Thursday, May 27, 2010

Certification Updates

It's been a busy week, what with all the classes coming up. I have a few minor changes to go over, then it's time to give an update on all the certification classes we have coming up.

First note, Sally Lynn has moved off our Certification Regional Instructor team. She is still on our design team, but she will no longer be teaching Certifications. This leaves her open to teach more flexible workshops all across the country on a variety of subjects. I know she is looking forward to some great altered-arts workshops incorporating Copics.

Meanwhile, we've adjusted a few instructors for upcoming classes. If you need an application, please e-mail

May 30th, Vancouver, BC Taught by Sherrie Siemens Open to Public
June 6th, Arlington, TX Taught by Marianne, Sharon and Jenn Balcer FULL
June 11th, Bloomington, IL Taught By Lori Craig Open to Public
June, 12th Grand Rapids, MI Taught by Debbie Olson FULL
June 13th, Toronto, Canada Taught by Sherrie Siemens FULL
June 13th, Boise, ID Taught by Jennie Black Open to Public
June 13th, Puerto Rico, Taught by Colleen Schaan Open to Public
June 27th, Seattle, WA Taught by Sherrie Siemens Open to Public

July 11th, Riverside, CA Taught by Jennie Black Open to Stores & Designers
Summer CHA- July 26th, Chicago, IL Taught by Debbie Olson Open to Stores & Designers

I was sent a link to the following event that I think sounds really interesting. For those of you in the Washington DC area there is a Pen event this weekend at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum:

WHAT: Pens & the Post: Collect, Correspond, Celebrate!

WHEN: Saturday, May 29 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

WHERE: Smithsonian National Postal Museum, 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE

The National Postal Museum, along with the Pen Collectors of America and Fahrney’s Pens, are hosting “Pens & the Post: Collect, Correspond, Celebrate!” Pens, postage and mail have long gone hand in hand. Explore the shared history of pens and mail with the whole family.

The following activities taking place throughout the day:

· Make a creative card to send to a friend with young designer Sophia Breuer

· Watch an expert calligraphy demonstration by expert calligrapher Deborah Basel

· Take a fancy fountain pen for a spin at the “Pen Petting Zoo” provided by Fahrney’s Pens

· Sample a rainbow of ink colors with John Bosley, author of Vintage Inks

· Try out beautiful papers from plain to posh with handwriting specialist Nan Barchowsky

· Just in time for Memorial Day, pen a letter to U.S. military members and learn about World War II-era correspondence.

· Meet the Pen Collectors of America and find out more about the pen collecting community

· See a pen set belonging to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and beautiful stamps featuring pens and handwriting in a scavenger hunt

Short workshops provide the opportunity to learn from the experts and try new skills:

· 11:30 a.m. – Pens for Kids Workshop presented by the Pen Collectors of America

· 12:30 p.m. – Cursive for Kids Workshop presented by Fahrney’s Pens

· 1:30 p.m. – Pens for Kids Workshop presented by the Pen Collectors of America

· 2:30 p.m. – The Glory of Pen Collecting presented by the Pen Collectors of America

NPM Logo for Signature Block

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Working with Reds

Working with Reds
It seems like recently I've had a lot of people who have been having problems with their reds bleeding. Red is such an intense dye that I am not surprised at all, however, I haven't noticed a problem with my red projects, so I figured that I must color differently than you do.

Red is a strong vibrant color and has a lot of emotion in it. It can also cause a lot of emotion when you're in the middle of a great project and it bleeds into your other colors. Here are some tricks for keeping your reds in place.

If you look closely at this cute little stamp from Hero Arts (click on image to enlarge), you can see that his red shirt has bled out. I colored him in the traditional way I would usually color. I started with my lightest color, coloring in circles, evenly soaking the page. Then, I added the darker red, came back with the light, and blended them together.

The back of the paper is smoothly bended so I must be doing it right, but...Uh oh! Those reds bled outside the lines on the Neenah paper I was using. How can I prevent that?

Here are a few tips that should help you out:

• Work on an absorbent surface. Make sure that the ink is not bleeding simply because you're coloring onto something that is making the ink spread.

• Try a different paper. Neenah is on the soft side of the spectrum. Bazzil Simply Smooth (formerly Prism Simply Smooth) won't bleed as much, but then again, it may not blend in the same way either.

