Friday, May 29, 2015

Make It Crafty - Penny & Scott Kissing and Sandy Allnock's HexChart

Yeah I love Digital Stamps. Big Big Love! They are so accessible and feed my need for instant gratification.  Oh and one of the best parts.... I can store, catalog and browse digital images much more easily than I can store traditional cling/wood mount stamps.  Plus - added bonus, my "hoarding" tendencies are less obvious. *nervous laugh*...

I love coloring people images!  Today's image is from It's called "Penny & Scott Kissing".  I adore this image.  It gives me those warm-fuzzy romantic feelings.  They both look so passionate and I can just image this kiss as a "Hello - I've missed you" kiss.  I read too many sappy romance novels.  haha.  oh well.... we all have our guilty pleasures. :)

I printed this image onto Neenah Exact Index 110lb card stock.  I also flipped the image so he guy was on the left, and the girl on the right. I printed 4 images on a single piece of card stock, so I could visualize the size and spacing on an A2 size card, while maximizing my materials.   Did I mention that I love the flexibility of digital stamps?

Tangent: I was able to cut down the 8 1/2 x 11 piece of card stock into quarters immedately and add to my stack of pre-printed digital images.  This way I could grab-and-go whenever I wanted to color... It's way easier to throw a gallon ziplock bag of my favorite copic markers and a stack of pre-stamped quarter sheets into my purse, than it is to cart around full sheets of paper and my entire collection of markers (current count 311!!)

Before I start explaining what I did - I should explain how I picked my colors.  My current favorite skin color combo is E50, E53, BV00 and R20.  However, I need to change the nib on my E53 marker - so I had to come up with a back up plan...  To pick out my colors, I referred to my handy-dandy HexChart.  I looked for a color that was close to E53 and tested a few out on a piece of scratch paper by blending it with E50 and BV00.  I tried substituting E31, E21 and E11.  I really liked how E11 blended over the BV00 so that's what I went with.  I also looked at R20 and decided it wasn't quite right.... I wanted something a touch brighter.  Why?  Who knows! I was just floating where the Copic Groove was taking me... I thought RV10 looked nice, so that's the first one I picked-up and tested on my sample.  I was happy with the brightness of the color and felt like it would give a nice romantic blush on the skin tones I had selected.   So that's how I started...

Skin & Hair:
Skin: I started with a base of E50, and then I lightly drew in the shadows with BV00 with the very tip of the brush tip.  I drew in the shadows at the hairline, eye sockets/brow bone, jawline, the fingers closest to the ground, and wherever I imagined a gap between fabric and the skin...  When I first drew in the shadows it really looked like my image was a victim of domestic violence: black eyes, bruises peaking from the hairline, roughed up knuckles... and then I remembered what Sandy Allnock says about her coloring - it usually looks like a "hot mess" in the beginning, but it works out in the end.  :)

After I laid down the shadows in the skin with BV00, I  went over the purple with the E11 marker.  THEN, I went back with the E50 to blend the lines.  I did go back with E11 a few times to cover a stubborn spot of BV00, and then blended it again with E50.  And what do you know! Sandy was right. It all worked out.  :)  I then put a little flush into their cheeks.  I used RV10 to get a nice rosy flush in the girl's cheeks, and then blended out with E50.  I couldn't bring myself to use RV10 on the guy's face though.  It was too pink.  I wanted to show a flush of excitement - but I didn't want him to look like he was wearing make-up.  So!  I took out my handy-dandy HexChart again and browsed for a subtle "masculine flush" that was closer to the flesh tones I was working with. And TA-DA! YR01 was right next to E11 on the HexChart.  I was pretty sure this was the shade I wanted to use. However, before I committed myself, I took YR01 for a test drive on the first sample I used to pick out my colors. My sample was a success - so I lightly applied the YR01 with a side swipe of the brush nib to where I imagined the guy's cheekbone would be.  Flicking with the side of the brush nib produced a softer smudge of color than if I had tried to use the tip of the brush tip.  This way, I didn't have to do much blending to get a look that I liked.

Hair: I started with the girl hair first.  Because, as a girl, I think that's the most fun to color.  I colored the hair with the same E50 base I used on the skin.  I then picked up E55, a nice "light camel" to add in some lowlights/shadows, whatever you want to call them.  I used the very very very tip of the brush nib to flick in strand detail.  (I think this is why I gravitated towards this image, because it would be a greate opportunity to practice coloring hair)

On the guy's hair, I wanted a little variety, so I covered the base with E35.  I didn't want them to look like twins - b/c that would be gross.  I then, with a heavier hand than I used on the girl's hair, I flicked in E18 in the direction I imaged neat combed hair would lay.  I then took E55 and colored over the back of the head to the side burn so the bottom hair would be slightly darker and less defined.  It was a quick brush over - no work to blend the colors at all.


