Book Review: Copic Coloring Guide

I am doing a series of book reviews on my blog on some of my recent craft book purchases. Today, I’m reviewing the Copic Coloring Guide by Marianne Walker & Colleen Schaan. The book just came out in June 2011 and I just finished reading it – cover to cover – yes, I’m obsessed like that.

Well, let’s just say, I’m glad it came out but I’m mildly disappointed with it. Specifically, I’m glad because there are 16 pages in the book dedicated to coloring techniques (ie. inking and blending techniques, how to use your colors and colorless blender to create specific looks). This was expanded in the project area where I am surprised how frequently the transfer blending was used as opposed to coloring it directly on the paper (on paper blending). No wonder my work is just not looking as refined as these “artists”, even if I have been through the certification program.

I’m disappointed because out of a 63 page book (yes, this one is magazine-sized), there was only 18 pages dedicated to teaching you to color!! (Really, 11 pages – after you take away 7 pages of product introduction.) The rest of the book was all the other different cards from contributing artists – just like every other idea book out there. If I hadn’t read it cover-to-cover and line-to-line, I wouldn’t have discovered how these artists use their markers to create their cards. 63 pages just to make 1 discovery. Couldn’t each artists describe at greater length their coloring techniques?? (instead of step by step instruction of HOW they made the cards)

It’s a nice to have book; not a must-have.

And here is something positive to end the review – I found some nice color family that I could add to my personal Copic color book.

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Shabby Chic Tilda …

I just cannot get enough of this little girl with no nose or mouth … she is one of the cutest little girl I have seen, after my daughter of course.

Here is Tilda on some of my favorite patterned papers from My Mind’s Eye. Ribbon is also from My Mind’s Eye. Sentiment is from Impression Obsession.

Challenge entered:

Magnolia-licious Inspiration Challenge

Flourishes Timeless Tuesday Challenge

A Spoonful of Sugar Challenge

Fussy and Fancy Challenge – Case’d Lisa

Pile It On – circles

Color Me Creative

Shabby Tea Room Challenge

7 Kids College Fund Challenge

Meljens Challenge

Our Creative Corner

TOMIC

Just Magnolia

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Less is more …

I love designing cards! I love cards with frills, paper- pieced cards, stamped cards, cards with cutesy little people and animals on them, cards with only sentiments on them, cards with nice patterned paper, clean and simple cards, vintage cards, you name it. When someone asks me what my style is – I would say experimental. Some days I like clean lines, some days I like shabby chic, some days I like vintage – it ebbs and flows according to my mood for the day.

Today, I cleaned and packed up my craft room – so the neatness is reflected on the cards I made today. Clean and simple cards with lots of white space – just like my craft table. Here are my “less is more” cards …

I guess what I really like are cards that have a strong design element and balance to it.

Challenge Entered:

Stamp Something

Tuesday Throwdown

Our Creative Corner

Cute Card Thursday

 

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My Copic Color Swatch Book

One of the things I learnt from my Copic Certification Program is to write down any colors you use (especially the ones that you like) because you will not remember when it comes to recreating it for the next card. My Copic instructor, Debbie Olson, even brought her Copic Color Book for a show-and-tell and it is a truly astounding resource.

So, based on Debbie’s advice, I created my own Copic Color book. Mine’s obviously not as filled out as hers but I plan to fill it out as I discover colors I like.

I created 13 sections – 10 sections for each Copic color family; and the last 3 sections are for hair, skin and fur colors (imagine blond, brunette, black, red hair variations; Caucasian, Asian, African-American, Native American skin tone and all the different bear/dog fur colors – you will have enough favorites for them to have their own section.)

FYI – there are companies out there who have already coordinated nicely blended colors in each colors family – Papertrey Ink, Just Rite Stamps, Flourishes, to name a few on my radar screen. Try out those colors as a starting point for your book.

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A phone = A card …

 

Can it be possible that a phone be an inspiration for a card – now that’s a great excuse to make a card if I ever hear of one.

Well, it’s everyone’s excuse to make cards over at Magnolia-licious Monthly Challenge. It’s mine too and here is my card inspired by the pink phone.

