Tuesday, December 23, 2008

3 Last Minute Cards

I'm working on the images for the next new release so I won't go into a lot of details about these cards. I will just say that I made two of them, the snowman and the woodland Santa for the Featured Stamper challenge on Splitcoast this past Sunday and as a result are a CASE of Paula Tracey's work. Worth having a look-see!
Merry Christmas everyone, and happy holidays! See you in January! God bless you!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

High Hopes Challenge 11: Flower Power!

Sunday's challenge today is "Flower Power", hosting by Diva Ying from Malaysia! We are to use flowers somewhere on our card; punched flowers, flower stamps, Primas, metal flowers, flowery patterned paper, any sort of flower! If you want to join in the challenge, you can go see all the samples here at the High Hopes blog, and then leave a link to your card in the comment section. Your name will then be entered into a draw to win two free High Hopes Stamps!
Hope you enjoy my cards today! I am really busy drawing the next release stamp designs, so this is a shorter than usual post.
I used Tombow pens on all three images. Punched up the colors in places on Tinks and Mudzie and Chopper with Copics.
Thanks for looking and God bless you!

Monday, December 1, 2008

HH Challenge 10, Metal Madness! Blog Candy too!

This week's High Hopes Challenge at their blog , hosted by Diva Amy, is to make a card using metal somewhere on your card. Could be metal brads, wire, charms, foil, anything made of metal. The first one I did is with Gavin the Givin' dragon. I colored him using Copics, and went over parts of him with Prismacolor Pencils and Gamsol to blend the colors a bit more. Lots of sparkle on this one, on his gifts and wings. I used a glitter glue. Metal photo corner, metal charm, and metal around the heart on this card. I would not send it through the post because of the fat paper ribbon I wouldn't want to squish.

For this sample, I used an older stamp, Hopeful moose. I colored it with Copics and used a tiny bit of Prismacolor pencils over top to blend the colors a bit more. Then I covered the whole thing with Versamagic Clear, and used Ultra Thick Embossing powder and heat set. I put on three coats to make it nice and smooth and glossy!
I got the idea for the sketch from SC203 over at Splitcoast Stampers. The cool idea for the checkerboard edges came from Mutnik's super gorgeous card here, also on SCS. I couldn't help but copy that great idea! I drew the checkerboard design using the chiseled tip of a dark blue Copic marker. The metal on this card are the flowers! I found a bunch of cute metal flowers at our local dollar store and bought a bunch in different colors. Fun!
I also got to use my Martha Stewart Crystal sparkles to make a snowy look all over the flowers, on the top and bottom of the frame, on Mudzie's antlers, and all around the edges of the card.
Now if you want to play the HH Challenge Metal Madness, don't forget that there is blog candy to be won by a randomly chosen winner if you link your card at the HH blog!
Also, Diva Ila is giving away a HUGE package of blog candy, with High Hopes AND Magnolia stamps as well as a raft of other crafting supplies! Be sure to check it out!
TFL and God bless you today!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Watercolor with markers 1

I stamped Callie Christmas Kitty by High Hopes onto Canson 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper using Versafine Onyx black ink. I have found that those brands of paper and ink are the best for this application. I like to use Tombow pens, but any water based marker will work, even Crayola! Tombow pens are a very high quality marker pen with dual tips and I love using them.
I partially colored the branch with the brightest green leaving a lot of space for the ink to flow later. I always start with the lightest color and then add graduating deeper shades, saving the darkest for last. I also spread the ink one color at a time, letting each layer dry before applying the next.

Here I have begun to put puddles of clear clean water on the white of the paper just above the colored areas. Try not to get too close to the ink or it will bleed into it.

Now start moving the brush INTO the color, not the other way around, and try to go right to the edge of where you colored. Your brush will have some color in it now, so keep that in mind as you move it across the white paper. The ink will naturally bleed into where you put the water, and this is a good thing. This is what gives watercolor art its personality!
To color the lower branch, I cleaned my brush off first before spreading this ink around, so that the white areas would stay lighter.

Here I have colored the candy canes using the same principal, always pulling the water INTO the ink and going right to the edges. I used the smallest paintbrush for those tiny areas.
I also prepared to do the first layer on the cat with a light beige.

You can see where I have begun to put a puddle of water on the center of his tummy where the paper is still white. Again, work the brush into the colored areas and go right to the edges of the stamp design.

Time for some more layers of color on the branches. I picked up a slightly darker green marker and colored in the areas where I think it should show shading.

