Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Various Ink Technique Series - #1 Basic Polished Stone

I. Am. So. Excited.

Many years of education, self discovery and sharing with my fellow crafters have lead me to put together a lengthy series of Technique Tutorials featuring Various Ink Refills.  Some of you may not recognize the word "Various" right away.  "Various Ink" is what fills your Copic Markers.  Obviously being able to refill your markers is very very cool, but there is a whole world of techniques that have been developed since the first alcohol based ink was introduced many moons ago. 

Since then, several companies have developed lines of these inks and talented artists have pushed the limits of what they can do.  Over the next few weeks I hope to share the basics of working with alcohol based ink and share with you some of the techniques that I find most fascinating. 

So far, I have at least twenty tutorials to share with you and know that there are more gelling in brain.  There are several tools that are essential for me, when working with these inks.

Essential Supplies and Tools:
1.  Non-Stick Craft Sheet (Ranger) - there is literally nothing that will stick to this 15x18 inch mat which is essential when you want to clean up your after your project.  You will also see in many of the tutorials that the sheet is a tool for applying the ink itself.

2. Alcohol Ink Applicator Tool and Replacement Felt (Ranger) - the applicator and felt allow you to apply the ink to all sorts of surfaces.  Yes, you could make the handle itself and buy felt from the craft store, but this I find the handle essential in creating even coverage over your project.  It's very important that you are able to turn the tool smoothly and quickly as you apply ink.  The way this handle was developed allows you to do this.  The felt is also thinner than the craft felt which means that won't absorb too much ink and will keep the ink closer to the surface of the felt.

3.  Metallic Mixatives in Copper, Gold, Pearl and Silver (Ranger) - these metallic inks allow you create on darker surfaces as well as creating shimmer in your backgrounds.  Pearl is the first one I would add to my collection if I didn't have any.

4.  Various Ink Refills - there are literally hundreds of colors to chose from!!  I believe these bottles of ink are a tool all on their own, even if you don't work with Copic Markers to color your images.

5.  Various Ink Colorless Blender Solution - a must have for several of the techniques as well as clean up.

6. Glossy Cardstock - this is an entire post all on it's own, but for now I will recommend Ranger's Glossy White and Black.

7.  Archival Ink (Ranger) - this ink has unusual chemical properties that allows it to stamp with excellent and bold coverage over the strength of the alcohol ink.  I *highly* recommend it in Jet Black, Coffee and Sepia, but you will see me use other colors as well.

8.  Mini Mister (Ranger) - also important for several techniques using the Colorless Blender Solution.  Have several on hand.

I will be suggesting more supplies as the techniques become more complex.

Technique #1 Supplies:
-white glossy cardstock
-ink applicator tool and felt
-Various Ink Refills in YG03 Yellow Green, B02 Robin's Egg Blue, B29 Ultramarine

Step 1 - Squeeze Various Ink "into", as opposed to "onto" the felt applicator.  Don't drip the ink on because you are likely to add more ink than you need.  Press the tip of the refill to the felt and squeeze for a few seconds.  I have added three colors to my applicator in a triangle pattern.  Why a triangle?  Why three?  In short, odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye and the triangle pattern will give you the most even, yet randomized pattern.

Step 2 - Something I have discovered is that pressing the applicator to your Non-Stick Craft sheet one time before moving to your paper will help to even out the ink and give you the best possible first impression.

Step 3 - Pounce the applicator onto the glossy card stock with enough force that you are pounding it with some force.  After teaching dozens of students how to use alcohol inks I have discovered that most are too timid at first. Get your frustrations out!  Hit that paper hard!  As you go, turn the tool with almost every application to the paper.  This will help to keep the pattern random.

Step 4 - Move over the entire area of the cardstock.  If you were to stop at this stage, you coverage will be fairly even with no small pools of ink.  This is the most bold coverage, but also the least blended as you will see in a few steps.

Step 5 - Once the ink has dried, which will just take a few seconds, you can move over the surface again to create small circles or pools of ink.  This step will also help to blend the colors together.  The more you repeat the application, the more texture that will be build up.  You can stop at this step if you are happy with the result.

Step 6 - Next we are going to introduce Colorless Blender to the technique.  CB will soften the colors and of course blend and even the the pattern even further.  Add several drops of CB to the same felt that you had the original colors on.

Step 7 - Repeat the pouncing application over the surface the same way you applied the colored ink.  In the picture below, I have added Colorless Blender to the left half on the cardstock only so you can see the difference.

Step 8 - I have added applied Colorless Blender to the entire surface below.

Part 2

You may not know that all of the beautiful ink left on your craft sheet need not go to waste!  The following technique will allow you to create backgrounds and really stretch your pennies.

Step 1 - Fill a Mini Mister will Colorless Blender.

