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.
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:
- Call for cards:
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.
- Suggestion for learning trees – the Winter Wonderland Mini Class.
- Stamp set used below: Get Together EH • CCC
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.
- Suggested classes used in this card: Holiday Interiors, Copic Blueprints I
- Stamp set used below: No Peeking EH • CCC
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!
- Suggested classes for this card: Holiday Interiors, Copic Blueprints I
- Stamp set used below: Believe EH • CCC
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.
- Suggested class: Designing Holiday Backgrounds (Free!)
- Stamp set shown below: Teamwork EH • CCC
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.
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.
- Suggestion for learning night skies – the Star Light Star Bright Mini class
- Stamp set shown below: Santa’s Sleigh Slimline EH • CCC
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 EH • CCC
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!
- Instagram green watercolor background
- Merry Everything Sentiments EH • CCC
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: EH – Blick
- Jet Black Lawn Fawn Ink Pad
- Neenah Cardstock, Solar White: 25pk – 250pk
- Colorado Craft Company Clear Stamps:
I love to watch you watercolor, the use of Copic markers, dies, and your imagination.
Such stinkin cute cards! Thank you for your tutorials! I can see Sandy A. Classes in my future.
WOW! What a truly amazing blog post full of seriously valuable coloring information using a collection of the best stamps and dies on the planet right now! You are truly very talented so I really appreciate all the time and effort you took for this blog share!
so many wonderful videos and SO MANY tips – thank you Sandy
Beautiful work Sandy! Some people are blessed with the eye and skill to bring ink/paint to so much dimension on a flat piece of paper and you are one of them.
Stunning cards Sandy.
I also love the Neenah cardstock, do you prefer the 80 or 110lb?
And can you perhaps tell what the differents is, except for the weight of course?
Thank you so much for all the awesome tips in the video,
stay safe and have a wonderful day.
Fantastic cards and thanks for the tips about bleeding. Glad to see the video is now viewable, thanks.
These are just phenomenal Sandy
Beautiful coloring and
Carla from Arizona
Beautiful cards Sandy. I can’t see the video – says it’s private??
Sorry! I was offline and didn’t see that the link was funky. Phoo. Here you go https://youtu.be/WQ69iuxJaKk
You are so right Sandy about using good quality paper. Both your cards and tutorials are just beautiful and so informative. Thank you for sharing your God given talent with us. I truly appreciate it.
The cards are beautiful. True art!
Your work is stunning! I’m amazed and more inspired each time I watch what you create. Love your beautiful cards.
You do nice work, Sandy. Love seeing it.
These cards are AMAZING!! Sandy, I love your work. Thank you ever so much for sharing your time and talents with us.