Now this time my brush is not wet, only damp. I keep a rag next to me when I watercolor; it comes in very handy. To get the brush to just the right dampness, I dip it in the clean water, then swipe it across the rag a few times. This might cause the bristles to separate just a bit. When you see that, you know its just damp and therefore, just right to use! You can see how the brush has a lot of color in it, and that is ok. I brushed it lightly on the branches in the direction that the needles would go, in random strokes! You don't have to be really careful when using this technique, which is what I love about it. It isn't about perfection. In fact, the little imperfections is what gives the painting its unique and interesting personality!

I have let that layer dry so now I am applying the deepest darkest shade of green, to give it that added dimension. It doesn't take long for the layers to dry when your brush is only damp. It probably took all of two minutes! While I was waiting for it to dry, I used two more shades of red, a dark red and a deep wine color, and added them to the candy canes, following the same principles as I have been showing, using a slightly damp brush to blend, and working from the lightest highlighted areas into the darkest outer edges.

Again, spread the ink with very little water on the brush. This is very important, because if your brush is very wet, you will get backwash. Backwash is when the ink travels in the water puddle on the surface of the paper, and graduates to the outside edges of it, leaving a visible ring of color on your painting. A brush that is too wet at this point will also remove a lot of the color you took your time to apply. So be careful! Damp brush only when layering colors!!

I was not entirely happy with how my dark layer turned out, and so I took the brightest green that I had used on my first layer and went over it again. Its ok to do that. Water coloring is very experimental, and you can often fix mistakes or things you don't like, just by adding colors from the same family on top of one another. As long as you aren't over stressing the surface of the paper. This paper stands up to a lot of punishment! Continued on the post below:

Watercoloring with markers 2

I spread the last layer of green with a slightly damp brush.

I wanted to deepen the shading on Callie, so I added a second, darker shade of beige.

I spread it with the damp brush.

Next I added a slightly darker shade of brown. Notice that for the darker shades, I put down less of the ink color.

After I blended that third shade on Callie, I used a very dark brown, but only a tiny bit here and there, where the shadows would be darkest, and spread it with a damp brush.

I put some pink on her cheeks.

I added a bit of pink to her ears too, and again, spread the color carefully with a damp only brush.

I colored in the tree ornaments, using the same technique, leaving a white area and pulling the water into the color and going right to the edges. I also took a periwinkle colored marker and drew some shadows on the candy canes in the white area and the red area, and used my smallest brush (damp) to blend it.

I colored over the entire area with a light blue marker for the background. I also brushed on a tiny bit of extra color in the center of the cherry pink elongated ornament. I dampened my smallest brush, and then dabbed it right on the end of the marker to pick up a bit of color, then applied it in strokes to the center of the ornament.

I spread the blue background ink with my largest brush and used a lot of water to do so. You have to be fast, or you get pooling and backwashing of the color. If you look closely, you can see some hard edges where I did get some backwashes, but I decided they actually gave the picture some character, so I left them!
I also added highlights with a white gel pen, and gave Callie two white hind feet by making fur strokes with the gel pen. I added highlights to the tree branch, the ornaments, the candy canes, and the kitty.
The image is now ready to use in a project!

Meowy Christmas

This is the card I made with the image I used in the tutorial. This photo was taken in natural light, so the colors look altered. However, they are actually more true to life than the ones I took in the tutorial, which were done with a lamp.
I added some glitter and some clear glossy gel medium to the ornaments. I sponged all the edges with two shades of brown dye ink, and embossed them in gold. I made the candy cane paper with the small and med. candy cane stamps from High Hopes. I stamped on the glossy paper and embossed in clear embossing powder. I then colored the canes with a red gel pen. For the red panel, I used pine bough stamped multiple times using white pigment ink by Stampin' Up!, which to me is the best white ink I have found.
I got some new snowflake punches last week and was happy to use them. Two are by Martha Stewart and one is by EK Success. All high quality and easy to use.
The sketch for this card was borrowed off the sketch challenge on Splitcoast Stampers today. Thanks for looking and God bless you!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

edited to alert you to More Blog Candy offers!!

Happy Monday! I am traveling and in a motel at the moment. But I thought it would be nice if I told you that there are currently three offers of High Hopes blog candy available to be won by three random drawings! The first one is on the High Hopes Blog. See the blog for details to enter.
The second one is being offered by our guest Diva, Lacey! Check out her blog for the details to enter.
The third one is... I can't tell you! Its the High Hopes Hop! So get hopping on the Diva's blogs (listed on the right side bar) to find out who has it this time!

