February 23, 2018

One Image 3 Ways

I have a different type of post for you today. Colouring is all the rage so a comparison was in order. Copic vs watercolour vs 2 brands of pencils using the same peony image; Blooming Bunch by Studio Katia.

3 ways a

Here are all three version together. I tried to use similar colours but I did white emboss the watercolour version, gold embossed (after colouring) the pencil image with simple black stamping for the Copic flowers. This image is so intricate and detailed that no-line colouring would have been quite tricky given the size of the image. It was also quite tricky to edit this photo with the varying contrast! So for each colouring method below I’ll give you the pros and cons plus my overall impressions for my own colouring and skill level.

3 ways b

First up is the soft watercolour. This one is deliberately quite different than the others as I didn’t want to stay within the lines, define one petal from the next (except for the largest ones) or create realistic shadowing.

Pros: This is really fun! No stress, just paint mixing and slightly messily add the colour. Beginners can have a fun look quickly. Mid-priced paints, brushes and paper are easily available and work very well. There is something about painting that takes you back to being a kid in the best way  possible! Results can vary from rustic to sophisticated to playful with not too much effort. Portable. They are simple enough to set up and if you know colour mixing, you can travel with a very small number of colours in a travel palette.

Cons: Not usually a realistic or smooth style unless you are pretty experienced. If that’s the look you desire, this may not be your best medium. Mixing colours can be intimidating for someone who isn’t used to it. If you have full-set syndrome or always like to buy artist quality, you could be set back quite a bit of moo-lah! Can look very flat if you simply paint in an area without any shading.

My Take: this was the easiest, least time consuming and most fun. I will definitely approach this type of image using watercolour over and over.

3 ways c

The second version uses Copic markers. I used the flicking technique which you can do doubt see in some places as I’ve been working on achieving contrast more so than perfect smooth blends.

Pros: This was the most realistic to my eye. From a distance, the shadows look the most realistic. I love having a ton of colours to choose from without having to mix. That being said, I did blend the flower on the right. I wanted a peachy-corally pink and Copic seems to skip from very orangey pinks to purpley pinks with only the dusty rose shades of R80s in between!

Cons: If a colour you want isn’t there you can’t just mix it on a palette. You can make your own marker, use glazing (working in layers, that’s what I did here), or blend on a palette and pick it up with one of your markers. The super smooth blending we all try so hard to achieve isn’t the most realistic for organic subjects. I especially noticed this in the top left flower. Full set syndrome costs a pretty penny!! To me, these are only semi-portable. I always need a lot of markers so they aren’t ideal. But many people travel with a case for their markers so it can be done.

My Take: I’m a pretty experienced Copic colourist so these feel at home in my hands. But I don’t think they are the best medium for organic shapes for me. Even with the flicks I didn’t blend, it still feels too perfect. I may experiment with adding some coloured pencil especially to the shadowed areas of the top left flower.

3 ways d

Last but certainly not least are the coloured pencils or pencil crayons (Can/UK). These took the longest for me for sure. Double the 60 min I spent Copic colouring and quadruple the 30 min I spent on the watercoloured version, yep, 2 whole hours!! I stamped this on in kraft and worked on it before re-stamping in Versamark and embossing in gold when I was done. I did this to prevent the pencil from chipping the embossing which has happened to me before.

Pros: Mid-priced pencils are very cheap. They work on almost any paper and can be used on dark or mid-tone papers too! Even expensive pencils are still less than $2 each which laughs in the face of the $8-10 Copic Sketch marker and $15-25 Daniel Smith watercolour tubes. (approximate and in CAN $) Pencils give you instant texture even if all you do is apply a single colour to an area. They are very portable with most sets coming in a reusable package or tin.

Cons: These take time to apply! Definitely the longest of the three mediums. You may or may not like the texture achieved by these. I prefer to blend them with either my lightest colour or a white, ivory or pale grey. You can also use a blender pencil. This is an extra step I’d rather not take. (It is possible I’d be happier with a smoother paper. I’m still experimenting.) Even with full sets, you may feel like you are missing some colours you’d like especially if you are used to the infinite colours of watercolour or a huge collection of Copics. With watercolours, there are many premium brands which are fairly easy to find so any are a good choice. There is really only one brand of premium alcohol markers. Deciding which pencils to buy is a bit harder. Different brands are more a matter of taste than anything else so someone moving from mid-priced to premium might have a hard time deciding which will best suit them.

My Take: I might have spent more time getting greater depth in the shadows but my hand and wrist had enough! This will definitely NOT be my go-to for quick cards unless the colouring portion is minimal but I will use it a lot for textured images like critters, tree back, dirt, rocks etc. I’m trying to get used to the pencil texture as I’m more used to the smoothness with Copics and watercolour as I use them far more often. Can you guess which is Polychromos and which is Prismacolour? First I’ll tell you why I used both. I struggled to get three distinct pink shades just like I did with the Copics. So after colouring two flowers, the two lower ones, I switched from Poly to Prisma. I still ended up with a shade that was close to the lower left flower but just different enough. Adding the little yellow flicks to some petals helped sell it as a different variety of peony.

I love all three of these in the end and I fully intend to use all 3! By doing this experiment and even writing this post out for all of you, I have kind of sorted out which to use and when. I’d never pick crayons or watercolour for a metallic image, Copics reign. They are also best for me for a complex image. Most of my flowers from now on will be watercolour likely with some pencil for the deepest shadows. When I want to take something with me, I’ll grab my pencils. For pure fun and playtime, watercolours all the way.

