Posted on

Magical Monday: Coloring desert scenes


Well lookee there, Monday came to visit us again! That means it’s time for a little bit of magic…and I pulled out a stamp set that I finally moved from my wish list to my CART! Those happy little succulents and lizard just made me want to draw some cliffs and create desert scenes…so let’s go!

Coloring desert scenes

Paper Smooches makes this adorable stamp set called Southwestern Charm; I combined it with Sunny Side Up so I could give our lil guy some glasses! Ha! Enjoy the video below, or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube!

Hope you liked that crazy background music – lol! I love to add a little bit of pep to my videos.

I promised some project notes, so here you go:

  • The multiliner pens I used to draw the ground and cliff are HERE – just got them after waiting for months! I’ll do a whole video on them sometime to show you more deets – but you can get pens by the set or one at a time, and they don’t bleed with your Copics. PLUS they’re refillable and you can replace the nibs too. Rockin awesome!
  • I picked the mix of colors for the cliff and ground from the Hex Chart – I started in the oranges, added rusts, then added yellow to be the sun shining on it (and it needed to be brighter), then added some bright orange on top.
  • Original Markers: I have a number of colors in the “square” body often called the “original” or “Copic” style body. That’s because there’s an awesome bullet nib for drawing in details. I recommend getting a selection of your favorite detail or doodling colors in the body…I have about 25 of them and they’re really helpful! You can get them in sets, but also one by one here.
  • The final touch was to add some dots of white pen – both the colorless blender Original and then some white Signo pen. Some folks don’t find the Signo works but love the Gellyroll…either will do great for creating highlights in the sand of desert scenes!

Sandy Allnock Coloring Desert Scenes

The rocks, sun, flowers, and glasses have Glossy Accents added to them – just for a little special shine! And I added the sentiment at the end – using the


Affiliate links are used, at no expense to you. Note that it looks like the store is out of a lot of items following last week’s huge sale – but I know a bunch of the stamp sets are in stock! Well at least til you guys get ‘hold of them. 🙂

This was a fun little card for a Monday – hope you might try one of these desert scenes. Got any suggestions for settings for future Magical Monday videos?

Posted on

When and how to change Copic nibs and refill pens

A common question I’m asked often is how to change Copic nibs – when do you do it? What’s the process? And how do you refill Copic markers? Today’s very short video will talk about both! Watch the video below, or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube.

Important tip!

In case it didn’t come through clearly enough in the video: do NOT use rubbing alcohol in place of Colorless blender except in cleaning functions only. If you soak your caps, 99% alcohol works great. It’s super for putting on a rag or paper towel and wiping off ink around the nib. But do NOT mix it with color inside your pen or touch it to the nib. You don’t want to mix that with the Copic ink. Use colorless blender if you want to do things like mix custom colors, etc.

How to refill Copic markers

I recommend only purchasing refill bottles for colors as you use them; you may THINK you’re going to use a color a lot, but wait until you find out if you actually do. You’ll get many refills out of one bottle; so don’t get too worried by the price, it’s a great deal. I’ve posted a list of my most-refilled markers HERE – that means that they’re the colors I use the most!

Signs that a marker needs refilling:

  1. inconsistent coloring
  2. “dragging” of the nib while coloring; sometimes with a squeaky sound
  3. whitish nib

Refill from the chisel side, especially if you use my technique (removing the chisel nib, dripping ink directly into the marker) or the Booster System. I’m going to make a wild guess and say that most people who make videos – including Copic – must not use the booster needle, because I couldn’t find any how-t0-refill videos showing it! ha. I’ve tried it before and it works, it’s just easier to put the drops in directly. Some folks use the measurement notches on the bottle and figure out how many cc’s to put in; I hold the bottle above the marker and drip ink into it, and just count drops.

Once you think you’ve got enough ink in the pen, be sure to test it. If ink is dribbling out of the brush nib – you’re over full!

If your marker still isn’t quite right….a Copic hack!

I’ve had a few markers over the years that weren’t coloring quite right even after refilling. They were a little “gummy” on the surface of the nib – if you end up with that kind of nib, you’ll know it.

The trick with the bag shown in the video worked BRILLIANTLY on the marker I used it on this week. I was so excited to see that! In the past I had just changed those nibs…so from now on when I get a gummy marker, I’m going to mess with it more before giving it up. Just put a little Colorless Blender into a plastic bag, and massage it into the nib for about 30 seconds or so. Scribble off color – it should be lighter and thinner ink at first, as the blender solution wears off. You may need to add more ink to get it to color properly.

And if that doesn’t work – try changing the nib.

How to change Copic nibs

I replace nibs most often when the nib breaks down; that means either the tip develops a little “tail” that flips around as I color (agh! Frustrating!)…and sometimes the sides of a nib break down and develop what looks like pilling. If it still colors fine and you aren’t bothered by it, though, don’t change it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

How to change Copic nibs: Pull out the nib with Copic tweezers. It’s an inexpensive item, so go ahead and pick one up, honestly. It’ll keep your fingers clean when changing nibs or refilling – and it’ll make pulling out a brush nib WAY easier. I tried replacing a nib and using my regular makeup tweezers to pull out the nib – and only the foam part came off, and I had to do crazy things to remove the rest….it’s easier to just use the Copic one.

