Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Creating Background & Foreground With Coloring Style

When I attended the Artisan Expo in Santa Fe last year, I found another non-toxic pencil solvent that I was THRILLED with.

My sister (who is an oil painter) and I steer clear of chemical solvents whenever possible for obvious reasons, so I never got on the Gamsol train. I also could never stand those paper tortillons - the sound they make on the paper gives me a gag reflex. Not even kidding.

So for a long time, I used an orange oil blend from the UK, but then I went to the expo and found a company whose blends and cleaners are all FOOD GRADE plant oils.

Sign my hippie hiney UP! Take my money! The guys at the booth were so helpful and we've chatted a few times since then. Best part - it's made in New York. My sister bought the ones for oil painting and I carefully ferried the beautiful little glass bottle of pencil blend, and a little bottle of their citrus brush cleaner home from Santa Fe. And then, life happened and I blinked and six months has gone by. But today - if you don't like solvents and you don't like tortillons, enjoy the card I made with this lavender oil and these blending tools! (PS I like the bullet tip for blending - the brush tip for more delicate work.)

I just got these pencils from Japan and they are DREAMY - for both detailed coloring and for blending, so I decided to mix the two styles to give the illusion of a foreground and a background, or, if you have an Iphone - a portrait mode card - where the foreground is focused and the background is soft and dreamy. I used the same colors on all flowers from this stamp set - just a bit lighter on the background flowers, and then I blended them with this bullet point blender and the lavender oil. On the foreground flower, I added some darker darks and just kept my pencil sharp. If someone asks Kathy Racoosin what kind of pencil she likes, she says "a sharp one" - and that is the key to successful coloring. The flowers were all stamped first in this gorgeous new Amalgam Ink color - she has several new ones tonight - and you can use them with any medium to add just the right shade to your colored images. I especially like this one - I bet leaves, grass and trees in this would be stunning.

I paired this card with a Key Lime envelope (these have a peel off strip - no licking and dying from it like George Costanza's fiance) and an adorable sentiment from this set. The sentiment for the floral card is from this set.

The pencils are actually a hybrid - they have both oil and wax, hence their butteryness, if that's a word. I love them. Only available from Japan right now, but mine came quickly and perfectly packed. And don't freak out over the price - there are smaller sets available too, and the pastel one is gorgeous. Poke around on Ebay and find one that's right for you. That's where they are until US retailers sell them, but the sets are brand new.

I used Gina K's Artist's Choice cardstock - this is my favorite pencil paper. It has more "tooth" than her ultra smooth white cardstock. She's kind of a pencil fiend so she gets it, and had this paper made specifically for that. I like to use a coloring glove when I color FYI so I don't smudge my work.




Doesn't that make your eyes happy? It does mine.

Next up in my lime envelope trio - this giant craft themed set has the sentiment on the flap, and then I used this die, which doesn't have an open center, and a circle die, to create a sweet heart frame. It's sized perfectly for the images from this set. I stamped the flower first in Amalgam ink, then I masked it with masking paper. Then I stamped the leaves on top of that, and masked them, and finally the jar. Then I colored them with Copics. The sentiment is from this set, and the cardstock is Innocent Pink


For one brief moment while I was photographing the next card, the sun came out. That didn't last long. But you'll get a truer sense of the envelope color here.

This new crafty set is so much fun. It comes with matching dies for each little tool, so I stamped them all in Amalgam ink, colored them with Copics and arranged them on the card. One tip for you when you're doing this - when you get the arrangment the way you like it and before you glue it down - take a picture with your phone. I can't tell you how helpful this is when you get the perfect arrangement and then a cat walks across it, or you knock them all off while grabbing one to glue. The sentiment is from this set, and the one on the envelope is from this set.




Clear Stamps- Watercolor Flowers -...
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Clear Stamps- Vibrant Blooms - Gina K...
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Vibrant Blooms Die Set - Gina K Designs
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Clear Stamps- You Make Me Happy -...
[ GNK ]
You Make Me Happy Die Set - Gina K...
[ GNK ]
Clear Stamps- Crafty Notes - Gina K...
[ GNK ]
Crafty Notes Die Set - Gina K Designs
[ GNK ]
Heart Circle Die - Gina K Designs
[ GNK ]
GKD Amalgam Ink Pad- Skeleton Leaves...
[ GNK ]
Clear Mini Stamps- Crafty and...
[ GNK ]
Holbein OP945 Artist Colored Pencils...
[ EB. ]
Chelsea Classical Studio Oil Painting...
[ BLIC ]
04852-1105 - Chelsea Classical Studio...
[ BLIC ]
Tsukineko FANTASTIX COMBO PACK...
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Artist's Choice 110lb White Card Stock
[ GNK ]
Tall Cut Card Stock- Innocent Pink -...
[ GNK ]
Avery 6465 Removable Multipurpose...
[ AMZUS ]
GKD Amalgam Ink Pad- Jet Black
[ GNK ]
Envelopes 10 pack- Key Lime - Gina K...
[ GNK ]
Circle Infinity Dies (H)
[ HA ]
Connect Glue - Gina K Designs
[ GNK ]
Copic 12 Bold BASIC SKETCH MARKER SET...
[ SSS ]
Coloring Glove - Anti-Smudge
[ AMZUS ]
Derwent Battery-Operated Eraser
[ BLIC | AMZUS ]
Ipoint Orbit Pencil Sharpener, Turquoise
[ AMZUS | BLIC ]
Global Art Classic Leather Pencil Cases
[ BLIC | AMZUS ]
Staedtler Mars Plastic Erasers
[ BLIC | JGG | AMZUS ]
Sizzix BIG SHOT EXPRESS Gray and...
[ SSS | ELH | BMS ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
[ BLIC | AMZUS ]
What's New Archives - Gina K Designs
[ GNK ]