I hope this post helped you or inspired you to do your own experiment. I’ve been posting far more on Instagram than here on my blog. Head on over and follow me! BecCreates1

Enjoy, Rebecca

February 09, 2018

Love is In the Air

‘Tis the season for love! Our challenge this week at Crazy 4 Challenges was to make a love or appreciation card. I also combined this with the PTI 11th Anniversary challenge to use one of their design team sketches from their favourite card from last year.

c4c 18 love felt heart

I used the sketch from Stephanie’s cotton candy card from Stamp-a-faire. I ADORED this card and made my own version of it. Because it is so puffy and thick AND cannot be squished, it’s been moving about my craft room as I can’t find a good place for it. And let’s face it, it’s too cute to put away! Link HERE.

For this card, I used PTI background paper, Simply Jane, felt and cardstock for die cutting. It’s really an awesome sketch, I’m sure I’ll be using it again. This also works for the other challenge, remake a card you’ve made. This one may not be masculine exactly but it’s far more restrained than the original card.

c4c paris love

The theme continues! I got on a roll with the love theme so I made another love card. If you are reading from a place where English isn’t your first language, S.W.A.K.  stands for Sealed With A Kiss. People, girls especially, used to kiss the back of envelopes with mail to their young men and leave a lipstick mark then they would write SWAK. Especially letters sent overseas to soldiers during war time. Cute right? Starting out, I knew I wanted to use this awesome Eiffel Tower themed paper. But I didn’t have an idea of what else I wanted to do until I pulled out the lipstick paper from the same Ooh La La pack from Craft Smart (Michaels).

I hope you will play along with us at C4C this week. It’s a fabulous and popular theme for this time of year. Even if you can’t play along, visit the site to see everyone else’s cards and leave a loving comment! (See what I did there??!!)

Enjoy, Rebecca

February 03, 2018

Doesn’t Everyone Like Hearts?

Hearts! That’s our theme for this week at Crazy 4 Challenges! I’ve always loved hearts so this was a pretty easy challenge! I even ended up making two cards because I was having so much fun with the challenge and the Simon Says Stamp card kit from November.

c4c 18 heart love card (2)

The first card uses the stunning embossed paper included in the kit. Oh my, this stuff is so gorgeous! (I really wish it showed up better here. But you can click on the photo to see it larger.) I’ve been hoarding it trying to think of a good way to showcase it. I wanted to die cut it but that might have squashed the embossing. So I just traced a Hero Arts heart die cut and cut it out by hand. The background was stamped with a woodgrain stamp but I wanted more contrast so I added lots of Copic airbrushing. When I was finished, the woodgrain stamping still showed up. But now, I can’t see it at all. Maybe the Copic ink reacted somehow with the chalk ink, I’ve no idea! I still like how it looks though. A couple of stickers from the kit, some messy thread and sequins and I was done!

heart and home card final

This card again uses a lot of items from the kit. The house and tree are stickers. The sign in the corner is from one of the papers with lots of squares meant to be cut apart. Each square has a different quote or sentiment and different backgrounds and accents. At least I think the are meant to be used separately, that’s always the way I use them. I even call them ‘cut-apart’ sheets! I added the hand-cut hills, twine, lace and the woodgrain paper. When you get a kit, do you usually use just the kit contents or do you add additional items? I almost never stick to just the kit contents but they are a great starting point.

The house and tree have fun foam behind them and so does the front hill. But I just added a BIG blob of Multi Medium matte underneath and very gently placed them down so the height was maintained. So very much easier than cutting a tiny foam square.

I hope you can play along with our challenge this week! Hearts are pretty easy so I hope lots of you head on over to C4C!

Enjoy, Rebecca

January 29, 2018

Spotlight on Spotlighting

Have you ever tried spotlighting? It’s a stamping and colouring technique where you set aside a section of your stamping to be coloured leaving the rest uncoloured. In the case of solid stamping, the areas that would usually be left blank are stamped in a neutral colour.

c4c 18 floral shadow miss you tag_thumb[1]

For my card, I cut a tag just using my paper trimmer so it would be the perfect size for my card front. Starting at the top left, I placed my Altenew Floral Shadow stamps on the base white cardstock. I arranged them all so each stamp was on both the base and the tag leaving a bit in the center for the sentiment. I stamped each stamp first in grey on the base in my MISTI then I aligned the tag on the grid paper using some repositionable adhesive and stamped on it using Altenew coloured ink.

Using the MISTI makes a card like this so much easier. I have made one like it using a T-shaped stamp positioning tool but it was so much harder! Gotta love my MISTI. I also have the Tim Holtz stamp positioner but I mostly use it with rubber cling stamps. When the stamping was all done, I popped the tag up on some fun foam after adding an eyelet and some fibres.

Enjoy, Rebecca

Do Opposites Attract?

It’s time for another challenge from Crazy 4 Challenges. This week was to use opposites. There were so many options it actually made it a bit harder than some other weeks. Too many options can be overwhelming right? LOL!!

c4c 18 hello opposites

I finally settled on opposite colours and patterns. While not exactly true opposites, I thought that bright colours vs neutrals and a random, organic pattern vs a very linear, graphic pattern worked pretty well for this challenge. The floral paper is from a Simon Says Stamp kit from last year and the striped pattern is actually cut from a sheet of washi paper.

The sentiment was cut from both pink and black cardstock which I had attached to some cheap white cardstock as a base. That way I didn’t have to piece the two colours afterwards. I added some Wink of Stella glitter pen to the Hello. A few sequins, including a spliced one which helped emphasize the opposite theme, finished this card. There are a few clear gems you can’t see too. That part looks much better IRL.

We at C4C all hope that you can play along! It’s a really fun challenge right? Big and small, high and low, black and white, opposites on the colour wheel, light and dark, north and south, land and sea, earth and space, old and young, there are so many possibilities!

Enjoy, Rebecca