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Ask the Artist


Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions


  • Submit your question to Dina
  • February 14, 2018
    Q: Amy is looking for ideas:
    "I have so much double-sided patterned paper and I want to show it off with fun folds."

    A: Great idea - I love being able to show off both sides of the paper in a project! For fun fold cards, try the Trifold Pocket Card, Diagonal Double Pocket Card, Pinwheel Fun Fold, or Double Gate Fold Card. The Pleated Skirt Fold makes a fun embellishment for a card front. If you're looking for a cute treat holder, try the Diaper Fold Pouch, or the Two Pocket Treat Holder. For gift giving, tuck notecards into a Card Clutch or top off a package with a Paper Bow!


    February 7, 2018
    Q: Judy asks: "Does anyone have a filing system for their paper that makes it easy to see the color family and pull what you want to work with?"

    A: I don't have a great system for larger or patterned papers, but I keep my colored cardstock (half and full sheets) in hanging file folders, organized by color family. With it organized that way, I can see all the colors from the top. I have 6" pads and patterned papers in a box, ordered by color; I keep some quarter sheets in that box as well. For scraps, I use side-loading DVD binder pages that have 2 pockets each. They're easy to pull out, and they're organized with one pocket for each color family. (If you'd like to share your paper filing system with our community, click HERE!)


    January 31, 2018
    Q: Gail wants to know: "I mask but get 'ink shadows' - what am I doing wrong?"

    A: My guess is that your mask is just a little bit too large - try cutting to the inside of the outline to avoid getting that white 'halo' around the image - this will allow the ink to come right up onto the outline of the stamped image. Using a thinner masking paper may help too, or even wide masking tape.


    January 24, 2018
    Q: Kren asks: "I keep hearing about Yupo paper. Can it only be used with alcohol products, or can I use acrylic/water-based products as well? Is there a website that explains its properties and uses?"

    A: Yupo is a synthetic paper that makes a beautiful substrate for alcohol inks, but it can actually be used with other mediums. I have used it with watercolors and it's a lot of fun for creating backgrounds, since the paint stays on the surface and will move until dry. You can create effects in the paint with spritzes of rubbing alcohol, or by stamping into it with a texture stamp. Yupo can also be used with water-based markers and watercolor powders, as well as acrylic paints (I'll have to give them a try!). Some artists prefer Yupo because the slick surface allows paint to be wiped or lifted away to direct or correct the flow of color or to add highlights. You can also die cut lighter weight Yupo to use as a mask or stencil. You can find out more about the product on the Yupo website HERE!


    January 17, 2018
    Q: Hilda asks: "What stays on your desk all the time?"

    A: A mess! A mess stays on my desk all the time. I do always have all my essentials in reach - especially coloring mediums, paint brushes, inks and adhesives. I have a little basket of stamps that I never put away - those are script and texture stamps that I always reach for when making backgrounds. On the other side of my desk I have a magazine rack that holds my MISTIs, trimmer, and Scor-Buddy - those are used for almost every card. Other essential tools I always keep at hand are strong reverse tweezers, white acrylic paint or gesso, a ball stylus, sand eraser, and a container of water for painting.


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