cups - the colours just pop! Hev:)

  13. so amazing for a job gal who doesn't like to color!!! Love that oval stamp!!

  14. That oval stamp is perfect for all sorts of things and I love your advice ~ "try without fear of failure" ...

    I'm not at all good at colouring and I suppose it's because I rarely do it but seeing how you've been able to use Bic Mark-It Markers, those are available locally and are SO inexpensive!!

    A question for you! I am planning on buying a couple of sets of Marvy brush markers that I've come across for stamping but wonder if also buying a set of Bic Mark-It's was redundant? Or, do they do 2 totally separate things? That proves to you just HOW green I am!!!


  15. Susan, your cards are beautiful, as always. Love the advice on coloring without fear. I don't use stamped images much because I don't feel I can meet my own expectations of how they "should" look. I admire so many stampers who really have a talent for coloring & shading. I'm in a whole different league ... Little League, that is. :-)

  16. I love the samples of different coloring techniques. I'm starting to decide I like copics for my base, and prismacolors for added depth. And your cut out coffee pot is more work than I can do. My cutting skills are awful ;)

  17. What cheerful cards, and so appropriate as I check in w/ my coffee every morning! LOL!

    "(Please know that you're only seeing the relative successes; there were plenty of failures filed in the trash!) The best way to learn is to play without fear of failure."

    Thanks for posting that, esp. after my glitterbomb experience last week...the key word is was fun! :)

  18. What a great set of cards - the images are really fun! I love the ones with the colored coffee cups - they just pop off the page!

  19. susan,
    i think you did a marvelous job with the coloring. and i'm so glad you clarified the copic status. i was about to fall on the floor until you said you only had one!!!!!!!
    i bought a few very light shades since by Bics seem soo bright and heavy. but my coloring skills range in the 5 to 6 yr old department. kinda like flat colors!!!!!!!!!
    have a great day.
    so good to always find you here.

  20. We've all gone Copic and Promarker crazy in the UK - I'm now collecting the latter and learning to use them.

    These cards have a freshness about hem that is most exhilarating - well done, Susan!

  21. Amazing cards and superb coloring. I also use blender pencil sometimes.
    Aquestion...which ink do you use if you blend prisma with baby oil, so that it doesnt smear??

  22. I'm seriously blown away by the elegance and simplicity of your cards! They are just beautiful. What inspiration I have found among the many posts I've spent reading and looking at! You do wonderful work and I've signed up to follow you so I don't miss anything! I'm also putting you on the side panel of my blog so that others can find you too! Great stuff! Best, Curt

  23. Those are fabulous, I'm all inspired to make some simple coffee cards!

  24. those cups and coffee pot, great colours! I also use a blender pencil with Prismas (it's a Derwent one, haven't seen a Prisma one around here) - the colours do seem to come alive when you mush them all together on the paper eh?

  25. I love your coloring. I am not good at it at all. I have a blending pen and have never used it. But I think I'll follow your lead and give it a try - thanks for the encouragement!

  26. Once again, you've done a beautiful job on these cards! I think your coloring is superb! I have copics and prismacolor...can't say I'm very good with either. BUT...I do practice without fear! LOL!

  27. Love your colouring and the style of these cards. That oval stamp is such a great idea for shadow

  28. These are all very fun and the oval really does ground them nicely.

    I've tried all kinds of coloring methods and, like you, I just don't like to spend a ton of time having to figure out different techniques or using many supplies to get the right look. So I generally just used regular old dye based markers.


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