So now you know all my feelings about pencil blending. What are your feelings about coloring with colored pencils? Do you like blended or unblended coloring? What are your favorite pencils? Let me know in a comment! And go check out the rest of Gina's release!

Loveyameanitbye.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Caregiver

I have had a lot of people do really nice things for me in the last couple of months. Daily texts, flowers, cards, gifts. That caregiver personality is such a treasure. I hope you have some caregivers in your life.

These people all know how to give care without taking anything from you at the same time. Until something bad happens to you, you don't realize how exhausting just answering a question can be. Or the same question many times to different people.

If I could give you one piece of advice on how to best do something for someone who has experienced an illness or loss - it would be this: give what you have to give without expecting a response, and without asking questions about what's happening. The tiny amount of battery that person has left needs to be spent on just living. But send that card, or text or gift. It makes a huge difference, even if you just hear silence. DO IT. I have one sweet friend who just send me emojis every day and it makes my day.

One friend sent three AMAZING things right when I needed them. I did something awful to my back, and all I have are these completely ghetto 1970's plastic heating pads that wad up into a ball and overheat. I wasn't aware that this technology had advanced until I opened a box and found this LUXURIOUS, soft HUGE heating pad with auto-off and a fuzzy cover. I'm going to have to fight Maddie for it, but when we sit down to watch TV every night, I sit with it on my back and it's amazing. Everyone should have one.

The same day she sent me this massager - I call it my robot therapist - because it's exactly like getting a massage. It has little sleeves you put your arms through so you can position it wherever you need it on your back and still work or use your hands. It's incredible. She didn't even have one herself and put it in a white elephant exchange at a retreat we were attending, and everyone went nuts over it, so she got one and then sent me one. That's the kind of girl she is.

Finally, she knows my complete devotion to fizzy water - I can't drink plain water - it literally makes me gag. But I love fizzy water, so this water she sent me is like LaCroix 2.0. I love it. Surprisingly, the lemon is my favorite - I don't like ANY lemon fizzy water because it all tastes fake. Since this one just has a squeeze of real lemon in it it's perfect! Thank you Kathy! <3

Amazon is such an easy way to send comforts to people - so don't forget to use the gift option to lift someone's spirits.

So speaking of lifting spirits, mail cards! Just a hello is nice. Writing a short note is better. Writing a letter is best of all.

So in that spirit of sending uplifting mail, I have one of my spot style coloring cards for you today. I stamped this fun mail background in Intense black, and used just three markers to spot color the background - there is a Copic that is very close to manila envelope color! I used Y19, R29 and B04 and intentionally left white space. These new large sentiment dies are amazing. I got the hello and the thanks in December, and I can't tell you how many times I've used them. There's also a happy, and a birthday die. They're all about the same sized - card front size. All the products I've used are below my cards. I cut the hello twice from white and black and layered them with my favorite die adhesive.

This stamp was part of Hero's new Spring catalog release at Creativation, and you should have SEEN the samples in the booth - they were amazing. If you got your hands on their catalog, all the cards I'm showing you today are in there, and that is a huge honor. Did you know that Hero Arts will turn 45 this year? Stay tuned for some fun events around that important birthday. The reason there is a 45 year old company in our industry is that it is run by kind, honest and creative people who care about humanity in general, and particularly all of us in the creative community. It's a testament to who they are that they've thrived through the last 45 years of a constantly changing landscape around papercrafting. If you want to send them a birthday card, you can do so here:

