Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Inks for Stamping

Thank you for all the comments so far! Your answers help everyone who is trying to get the most from their markers. If you haven't already, please post a comment on yesterday's blog to get entered in a drawing for blog candy.

There are still a couple spots left in my certification classes next week in Seattle on the 18 & 19, so I'm opening them up to the general public. Send me an e-mail with your name, address, and phone number along with which date you prefer. Also, for those of you who don't know, there is a Kansas City certification session on Oct. 9th, though I won't be sending out applications until August.

Stamping inks- What works with Copic?
There are so many factors that go into each type of ink that it is hard to say what will work without trial and error. I know that I get great results from Tsukineko Memento Dye-based inks. Some people like the Ranger Adirondack Inks, and some prefer Heat-Set Tsukineko Brilliance. Stamp pads are not cheap, so it's frustrating when your favorite ink bleeds with the markers. Solvent inks, like StazOn don't work well, however, if you never color over the line these may work for you.

Yesterday we figured out what makes a good cardstock. If your cardstock passed the test yesterday, then your ink needs to pass as well. At least these steps are easier than the ones for paper. These rules also hold true for any inking pen you would draw with and then color directly over- see the bottom of the post for an example of a line art test with a Copic multiliner on Neenah Paper. If you photocopy your work you won't have any problems, since Copic markers don't dissolve toner.

I set these standards pretty high and test very thoroughly because there's nothing worse than using your last scrap of paper, coloring along, and you smear your ink all over! Bleagh! When I teach comic drawing classes I tell the students to photocopy their work before they color it because there is no"undo" button on artwork. With Stamp inks though, you're coloring directly over the ink, so know before you make a mess.

1. Stamp with a rich black (or other DARK colored pad) onto good cardstock. Pick an image that doesn't have
all thick or all thin, but one with a variety so you can see how well the ink performs.

2. Let it dry a while. Try a second one that you've heat set. Even good inks, if they're not dry will bleed with the markers. Some papers take longer to dry than others as well, so test each paper at different drying times. Coated/glossy papers won't dry as quickly.

3. With a light colored marker (Yellow is good) slowly color in the image up to the stamped line (not over)
Does the stamped edge that barely touches the colored area feather at all? No, go to the next step. Yes, check the tip of your marker to make sure none of the ink got on it and try another stamp pad or the heat-set swatch. If any ink got on your tip, scribble quickly onto scratch paper to get it off so it
doesn't ruin the tip.

4. Carefully color over a thin line in the artwork. Check for feathering. No, go to the next step. Yes, check the marker tip like step 3 and try again.

5. Carefully color over a thicker line. Check for feathering. No, go to the next step. Yes, check & clean your marker.

6. Really saturate the whole picture. Soak that paper until it can't hold any more ink. If you have a bottle of Colorless Blender solution you can just drip it on at this point (this will simulate some special effects I'll be covering in future days). If it survives intact, then you've got a winner. Now you can try it again, same ink, with less waiting time to see how well it works.

Inking pens: The general rule of thumb for using an inking pen with Copics is to choose a pigment based, water-based (not oil) pen that is waterproof. Pigments won't smear with Copics unless they have oil as their carrier- the oil gets re-activated by the markers and smears all over. Copic Multiliners are great and so are Pigma Microns. Still, you need to make sure the ink is DRY. On the sample I've attached I didn't let the ink dry long enough and it smeared, even though I know that Copic Multiliners shouldn't do that. On glossy, coated, or marker papers inking pens need to dry for long time before they won't smear.

Again, if you haven't commented yet on yesterday's post, then now is the time.
Stamp: Buzzy Bug by Stampabilities Paper: Copic Sketchbook Paper Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black Marker: Y15


Courtney said...

I'm game for a Copic play day anytime! Obviously, we would be able to do it at 2 a.m. as well. Hahaha! Here's hoping it will warm up this weekend! I'm sick of this cold weather.

Susie said...