Little Tilda was colored with Copic markers – RV0000, R81, R85, E0000, E000, E00, E31, E25, E29, YR04, YG11, YG17. Woven ribbon was from Offray and patterned paper is from Michaels. The print on the paper are actually outlines of flowers – I love how it looks like they are sun rays instead.

This is my attempt at simplifying Tilda – instead of loading her up with embellishments and layers of paper. I love that shabby chic look but it is sometimes difficult to put that into an envelope and having it survive the USPS journey. Let me know what you think.

Challenges entered:

Magnolia-licious Highlites

Stamp Something

A Spoon Full of Sugar

Everybody-Art-Challenge

The Pixie Cottage

7 Kids College Fund Challenge

Fussy and Fancy Friday Challenge: CASE’d Chelsea

CMC Copic Challenge

Just Magnolia

Sundays with Crissy

 

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Recycled Card?

It feels like it’s been a while since I made a card and when a rash of kids birthdays came and gone this month of June, they also wiped me out of kid-friendly birthday cards (i.e. no buttons/glitter/blings/frills they can swallow, cute kiddy pictures and bright eye-catching colors).

So here is a card I made to replenish my stash.

This entire card was made using paper scraps I had left over from other projects – Kraft card stock, American Craft ribbon and I don’t remember where that stripped patterned paper is from. Sentiment and Changito the Monkey is from Stampendous. Changito, his cake and the blue background are colored/airbrushed using Copic markers – B00, E11, E13, E18, E71, Y02, Y08, R29. YR07.

2 more kids parties to go – hopefully that will be the last for the summer season.

Challenges entered:

Flourishes Timeless Tuesday Challenge

The Pink Elephant

7 Kids College Fund Challenge

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Book Review: Shadows & Shading

Recently, I’ve purchased a few craft/Copic related books that I wanted to share as I read them.

The 1st one I had to read is Marianne Walker’s new book: Shadows & Shading, just because it came highly recommended by my Copic Instructors, Debbie Olson and Lori Craig.

The size of the book was surprising small – I had expected a regular magazine-sized book but it turned out to be this tiny little half-sized book (5.5″ x 8.5″). The content, however, certainly didn’t disappoint. For such a small book, it certainly packs a punch. In fact, it’s a must-have book for any serious artist who wishes to gain a technical understanding of shadow placement and shading.

There are only 5 chapters in the book (excluding conclusion and glossary)

- lights and shadow basics

- light sources

- shading basic objects

- complex objects

- the color of shadows

Marianne goes through each chapter explaining in very simple layman’s term how to translate various light source into shadows. She writes about where light hits different shaded objects and how to break complex objects down to a collection of simple objects (eg. a person’s face is made up of ovals, triangles, cylinders etc). She also shares how to create different tone using different colored shadows.

There is something new in every page that takes my coloring to a different dimension. I’m sure there are more in-depth books on shadows and shading out in the market but this book is definitely in-depth enough for me to make my coloring and drawing look realistic and more than sufficient to make my cards and scrapbooking look professional.

It’s a must-have reference guide.

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Altered Projects …

Hello Friends,

I found some new stamps I wanted to get my hands on coloring them with my Copics – from Darcie’s, Stamping Bella & of course, little Tilda from Magnolia stamps. Aren’t they the most adorable images. So I made some bookmarks and tags this weekend that I could use and give away. I also used a Unity Stamp to make the flower bookmark.

I love these corner bookmarks so it doesn’t stick out of the book and rip in the process of using it. Nope, I didn’t come up with the idea – some other creative person did and here is her tutorial on how to make the bookmarks.

I also made the tags as a little cheat sheet for “sandwich” recipes for my vagabond – courtesy of Nancy’s contribution on the SplitCoast Stamper forums. The most useful thing in my craftroom to date!

Stay cool today and have a productive day!

Challenge Enter:

By The Cute & Girly: Stamping Bella & her new little flower bookmark.

Totally Tilda Challenge: Tilda on her bookmark

CMC Copic Challenge: Tilda on her bookmark

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Happy Father’s Day!!

Just wanted to do a quick short post today to wish all my friends who are dads, a Happy Father’s Day!!

