Sunday, December 30, 2007


Greetings! I hope everyone had a SPLENDID Christmas! I sure did... but as always, it's good to be back in my stamp room.

I was playing around with a card tonight and in trying to decide which method I wanted to use to color in this cute little mouse, I thought I'd share with you some differences between several Stampin' Up! products. Here are 5 different methods to color in this image from the new Happy Heart Day set. I used the same colors on all examples - Ruby Red, Old Olive, Brocade Blue, and whichever Gray each method allowed. I have included my own personal description of the pros and cons below each image. I hope this gives you some insight on the many ways you can color your images!

1) Blender pen with ink pad lids

For this method, you take a Blender pen and dip it into a well of ink that you create inside the the lid of your ink pads by squishing the ink pad together while it's closed. If you need more ink (the squishing technique typically doesn't give enough ink for the lighter colors), you can squeeze a drop of ink from the re-inker bottle directly on the inside of the lid. Tip: You should always start coloring where you want it darkest, and then blend it out from there.
Pros: Quick method; creates a strong, vibrant look; easy to blend and make areas darker than others (the Olive shirt looks fabulous using this method!); not limited by colors because all 48 standard Stampin' Up! colors are available plus In Colors and neutrals
Cons: Not practical for larger areas as the Blender Pens only blend so far before needing to re-ink (I do not like the way the big heart turned out using this method... it was too big); if you color too long in one area (ie. to make an area darker) you will rub the cardstock raw

2) Watercolor Wonder Crayons with Aquapainter

For this method, you use an Aquapainter (which is a brush tip that stays wet using the water stored in the barrel) and touch it to the Crayons to ink up the brush.
Pros: Fairly quick method; this is by far the easiest method to blend; all 48 standard Stampin' Up! colors are available plus black, gray, white, ivory, and sand; creates a vibrant, but more loose look
Cons: A little more difficult to create dark areas (notice the Olive shirt is not as dark and vibrant); you have to be careful at how much water you use - too much water prevents the vibrant color from showing

3) Stampin' Pastels with QTips

The Stampin' Pastels come with several fine-tip applicators which I use for small areas (like the Brocade stripe and flower). For larger areas, I just use QTips.
Pros: All 48 standard Stampin' Up! colors are available plus black, white, and gray; you can use the eraser (included) to remove errors; very affordable at $24.95 for the whole set
Cons: Not practical for small areas; hard to blend; not as precise as other methods (ie. the color doesn't go all the way to the lines); typically a lighter look

4) Stampin' Write Markers

Self-explanatory method... I prefer the markers when I'm coloring very small, detailed images, like a bunch of flowers. This is not the method I would normally choose for an image such as this one!
Pros: Strong, vibrant color; all 48 standard Stampin' Up! colors are available; you can purchase the markers individually, in color families, or the whole set; markers have a brush tip and a fine tip, so it's easy to color larger areas as well as small, detailed areas
Cons: Cannot blend at all; not available in In Colors; not all neutrals are available (that's why the mouse is not colored - there's no gray!)

5) Watercolor Pencils with Blender Pen

For this method, you start by loosely coloring in the image with the pencil, and then use the Blender Pen to blend it all together.
Pros: Easy and fast to use; very affordable at $19.95 for 24 colors
Cons: Colors are not Stampin' Up! colors so you have to just pick the best one to match; hard to gauge how much to color because once you use the Blender Pen on it, you can't add more color

And there you go! Wanna know my personal favorite? I typically use either method 1 or 2... but I do reach for the other methods when the circumstances call for them. What about you?? Have I left anything out? Do you have a Pro or a Con that I should add to my lists? (it's late and I'm sure I've left a few things out!)


April said...

This is a very helpful blog post. I think I like the mouse's shirt on the first method, but I like the heart on the second method. Do you have to use StazOn pad for this?

DeeDee said...

Hi Michele!!! I'm visiting via Diane's blog and I really enjoyed touring your have some very helpful informtion here.....It's nice to see someone else from Texas on my blog tour....we live in Weatherford....please visit my blog if you have a chance....TFS!

Jackie W. said...

Michele - this is very informative! I prefer the Aquapainter with ink the best. I don't think you did that one...? I use the Aquapainter instead of the blender pen. You can then color larger areas easily and go back and add more color for depth. Happy New Year!

Corie said...

Happy New Year!! Big hugs and smiles!

Diane said...

Michele, love what you did here. Such an instructive illustration of the various coloring options. I'm saving this. Would be great during demonstrations and would make a great launch for a special class in coloring. Great inspiration! TFS

Nancy Riley said...

Wonderful demonstration, Michele! My preference tends to be the aqua painter and ink method. Watercolor crayons are on my wish list!

Ali Manning said...

What a nice post - I'm really struggling with the images in this set because of the large coloring areas. Thanks for the tips!

Sharon said...

Hi Michelle,
Thanks for the great comparisons. I agree that this would be very helpful at a workshop or club meeting. I tend to use my aquapainter and either the ink from the stamp pad or scribble on the plastic storage box (for the stamp set) with a marker to pick up the color as I do not have all of the ink pads, but do have all of the markers. The watercolor wonder crayons are on my wish list, too.

bettybetty said...

great tutorial, really informative, i use the first and the last the most, sometimes the markers just seem too vibrant but other times they are just the thing, looking forward to enjoying more posts on your blog

Alison Shiloh Wear said...

what a great idea! I may be sending some customers to your blog for comparisons...

joyk said...

All your samples look great. My personal favorite method is to use SU markers on watercolor paper which allows you to shade and does not streak.

joyk said...

Sorry, I forgot to add that I use the aquapainter to do the blending.