Thursday, July 24, 2008

Copics & Watercolors, Part 2

Yesterday I talked about using watercolors with your Copics and how they wouldn't get messed up. I was working on regular Neenah cardstock. This is not a watercolor paper, so the fibers will pill if try to do regular watercolor techniques on it besides the basic coloring I showed.

If I'm using watercolors, I should use watercolor paper, right? On yesterday's paper I was starting to see the paper get destroyed. But Copics should not be used on watercolor paper, since the paper is so absorbent that it sucks the ink out of your markers and is hard to blend. This could be a problem, so what should I do?...

1. Just go for it
So what if it sucks your markers dry? A lot of Japanese artists will still use watercolor paper if most of the picture is going to be watercolored anyways. You're only using it for details and as long as you don't need complicated blends then it would be fine. Just remember that marker colored areas will be very vibrant and much darker than you expect compared to other papers. Unlike other cardstocks, don't try to soak the paper through, just work on the top layers of the paper. If you try to soak the paper you'll run into sucked dry markers and bad feathering.

The marker will feather quite a bit on this soft paper, so use a light hand. Work fast and you can still get the colors to blend, it's when they dry that it's harder to blend. For stampers, small areas are easier to blend, it's large areas that will be a pain, so save your large areas for watercoloring anyways. When done right, the two layers look pretty good together. You'll see the crispness of the marker details but the colors are vibrant and match the watercolored background.

On watercolor paper you will not be able to fix mistakes using the blender pens, and don't expect your other special effects to work as well either. Those need lots of juicy blender, and watercolor paper just won't allow it to be juicy enough.

2. Use a hybrid Paper
Look for other papers that are thick or slightly coated, then test them with both marker and watercolors since some papers will work better than others. Sorry I don't have an example of other papers.

For stampers, Stampin Up! Whisper white paper is a slightly coated paper intended for the SU! markers to blend better on. SU! Markers are water-based, and so are blended with water. Many people say they get good results when coloring on the SU! paper, so this might be an option.

3. "Blendercolor" with your Copics
On watercolor paper the problem is that when you touch the pen to the paper it sucks ink out and is really hard to blend. If you PAINT the ink on however, you're not drying out your marker. So how would you paint on marker ink, if it is inside your marker and it's not water-based?

I solved this problem by using a piece of plastic or a plastic painting palette. With just the darker marker colors, dab a few spots of color onto your plastic. Then, take a watercolor brush that can be filled with water and fill it with Copic blender solution (sorry I didn't get a picture of this brush). Use this blender brush to pick up the dabs of color and use that on your paper.

Now you can "paint" with Copics, the only difference is that your carrier is not water but blender solution. You can also try this method with a Sketch or Ciao blender dipped into a puddle of blender solution, but you have to work quick, because the blender wants to evaporate.

Or, you could also try pre-soaking the paper in blender solution or rubbing alcohol and working fast to add the colors while it's damp that way. I haven't done this on watercolor paper, but I have tried it with good success on fabrics.

So why would I use this roundabout method? The blender solution is much cheaper than running your marker dry trying to get a blend. I can fill a blender marker 70 times with one $13 bottle of blender refill. That's a much better price than even refilling any of the other colored markers. Plus, when you "paint" with this method it is REALLY hard to distinguish between marker and paint. On my finished piece, if you didn't know the tree was done with marker you couldn't tell the difference between it and the watercolored areas. Is it easy to do? The idea is easy, but it does take practice.

Images drawn onto Borden & Riley Cold Press Watercolor Paper with a 0.2 Multiliner SP.


Sandy Knecht said...

You explains things so easily where we can understand what you are telling us. I think I'll stick to not watercoloring with my Copics. Thank you!

Pamm said...

Please tell me that someday you will teach classes to those of us who aren't designers or store owners!!!!!!! You rock!

CrazyCuteCards said...

I really like your tutorials. Even it's hard to read everything in English the pictures tells me a lot.

A dutch copic beginner

Nicole said...

WOW, there's a lot of info in there and I am sure some went over my head since I tend to understand more when I actually "DO" it myself and see the results. BUT, that is the best thing about blogging, it is always still in the archived history where we can search back and learn more. OH, and thanks for making the titles easy to search and locate, too, when trying to narrow down a past blog entry!

As Pamm said, you DO rock, Marianne!

Holly Nester said...

I apologize if I'm asking the obvious. Is the benefit of using Copics w/ watercolor the ability to accomplish detail w/ saturation quickly?


Susie said...

I recently heard about filling your watercolor brush pen with colorless blender (instead of water) and then using the Palette Transferring technique. I haven't tired this yet, but... it sounds like a good idea and would save depleting ink from your markers. It will interesting to see effect.

I'd love to see your response to this.

Petersons said...

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Watercolors for Beginners