Today’s project shows off the Zig Clean Color Pens – with some tips for those who have been struggling with these new markers.
Supplies for this project are linked at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used at no cost to you.
Gumball Shaker Card
When I saw this stamp set, it just screamed out to be a shaker – with all those happy little smiley gumballs bouncing around in the shaker! For today’s watercolor paper, I used a student grade paper (I recommend Canson XL in the supply list rather than the Montval I used), and painted with a Silver Black Velvet brush.
Tips for Clean Color Pen coloring
I’ve been hearing lots of folks having a rough time with these pens once they arrived in the mail. (That’s why I recommended really just picking up a few first!) Here are a couple tips – more to come as I learn more, too.
- Clean Color Pens move faster than other brands of water based markers – with the slightest encouragement they love to move! Thus, be stingy with water if you want control.
- When adding water, be careful when coloring areas next to other wet areas. Most of these markers like to run! Anytime you add water, start with less than you think you need. You can always add more later.
- To lighten color, re-wet as needed and dab off with a rag or paper towel.
- When choosing colors to purchase, I would choose darker shades rather than lighter – you can always lighten by adding more water, but the pale colors will stay pale.
- Sometimes it’s tough to soften the line that certain colors create when you color on the paper. I’d mark those colors with some washi tape so you know which ones to save for techniques where you WANT that effect, or ones to try again another day with different paper. (More coming soon on a system I’ll be using to mark my pens. I’m going to use it a while before sharing it to be sure it works the way I want it to.)
- It IS possible to blend very different colors – but you may end up with baby poo where they meet. And if those colors really run, you can get poo across the entire image! Try picking analagous colors, those seem to blend the most easily. See the color chart at the right – Analagous colors are adjacent to each other on the color wheel.
- The paper you use may have a LOT to do with blending/not blending. Try others – the cheap stuff, the medium or expensive stuff. Try the same color combos and compare them–that’s the only way to figure this out. This is what happens when a new medium comes on the market, we need to test. See THIS post for more info on watercolor papers.
If you have questions about specific colors in the Clean Color Pen line, leave them in comments. I’m finding I have trouble with different colors than some friends of mine, and I’m curious to know if there are some that are problems overall, and if some might just be my pens. Research! Agh! :0)
The colors used in this video are 025 Pink; 081 Light Violet; 024 Wine Red; 050 Yellow; 031 Cobalt Blue; 041 Light Green; 084 Deep Violet; 033 Persian Green; 027, Dark Pink.
Hope you liked my lil sweet candy gumball shaker card!
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- Lawn Fawn Stamps, Sweet Smiles
- VersaFine Ink Pad, Onyx Black
- ZIG Clean Color Markers:
- at BLICK – all sets
- at EH – Set of 12B – Set of 12A — Set of 24 – Set of 48 – Set of 60
- Craft Knife, Fingertip, Fiskars
- Scotch Foam Mounting Tape
- Detail Scissors, EK
- Silver Brush Black Velvet Round #8 EH – BLICK – AMZ
- Canson XL Paper: EH – BLICK
Sandy, I bought these pens in August, not quite 6 months ago. I’ve only used them a few times and now I’m finding that they are drying out. I store them lying down, in an airtight container. Bummer. Do you know of a way to re-wet them?
Cute card. I like your pen tips and would like to try some day.
What a cute card! Thanks so much for the tips on the pens! You just seem to be able to do everything so well!!! Love watching and learning from you…..just wish I lived close enough to attend one of your classes!!!
Sandy, Thanks for the shaker card. I’ve always love your techniques. I have not ventured into the watercolor pens yet – still lovin’ my wc pencils.
Great fun and colourful card. Thanks for sharing all the tips. I am desperate to get these pens but as with so many things we see talented people use them – want them – then find they are not as easy as they look!!
This is some serious eye candy for me. I adore this card
Have had my eyeball on this adorable set! Now I really want it cause you made it so much more fun!!!. Thanks for your video. It confirmed to me that I actually figured out for myself how these pens work with water. Yea!!! And I love them! Conversely, the Inktense I find work for me much better with Dove blending solution rather than water, to get the effect I like. It is true…..play and test. Working with color is so much fun. Hugs!
LOVE this card! I just received my set of pens and they have been sitting here a few days. I’m excited and nervous to try them!
I just have to say thank you for all your tips you give! You really know your stuff and share it freely and if your not sure on something, you figure it out for us 🙂 It;s very awesome of you! This card is adorable and the tip with the foam tape… BRILLIANT! Thank you again 🙂
Such a bright and happy card 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing these tips! I have a set of these markers on the way and your tips will come in very handy when I finally get the chance to play with them.
I love how I learned how to not cut through the foam tape all the way to keep each piece attached for easier assembly of a shaker card! Oh the things we don’t think of that are so simple until somebody else shows us first! Thanks for sharing, Sandy!
I love this card. I know my grand kids will like this shaker card too. Love all the little faces too. I think I will have to get this stamp set and may be a few of the markers to try out. Thanks for the tape tip and all the information. TFS (tried adding this to your video but it did not post)
awesome tips. will you be selling a blank hex chart for us? or maybe new ones for other mediums?