We are off today for brunch, my kids will be giving dad their Father’s Day card and a pirate’s hat. My son has been lately obsessed with pirates and this is the song he keeps chanting – “what’s the pirate’s password? YoHoHo!!”

Who knows where he heard it from … but YoHoHo … have a happy day!

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Circles and Squares …

This seem strangely early for Christmas cards – but when I’m selling cards for a living – I cannot afford to wait till Christmas to design my Christmas cards! No one would get it by Christmas.

Here is a Christmas Card I designed … You can find it on my website if you want to order this for Christmas.

It coincidentally also fits into the circles and squares challenge call from Flourishes this week that Maki has issued. Circles are punched out from red and green cardstock with Fiskars medium and large circle punch. Poinsettia was from Making Memories Falala collection (now discontinued unfortunately). Sentiments are from Stampers Anonymous – Mini Holidays Number Two.

Have a fun Christmas in June.

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3 patterned paper, 2 buttons, 1 punch & a ribbon …

This is the challenge at The Pink Elephant this week.

I just didn’t realize how difficult it is to make a card with that many elements without it looking like a gaudy and busy mess. But thanks for pushing me beyond my comfort zone … here is my 1st card with so many things squeezed into a tiny little space.

Pumpkin image is from Obsession Impression Peeking Pumpkin. I colored the image using water color pencils. Tag is from Quickutz & a circle punch cut into half.

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Craft It Forward Blog Hop

Good morning bloggers,

I came across this really cool 2011 project that I had to share – it is organized by Scrapbooks Etc. and the project is called Craft It Forward.

Craft It Forward is a movement designed to benefit local charities through craft projects.  A handmade card can bring smiles to kids in crisis, a fun banner can brighten the day of adults in residential facilities and a bookmark can encourage someone learning to read. You can make a difference in your community by doing something you love – crafting!

Here’s how it works:

Throughout 2011, make a project (any project) and donate it to a charity that is near and dear to your heart. Then, add the photo of your project and a short note about your donation story to the Craft It Forward gallery for a chance to win $500 in cash and a $500 donation to a charity! How cool is that – it’s a win-win proposition.

Feel free to contact craftforward@meredith.com with any additional questions.

I plan to participate – will you join me?

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My new stamp library …

Today is the day to rejoice!! Thank goodness – my month-long project to reorganize my stamp collection is finally done. What a relief! I thought I’d never get it done – it was a long arduous journey where I almost gave up a few times.

Anyway – here is how I would find my stamps.

1) Look in my stamp inventory binder where there are 7 categories

  • Alphabets (letters, numbers, punctuations)
  • Celebration (birthday, new house, new baby, graduation, wedding)
  • Design (flourishes, texture, backgrounds, borders, tags)
  • Holiday (X’mas, Easter, Valentines, Halloween, 4th July)
  • Misc objects (collage, objects)
  • Nature (flowers, leaves, animals, critters)
  • People (here is where I put my magnolia stamps and images of people)
  • Sentiment (text, greetings, dates)

2)Each category correspond to a box of stamps. (e.g. “Design” category has a “Design” box, “Celebration” category has a “celebration” box etc.)

3) If I’m looking for a specific stamp (say invitations), I look in the “Celebration” category in my binder

- where I will find “invitation”. Flipping to my “invitation” page on my binder, I find all my “invitation”  images. This way, I only need to work with a binder on my craft table.

4) When I have found the image I need in the binder, I look into the boxes for the exact CD cases they are stored in.

When I buy more stamps (which we all know will happen), I just add it to the corresponding box & the corresponding category in my binder. Or if I happen to buy a stamp that I need to create a new category for, I just create a new box & a new corresponding category in my binder.

I hope this system works for a while because I’m not looking forward to recreating the whole system for a while.

Have a great day!

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So many toys, so little time …

Well hello bloggers … I have to apologize for the unintentional gap in post.

I enjoy shopping – I have not met a crafter who doesn’t. Most of the time, I have some degree of self-control but ocassional,  I lose it (com’on – I’m human)! So I got totally carried away shopping yesterday … and now I’m totally playing with my new toys. Woo Hoo!!

