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Ask the Artist


Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions


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  • June 3, 2020
    Q: Pat asks: "Do you clean your blending brushes?"

    A: I have several different sets of blending brushes, each 'dedicated' to its own color or color family. Really the only time I clean them is when I've used a different type of ink (like an Oxide) or a different medium (pastels or acrylic paint). To clean, I just run them under warm water, work in a tiny drop of dish soap, then rinse them well and shake out the water.


    May 27, 2020
    Q: Katy asks: "What's your favorite cardstock for Copic coloring?"

    A: There are 3 papers that I use with Copics. If I'm stamping and plan to use the markers alone or with pencils, I use Neenah's Classic Crest 80# or 110# smooth cover stock (the color I have is Solar White, but there are some others as well). If I'm coloring die cuts or I want to mix the markers with watercolor on a stamped or printed image, I'll use Fabriano Studio Hot Press watercolor paper (I have the 140# weight but there is a 90# weight as well). For digital stamps, I like how Copic markers work on Canson Canva-Paper. It's a coated paper so rather than soaking in, the inks blend on the surface.


    May 20, 2020
    Q: philsmom asks: "Is there a way to watercolor digital stamps without the printer ink smearing?"

    A: There is printer ink that doesn't run - our team reviewed a printer HERE that has waterproof ink - I have one of these and it does a good job, though we fight sometimes! A laser printer is another great option for bleed-free printing. I have read that you can use a spray fixative like Krylon's Workable Fixatif before painting and that will help to set water-based ink - I've also found (even with the printer I mentioned above) that it helps to let the ink cure for 24 hours. I hope that helps!


    May 13, 2020
    Q: Garnet wants to know: "Clearing out the old filing cabinet, I found several ledger books, the kind with white & green pages, and lots of lines and little boxes to tally your business expenditures. I'm thinking the blank pages would make cool background paper or something. Looking for your ideas."

    A: They would make great backgrounds for masculine cards or office-themed cards. You could also use a gel medium to adhere pieces to a canvas as elements of a collage or the base of a painting. They would make great papers for gel printing too! You could cut strips and roll them into beads or use die cut shapes as a layer on a paper pendant for a themed jewelry piece.


    May 6, 2020
    Q: Eileen wants to know: "What does it mean to be an alcohol-friendly ink?"

    A: Coloring stamped images can be a challenge! Your stamping ink and coloring medium need to be "compatible" so that your coloring doesn't activate the ink and cause it to bleed. An alcohol-friendly ink will not bleed when used with alcohol inks or markers. As a general rule, "opposites attract" - meaning that best results will come from using an ink and coloring medium with different solvents. Example: Dye ink is water-soluble. A water-based coloring medium will dissolve the ink, or cause it to bleed. Stamp a dye ink to use with alcohol markers - they will not react. Solvent inks (like Stazon) will bleed with alcohol markers because the solvents are the same, but they are perfect for watercoloring. (Hybrid inks are often alcohol-friendly too, and some are water resistant as well.)


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