Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Add Drama to Stamping with Colored Pencil Techniques

Have you ever colored your stamped images with colored pencil and been disappointed with the results?  

Well...that is all about to change!  Just keep reading....

I have recently been experimenting and perfecting THE COOLEST color pencil technique ever!

All my stamp images are from Impression Obsession and can be found here.

It all started as a simple serendipitous "surprise". I had stamped an image on a dark grey cardstock scrap. Yep, that was it.  I then had one of those "oh no, what do I do now" moments when I realized DUH,  how do I now add color?

Most typical coloring mediums used with paper crafts (like ink, marker and watercolor) are transparent. They don't work at all on dark surfaces.  And, while most opaque mediums like acrylic paint, pigment ink and pastel will show up on the dark cardstock, they also obliterate outline and detail lines on my stamped image.

So....I'm thinking what to do...what to do.....and then POW! Light bulb moment. How about colored pencils?! 

I quickly pulled out ALL my colored pencil tins and started experimenting with the different brands and types I had available. (Why I actually have so many different brands and types is a WHOLE other story in itself.)

 And, WOWZA!  This translucent medium really pulled it off.  Actually, more than just in an average kind of way. Truth is....they were AMAZING!

All my stamp images are from Impression Obsession and can be found here.

Colored pencils are the best of all worlds.  They work by adding translucent layer upon translucent layer until you get the color and intensity you want.  Each layer is affected by the layer beneath...and that includes the color of the substrate used beneath that very first layer. 

Then came the experimenting as I quickly discovered not all color pencils perform the same on all substrates.  Different brands AND types can work very differently.  Some are harder, some softer. Some pencils wind up with a waxy buildup (called "bloom").  The pencils in some brands and product lines seem to lay down more intense color while others need more layers to be built up for that intensity.

And then there is the variable of the actual colored cardstock.  Uncoated cardstock worked the best.  I found smooth cardstock has better results than textured cardstock simply because the stamped image is crisper plus the colored pencil often won't attach well to the indentations and grooves in the texture. Cardstock color and value (dark, mid-ground, light) will also affect the color pencil results. So, it is best to test your color palette on a small cardstock scrap before beginning an actual project.

Here comes the REALLY cool part:  You do NOT need to be an "artist" to try this technique.  And I mean you will SUCCEED when you try it!  All you need is to know basic color theory, ie, blue + yellow = green.  Primary colors are the basis for everything (red, yellow, blue)  secondary colors are made by mixing two primary colors (orange, green and purple) and complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. That's it, kids. And, surprise....using a rubber stamp image even eliminates the need to be a skilled sketch artist.

All my stamp images are from Impression Obsession and can be found here.

However, I do understand that many people may still be a little intimidated by colored pencil. Since my experimenting I have developed steps to this technique that will give you confidence and insure your success. 

This first tutorial is only covers stamping and coloring on a very NEUTRAL cardstock...dark grey.  By using a dark grey "ground", we have already laid in some of the tonal shadows.  This is the perfect cardstock to choose when using images that are lighter in tonal value.

All my stamp images are from Impression Obsession and can be found here.

Here are a few tips:
1. Begin coloring using the LIGHTEST color....normally WHITE, followed by light grey, light tan, light yellow, blue, green, pink or whatever colors your piece will be.  Add your lightest and most striking highlights first.  Where desired, the highlights can cover up the stamped outline or detail.
2. Start laying in your DARKEST shadows next.  But...not everywhere.  Just where they will be the darkest.  You will add more shadow layers later.
3.  Start building layers of your mid-tone colors, adding color on top of color until you get the intensity and shade you want.  Add your lighter and deep colors again in some of the layers so they become embedded or sandwiched in between color layers.
4. End by adding a few more strokes of white highlights...and the darkest of dark shadows.
5. If you want to get "artsy" really quick, create your deep shadow tones by adding the complementary color instead of just adding black. Then add layers of the other two primary colors to blend So, basically, you add shadows using the colors MOST unlike the color of the item you are adding the shadow to.  if you add shadows to a green leaf (green is made of blue + yellow), you will also use a deep red layer to create a richer shadow. Blend with a little purple and add a little orange if desired.  Conversely, if you are adding shadows to a purple item, you should add yellow but also add the dark green and dark red to blend.  You will get the hang of it once you start experimenting.
6. Best tip is to do "practice pieces" on cardstock scraps.  I have found that the simple act of making something that "doesn't count" before doing  the final piece where there can be no mistakes, often frees up our ability to take risks and just "flow".

All my stamp images are from Impression Obsession and can be found here.

Next time on the blog, I will go into more detail covering colored pencil on amid-range colored cardstock.

All stamp images copyright by Gail Green LDL/Impression Obsession.  All content on this blog post and all posts on this blog copyright Gail Green.  Do NOT copy or use any of this content without written permission from the author and artist Gail Green.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Meet the Impression Obsession Artist Gail Green!

Meet the Impression Obsession Artist Gail Green!

Hi Everyone!

I'm Gail Green and you will find my art here.

If you love realistic, silhouette or sweet, whimsical animals, nature and holiday images, you will find an abundance of stamps that will appeal to your stamping style!

You may also recognize my name from my books and magazine articles or know my art brand "Sweet PETatoes" from products that include pet scrapbook kits, stationery, quilt fabrics and more.

But....my true heart has always been in the craft/hobby industry.  Rubber stamping, paper crafts and exploring inky and other coloring techniques are my PASSION!

While I do love my solitary creative explorations in my home studio, I especially love teaching, demoing and helping others gain confidence in their own creative abilities so they can take off and FLY into their own creative realms!