I performed your tests on two kinds of cardstock - Stampin'Up!'s Whisper White and PaperTrey Ink's Stamper's Select White. I used all of these inks on both kinds of cardstock: Tim Holz Distress Ink Black Soot; Adirondack Black Pitch; Brilliance Graphite Black; Stampin'Up Basic Black; and Tsukineko Versafine Onyx Black. To color in the image I used Copic Pen R20 Blush. I found that on the PTI Stamper Select White the only ink that didn't feather and/or smear was Brilliance Graphite Black. But interestingly enough, on the Whisper White the only ones that didn't feather or smear were Tim Holz Distress Ink Black Soot and Adirondack Black Pitch. The Graphite Black smeared horribly on this cardstock. Stampin'Up!'s Basic Black did not work at all on either, nor did Versafine Onyx Black. Again, thank you for your help.

marianne walker said...


Thank you for stating this point. I'm trying to teach people that each ink/paper combo will react differently, so try these tests on ALL your paper types.


Monika in VA said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog! Not being a designer, teacher or store owner ~ & living on the East Coast ~ these are as close as I'll probably get to a 'real' Copic class ~ so keep it coming ~

Might I make one suggestion~ could you please Bold ~ enlarge or highlight ~ things that are going to damage our markers (tips) ~ ie so far I've caught... clay-coated paper & smeared inks. I think it's easy to be skimming over your entry & miss those comments if they are in plain print.

Thanks again!!!

Unknown said...

I see you have certifications in several locations, do you ever get to California?

Lynne said...

Your blog is great! So much good information. After much experimentation, I had the best results with PTI cardstock and black soot distress ink. Thanks for all the help.

Cris A said...

Great tips! I'm always ina hurry to get things done. Maybe this will help me be more patient by letting things dry. Maybe.

Jennifer Love said...

I have an issue that mine seem to move outside the lines...on all the papers (Stampin Up whisper white, Georgia Pacific, Papertrey) and inks (Brilliance, Adirondack, Versafine Onyx) I've tried except the Stampin' Up shimmery white paper. Is it maybe because I'm adding too much ink? Like coloring too closely to the line or something..

mnhyrkas said...

just found your blog. I'd love to see the papers and inks combos and results all charted out as people are trying the combinations. I suppose there are just too many possibilities though.

marianne walker said...


Do you have absorbent paper under your work? You should be able to color right up to the line, nice and smoothly and it shouldn't feather out beyond the line on the cardstocks you mentioned. Try using less ink.

Susan (rainy) said...

Hi Marianne!
I have just found your blog via Splitcoaststampers. I have been so scared of Copics but so want to learn how to use them. Is the Seattle certification for those that are already at a good skill level? Is there anything offered for an absolute beginner.. as in never-even-held-a-Copic before?
Susan Roberts (rainy at SCS)

marianne walker said...

the certification classes are for any skill level, no experience necessary. Seattle would be a great option if you can go next week.

DeniseB said...

I tried some of the techniques last night and found that my Georgia Pacific paper wasn't working out as well as I'd thought.... when I added a second color, it was spreading out beyond the pencil line. Anybody else having that problem, or is it just me?

Jennifer Love said...

Good point on the absorbent paper. I'll use a pad of paper underneath. Thanks! :)

aussie stamper said...

hi from australia, can't see where I can email you, so thought I would let you know I put your blog address on a Papertrey forum thread (hope that's a good thing??) I was so impressed with your site, that when others were talking about copics, I wanted to share your wonderful advice. Cheers from Denise (

marianne walker said...

thanks! I'm over on Papertrey occasionally, so I don't mind at all!

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for your info and time! I only have Whisper White on hand...I just bought my first copics two days ago. I dug into my stash and found a black inkpad by Stewart Superior...the black India Ink pad. The lid even claims it is good for markers. I just tried in on the SU! paper and it did not smear. Lucky me...

Anonymous said...

Any chance we could get you out here to Maryland for classes! I am so happy to have found out about your blog, I haven't had my copics long but I love them!