Sunday, November 8, 2015

Watercolor Pens/Markers Comparison

Today's project is probably my most ambitious one to date and uses masking to create a scene.  I went back to Jennifer McGuire, Ink and found a video where she used masking and I watched it about 4 times and studied it very carefully.

Today's card uses the Stampendous Bird and Blossom stamp set.  Stampendous has really nice cling stamps and their dies also cut very close to the edge which I like.  I started out by stamping each of the images in the set that had matching dies on plain white 80# card stock and then I die cut those as my masks.  I have some temporary adhesive that I can put on the back of these die cuts so I can stamp over them easily but they remove without leaving a residue.  Very occasionally I will get a bit of residue on my panel but it rubs right off with your finger.  The kind I'm using is AdTech and I got it at Hobby Lobby.  Any kind of temporary adhesive would work just fine.

In the process of masking, you are covering your image with the mask so that you can stamp the image that would appear it front of or behind it.  Whatever is covered with the mask will not show up in the final image.  For example, the nearer blooms would be bigger and appear closer than those in the distance.  By masking off part of the larger image when you are stamping you create some distance and appropriate perspective in the field.  I'm not very good at this, but it's something that will come with a little more practice I think.  For my first time trying it today, I'm pretty happy with the results, but I had to stamp with Versamark, then heat set and do that with each part of the image one at a time.  It did not work for me to stamp everything and then try to heat set.  So with each layer I used my heat tool to melt the embossing powder.  I'm definitely going to have to try it again to see if there is a better way.  I save my masks in the same package with my stamps and coordinating dies and use them over and over again, so it's not a big deal to try it again another day.

One of the things I most like about water coloring with the Tim Holtz Distress Markers is the transparency of color.  But I have a few issues with the markers themselves because I am so hard on them.  It's definitely me and not the markers, I promise!  I've been wanting to try the Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens because, as the name indicates, they have a real brush tip with bristles and everything, LOL!  I started out trying to use these on heavy white card stock, but from the first stroke of color that was a no go.  I quickly tossed that attempt into the trash can and got out my watercolor paper.  For the water color paper, I tried both; stamping with my lightest color of pink ink (Pink Pirouette) and also heat embossing using Ranger Super Fine Detail Gold Embossing Powder. I could have used clear or even white embossing powder, but I'm finding that I really love the touch of elegance that the gold embossing powder gives.

One of the really awesome things about the Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens is that the tip is so very very fine that I could easily trace over the stamped line on the images and start pulling in color.  Initially when I thought about trying to get a few of these in colors I like to use for floral images, I went straight to my regular source, Simon Says Stamp.  Unfortunately, they've been sold out for a while now in the individual markers I wanted.  So, when I found a very reasonable price on Amazon that had several of the colors I was looking for, I went ahead and got a 36 set.  I used them all afternoon today and really the only colors I might still need are a teal, turquoise, rose, purple & wine. There are several browns and grays in addition to the more vibrant colors. In combination with the distress markers, I'm definitely good to go.  There are 80 colors available in the Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens, but you definitely don't need them all for card making.   I don't really color in other types of images like people, so for my needs, the 36 set is more than enough.

In this image you can see that I put a very fine line of color all around the outline of this image. This color is called "Pink" and it is every bit as vivid as the photo suggests.  There is another color called Light Pink but it is a very different tonal value than this color.


I wasn't sure I was going to like the pens initially, but after getting used to them today, I really like them.  Like the Distress Markers, they have true transparent color.  In fact, many of my Distress Markers will work nicely with the Clean Color Real Brush Pens.  Where the Clean Color Real Brush Pens excel is the vividness of the colors; they are so bright and bold.  You can also make a fine line or a bold line depending on how hard you press the top of the brush and I'm pretty certain you could sign your name if you wanted to.  Another really great feature is that if you want, you can put the brush to the wet paper for a bit more color without damaging the tip of the brush.  With a traditional marker, the brush tip will actually absorb some of the water and mess with your color and your "brush" tip.  You can also put the brush tip to your water brush or paintbrush to get a bit of color in any areas where you might be trying to get a softer color wash.  The third thing that is really great about the Real Brush Pens is that you can take them tip to tip of two different colors and it will not damage the tips.  So if you want to blend a blue and a green to get teal, you can touch the tips to each other without damaging either one. You can also scribble some color on to your craft sheet or acrylic block and use them that way.

When I am in the process of water coloring an image, I have a rhythm that I get into which is to hold the marker by the cap in my left hand and I pull the marker in and out of the cap as needed. I'm just adding a narrow line of color and then I pull it out with water.  Well, occasionally I whack the "brush" tip of the distress marker on it's cap so in the colors that I use a lot, my brush tips are kind of messed up.  I can still get the color out of them and I don't usually need a super fine line so it's been okay but I don't know how they will hold up in the long run. The Distress Markers are definitely more vintage colors, but I will continue to use both.  There are still times when I also want to use my Gansai Tambi traditional Japanese watercolors as well.  It truly depends on what I am working on.

Water Color Paper is an absolute must with any of these choices.  It allows for perfect blending and doesn't pill the way card stock does.  I tried both types of watercolor paper that I have which are Canson XL 140# and Bristol Smooth 100#.  I like both of these and I would probably select based on the color first. The Bristol is much whiter than the Canson XL and it is also super smooth.  I always use the smooth side of either type. I know many people like the Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Paper, but I don't find it economical to purchase.  I need to know that it's okay to mess up a piece of watercolor paper so I buy the large pad with 30 sheets and cut those to 4 x 5.5 inch widths which gives me 180 pieces for less money than two packs of the Tim Holtz Distress Water Color Paper which has 20 sheets per pack.  That is simply my personal preference but everyone should use whichever one they like.  I really haven't decided one way or the other about the type of brush to use as I am still testing. I have a couple of the Silver Black Velvet Round Brushes that I'm needing to try because I've read and heard that they are very nice but for these projects I used a Kuretake Zig Water Brush. Zig has been around since 1902 and has brought us such innovations as Wink of Stella, Wink of Luna, and many more.  Their products are light fast and conform to ASTM Standards from the ACMI (Art & Creative Materials Institute).  I did find some information on their website which loosely translated means "Store water based inks in a horizontal position".  I ordered a container that will hold both the Distress Marker and the Clean Color Real Brush Pens in a horizontal position.


I feel that my floral images are pretty good for someone with zero art background.  As Jennifer McGuire says, no one will look at my cards and say, "Oh--she didn't do that right".

I hope you enjoyed this little comparison on water color markers/pens.  I used this image to make a rare for me 5 x 7 card.  If you stop by, please leave a comment and let me know you visited.  Have a great rest of the weekend everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! Love the bird --the peony looks as if the petals are gently moving with a slight breeze!

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