Here is my haul …

Yes I mean really Carried Away – all unintentional purchases – really, everyone needs a Vagabond (doesn’t matter if I already have a Silhouette).

On a positive note, lookie what I made with my Zutter-Bind-it-All. Got to use it … at least once. Actually, I intent to make a Copic Coloring Book too (but that’s another post).

Have a fun day!! I intent to … in my craftroom.

Steph

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Quick 30 Minutes Handmade Cards

What is better on a hot summer day and an ice cold slice of watermelon? An ice cold bowl of sweet cherries in an air conditioned room of course … yum!

Here is my sweet bowl of cherries colored with Copic markers in my air conditioned craft room. Thank goodness for modern amenities!

I had always only used my colorless blender to fix mistakes but this is the 1st time I am using it to draw the colors away from the bowl to create more highlights. I like how it turned out – I think the colorless blender is going to be my new best friend.

Stamps are from Unity Stamps Company. Copic markers used are R35, R20, BG72, BG75, 0. Scalloped square is punched using Marvy Uchida Extra Giga Scalloped Square punch. This is my less-than-30 minutes, quick and easy card.

Challenge entered:

Sunday’s with Crissy

I also wanted to share another quick and easy card that I have submitted for various other challenges in the past and will send this for The Pink Elephant challenge this week.

Background is stamped with Impression Obsession Cover-a-card Wavy Lines and embellished with Hero Arts crystal gemstones. Foreground is embossed with Sizzix textured impressions embossing folder – wedding set #2 set on core’dinations black cardstock.

Stay cool in this 100F heat …

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June Papertrey Blog Hop

This is going to sound crazy – I got up at 3am last night and I thought I should try spray painting glue and adding sparkly sprinkles on it to see if I would get a raised 3D glittery effect. But I guess I couldn’t find glue I could spray paint at that hour so I tried spraying mulberry paper with sparkly ink just to see what kind of effect I’d get.

Here is the result (of course I had to mount it on a card) …

Mulberry paper was sprayed using Tattered Angel Glimmer Mist – Viva Pink, Electric Blue, Black Magic, Glacier, Peach Delight and Olive Vine. The effect was strangely gratifying when the colors melded together to create new colors! Impression Obsession Victorian House image was stamped on Papertrey Ink Stampers Select White Cardstock. I outlined the roof line with Copic Atyou Spica Glitter Pen – Silver and background behind the house was shaded with Copic marker BV0000.

Let me know what you think.

Challenge entered:

One Crazy Stamper

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Copic Markers – Testing cardstock

I promised I would share more about what I learnt from my Copic Certification Program, so I’m starting with my 1st major takeaway about paper and how to test which one works for you.

The basic understanding to know is how ink will move on paper.

  • It will bleed through (or saturate) almost all paper. The thicker the paper, the less bleed through you will get.
  • It will feather across the paper (feathering is when you color to line and the ink still moves beyond the line).

Bleed through is not an indication of how good the paper is, only how thick it is and how much ink you will need to use to get a good blend. On the other hand, you will want a paper that feathers minimally so you don’t spend hours carefully coloring an image to have it “ooze” outside the lines.

Here are the steps to test a paper:

1) On the paper you are testing, draw a circle with your Copic multiliner (or stamp one with your memento ink)

2) Pick a light and dark shade marker (I picked YR02 & YR 07)
3) Color your circle with the light shade (YR02 in my example) carefully to the line

  • if your colors seep outside the line, test another paper; if not, move to step 4.

4) Flick on a darker shade (YR07 in my example) on half of the circle

  • if your colors seep outside the line, test another paper; if not, move to step 5.

5) Go back with lighter shade (YR02) and blend it, any feathering would be more pronounced with a darker color and with all the blending work you have done.

  • if your colors seep outside the line, test another paper; if not, move to step 6.

6) Let your work dry a little for a few minutes and touch the colored area with the chiselled tip of a colorless blender (0)

  • ideally, you should see a crisp lighten shape of your chiselled tip instead of a fuzzy blob of lighten shape where your colorless blender touched. A crisp line will allow you more control when using your colorless blender to create texture and correct mistake.

