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Ask the Artist

Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions

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  • December 13, 2017
    Q: Jo Anne asks: "What is the best or fastest way to continue cleaning your roller when using it to color with several colors of acrylic paint?"

    A: To be honest... I don't clean my brayer when I paint. If there's remaining wet paint on the brayer when I'm ready to switch colors, I'll roll it off onto a sheet of cardstock or a spare canvas panel - those pieces will later become the bases for new artwork. Whatever dries on my brayer usually dries in even layers, and doesn't affect future rolling. When I have cleaned it, I've used warm water and rubbed with my fingers to remove the layers of paint, which works pretty well but takes a little time. Next time I clean my brayers, I'm going to try a tip I learned from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer - she submerges her brayers in undiluted Murphy's Oil Soap overnight, and the paint layers just peel away in the morning. I've heard that stencils can be soaked in warm water and Murphy's Oil Soap for cleaning as well.

    December 6, 2017
    Q: Ginny asks: "There have been times when I want to stamp out most of a stamp, but I don't like how one part looks, and I can draw it in... so I ink the stamp, then take my finger or a q-tip and remove the ink from the area, then stamp it. Is there a better way?"

    A: The way you're doing this is fine! Another alternative is to ink the stamp up with a water-based marker and just avoid the areas you want to replace. You can also put a little piece of washi tape over areas that you don't want to print, ink up the image, then remove the tape and stamp.

    November 29, 2017
    Q: Sandy asks: "Can you please tell me what to ask for when shopping for a gel plate?"

    A: I think the main decision you'd need to make would be what size plate to purchase. If your focus is primarily cardmaking, the 6" square plate is a perfect size for quarter sheets of cardstock (that's the one I have). If you are an art journaler or prefer to make larger backgrounds, a larger size plate would be more fitting. The smaller shaped plates are great for larger work as well, as they can be used like a large stamp. For more instructions on gel printing, check out our videos for Gel Printing Basics and Monoprinting!

    November 22, 2017
    Q: RuthAnn wants to know: "Every time I try to dry emboss a piece of vellum with an embossing folder it cracks. What am I doing wrong?"

    A: You might try opening up the folder to emboss the vellum like a texture plate instead of folding it inside - lay the embossing pad down, then the vellum, and the open folder on top. You may need some shims depending on your sandwich... I just tried using a Big Shot, and I had the multipurpose platform with both tabs open, a cutting plate, embossing pad, vellum, open folder, and a top cutting plate. The first time I did have a little cracking, but I flipped one cutting pad (they're very warped) and it didn't crack the second time. It's an issue of pressure, so if you can loosen it up just a little you shouldn't have a problem.

    November 15, 2017
    Q: Jessie wants to know: "What's a product you love but don't use?"

    A: Two things come to mind... the first is washi tape. I have some cute rolls of tape that I use to hold dies in place, but I can't figure out how to make it look right on a card. I also purchased all the supplies to do foiling... and everything is still in the box.

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