His & Her Coats:
Her Coat: Surprise Surprise - I started with her coat first.  I think it was actually because I pictured her more quickly.  I picked out my favorite BV Color blending family BV20, BV23 and BV25.  I colored a base of the BV20, and then lightly sketched in with the tip of my brush nib where the contours/curves of her body were to show where the shadows would go.  I then went over those areas with the BV25.  Then I came back in with BV23 to extend the shadow areas, and blend the darkest color.  Then I went back with my lightest color, BV20, to blend the line between the base coat and the BV23.  I colored the inside of the pleats with BV25, because this is where the folds of the fabric would be darkest. 
His Coat:  I didn't have all my markers with me when I was coloring this image, so I had to work with what I had on hand.  When I was browsing my colors, I tried to picture coats that I've seen my family wear and see if I had markers to achieve the look....  My husband has this beautiful camel color coat and I love how soft and warm it is.  So I drew my inspiration from that.  I probably could have gone a little darker, but these were the only warm gray colors I had with me at the time.   I followed the same process that I used on the girl's coat, but with W0, W2, and W5 instead.  I did do a little tip-to-tip with the W2 and W5 when I needed an in-between shade.  This helped me achieve a more blended look. 


I really struggled with which colors to use when I got to this point.  The soft skin and hair colors, and then the dull BVs and Warm Grays were nice together.  I really didn't want to pull in a random florescent color to ruin the soft romantic look that was evolving.  So I went back to my HexChart....  *Quick thank-you-prayer to Sandy Allnock and the Copic Gods* 
I finally decided on these two blending groups (more of my favorite blending groups).  Blues for the guy's scarf and sweater cuff; and dusty rose reds for the girl's hat, belt and sweater cuff.  I colored the inside of the knit pleats with my darkest colors, because this is where the knits would cast shadows and naturally be the darkest.  I also added shadows where ever I thought there would be a curve to help add extra dimension.   

So that's how I finished this image.  Someday, when I have time, I'll put it on a nice card.  :)

Hopefully this post helped explain the awesomeness of Sandy Allnock's HexChart.  I will likely refer to it in the future because it is an awesome tool and will use it all the time.  In the meantime, I encourage you to pick up the HexChart from Sandy's store.  It's super reasonable! Just $5.99! Besides the personal use of this absolutely amazing tool - you will be suporting an awesome artist and a super nice person. And doesn't that just make you feel warm and fuzzy? :) 

Happy Friday. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

My First Digital Stamp - Dragons & Baptisms

I just discovered the magic of digital stamps! *gasp!* 

So a co-worker asked me to make a card for a baptism for her. As a not particularly religious person, I don't have any faith based stamp images or sentiments. I did a search of the Stampin Up catalog, the simonsaysstamp website, and even Amazon.... I couldn't find anything that caught my fancy. Not surprisingly... 

And then I searched Pinterest - I should have started there first, I don't know what I was thinking....

There were a ton of ideas, and most of them didn't even use stamps! But I wanted to color... I found a few card ideas that used images by MoManning and I fell in "craft love".

I googled Mo Manning to find out where I could buy her stamps, because I know I've purchased a few of her stamps before (Penny Black & Stamping Bella make rubber versions of her images) and I found her blog and online store: 

She has a HUGE store full of digital images for very reasonable prices. I totally recommend you visit her store and take a peak at what she has. She's so talented! 

Well, to make a short story, shorter, I found cute baby boy and baby girl images in baptism gowns. It was perfect for what I needed, so I added both images to my cart. And then, because it's an instinctive impulse, I browsed the rest of her image library. All of it. Every image. I couldn't help myself, everything was so gosh, darn cute! Before I knew it, I had 25+ images in my cart. I had an internal argument about spending money on a product I didn't need... Well, I "needed" it, but you know.... 

So I compromised with my inner thrifty self. I purchased the two baby images, and this dragon image. It captured my heart as soon as I saw it. After all, I could go back and buy/download more images later. My instant gratification impulse would not suffer too much.

I liked how easy it was to print out on my copic friendly paper (Neenah Exact Index,110lb white card stock) and how simple it was to resize the image. Magic! 

Anyway I couldn't wait to color this dragon and little boy. I couldn't print it out fast enough! :-) I used my new HexChart to pick out the copic colors I wanted to use on the dragon. I'll post my review of Sandy Allnock's HexChart soon! I want to play with it a little more before I give you the rundown on it.

Here's the result...doesn't it make your heart warm and tickle your imagination?! I love it!!

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