Tips to help stop Copic marker bleeding (advanced cards but beginner tips!)

Tips to help stop Copic marker bleeding (advanced cards but beginner tips!)

A common challenge for a lot of us as Copic colorists is keeping the marker where we WANT it rather than where IT wants to go! In today’s post I’ll give you the things that I know cause it and some ideas how to fix it.

While the cards are some of my epic scenes – don’t worry, the tips here ARE for beginners too! I don’t do all the coloring, just a smidge of each one to demonstrate with. I’m trying to work out some scenes for holiday-themed classes to launch this fall, so these new stamps from Colorado Craft Company were perfect to get the ball rolling.

Classes plus free tutorials:

These scenes have classes associated with some – and each one lists what they would be. There are FREE tutorials on a whollllllle bunch of other CCC stamp sets collected right HERE.

Supplies for this project are linked at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used at no cost to you.

Video

In the video I talk through some ideas – and below there’s more info written up about each one. Watch below or click HERE to view this on YouTube.

Links mentioned in the video:

First, how does bleeding happen?

Lots of us get obsessive over that *perfect* blend. And we pour lots of liquid into the paper as we try! Constantly going over and over an area is what oversaturates it and makes the color bleed past the line.

1. Make a scene

I started creating scenes years ago to cover up goofups! Partly from bleed, but lots because I work fast and go outside the lines sometimes. Your scene doesn’t need to be a full one like mine – but you can learn how to make a simple treeline behind the area of bleeding…that can cover the problem but not require more than learning how to draw a line of trees.

Use good paper

I get it that none of us are independently wealthy….but stress over bleeding and an inability to blend costs too – you’re paying in ink by having to work so hard! I haven’t colored on the Georgia Pacific 110 from Walmart in years, and when I did – I remembered why. It creates a mottled surface that looks yukky and makes me want to rework and rework to make it smooth….and thus the bleeding begins! You don’t need fancy topline art papers – but if you have consistent bleeding problems, try some other papers and see if that’s the problem.

Use more hues to blend with

While we all hear about using three colors – a dark, medium, and light – there’s no law against using more! If you have a smaller step between shades, it’ll be easier to get a good transition between them, especially with fabric folds, as seen in Santa’s pants in this example. Use 6 or 7, go for it!

Place cotton/absorbent paper underneath

If you use a craft mat – plastic, glass, or a table – you might be causing yourself trouble! I always put a scrap piece under what I’m coloring so it will absorb any color that bleeds through the back of the paper, so it doesn’t push back UP into my coloring area. Blending happens within the fibers of the paper, by the way, so it’s very normal for color to bleed through. It’s a good thing.

White gel pen

Sometimes, the only thing left to do is grab a white pen and make a repair! I’ve tried out a lot of white pens and love the uniball signo white gel pen – I know it doesn’t work for a lot of people, and I recommend being sure you aren’t smashing the pen on the paper out of rage that it’s not working (lol)…..there’s a “ball” at the tip of the pen and the liquid needs a place to move all around that ball to get to the paper, and smashing it closes off that ability to move.

But you can also pay attention to the amount of fine detail to be colored: got tiny itty bitty spaces that need to remain light? Use colors that you don’t have trouble with bleeding. Reds are notoriously bad!

There are FEW white mediums that’ll be 100% superbright white when they’re overtop of Copic, by the way. Copics have alcohol ink in them, and it’s absorbed into the white medium in pens.

  • Stamp set shown belolw: On the Lookout EHCCC
  • White Uni-ball Gel Pen EHAMZBLICK

Create a distraction

Draw the viewer’s attention to a different place than the location of the bleeding! I struggled with the sleigh below, so decided to put a big moon in the middle of the card. With a rich night sky around it, the viewer is drawn to the light – anywhere there’s a place with the darkest of darks next to the lightest of lights, it unconsciously signals to the viewer to look there! And when it comes to winter scenes especially, snow achieves a lot of that naturally.

Let it rest

There’s a bit of misunderstood principle of Copic blending – that the paper has to be really wet with ink in order to blend. In some ways, yes – but you can take a piece of partly colored paper that’s been sitting overnight, and go right back in to work on it again. You’ve probably experienced that, right? So if your piece is on the brink of bleeding – and you know that feeling of dread well! – then just let it sit for a little bit. In the card shown, I went from one area to another to keep letting color sit and rest for a few minutes in between.

  • Suggestion for learning more about cast shadows: Casting shadows
  • Stamp set shown below: Gingerbread House EHCCC

A watercolor card set!

A nonCopic card here too, since it’s still World Watercolor Month! I created a big piece of paper using garden greens, and cut it up to make a bunch of cards. I used a black layer under the watercolored panels, then some dimensional adhesive was used to attach it to the card. They’re simple and elegant!