I got inspired by two challenges this week; the Ways To Use It challenge on Splitcoast Stampers, and the High Hopes Blog Challenge #8 for today! The WT on SCS was to use watercolor paper. The challenge today on the HH blog is to make a card using buttons and brads. And if you join in the fun and post a link to your card on the HH blog, you will be entered into a draw to win the Woodland Santa (see my third card below) and Merry Christmas sentiment stamps!
I used Crystal Snowlady from the new release at High Hopes, and drew the horizon line after I stamped her on the wc paper. For this card, I mostly used my actual artist quality watercolor paints. There are three colors in my snow; Prussian blue, yellow ochre and a bit of Prussian blue mixed with rose red for a purple color. You might find a bit of green too, where the blue mixed with the ochre, but it was not intentional. I tried to avoid that.
The background is all Prussian blue. I love the ultra deep color it produces.
When I was done, I punched up the color in a few places with Tombow markers. I find the Tombows are more vibrant than my paints.
For the falling snow, I used a white gel pen and a Snow Writer that should get trashed. I bought it last year, and its so dry, I had to squeeze way too hard to get it out, and I was scared I would end up with a sudden woosh of it and cause a horrid mess! It worked out ok, but it was touch and go for awhile! lol. I added glitter on top of the larger blobs of snow with Glitter Glue.

This is another sample I did for the HH challenge 8. I love the shell buttons I found at the dollar store. They have a gorgeous shine to them, but they do break easily. I will have to cover it with bubble wrap if I want to put it through the post! This one did not photograph well. I could not get the colors to look as they actually do, even in natural light. I think I took over two dozen photos, so I just picked the best of the bunch. I got some new Primas at Mike's on sale so I was excited to use one too!
I colored this image with Copics, masked the birds and bird bath and sponged green and blue ink for the sky and greenery. Highlighted with a white gel pen. The perched birdie, landing birdie and bird bath are also from the new release at High Hopes and can be found here. I love how these guys can go just about anywhere, as they are separate stamps. It leaves us with so many possibilities!

I started off this one on watercolor paper too, intending to make it a watercolor. However, somewhere in between the time I stamped it and the time I colored it, which was probably only ten minutes, I forgot, and started coloring with Copics!! I must be over forty! lol I had a bit of a problem when I was done because the background trees were too vibrant and I had to lighten them up somehow. So I thought to color overtop with white Prismacolor pencil. Because I had stamped on wc paper, there is a bumpy texture, so I could not possibly blend the pencils. It only seemed to add a texture to the look of it, which I think turned out to be kinda cool! So I was happy with it anyhow. This card was also inspired by the Sketch challenge on SCS this past week.
I used Forest Background and Woodland Santa for this card, stamping Santa first and then masking him before I stamped the forest.
Thanks for looking today! God bless you!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Copics Tutorial with Sponging Part 1

First off you must know that I did not learn these techniques on my own; I had help! I learned from looking at tutorials from other great artists such as Jeanne Streiff and Michelle Zindorf. Check out their blogs for some really cool tutorials too.
I thought I would make a tutorial of my own, showing what I have learned with Copics. I had to use two posts because of all the details I am showing you with photos.
I have had Copics since the Spring and I am just now getting into a comfort zone with them. I found the learning curve a lot steeper with them than it was with Prismacolor Pencils or even watercolors. Strange how various mediums can be so extremely different when it comes to applying them!
Anyhoo, this first photo shows the best ink and paper to use with Copics that I have tried; The Magna drawing paper by Canson, which is really nice and thick, thicker even than cardstock! And the Tsukeneko Tuxedo Black ink. I stamped my Holly The Winter Fairy on the Magna paper. This ink is great; never runs, and cleans off the stamp with just water! The paper is just the right combination of thickness, whiteness, absorbency and smoothness. If you color the right way, you won't get any lines showing, unless you are doing a large area and you can't cover the paper fast enough, leaving the ink to dry too long. I'll explain more later as I go on.

In this photo you can see that I have stamped the fairy again on a post-it-note and cut it out to use as a mask (pretty sure Michelle got us all using post-it-notes for masks; so clever with the built in sticky strip that keeps it from moving!) . After positioning it over my stamped image, I then took the yellow dye ink (Butterscotch by Adirondack) and began sponging it on until I had the whole thing covered.

