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Search the archive, three years of Inklings.

Ask the Artist

Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions

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  • April 26, 2017
    Q: Lisa wants to know: "How often do you use scrap papers and what do you do with them?"

    A: Scrap backgrounds are some of my favorites to make. I have a hard time throwing scraps away, and actually many of my favorite scrap and color combinations turn up when I'm cleaning off my desk! I often end up with strips of paper that are about 2 inches wide, and I like to use them in horizontal blocks for a background panel. I also enjoy making Herringbone and Starburst backgrounds. A tip for all these background styles - use adhesive label paper as a base for all your background pieces. It's lightweight, easy to use, and less mess. Once you have all the pieces in place, you can use a die to trim the panel to size.

    April 19, 2017
    Q: Chris wants to know: "I noticed that some of my older ink pads were disintegrating. Of course, I have ALL of the reinkers. Is there any reason I can't use those reinkers on other makers' dye pads?"

    A: I would think that as long as you stick with dye ink, there should be no problem reinking with another company's product. I wouldn't recommend cross-inking with specialty inks (pigment, solvent, chalk, hybrid). Dye inks, though, are so diverse - since you have 'extra', try watercoloring or some of our fun background techniques, like Shaving Cream Stenciling, Striped Wipe, or Polished Stone!

    April 12, 2017
    Q: Gail asks: "What is the proper placement for the message inside a card? Higher up? Mid area? I struggle with this."

    A: In general, I usually center a smaller or shorter sentiment about 1/3 of the way down on the panel - that gives me enough room to write a greeting above the sentiment and a message below. For larger sentiments, I would center the top line about 1" - 1 1/2" from the top of the panel.

    April 5, 2017
    Q: Renee wants to know: "The Card with Detachable Bookmark is a terrific gift idea, and a wonderful tutorial. The only trouble for me is I don't have a Creatopia. Is there a different way to make a perforated line so the bookmark can be removed?"

    A: I have a rotary cutter from Fiskars that has a perforating blade. An alternative can be found at a fabric store with the pattern making tools - it's a tool called a tracing wheel. It's also a rotary tool, with a toothed wheel which leaves a row of close perforations or piercings when rolled over paper. A sewing machine can be used without thread for a pierced row as well.

    March 29, 2017
    Q: ctychick wants to know: "If you had to choose between ink pads and markers for watercoloring, which would you keep and why?"

    A: I prefer ink pads over markers for watercoloring with ink, in general. When I watercolor I find it easier to work from a palette rather than coloring and blending directly on the paper The ink pads are easy to tap onto an acrylic block for a quick palette. Blending with a regular paintbrush or waterbrush is often more effective than trying to blend ink out from a colored area - not all watercolor papers are equal, and some will hold the ink instead of allowing it to move and blend. Ink pads are also easier to apply to a craft sheet for Wrinkle-Free Distress backgrounds. These techniques are a great way to stretch the use of your ink pads, beyond traditional stamping. Markers can be great for 'direct to rubber' coloring where more than one color is needed, so that is one thing to consider. I prefer the 'real brush' markers to felt markers, which can tend to fray or smell over time.

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