• Use Less ink. You don't really need to completely soak your paper, as red is forgiving. If it looks like the surface is evenly covered then that's good enough. Ignore the back of the paper, as the front is more important anyways.

• Try feather blending colors together. If coloring in circles over soaks the paper, then feather-blend your colors together, as this uses less ink.

• Let base layers dry before you add darker colors on top. The paper can only hold so much ink before it wants to bleed. if you let it dry a little (don't let it get completely dry or it will take more ink to blend) then it will accept more ink in the same spot before it begins to bleed.

• Avoid edges. If none of those techniques work for you, then be extra careful and don't color right up to the edges.

Note: It is very hard to fix bleeding reds with the colorless blender! You are more likely to create a bigger mess.

Here is how I colored him for my final picture. Since I didn't want to switch paper, I changed my technique instead. I decided to go with feather blending. I am working with the Natural Blending Group of R24, R29 and R59. Since R29 is the darkest in the R20's group, then I can shadow it with either R39 or even darker, R59. Since I like more contrast, I went with R59.

1. Start with your light color (R24) and feather it into darker areas. Leave it white where the darker color will be added.

2. Lightly feather in the darker red (R29) from the opposite direction.

3. Let the middle red dry a bit, then add the darkest red (R59). You don't want to take any chances, and two or more layers of red are really going to risk bleeding.

4. Let it dry some more and then feather some R29 into the R59 area, and feather the R24 into the R29. It may take a few LIGHT layers to really get the colors to blend, but it will work eventually.

Here is my final guy. As you can see from the back of this image, I used a whole lot less ink on this smoothly colored picture than I used on the first image, and it still looks great.

I lightly feathered the BG10 out as simple sky accent from his shirt. If my reds had bled at all, then this would have caused the red ink to spread all over the place as well. But you can see from the back of the paper that my ink does not soak all the way to the lines, unlike the first image. By using less ink overall, I am able to get my reds to work better.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Back from Australia

I think I'm finally getting caught up after my trip to Australia. Before I get caught up in other updates I wanted to share a few things from our Fabulous trip to Australia. Lori posted some great photos on her blog as well.
Paper in Australia
One of the first questions I get from people in other countries always seems to be "What is a good paper?" I had a couple e-mails bugging me about paper types for the land down under. If you live in Australia and have been looking for a good paper to use with Copic markers, then you are in luck!

Lori and I tested X-Press It's Copic Blending Card and we fell in love. If you are familiar with Neenah, this paper blends much like Neenah, but bleeds less and you can put more layers of color on the paper before it gets oversoaked. It's only available in Australia and New Zealand, so if you live down there be sure to check it out.

Image: Drawn with a 0.1mm Multiliner on X-Press It Blending Card. Colors used: E31,E00, E33, E35, E13, BG10, E27, E29, E000, E11, E04, R32, R29, R59, Y38, Y11, W1

Certifications In Australia
Part of the reason Lori and I went to Australia was to train the new regional instructors for Australia and New Zealand. Before I go any further, I need to remind you that any Certification classes held outside of North America are exclusively coordinated by the Copic Distributor for that country. Since Australia now has a program up and running, any inquiries we get about certification from someone in Australia or New Zealand will be forwarded to that distributor.

Congrats to the new Certification team in Australia! Pictured in the photo, from Left to right: Jacqui (Distributor), Debra James, Kathy Jones, Mandi Klinger, and Jonny (Distributor). We had a fabulous time training them, and I urge you to go visit their blogs and get inspired by their fabulous designs. They are all very talented, fun, inspiring ladies. Our hosts, Jacqui and Jonny were wonderful and so sweet (and they kept feeding my sweet-tooth). I can't wait to go back to Australia sometime to color with everyone once again!

Upcoming Certifications in Australia-
There are lots of classes and events coming up this year in Australia From Brisbane to Perth, so for more info on upcoming classes please visit the Australian Copic Events listings here. I know that you will have a great experience taking a class from any of these fabulous ladies. There is so much great information available, and you can be assured that they are teaching the same official certification program that we have here in North America.

Whew! OK, now that I've had a chance to unwind from Australia, tomorrow I'll post updates on all classes we have coming up on this continent. Have a great week!