The little things that make me happy here on Bliss Road~~Emily Keaton

Friday, April 27, 2012

You're Special (and a photo tutorial)

A very happy Friday to all of you! Thanks so much for dropping by.

As some of you may know, I tend to take a budget-minded approach to my papercrafting. Rather than invest in pricey alcohol-based markers for coloring stamped images, I've had a lot of fun exploring cheaper options for coloring, including watercolor painting with dye inks (you can find my photo tutorial here) and coloring with colored pencils. When I first started using colored pencils, I was disappointed by how you could see pencil lines in the colored areas, often with white areas showing through. It wasn't long, though, before I discovered "Gamsol magic," a method of blending colored pencil coloring with odorless mineral spirits (OMS) and paper blending stumps. ("Gamsol" is an OMS brand name, just like "Band-Aid" is an adhesive bandage brand name.) OMS is a painting solvent that evaporates completely and leaves behind no residues. It dissolves the wax in colored pencil lines so that the pigment may be lifted and spread. OMS blending of colored pencil coloring allows nearly effortless shading and results in a beautiful, smooth finish.

For the sake of comparison, the chickie on the left (below) was colored with colored pencils only, but the chickie on the right was colored similarly then blended using OMS and a paper stump. See how much smoother and more even the coloring is? The colors even seem more vivid!

The new cling-style Computer Chickie stamp from DeNami

Anyway, the reason I'm sharing all of this information about colored pencils and the OMS blending technique is because I have a new photo tutorial on this technique debuting over on the DeNami Design blog today. In it I show how I did the coloring to make this card:

Isn't that DeNami Armchair Chickie the cutest? I thought this would make a cute card for Father's Day! I stamped the "You're special" sentiment from the Thoughtful Greetings stamp set on the outside and the new cling-style Happy Father's Day stamp on the inside. The patterned paper is from the new Handmade collection by Lily Bee Designs.

Now before I go, I wanted to share a few more tips on materials for this technique that I wasn't able to include in my tutorial on the DeNami blog.
  • Look for odorless mineral spirits in the oil painting supply section of your favorite craft and hobby store. You can look for Gamsol or any odorless paint thinner containing 100% odorless mineral spirits. I was able to get Mona Lisa brand for an awesome price at my local A.C. Moore store.                  
  • Rather than juggle a huge container of OMS in my crafting space, I pour a more manageable ounce or two into a small lidded glass moisturizer container to keep handy on my work table. OMS is flammable, so be sure to keep it covered tightly.
  • You can find paper blending stumps in most arts/crafts stores; look in the fine arts supplies with the graphite pencils, charcoal, and pastels. They look something like this:
  • The paper stumps are pretty cheap, and the double-ended stumps give me even more bang for my buck. So I dedicate one stump tip per color to avoid unintended color mixing. What happens if the tip wears down? You can sharpen it again quite simply with a sanding block or emery board.
I hope that I've been able to take some of the mystery out of the so-called "Gamsol magic" technique in today's post and that you'll take a peek at my tutorial on the DeNami blog.

Thanks for taking a look. Have a great weekend!


Pam said...

So cute Emily!! I have yet to try the mineral spirits. I need to get some though, as my blender pens are drying up!! Great tutorial on the Denami blog!!

Unknown said...

Have you tried baby oil? It works well, too!

Bonnie said...

I love this technique and don't use it often enough. Instead of stumps I use the makeup swabs that have a pointed end and rounded end. Around here we can get a bag full at Dollar General for $1.00. I love your chickies colored so brightly! They make a darling card.

Marlena M. said...

Thank you for showing the picture of the bottle! The few times I colored with pencils, I used baby oil. I have to look for that!
Your card is ADORABLE Emily. I love those wittle birds. ;)

Lisa Elton said...

Thanks for the fabulous tutorial Emily and that absolutely awesome card!!

Colleen Dietrich said...

You've taught me something new today, Emily. I know nothing about blending pencils in this method, but now I feel enlightened. It really makes a difference, as shown in your comparison photo.

Such a cute chickie card, too! Love the multiple armchair chicks all lined up. Have a great weekend, my friend!

Benzi said...

Emily, those little chickies are just sooo cute in the scored sections. Yes, the gamsol makes a big difference!

Jessi Fogan said...

I think I must press too hard when I blend...all my paper stumps are permanently stumpy :/ Practice makes perfect! Love all the bright cheery colours & what is it about dads & armchairs? At our house anyone can sit there unless Rob is home, and then you'd better vamoose or else. (Or else what has never been one's brave enough!)

Unknown said...

I've heard of coloring this way with pencils. I'm with you on not liking how it looks without the Gamsol! I might have to try it! TY for the tutorial over at the DeNami site!
Cute card! ;o)

Unknown said...

Your card is so cute. And thanks so much for you lesson on OMS. I used a blender pen. They are so hard to find and they dry up fast. I am definitely going to try this..

YOur little chickies are so cute.


Marisa said...

Your little chicks are too cute! Great info on the Gamsol too. Have never tried the method, but when I do, I now know what to do - thanks! Have a fabulous weekend :)

Kary said...

Hi Emily! This card looks absolutely adorable!! Love the sweet chicks and love your colouring! You've inspired me to take out my colour pencils ;)
Great card!!

yyam said... your sweetly coloured card. :)

And what a great idea for some $ saving....If I had only known it before I bought my copics! lol

Jackie Rockwell said...

GREAT tutorial! You're so right blending the colored pencil makes a HUGE difference! Your little chicks are as sweet as can be Emily!!!

Mary Marsh said...

I love this technique as well Emily-its waht I use most often when I have to color-love your fathers day card

Greta said...

Your card is adorable & I may give your colored pencil technique a try. I've seen it once before, but now I can refer back to your video while I'm learning.

Tan's Hobbies said...

Oh dear!! I visited the DeNami Design blog to saw your post. It is AWESOME!! Thank you so much for sharing that lovely technique!!! Your creations are always gorgeous!!! Those little chickies are cute!!!

Anne-Elise said...

Your card is so cute, Emily! I'm your new follower!

Debbie Carriere said...

What a fantastic card, Emily!!! Love the happy colors and how you used the quilt block paper!

Joanne (jojot) said...

this is just the most precious card...LOVE IT

Anonymous said...

Precious card, Emzi! What darling chicks from Denami! I love your gorgeous work the OMS! I used to use that method and every know and then I am tempted to go back to it - always great colours!