As you can see, on top of the yellow, I sponged the Faded Jeans Distress ink making a gorgeous luscious green! You have to be careful, as with this Magna paper, the inks do not dry fast and so they are very mixable at this point. You don't want to over mix them, or you loose the depth of color. Keep it darkest at the outer edges for this effect.
After I finished sponging on the blue, I took the mask off and spread clear embossing powder over the inked areas, and heat set.

I have started to color in the image now. I started with her face and used E00 Skin White all over. Then on the cheeks, I used RV10 Pale Pink. Under the holly crown all along the top, I added E31 Brick Beige.
Now here is the trick I learned when applying one color overtop another; use small sweeping motions. Start by placing the pointed tip of the marker in the area you wish to be the darkest. Then sweep the marker tip towards the area you will want the lightest, gradually using less and less pressure til it's off the paper. It is a smooth, quick motion and takes eons longer to explain than to actually do. This makes the ink graduated and blended a bit better where the color you are laying on top meets the underlying color. You can practice this on a scrap if you wish, til you get the hang of it, and can see a blending taking place. Copics are very difficult to blend I find, and there are usually lines of demarkation between colors, but this technique helps reduce that problem.

I colored the holly starting with a light green YG11 Mignonette, then YG06 Yellowish Green, followed by a darker G14 Apple green. Use the sweeping technique to get a good blend, and use the darker colors where the holly overlaps, to show shadow and depth.
I colored the holly berries, her dress and boots with R35 Coral, my lightest red, and then gently swept R27 Cadmium red overtop this in the places where I wanted shadows.
When coloring larger areas, it is important to make tiny circular motions with the tip of the marker on the page. By doing that you reduce the possibility of lines showing up, unless the area is very large and you can't cover it quickly. If you get lines, it helps to go over it with a clear Copic blender pen. But of course, prevention is always the best idea. I find this Canson Magna drawing paper very good at hiding lines!
The rest of this tutorial is in the post below.

Copics Tutorial with Sponging Part 2

Sorry about the blurry pics; Here I have added a couple more shades of red to really get depth and shadow. R59 Cardinal and RV99 Argyle Purple. When using the darker colors, I cover a lot less area so that it doesn't stand out too much. I barely touched the page with the Argyle purple, which is almost a blackish red. And only in the areas that would be darkest of all.
If I find the colors don't look well blended, then I go back over the shadowed areas with my lightest color, in this case, R35 Coral, and again, use the sweeping motion over all the dark areas, blending outward to the lighter areas.

I have colored her hair, stockings, wings, belt, bows and mitts.
Hair: Y21 Buttercup Yellow, Y28 Lionet Gold, E31 Brick Beige.
Belt: Y28 Lionet Gold, E71 Champagne
Stockings: R35 Coral, G28 Ocean Green
Wings, mitts, fur trim: B00 Frost Blue

I wanted more depth of shadow in the white areas of her wings and fur trim, so I used BG72 Ice Ocean to add some dark shadows there. I also used a gold gel pen for the belt buckle and bells on her boots. I also found I wanted more color in her face, so I actually introduced a new color, RV42 Salmon pink, and went over the top edge of her forehead with it, even going down the sides of her cheek and onto her chin. I added a few more sweeps of RV10 Pale Pink and blended with E00 Skin white overtop of this. This is the way I color; I see areas that need more touch ups, and I go back over them until I am satisfied. I tend to love when colors go from their very darkest to their lightest possible shade. This is what brings perceived dimension to any painting or colored image and that is what I always aim to achieve. It is the blending from one shade to the next that really gives life to an image. In art the term is "soft edges" as opposed to "hard edges".

Here is a close up of the fairy as she appears on my tree box. You can see I have added highlights with a white gel pen and glitter on her wings with glitter glue. Those are the final touches!

This is my version of the Tree box. It was a challenge on Splitcoast Stampers today, complete with a tutorial and a printable template by Brenda Quintana. It was a lot easier to make than it looks and came together really quickly.
Thanks for looking today! God bless you!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sparkle Mania 2 and BLOG CANDY!!

I finally got this uploaded after about two hours of trying to put it in the post below. Anyhoo, this one is also for HHC7, Glitter mania hosted by Anna Wight on the HH blog today. I used red glitter glue on his hat and a glue pen and Prisma glitter on the fur trim of his hat. You can join in the challenge too if you like, and there is a chance to win some blog candy if you do! Everyone who posts a link to their cards on the High Hopes Blog will be entered for a chance to win (don't post them here). You don't have to use HH stamps to join. See the post below for the links.
TFL and have fun!

