Sunday, March 22, 2015

Vibrant Flower

 Today's card features a technique I've been meaning to try out for a while - coloring on Kraft cardstock, using an embossed white outline. I really like the way embossed white looks against kraft, and I thought it would look great with the addition of some vibrant color.

For this technique, I needed to use a stamp that has both intricate detail and lots of room where I could lay down color. So, I chose Altenew's Persian Motifs stamp set. I grabbed a couple of stamps from the set and stamped them in Versamark ink. I then embossed them in white. Now, I could have stopped right there and had a lovely and subtle design, but I really wanted to add a lot of rich color. And I decided to do so with my Prismacolor pencils.

The reason I chose Prismacolors in particular is because they're a very soft, very pigmented pencil. This would ensure that the colors would stand out against the Kraft cardstock - something you don't get wit pencils that have a harder lead. It's very similar to pigment ink vs dye ink when stamping on kraft paper. Dye ink soaks into the paper and doesn't give you the same vibrant look you get with pigment ink. Likewise, hard lead doesn't put much pigment down and the result is a very subtle or faded look. So, if you want to try this technique and have a very vibrant color, go with a soft-core pigmented color pencil.

You'll want to test your color on a piece of cardstock first. Since kraft cardstock fives you a darker background, your color choices will need to be adjusted. Take the red, for example. It is a perfect rich red on the card, but the color I actually used looks a bit more light and orange on white paper. 

Soft pencils like Prismacolors tend to layer very well. I only used 7 colors on this card -- yellow, red, green, orange, blue, white and dark brown. I was able to layer the colors on top of each other to create depth and shading, and I didn't have to do any extra blending with solutions - just working lighter to darker and back again to blend the colors in.. So, don't feel like you need to own a million colors. Just the basics can give you a really great result.

After my piece was colored in, I built the rest of the card around it. I used a neutral gray for the base, as it makes the panel seem even warmer in tone, and I added some patterned paper that uses the same tones as the flower.


  1. I really enjoyed your blog post today on using Prismacolor pencils to color on Kraft cardstock. Your card was very bright and lively. I like the white embossed outline. Your discussion of the pigment in pencils was very helpful. I am wondering if you ever use Gamsol and how you decide when to use it.

    1. Thank you, Sharon! I'm so glad you liked it. :)

      I don't currently own any Gamsol, but I do have a Dove blender pen I've experimented with a little bit. Overall, I've found that I can get similar or better results with just layering colors together. I'm also a really big fan of pencil stroke texture, so I don't mind if my pencil coloring isn't completely smooth.

      But I do have a few ideas on when you may want to use Gamsol:
      1) When you have a large, open area.
      You would need to put down less color, and you wouldn't have to worry about being perfect about it. It's good for conserving your pencils and not use too much with blending.
      2) When you need the coloring to be a little more subtle
      A good example is when you want to use a soft pastel color and don't want to add too much shading.
      3) When you need to blend colors that are very different.
      For example, if you have only the primary colors and need to blend red into yellow for shading.
      4) When you have a very simple, clean and geometric stamp.
      This one is more a question of preference, but if you're going for a precise and clean look, you may want to smooth out pencil strokes with Gamsol. For example, if you're using a rectangle stamp and you want it to look like a smooth gradient, it's easier to blend the colors with Gamsol than to layer a ton of color with just the pencil.

  2. Your cards are all cute\awesome, and in different styles, love them.
    And it's also interesting the description - I can't make cards, so I love to read how other people do it:)

    1. Thank you! I love browsing blogs a lot too, it's always inspiring and educational to see how someone creates. :)