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. If you choose to shop using my EH (Ellen Hutson) links, please accept cookies on that site in order to retain the link to my blog, or that compensation does not happen for me. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

  • Copic Markers: EHBlick
  • Jet Black Lawn Fawn Ink Pad
  • Neenah Cardstock, Solar White: 25pk250pk
  • Colorado Craft Company Clear Stamps:
    • Teamwork (animals building snowmen) EHCCC
    • On the Lookout EHCCC
    • No Peeking EHCCC
    • Merry Everything Sentiments EHCCC
    • Gingerbread House EHCCC
    • Get Together (critters by snowy lake) EHCCC
    • Believe (Santa delivering to little girl) EHCCC
    • Santa’s Sleigh Slimline EHCCC

Copic Stencil Techniques

Copic Stencil Techniques

How about some happy COLOR today? I’m revisiting an old technique I once created with a single stencil – but today with floral layering stencils!

Pinkfresh Studio Stencils from left to right: Hanging Garden (which is a regular garden when upside down! double duty!), Garden Florals, and Seamless Floral Panel:

Video

This is a technique shown before, but its totally different with layering stencils…get ready for fun!

The “seamless” floral is just that – you can create as long a strip as you like of the flower pattern! I made a couple test runs with different colors and combined strips of different ones for the card on the left below; the card on the right was made with the same stencils but with me just placing flowers where I felt like it – so you can make up your own designs!

Both of these are from the same Garden Florals set – airbrushed on the left, and on the right, pushing the Isopropyl alcohol manually through the open stencil designs.

On the right – the hanging garden – which looks like a regular garden if turned upside down. On the left, another with the Garden Florals set in airbrush. I had to cut that piece way down because, well, I had a spill. LOL. Don’t have dinner in the studio!

More stencils!

There are lots more stencil sets than just the three I bought – here are thumbnails:

More fun needed?

Perhaps check out the Copic Art Journaling class!

Supplies

Decoding the Copic Numbering System + BGs

Decoding the Copic Numbering System + BGs

Hello Copic colorist friends! A few weeks ago I posted my Copic Marker Basics and asked on social media for topics that weren’t covered or could use another discussion – so the Copic Numbering System is one that came up a number of times. Let’s do it!

You might want to download and print out the free Copic Blending Groups chart to follow along – that’s HERE. It describes the code:

  1. The letter is the color family. Blue (B), Green (G), Red (R) etc. Greys are Warm (W) Cool (C) Neutral (N) and Toner (T). The only color without a letter code is the colorless blender.
  2. First digit: SATURATION. Highly saturated, intense colors are low numbers. Desaturated, greyed-out colors have high numbers.
  3. Second digit: VALUE. Light colors are low numbers, dark colors are high numbers.

Some have multiple 000s – that just means they’re extra light.

Supplies for this project are linked at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used at no cost to you.

Video

It’s a long one today, so grab a cup of coffee and let’s have a chat.

Saturation comparisons

Note below that the BG1s and BG0s are more saturated – more intense – than the BG7s in row 3. And any color ending in a 1,2,3 is lighter than anything ending in an 8 or 9. Some colors, like BG05, might not even look like they “fit” between colors numerically in line with them, and unfortunately that’s just something that happens – but it doesn’t mean we can’t use them to make beautiful art!

Want more on color theory? Try out the Copic Jumpstart class, it’s chock full of teaching and exercises to help you understand more!

Card samples

The airplane and helicopter were a fun pair to try the two main combos with.

The BG13, BG05, BG09 combo comes out with stronger color – because there’s no really light color. It means that an extra layer of a dark might be needed to convey dimension, but the BG05 is a fun addition to also add a different flavor to the BGs.

The helicopter, on the other hand, looks like a lighter aircraft – because it has that BG11 for a light color. The BG13 is the medium tone here, where in the previous card it was the light color. The dark marker in this blending group is a BG18 – which is more desaturated than the BG09.

The plane with the BG7 family has a very different feel to it – quite antiqued! I chose an orange to go with it, a rather rusty orange, to add to that vintage feel.

YT Livestream coming

It’s my birthday month! Last year lockdowns started a few days before my day – and nobody really used Zoom yet. I spent last year throwing a bunch of Zoom parties for others to make up for not being able to do anything for my own day…and since we’re still stuck being apart, I thought maybe I’d throw my OWN birthday party!

You can “RSVP” by adding it to your calendar via my public calendar if you want, or just set a reminder on your phone….and drop a card in the mail for me to share that day! I’ll do something art-y that day too, no idea what as yet – but I wanted to get the word out beforehand to give you time to mail a card….remember, the Post Office is slowing everrrrrrything down so might want to get on it quick! Mail to: Sandy Allnock, PO Box 23395, Federal Way WA 98093

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. If you choose to shop using my EH (Ellen Hutson) links, please accept cookies on that site in order to retain the link to my blog, or that compensation does not happen for me. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

Crafty Hack: make a card 25% cuter

Crafty Hack: make a card 25% cuter

Sometimes we get “stuck” with creating the same designs over and over -this is a quick hack to try the next time you sit down to stamp…and automatically create a “story” without having to make a scene!