I'm an empty nester but am always entertained by antics of our Border Collie (Lacy Lulu) and craft-loving Eclectus parrot (Ollie the Monkeyman).  In fact, many of the stamps I draw or projects I create are done with Ollie sitting on my right shoulder, commenting as I stamp, color or hand draw at my studio desk or digitally complete stamp images at the computer!

You can also find me at  my blog. Beside creative projects, tutorials and links to creative stuff, I often include Ollie's adventures there.

Now, just for some fun (and probably a green light for teasing from friends and family), some random quirks and facts about me:

  • I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE contemporary country music.  Good thing Ollie loves it, too because that's what we listen to most days.
  • I was born loving ALL types of vegetables, except I'm allergic to onions don't deal well with cilantro or okra.  My favorite veggies include lettuce (ALL kinds), rhubarb, asparagus, Brussel  sprouts, artichokes...actually never mind.  I just love everything veggie and I'm getting really hungry now just writing this.  Kind of funny that I am a rabbit in the Chinese Zodiac...
  • According to family sources, I never crawled.  I was too busy stringing and unstringing large colored wood beads and investigating color patterning.  One day another child took one of my beads and ran off with it....and I got up and ran after her. My mother almost fell over from shock.  
  • I spoke in complete sentences before I was a year old. (My family would respond that I haven't stopped talking since...)
  • I got much of my creative design skills from my grandmother, who was a dressmaker's dressmaker....and off-the-chart creative!   I also have the weird ability to fit things perfectly and precisely into any space...something I got from my engineer dad.  My mom, however, gave me her language writing/editing genes--a skill that comes in VERY handy when writing instructions and book or article manuscripts!  
  • I fell in love with stamping many years ago at a trade show.  I was tired from walking, saw an empty chair, sat down and picked up a stamp.  That was the beginning of a crazy ride that has lasted decades.  I was immediately hooked and STILL love stamping!

Working with a rubber stamp manufacturer like Impression Obsession is a dream come true.  Their quality is unsurpassed and it is an honor to be included in their catalog with so many other incredible stamp artists!  Hope you all enjoy getting to know us!

Also visit Impression Obsession's blog to meet more of the artists!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Celebrate any special occasion with an Etched Wine Glass!

An etched wine glass makes a great gift for any occasion! 

It is SO easy to make.  All you need is a die cut of your choice and etchall Etching Creme!

You will need:
etchall Etching Creme
etchall Applicator Spatula
#656370 Vine Die cut (Sizzix) or other die cut of your choice
Big Shot (Sizzix) or die cut machine of your choice
Contact paper
Cellophane scrap or other nonstick backing sheet

Also have ready:
Bowl of clean water
Non-latex gloves
Paper towels or other clean towel

Here's how:

1. Clean your wine glass with dishwashing liquid; rinse and dry. If you want to be extra careful, also clean again with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol right before beginning the project.

2. Cut a 5 1/2" x 6" piece of contact paper and a cellophane scrap (or other backing sheet in the size to fit your die).  Place the cellophane (or other backing sheet) on the adhesive side of the contact paper scrap. Run this contact paper/backing sheet through the die cut machine. You will essentially be creating both a die cut shape AND a stencil shape.

3. Separate the die cut from the "stencil portion.
   NOTE: Set the stencil portion aside and save for another project that will appear on my blog in the near future. 

Remove the backing sheet from the die cut vine. If desired, put the gloves on to reduce transferring oil from your fingers onto the glass. Carefully place the vine die cut shape on the outside of the wine glass and wrap it around the glass.

Using the applicator spatula, burnish the vine so it is well stuck to the glass surface.

Using the applicator spatula, generously apply etchall Etching Creme over the ENTIRE surface of the glass, making sure to not get any creme on the stem or base.

Set a timer for 15 minutes.  When the time is up, gently scrape off the etchall Etching Creme from the tile and place it back into the bottle.  It is resuable!

Submerge the wine glass in the water to gently rinse any remaining etchall Etching Creme from the wine glass. 

Carefully remove the stencil (which you can use again for a second wine glass or additional project).

Note that the vine appears clear and the wine glass looks frosted from being etched!  How elegant is this?!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Stamped and Etched Slate Magnet with etchall Etching Creme!

Etching a slate tile can be as easy as stamping, heat embossing and applying etchall Etching Creme!

Create a beautiful grunge etched butterfly magnet using a 2" slate tile and this pretty butterfly rubber stamp!

You will need:
etchall Etching Creme
etchall Applicator Spatula
1 slate tile
C7782 Butterfly 3 (Impression Obsession)
Top Boss clear embossing ink (Clearsnap)
Clear Embossing powder
Heat tool

Also have ready:
Bowl of clean water
Non-latex gloves
Paper Towels or other clean towel

Here's how:

1. Clean your slate tile with dishwashing liquid; rinse and dry. 
2. Stamp your butterfly on the tile. Sprinkle clear embossing powder over the stamped image; tap off excess. 

3. Heat with a heat gun. 
    NOTE: Be patient.  It takes longer for the embossing powder to melt on this surface.

4. Using the applicator spatula, generously apply etchall Etching Creme over the top of the slate tile.

5. Set a timer for 15 minutes. When the time is up, gently scrape off the etchall Etching Creme from the tile and place it back into the bottle.  It is reusable!

6. Put the gloves on and submerge in the water to gently rinse any remaining etchall Etching Creme remaining on the tile. NOTE how the tile color is now grey instead of black!  That is because the etchall Etching Creme etched the slate!

7. Remove the gloves and gently scrape the embossed outline off the slate tile.  The butterfly image will remain because it was not etched!  How cool is this??!!

8. Attach a magnetic backing to your tile and use as a magnet!  OR...attach a jewelry finding to crate a pin....use as part of a mixed media project...or create several different tiles. Let your imagination fly!