Sparklemania HHC7

Anna Wight chose this week's theme for the HH challenge going on now at the HH blog. I happen to know that lady LOVES making cards sparkle and shimmer. So of course when it came to her turn at the challenge, I was not surprised in the least at her choice of themes! I have two samples this week, and this first one uses Reindeer Games. Glitter is really hard to photograph, but you can see the shimmer in the snow and a bit on Santa's hat. For the snow I used Acrylic Glitter Glaze and for the hat I used red Glitter Glue.
I colored the image with Copics.
I have been trying to upload the second card for hours and for some reason it won't upload. I've tried even changing the photo and switching to a different one and still no go. I'll try again later.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Blog candy offer, two b-day cards for guys

This is a card I made for hubby Mike. Ace is his favorite dragon. I'm still in the experimental stages with Copic markers and I'm not always sure what to do in the background. But they are faster to use than watercoloring or using Prismas, that is for sure.

This one is for Mike's brother whose birthday is coming up fast. I think he will like Ace too. I'm still practicing also with the sponged backgrounds as seen in Jeanne's tutorial. Both cards are kept fairly simple (no flowery embellishments) because they are for guys!
The High Hopes Hop is on again today! Click on the Diva's blogs as listed in the right side bar to play along and find out who is offering some yummy blog candy today!
Thanks for looking today! I pray God's blessings on you!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thanks from Albert and a Birthday Approaching

I used my Tombow pens and water on wc paper to do this little guy. Distressed the edges with a metal ruler. Made holes in the Basic Grey paper with my paper drill. Frayed the twine around the button brad. Thanks for looking!

OK, so the colors in the photo got a little distorted... you'll have to forgive me. I took this at night and only had one light to shine on it. I did this while I was away in a hotel last week for my hubby's co-worker who had a birthday. I used Prismacolor pencils and Gamsol and then Twinkling H20's to color the image. The holes are punched with my paper drill (love that tool!). Sponged first a yellow and then a brown ink around the edges. Drew the dotted border with an ink pen. Distressed the edges of the blue layer with a metal ruler.
Thanks so much for visiting today!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Second post for today! HHC6, Blog Candy!!

If I knew how to add two or more photos and put the text under each one, I would rather do that than post twice. But when I tried once, I could get two photos but they were one after another, even when I wrote the text between them in the Posting section. If anyone knows how post several photos and have the text remain beneath each one, let me know.
But anyhoo, there is another challenge going on at the High Hopes Blog and I am the one who chose the theme. I decided it would be fun to get us all making Christmas cards that used non-traditional colors. I told the Divas they could use red and green but only sparingly, like for a Santa hat, a candy cane, or green for a tree or holly. But other than that, you have to make a Christmas card without red or green predominating. I thought of this fish right away and wanted to make a card using mostly orange and blue. I think he's pretty funny with a fuzzy turquoise Santa hat on!
I used Copics to color the fish and hat, and I borrowed Jeanne's ideas on how to sponge ink on the background for sky, or in this case, water. Thanks Jeanne!
The great news is, if you want to play along, you can join the High Hopes Challenge 6 and have a chance to be selected randomly to win two free stamps from High Hopes! AND the High Hopes Hop is also on again this afternoon! To play that and have ANOTHER chance to win a whole new set of stamps, get hopping through the links of Divas' BLOGS (not SCS galleries) that I have on my right side bar until you find out who it is today (but not til later this aft!). EDIT: The Diva doing the HH Blog Hop got delayed in posting, but it will be up by evening sometime... sorry about that! Life happens to all of us!
Thanks for dropping by!

Project of the Month set on sale

This is a card I made that depicts the current Project Of The Month (POTM) for November. The stamps are sold as a set at 25% off the regular prices on the High Hopes website. If last month's POTM is still on display (three pane Santa) no worries, this dragony one is still on sale for the whole month of November.
I colored the image with my Twinkling H20 paints and used a white gel pen for tiny dot highlights on the critter's cheeks. Used my Fiskar's shape cutter and circle template to cut it out (I know, old school!). I used masking to stamp the separate ribbon and rose and make it into a banner. After painting that and letting it dry, I cut it out with good old fashioned scissors. I adhered it with glue dots.
I cut two more circles out in blue and green for the matting, and distressed the edges of the green to expose the blue. The white stitching is faux, done with my white gel pen.