Aaron Leventhal
Hero Arts
1200 Harbour Way South, Ste 201 
Richmond, CA 94804 

One of the style lines I love the most (you know this if you're a reader of my blog) at Hero Arts is the sort of wistful, children's book looking sets, like this moon one. This card used a lot of masking, so prepare for instructions. I did the following to make this card: I stamped the ladder FIRST and masked the whole ladder with masking paper. Then, I stamped the color layering moon in Soft Vanilla, Soft Granite and Charcoal ink on top of the ladder Then I used one of the larger of the Oval Infinity dies to cut myself an earth, and I placed that mask on TOP of the masked ladder. Then I stamped the moon again on masking paper, cut it out and placed that mask on top of the moon. You with me? The moon, ladder and earth are now masked. Then I took my Life Changing Blender brushes and brushed both Cornflower and Soft Granite ink all over the card panel for my sky. I then removed all three masks, and used the negative piece of masking paper from where I cut the oval for the earth. I placed that negative around the white space of my earth to protect the sky, and I used the blender brush again to brush Moss ink onto the earth. Then I removed that mask, colored the ladder with Copics and added white gel pen stars and highlights. The sentiment is from the same set. This set does come with matching dies - and the ladder die cut is adorable!
 While we are color layering, let's layer a Calla Lily! This is one of my favorite flowers in real life and in stamp images. I used Soft Vanilla, Butter Bar and Pumpkin Pie ink for stamping the layers, and then I used my Polychromos Pencils to do soft shading on the stem and the flower. I chose matching cardstock - they have NEW cardstock and its gorgeous - and cut a little slot out of the card panel to let a pop of yellow show through. The sentiment - LOVE the font - is from the same set.
Then since those were all neat and tidy - I went for some mixed media goodness. I created a Wrinkle Free Distress Oxide background (tutorial here), and then stamped this stunning background on top of that in Soft Granite - it's meant to be waves, but I thought it looked like both air currents, and as if the balloon were flying over cultivated fields. So make it whatever you want :).

I stamped the hot air balloon also in Soft Granite, I used my white gel pen to fill in the flowers and cover up my background, and then I used these amazing tools to apply a dot of gold glimmer ink to the center of each flower. The tools both hold the ink and release it perfectly and clean up easily. The sentiment is stamped and embossed on black cardstock. This set does come with matching dies.
Fun, right? At the end of this post, I'll tell you how you can win one of four $50 gift certificates to the Hero Store.

2019 Spring Catalog - Hero Arts
[ HA ]
Mail Jumble Background Cling
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Color Layering Calla Lily
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Ocean Waves Bold Prints
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Color Layering Sleepy Moon
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Color Layering Sleepy Moon Frame Cuts
[ HA ]
Hot Air Blooms
[ HA ]
Hot Air Blooms Frame Cuts
[ HA ]
Hello Message Fancy Die
[ HA ]
Thanks Message Fancy Die
[ HA ]
Birthday Message Fancy Die
[ HA ]
Happy Message Fancy Die
[ HA ]
Hero Arts Oval Infinity Dies
[ HA ]
Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and...
[ BLIC | AMZUS | SSS ]
Hero Arts Intense Black Ink
[ HA ]
Pumpkin Pie Mid-Tone Shadow Ink
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Moss Bold Ink
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Soft Granite Shadow Ink - Hero Arts
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Cornflower Mid-Tone Shadow Ink | Hero...
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Hero Arts Butter Bar Shadow Ink
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Soft Vanilla vShadowSoft Vanilla...
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AF236 Charcoal Mid-Tone Shadow Ink
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Heavy Base Weight Card Stock- White
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Avery 6465 Removable Multipurpose...
[ AMZUS ]
Grafix Artist-tac
[ BLIC ]
Life Changing Blender Brush 2-Pack -...
[ PFS ]
Sakura CLASSIC WHITE Fine Line 05...
[ SSS ]
Colour Shapers Tools - BLICK art...
[ BLIC ]
GM100 Gold & Pewter Glimmer Metallic...
[ HA ]
MISTI Stamping Tool
[ MSW | HA | SSS | ELH | MFT | UNT ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
[ BLIC ]
LightView 2in1 LED Magnifier for...
[ BRG ]
Mudder 10 Pack White Buffer Sanding...
[ AMZUS ]
Xyron ADHESIVE ERASER 23675
[ SSS | ART | AMZUS ]
Teflon Bone Folder - Ellen Hutson LLC
[ ELH | SSS ]
Ink Off Cloth
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Essentials by Ellen Storage...
[ ELH ]
Die Storage - Clear Storage Pockets...
[ CHC ]
XL Stamp Storage Pockets
[ ELH ]
Cut Align
[ MSW ]
Lawn Fawn STAMP SHAMMY Cleaner LF1045
[ SSS | CST ]
Coloring Glove - Anti-Smudge
[ AMZUS ]
Derwent Battery-Operated Eraser
[ BLIC | AMZUS ]
Ipoint Orbit Pencil Sharpener, Turquoise
[ AMZUS | BLIC ]
Global Art Classic Leather Pencil Cases
[ BLIC | AMZUS ]
Staedtler Mars Plastic Erasers
[ BLIC | JGG | AMZUS ]
Sizzix BIG SHOT EXPRESS Gray and...
[ SSS | ELH | BMS ]
Paper - Hero Arts
[ HA ]

You can hit up Maria's blog for more Spring Catalog inspiration, and all you have to do to be put in the drawing for the shopping sprees is leaving me a comment telling me what your favorite spring stamp images are - the ones you reach for the most!

Loveyameanitbye.



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