Supplies for this project are linked at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used at no cost to you.

Video

Stamping off-center is a way to add a little imagination into the viewer’s mind – let them wonder where the characters walked in from, or where they’re going. Let their imagination make up what they can’t see! No matter what medium you color with, it really helps for the focal point to stay outside the “center” of a design.

Imagine the paper in front of you being broken into 9 blocks; keep the focus in anything but the center one!

The bunnies from Happy Day are colored with Tombow markers – my little set at Ellen Hutson’s. The rabbits are off to the right – with the focus on just the one big bunny and one little – making the sentiment even more intimate.

The Copic card has the bear from Happy Day and I combined it with the kitty (stamped twice) from Pond Pampering – a nice little combo. Stamping off the bottom meant the kitty’s ground from the stamp set didn’t have to be dealt with – just a little post it on the left and right to help just stamp the kitten.

Last but not least – Pond Pampering also has a cute little napping duck (Can that be ME right now please??) soaking up the sun. Attaching the stamp to the left side of the card also creates that little story – where is this? Is this duck floating at the edge of the reeds or in a field? The viewer can figure it out on their own, engaging them, knowing or not, in the art.

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. If you choose to shop using my EH (Ellen Hutson) links, please accept cookies on that site in order to retain the link to my blog, or that compensation does not happen for me. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

Shading Frosted Donuts – interactive with action wobbles

Shading Frosted Donuts – interactive with action wobbles

I think the craft industry is conspiring against my waistline….they know I need to buy every donut set that comes out, don’t they??? Thanks Darcies! ha!

Supplies for this project are linked at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used at no cost to you.

Video

I’ll give you some tips for chocolate frosting here, but by all means swap out colors to make it YOUR favorite frosting. (But hey, isn’t chocolate best!?!?)

My nieces love getting goofy cards from their old auntie – even though they’re in their (GAH) late 20s! Oh my how did the time fly? Fortunately they let me still pretend they’re little! I think they’ll love the shades on these two – just to make the bunnies extra cool, right?

I colored up the pink donut a little while back….same process, except on this one there’s shine on the frosting rather than the sprinkles and jimmies.

A note about action wobbles – A couple companies make them. I only found the minis over on AI’s site – they’re really helpful for small images, since the big wobbles are pretty big. They did fit on these, but you might want to have both sizes in your stash. Just saying. Craft emergencies happen, right?

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. If you choose to shop using my EH (Ellen Hutson) links, please accept cookies on that site in order to retain the link to my blog, or that compensation does not happen for me. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

Let’s Talk Color Harmony  (with Pantone colors of 2021)

Let’s Talk Color Harmony (with Pantone colors of 2021)

Last year I discussed the Pantone color of 2020, Classic Blue – and have had a few requests to make a tradition of it. So let’s do it!

In 2021, it’s actually TWO colors: Ultimate Grey and Illuminating Yellow. On their website one of the things they have for sale is some swag – so I ordered a Cortado cup – it’ll be a nice little water cup for painting in 2021!

Supplies for this project are linked at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used at no cost to you.

Video

The video has three parts: 1) coloring the chart (download here), 2) coloring an image from Three Room Studios, and 3) looking at a few sample cards, also pictured later in this post!

View on YouTube

The Free Chart

I’ve made a chart for you to download HERE– it’s 2 pages, one has my numbers on it, the other is blank. That way if you want to try to match a different medium like colored pencils, you can add those yourself.

Color harmony examples

To use harmonies the way they’re shown at Pantone, use the colors in different quantities – usually 3 or 4, though I tried using all 6 where possible on these sample cards. The tone of a piece will change dramatically based on which color takes up the most real estate, and what colors are next to each other.

The yellow background is the largest color percentage – and it definitely pulls your attention! The girl’s pink clothing is pretty important here, as the color is so much darker than what’s around it.

The mood is more peaceful with the deep grey background this time – and the yellow chair draws the eye right away. Polkadots on these two, by the way, are the green, and the tan color was replaced with skin and hair colors.

The background is the tan color, and it’s right next to the yellow – almost hiding the yellow outfit as they’re right next to each other. To make the corduroy fabric on the chair, use a white pen, let it dry, then go over it with Copics.

The pink is adapted to have two tones – the airbrushed one is lighter, carpet darker. This and the grey chair surround the shock of the yellow outfit, which pops against all those colors!

Supplies

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