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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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  • January 22, 2020
    Q: Heather asks: "I just made a Valentine card front with colored pencils. I was wishing I had something to paint on it to give it a shiny gleam. Is there a product I can paint on it?"

    A: I have a couple of favorites. For small details I use a clear Sakura Glaze pen - the gloss isn't as shiny, but it's much easier to get into tight corners and smaller sections. For larger areas and a higher gloss, I use 3D Crystal Lacquer. (It's similar to Glossy Accents or Diamond Glaze - a clear, dimensional adhesive/ medium). I put a small amount in a needle-tip bottle so it's easier to direct. A gloss varnish would be easy to brush onto your project too - just be sure it is water-based and non-yellowing so it doesn't affect your pencil coloring.

    January 15, 2020
    Q: Deb asks: "What sizes do you cut your cardstock to have on hand?"

    A: I have mostly left my solid colored cardstock in full sheets - I never know if I'm going to need a base for a folded box or other larger project, so that's safer for me. I have cut some of my patterned papers and cardstock down to 6" squares - it's more likely to get used for a card front that way. I chose 6" because I like to make 5" square cards as well as A2, and that gives me more options for finished card fronts.

    January 8, 2020
    Q: Rebecca asks: "What is the best eraser to use for erasing pencil marks? Mine always smudges, or does nothing."

    A: I'm a really big fan of battery erasers! They can provide more friction in a tiny area than using a block eraser by hand. The eraser can be cut to a fine line with a craft knife or ground to a point with sandpaper for more detailed use. I started with the Derwent battery eraser, and it is good and sturdy. You can see it in use HERE. There is another longer style that is branded by several different companies (I've gotten one at Hobby Lobby and one on Amazon), and those seem comparable to each other and are also good tools. The erasers are a little softer, but they have the option of a smaller diameter eraser, and the motor spins faster than the Derwent model.

    January 1, 2020
    Q: Cindy asks: "I have severe issues with glue. I buy a new bottle and a few days later I can't get the glue out. It's all formed at the top, blocking it from coming out. Doesn't matter what brand, I get this issue. Am I glue defective?"

    A: You're not weird! It's a common issue. A couple of hints - on glue bottles with larger openings (like Aleene's), I knock the bottom of the bottle on my desk a couple of times when I turn it upright - that sort of 'burps' the bottle and either pushes air up through the opening or knocks glue down out of the tip. If the bottle came with a cap, I store it with the cap on. I have some glue in a needle-point bottle that just fits a stainless steel pin in the opening - when I'm not using it, I keep a pin in the tip. I do store my Tombow Mono Multi glue with the tip down in a small cup. It's always ready to use, and usually the wet glue in the tip keeps it clear - whatever tiny amount leaks out forms a plug that will pull out when I remove it from the cup. If not, I can either pull a glue booger away or clear the opening with a pin.

    December 18, 2019
    Q: Kathy asks: "How do I clean my eraser?"

    A: With vinyl erasers, I rub the dirty part on another surface until it rubs away. If there's too much buildup for that to work, I'll use a craft knife to cut it away. (By the way, cutting erasers gives them a fresh, straight edge, which can be useful for erasing lines or details!)

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