Pop a new nib into the empty marker, then wait for the ink to wick down to the end. Super easy. You may need to add more ink, but wait til the ink wicks out to the end first.

Extra links

The “hack” I showed with the bag isn’t mine, though I had always wondered if it would work. So happy that marker is back to working well instead of needing a new nib! Here are two ladies with blogs that are jam packed with great info:

My most reinked colors

At long last, after SO many requests….I’ve updated my favorite products page. At least with a few of the basics! I have more to add, but…here you go!

My favorite products


Copic Markers at Ellen Hutson LLC
Copic Markers at Dick Blick Art Materials
Copic Markers at Simon Says Stamp

I hope this post was helpful in learning how to change Copic nibs and refill your markers!

Posted on

Magical Monday: Cliff climbing!

I’m not very adventurous in “real life” – but I’m willing to do a little cliff climbing (or make a fox do it for me) with my Copic markers!

Cliff Climbing

I tried a bunch of different things with this darling little stamp set from Mama Elephant – the three little critters hold signs, and there’s a huge variety of sentiments that can be stamped onto their papers. But what I thought about here was – if one of the critters was feeling congratulatory, where might he go to show his appreciation for an accomplishment? To shout from the top of a cliff, of course! Watch the video below or click HERE to view in HD on YouTube:

To make the reddish-brown layer behind the colored cliff climbing panel, I took a piece of white cardstock and colored it with two of the colors in my little fox – a soft blend from top to bottom. It’s a great way to “create” matching papers when you don’t have any of the right shade in your stash!

Sandy Allnock - Magical Monday Cliff Climbing2


I’m glad this chicken-hearted non-climbing human can rely on a little fox to do the cliff-climbing for her!

Posted on

Magical Monday: I Wheelie Like You Card


Sometimes a stamp says just what you need it to say…sometimes you need an I wheelie like you card!

I Wheelie Like You Card

When I saw this little mini stamp set, I was thinking about how to make him his own little aquarium to live in – and exercise in! A friend of mine gave me a cloth a few weeks ago – she said it’s a fabric piece that they use in Japan as face cloths, and it makes a really cool texture! Check it out in the video below or watch it out HERE on YouTube in HD!

I of course added my signature white pen to my I Wheelie Like You Card….I often do that to add the final details to my coloring. And I was hoping by now I’d have an answer for all of us on what causes some folks to love the Uniball pen and others to love the Gellyroll. I checked the comments on THIS video after asking about elevations and locations, and….well, I don’t see anything consistent! I’m going to be trying to connect with the manufacturers to ask what’s goin’ on. Can’t hurt, right?

Sandy Allnock Magical Monday I Wheelie Like You card

The final step on the card was creating the card base background. I wanted something simple but playful, and got out my Yellow and Blue daubers – super easy and super cute!

WINNER from THIS giveaway...congrats! Email me your addy and I’ll put your stamps in the mail!



Next time you need an I wheelie like you card – go pick up this set from Lawn Fawn. It’s soooo cute!

Posted on

Shading Fabric Folds with Copics

Happy Friday, everyone! If you’re off to a fancy party this weekend, I hope you look as amazing as this Prima doll! If you’re at home in pjs like me…enjoy a little lesson on shading fabric!

Shading Fabric with Copics

Fabric folds give lots of people fits – it billows in and out of the light so much that it can be hard to figure out where to put the darks. This is a quick overview of a way to think through the lighting – watch the video below or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube!

If you pick up this stamp – you can use the sketches below to try this yourself! Or pick another stamp you have and make yourself a stamped cheat-sheet on scratch paper, and store it in your stamp pocket (I use these and LOVE them) for use later on! This one shows the lighting from the upper right as shown in the video.

Sandy Allnock - right light

And this is the opposite direction, lighting from the upper left. Shading fabric doesn’t have to be difficult, it just takes some practice!

Sandy Allnock - left light

NOTE: I get asked over and over and over (and over) about why I have washi tape on my markers. Honestly, it is only to mark them as my own when I go to crops or classes. I’m about to remove the tape just to stop the questions, even though I’ll lose markers because of it….it’ll be pricey, but anything to keep the questions to a dull roar. LOL. If you have other questions about stuff, try the FAQ page before asking – it’s likely I’ve already got it answered! 🙂

PS Don’t forget the giveaway HERE!


If there are stamps that you think would make a good lesson on shading fabric, leave me a link in the comments – if I get the stamp I’d be happy to include it in my long list of oh-I-can’t-wait-to-make-a-video-with-this!

Posted on

Drawing Pattened Paper Flowers


Today we’re making our own Patterned Paper Flowers – talk about fun! All you need is the ability to do a little doodling. Well, and a stamp set to start with…the Bokeh Dots set makes this easy. Okay, you need something to color with. But that’s all, right? Watch the video below or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube.

I just love the funky loose style of this bouquet of paper flowers!