A paper that would be good to use will have met all testing steps, giving you most control over your coloring.

Here are the papers I tested:

I found that I like Papertrey Ink Stamper’s Select and Copic X-Press It Blending card the best.

Papertrey Ink Stamper Select White ($0.15/sheet) is the thickest of the lot I tested, it took more ink to evenly saturate my circle and blend my colors – the higher saturation point of the paper works for me because it gives me time to work. I like that the colors remained very vibrant and almost true to the original colors I picked out. The same can be said with the Copic X-press It blending card. The colorless blender also left a crisp shape.

Copic X-Press It Blending card ($0.36/sheet) is also a fairly thick paper – not as thick as Papertrey, but about the same thickness as the Gina K 120# and Cryogen 84# and 89# – but it has a very smooth finish that allows the ink to stay on the surface a lot longer so it blends the best of all. I tend to be a bit “heavy-handed” when laying down ink, so with the smooth finish, my coloring started pitting a little as well because there was so much ink on the surface of the paper, which I kinda like because it looked like my image has some unintentional texture.

Gina K Pure Luxury White (80# & 120#) ($0.19 & $0.28/sheet) also as a similar smooth finish as the Copic X-press It Blending Card which I love. But was a bit softer and more absorbent than the Copic X-express It Blending Card, hence the colors looked more saturated and there was more marginally more feathering. 80# feathered more and saturated faster than the 120# but blended better – it looked more natural. The colorless blender marker was not quite as crisp as the Papertrey and Copic X-press It.

Cryogen White Curious Metallics cardstock (84# & 89#) ($0.34/sheet) was the only one that is slightly off-white and has a shimmer to the paper. I love the shimmer – wonderful “texture” to my coloring but I did not like the off-white color – I lost some highlighting potential because it wasn’t bright white. It does blend well with minimal feathering. It is a fairly soft paper and colors absorbed pretty quickly into the paper and the end result of my coloring seem significantly darker and more intense (almost cartoony dark). 89# didn’t absorb quick as quickly as 84#.

Bazzill Smoothies Coconut Swirl ($.23/sheet) also feathered quite a bit for me. It started feathering just after I laid on my darker colors before I even started blending.

Neenah Classic Crest Solar White (80# & 120#) ($0.12/sheet) performed the worst for me because it is so soft and absorbent and it saturated and feather before I even finished coloring my circle. I’m a slow worker.

My bottom line is, you have to learn the properties of the paper you are using. Any paper can give you the results you want as long as you learn where the saturation point of that paper is. That means practicing and testing with different paper to find one that fits your style.

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Summer is here …

At least I hope it’s here to stay for a while, given the crazy weather we have been getting in MN.

Over at Crissy’s, she has declared summer too – a summer theme card! There are many things I love about the summers – allergy season from spring is slowing down a little; no need for coats, hats and mitten – thank goodness, when you have to run around the house to put on 2 sets of gloves before leaving the house (sometimes 3 sets when the 1st set comes off before the 2nd set goes on); grass is lush and flowers are blooming, especially the sunflowers … and here is my sunny flower card for Crissy’s challenge.

Background is stamped using Impression Obsession cover-a-card distressed diagonals. Flower image and sentiment are stamped using Stampendous Daisy Thanks Perfectly Clear stamps. The entire card was inked using Tim Holtz’s Distress Inks – Wild Honey and Vintage photo.

Enjoy the warm weather!

Other Challenges entered:

Crafter’s Companion Monthly Challenge

By the Cute and Girly Monthly Challenge

Impression Obsession It’s The Hot Fun In The Sun Challenge

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Flourishes Timeless Tuesday Challenge # 120

I love this Color Challenge that Cindy has proposed – using my favorite color combo.

  • Cranberry
  • Caramel
  • Dark Grey
  • and /or Brown

Here is another Father’s Day card I made using those colors – Cranberry cardstock, Caramel crackles for the background, Dark Grey (Colorbox Pigment Ink in Graphite) for the sentiment and a little bit of all the colors in the ribbon (Fancy Pants Design All Fall Collection).

This is my best-selling Father’s day card this yr. Enjoy!

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