Working toward that, will see!
That brush looks amazing. What kind of brush is that?
It’s by the Silver Brush company – http://salln.net/1DZOkSV
Such a cute card – you make it look so easy! Waiting on my pens. They are apparently on a slow boat from Japan with a date much further out than they originally said.
This card is so very cute with all the little gumball faces romping around inside. Thanks for posting with all the info regarding these markers. I forwarded to my daughter as she received a set and is having issues with them so hope this helps her. TFS
I was lucky enough to try these pens last night when meeting with my cardmaking friends as one of the ladies had purchased a set of 12. While watercoloring isn’t for me and I can’t see buying these for myself, I do love how vibrant and bright the colors are. I’m glad to have a “friend with pens.” so I can borrow if I change my mind, or if I just want to add a punch of color that is not available from my Copics. Thanks Sandy for such great information (as always)!
Such an adorable card!! thanks for all the tips on the zig clean color pen and especially that foam tape tip for round shapes!
I can’t thank you enough! It’s fantastic to know it’s NOT JUST ME! I like the markers BUT I have issues with them and have mostly resorted to the acrylic block method of coloring. One issue I have is I’ve heard several people say you can color on wet paper but when I do this the water wicks up the brush which, logically, makes sense. It’s not as though I’ve got a puddle on the paper either. If I had an art store around I’d try more papers but shipping is a killer.
I loved the watercolor videos you did! I’ve been so addicted to watercoloring for the last year it’s insane. Now if I could just figure out what to do with the mountain of backgrounds and fronts I’ve completed. LOL
I LOVE LOVE LOVE watching everything you do. You’re very talented. I hope you never doubt you made the right decision when you changed your career path! Good move! (I think.)
The block coloring thing bugs me – while it works, I don’t want to feel like we have to resort to that to color with the pens! So I’m trying to figure out what the “sweet spot” is for all the different water-based markers …. what they do best, what they don’t do. So we know what we need and what we don’t 🙂
Oh and ps lots of times Dick Blick has free shipping, so keep an eye out.
Hi Sandy! I would absolutely LOVE, love, love to see a hex chart of all 80 Zig Clean Colors, set up the way it would make sense to YOU. I agree the numbering system makes no sense.. And perhaps you could sell a blank hex chart (with #’s of course) that we could then swatch ourselves? PLEASE. How do you think you’d set it up? Rainbow order, light to dark, or cool color palette vs warm palette??? Some artists seem to recommend only working in all cool or all warm on a piece for overall harmony. I’m relatively new to your site (which I ♥!) – but I don’t think I’ve ever heard you weigh in on this theory. I think I see you use both temps in a lot of your Copic pieces, but am not sure about your watercolors. Honestly, it’s hard for me to tell color temperature – even when swatched out side by side sometimes. Thank you for so generously sharing your vast knowledge & humor extraordinaire!
Thanks for sharing the technical details (about the Pens:)). The blog stuff is Greek to me. But the gist of what I am hearing you say about the pens is to expect them to behave like watercolor paint and not like markers. I have been intrigued by these and have seen some beautiful stuff using them. I haven’t actually heard a lot of negative and they are definitely on my wish list. BUT…
I am a bit of a watercolor geek. I have a strong foundation in color theory. My very limited education with watercolor focused a lot on the technical properties of the pigments: their permanence or lack of, their transparency or opacity, and if they are staining or non-staining. Understanding those properties of each color goes a long way toward understanding and predicting how they will act on the paper and how they will interact and mix with each other. And yes, the paper can make a HUGE difference in how they behave.
I love the immediacy of these markers, but I know going in that they are likely dye based and not pigment based simply because of their low cost. And dyes tend to be staining colors, making them a bit unpredictable in mixing and even a bit harder to lift, making those hard-to-blend edges you were mentioning.
I look forward to seeing your test results. No one close to me carries them open stock, but I think I will be happier with them if I choose my palette color by color.
Cute card! Thanks for the tips on those markers. I bought them, of course, and have found them to be difficult, too. I am NOT a watercolorist, by any means, and I can see that it is going to take me a while to get used to them.
Love this card and the tutorial! Thanks so much for the tip on the precious! I am definitely going to use that.
Thanks for the tip on making the foam tape go around a round window better. I am going to have to try that for sure.
Adorable shaker card. Thanks for the great tips about the color brush pens. Mine are due to arrive tomorrow and its good to know ahead of time. Look forward to more tips and coloring videos with them. Love your blog and your spunky personality.
Too cute! I really appreciate the zig tips!
Great shaker card! Thank you for the tip on the foam tape – that will be a big help – I love making shaker cards! Thanks also for the tips on the Zig brush pens – I’m waiting for mine from Japan and I’m so eager to play! I enjoyed your video very much!
That is so cool! Not thinking I am ready to try these pens, but the card idea is wonderful. 🙂
Awesome card. Love the little faces.
Sandy – these are great tips and I’m glad you shared them, because I just ordered a set of these pens. I can see they will require some practicing. How you made your shaker card is genius! Thanks and love your card!