Oh my goodness…. where should I start with this topic? Being able to color well with alcohol markers has been one of my main goals ever since I began card making a year ago. I have never taken any art classes, so I was basically starting from scratch. I should explain…. there is “coloring” and then there is “COLORING.” I am in awe of colorists who have this media mastered. A key skill in using alcohol markers is the “flick.” The only problem was that I had originally purchased a cheaper set of markers that had only regular nibs, and you can’t flick with those. And, I couldn’t afford Copic markers. But when I started the AECP I discovered Altenew Artist Markers, which have both a brush tip and a fine nib, and have a reasonable price point. Yay! I have been anxiously waiting for them to be delivered, and they finally came a week ago!
So, before I began this card, I went all the way through the “Creative Coloring with Artist Markers” course with Mindy Baxter. Then I felt that I needed more instruction, so I signed up for “Color Blending with Artist Markers,” taught by Kelly Latevola. At this point I still didn’t feel ready to color the way I really want to, so I watched several YouTube tutorials by Jaycee Gaspar and Ashlea Cornell (two artists who I really admire), and slowed these videos down to 25% to watch every flick, viewing each video 3 times. LOL – I know this sounds rather crazy, but I REALLY want to learn this skill, and you can’t do this any better than by studying those who are already masters. So I have spent the past week immersing myself in learning, and this card is the result — my first attempt at accomplishing the style that I really admire — especially with coloring flowers.
I began by choosing the Altenew Nature Blossoms stamp set. I picked this because it has two outline flower stamps that are fairly open (versus, for instance, a rose, which has lots of petals all closely grouped). I also looked on my Pinterest color palettes board for a palette that appealed to me and that I could match to my new Artist Markers. I ended up picking a red violet, yellow orange, and yellow green, which are 3 of 4 colors in a tetrad color scheme on the color wheel.
I began constructing this card by putting a piece of #80 Neenah Solar White card stock (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″) into my Misti stamping platform. Then I stamped both flowers and 3 leaves with alcohol friendly ink. After stamping once, I turned the paper around so I would end up with 4 flowers and 6 leaves. I wanted to color 3 flowers, since Jaycee advises that odd numbers are much better for good composition.
Next I took Ashlea’s advice and just went through the process very slowly, one petal at a time. I progressed through all 4 colors in each color grouping, trying to accomplish the shading and blending through all of my flicks! LOL — it took a long time, but I am pretty happy with these results — especially for my first attempt! With each flower I went through the same process. Then, I enhanced the details with colored pencils. Another tip that I learned from the experts is that your colored pencils have to be REALLY sharp. I have struggled with both my hand sharpener and my existing electric sharpener to get my pencils that sharp. Then my sweet husband surprised me one day with a brand new sharpener. LOL – not what would normally be considered a terrific present, but he knew how I was struggling. It is AMAZING!!! This thing sharpens pencils to a precise point and automatically stops when they are ready. Maybe I’ve just been living in the dark ages of pencil sharpening, but this Westcott Ipoint Halo has completely changed the game for me. ?
After completing the coloring process, I cut out all of the images — some with die cutting and some with fussy cutting. As you can see, I went over the edge of this yellow flower with my markers. I tried to reverse that by using the blender, but I had a lot of difficulty with it. I am sure I will get better at this with practice!
Next I chose a dark charcoal card stock to be my main card panel, and cut it to be 4″ x 5 1/2″. I then watered down some white gesso and made some splashes on the gray panel, using a stippling brush, in order to add some texture to the card. After those dried, I adhered a piece of Altenew Graph Die Cut washi tape to serve as the grounding for my flower bouquet.
Next I arranged the flowers and leaves on the card panel. I used liquid glue to adhere the bottom layers, then used foam tape on the back of the purple flower and the final layer of leaves in order to give the card more depth and dimension.
I had planned to use a solid white background panel behind the gray card panel, but at this point I just didn’t like how it looked. So, instead I chose a piece of patterned paper from the Altenew Essential Rock Collection. I cut it down to 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ so that the finished card would be A2-sized. I adhered the gray panel to the patterned paper with foam tape to add another layer of dimension to the card.
The final step was to choose a sentiment. I decided on one of the options in the Altenew Many Thanks stamp set. I used an anti-static powder tool on some black card stock, then stamped the sentiment with sticky embossing ink, and heat embossed it with white embossing powder. I then cut it down to be label-sized, and cut a rectangular piece of white card stock to act as a backing. Finally, I adhered the sentiment with some foam tape.
I am very happy with this card. Of course, I see all of the mistakes that I made in my first serious attempt at coloring flowers with alcohol markers. But I feel that all of my studying did pay off. I am looking forward to practicing more and being able to refine this skill over time. A big THANK YOU to Jaycee Gaspar and Ashlea Cornell for their amazing inspiration and instruction!
One more class to go in Level 3! I can hardly believe it! Until then….. blessings to you…. Sande