Sandy Allnock Drawing Designer Paper Flowers 2

Art Journal: Patterned Paper Flowers

In the video I promised a look at the art journal page that came before the card. It’s done in Copics in THIS art journal – and yes the marker does bleed through. I just use every other spread.
Sandy Allnock - Art Journal Patterned Paper Flowers


And a crazy question: is it patterned paper or designer paper flowers? I tend to use patterned more….but what do you call it?

Posted on

Magical Monday: Chaton Artiste (Kitty Artist)


Goooood Monday to you all! It’s back to the regular schedule around here, which means today is Magical Monday – and I bring you a very special guest today: a kitty artist! This little meowster, who’s colored like my Punch, has painted the Eiffel Tower for you today. Hope you enjoy the video below – or click HERE to watch it in HD on YouTube!

Kitty Artist: Fact or fiction?

I spent some time looking online to see if I could find any cats who actually created art; usually the search term just leads to people named Kitty, or the inevitable paintings and drawings OF cats. If anyone knows of cats who create, link me up! I’d love to see! Otherwise this little kitten on my card will be the only chaton artiste out there…which is not a bad status for him to have!
Sandy Allnock Magical Monday - Kitty Artist2

This card got an added little treat inside – a peeking kitty artist with a merci message…I gave this to my housesitters who took care of my babies and my house while I was gone. So grateful to have such awesome friends!

Sandy Allnock Magical Monday - Kitty Artist3

Now I just need a REAL kitty artist. lol. But Punch’s lack of opposable thumbs might preclude that from happening anywhere but on a card, eh?

Posted on

Make white POP – Compare white pens (+ winners!)


We all want our whites to look white…not just our socks, either! There are a lot of different ways to color something to make the white pop, so today we’ll compare white pens and other mediums to see how they all look on desert storm cardstock.

The stamp set is a brand new one from Avery Elle – it comes with a couple of the cloud sentiments, so it works great for a variety of types of cards. Enjoy the video – and be sure to stay tuned to the end for the list of winners of my 10,000 subscriber giveaway a few weeks ago! Watch the video below, or click HERE to watch it in HD on YouTube.

Compare white pens and more

It was fun to play around with all of these white mediums – I had always wondered how they’d do in a head-to-head test. Each one has its place though; even though I don’t use the Sakura very often, and the comparison made it look like it lost – the pen makes a thin enough line that sometimes I pull it out to make a super-thin white line. One pen I didn’t include is Ranger’s Inkssentials…I have a dozen in my drawer that don’t work consistently, so I don’t tend to even think to pull it out to try. But I’m glad I did finally compare white pens and other mediums that are in my little pen cup!Sandy Allnock - White CloudsPop

I enjoyed trying different Copic Marker colors to create a variety of planes as well…and each of the winners in the giveaway will receive one of them! Woohoo!



So tell me….do you do side-by-side tests like this and compare white pens or other products? I don’t usually, I just use what works…but I learned a lot myself by trying this!

Posted on

Bruce is back (with stamp masking tips)!


Bruce is back! You might remember him from my last-minute-addition to my tag collection…and many of you asked for him to be back with Copics. So here we go with a Stamp Masking Technique Refresh this week!

Stamp Masking isn’t all that hard!

Bruce has a huge pile of mail he’s been sorting through, looking for one special heart. Is it yours? In the video I show you some quick ways to mask by just placing sticky notes – no need for fussy cutting or fancy tools! Enjoy the video below, or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube.

Despite this looking like a lot of work – I was done, start to finish, stamp masking and coloring, in well under an hour. It’s not so tough if you plan it out right!

Sandy Allnock - Bruce with stamp masking tips

PS – I’m in CHA-recovery mode. I posted a few of my photos and a few little tidbits HERE!


Below are the products featured in today’s project. Affiliate and product disclosure can be found HERE.

Stamp masking doesn’t have to be daunting – did this post help you to think about trying it?

Posted on

Boy and Girl First Birthday Card – Copic Watercolor

First Birthday Cards

In the video, I show you the girl first birthday cards step-by-step, (super easy template, it’s so simple it doesn’t even need a pdf!) and give you some ideas for altering it for a little boy. This would be great for newborns…or any little kiddo of a young age who wears a bib! The bib is made combining two non-bib dies…it made Paulina squeal when she saw what I did! (I love surprising designers with a twist on what they were thinking of when designing a die!) Watch it below or check it out in HD on YouTube by clicking HERE.

These little bunnies from Mama Elephant are just so cute – the perfect companion to the first birthday cards for little children.

Sandy Allnock - PPP First Birthday Girl2

For the little boy card, just snip a triangle to separate his pants, change up the colors, and voilá! Sandy Allnock - Pretty Pink Posh First Birthday Cards

In his hand, this little bunny holds the bubble wand – and is blowing sequin bubbles!

Sandy Allnock - PPP First Birthday Boy2


Below are links to the supplies I’ve used for today’s project. Compensated affiliate links may used, which means if you make a purchase I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I truly appreciate your support toward the costs of running this blog! Read more.