Step 2 - Spritz blender over the dried alcohol ink.

Step 3 - Press your cardstock glossy side down to the wet ink.

Step 4 - Here is the result of just one application.

Step 5 - Repeat pressing the paper to the ink until you have created the background you like.  Try pressing it into different parts of the ink and turn the cardstock as well.  If the ink dries again, just add more blender from the mister.

Step 5 - Here is my first piece from this printing process.

Step 6 - Here is the second generation piece, when there was less ink left on the mat.  Much more soft and subtle.

Clean Up - cleaning up the left over ink on you mat is a snap.  Apply a small amount of Colorless Blender from the bottle to you craft sheet and wipe clean with a dry paper towel.

Final Card

I like to keep my designs simple when working with a busier background like this one.  There is so much going on with the texture and color that competition needs to be kept to a minimum for my eye.  I have stamped the Chrysanthemum and Beautiful Day Sentiment (A Muse) with Jet Black Archival Ink and added Glossy Accents over the petals of the flower for dimension.  The focal is mounted on Grass Cardstock (Hero Arts).  I will talk about the plethora of products that work over Alcohol Inks in the coming posts and some of the ones that don't.  I will also cover what types of images are most suited as well as my favorite color combinations.

So, where to buy Various Ink Refills and the supplies for these technniques?  For online customers, the only business I would recommend is Ellen Hutson, LLC.  Her commitment to education and customer service are second to none in this industry.

For those lucky enough to be able to vist Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, I recommend Be Creative Rubber Stamps.  Haroldine, the owner, is very committed to the Copic product line and carries ALL Various Ink Refills.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Split Screen Tutorial

Hello A Muse Friends!

I have literally had dozens of requests for a tutorial on this technique and will happy to provide one in the near future.  :^)

I am completely distracted by this fabulous release and just want to keep creating so very badly - but alas, I have other work to do.

Happy Thursday,

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Muse Birthday Blog Hop

Julie, my Julie barely got the words out of her mouth before I said "YES" to participating in the A Muse Birthday Blog Hop!  I have always been a fan of A Muse and their simple whimsical images.  This latest release, Everything's Rosy is a wonderful addition to their repitoire. 

I am a pretty intense technique stamper, but wanted very much to keep with the spirit of A Muse in my final design.  Think Simple.  Think A Muse.

My first card features Bursting Blooms and is stamped as a split screen.  Supplies:  Jet Black Archival and Distress Embossing Ink (Ranger), Lettuce Adirondack Embossing Powder (Ranger), Green at Heart 6x6 Paper Pad (Basic Grey), Glassene Butterfly Punch (Martha Stewart), Black Diamond Stickles (Ranger), Raspberry Cardstock (Memory Box).

My second card features Bursting Blooms again and the Beautiful Day sentiment, but this time I stamped them into 4 layers of Wild Plum Embossing Powder.  Supplies:  Pitch Black Adirondack Pigment Ink, Cherry Blossom and Bayou Cardstock (Memory Box), white pearls and White Twinchie Squares.

I apologize for this photo!  It was really hard to capture such soft colors.  :)  The Queen Anne's Lace was stamped on vellum with Snow Cap Pigment Ink and then embossed with a VERY small stylus tool.  The image was then turned over and embellished with Clear Spica Glitter Pen.  The pretty little "hello" sentiment was stamped with Baby Blue Opaque StazOn.  Supplies: Pale Blue Arturo Note Cardwhite pearl, mini glue dots.

The Bursting Blooms were just begging to be letter pressed, in my humble opinion.  *wink*  I stamped the blooms on a Pale Pink Arturo note card and then again on Craft-a-Board.  I fussy cut out the image from the Craft-a-Board and then ran it through the Big Shot secured with Judikins Eclipse Tape to ensure it stayed over the stamped image.  I REALLY love the results!  All images were stamped with Coffee Archival Ink (Ranger).  Clear Glass Glintz (8mm) were secured over the center of the blooms with Glossy Accents.

The sentiment is also new with this release - Dreams Take Flight.

Last but not least, I colored the entire Gossamer Wings butterfly with the Quickie Glue Pen and dusted the image with Warm Hightlight Microfine Glitter (Glitter Ritz).

Thank you so much for hopping along and celebrating A Muse art stamps with us today!  I am sure you have seen all sorts of eye candy already and there are still more talented stampers to visit. 

Your next stop is Emily Montenaro -

Please be sure to leave a comment on this post for a chance to win Bursting Blooms and the Beautiful Day sentiment!!  Winners will be announced on Monday May 10th on the A Muse Blog.  The grand prize winner will be chosen randomly from all comments on all blogs, so the more you comment, the more chances you have to win.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Inchie Fold Out Book

Just a quick note to let you know that I posted a Graphic 45 Inchie project that I just LOVE over at The CLASSroom today.