Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Growing in Unity Day 2:

Welcome Unity peeps!  Did we survive Monday with a limp or a gallop?  Did any of you need a little Unity Retail therapy to get you through the day?! If so, I'd love to hear what you bought!

Today's comparison centers around supplies you use more for mix media techniques than card for coloring!  Chalk Pastels, Oil Pastels, and Gelatos.

Unity Stamp:
Beginnings & Growth 

Kraft cardstock-  I wanted to use a type of paper that had a bit of a "tooth" to it.  To make sure this creamy style pigment would grab onto the paper.

Color Mediums-
  • Chalk Pastel- Chalk is an easy way to add pigment onto colored cardstalk.  It blends colors together smoothly.   The softness in appearance is similar to the watercolor looks we went after yesterday, but the opacity makes the coloring stand out on the darker background.  Chalk is easy to apply.  I just used a q-tip.  Sure you could use your finger, but if you color with orange you may mistake the residue on your finger for Cheeto dust.  And trust me, been there.. done that.... Does NOT taste like Cheeto dust!  Let me say also, mistakes are very easy to rub away with a simple eraser.  The downside to using chalk is that you can only add so many layers of pigment before the paper looses its grip and it will no longer add any more color. Mixing colors to create new hues is not possible, unless you crush the pigments together and blend by regrinding the chalk. You can layer colors one on top of the other, but you cant recreate new colors and apply.  (I would love to name new colors for finger nail polish wouldn't you?  What color do you think "Day Old Hangover" would be?)

  • Oil Pastel- This is also fun medium to color images with. Similar to the Chalk, but the pigment is much richer. Standard Oil Pastels do not react with water.  Adding pigments to smaller spaces is a bit of a challenge, but is possible with a small brush or a fine tipped applicator. You can create smooth textures and shadows by just blending colors together.  The downside to using Oil pastel crayons is the colors can smear out of place if you are not careful.  Oil is non reactive with water, so any texture you achieve is based on how much pigment you initially apply.  A simple gentle swipe of the pastel will give you a dry brush effect.  Whereas adding a heavy layer will give the color a solid appearance. The biggest negative quality to the oil pastel, is permanency.  Once you lay down pigment, it's there. No erasing mistakes. And girls, let me say. I make enough mistakes that will live on FOR- EVER.  I need to eliminate all the little ones I can!

  • Gelatos /watercolor crayons /or water reactive oil pastels - Most watercolor crayons are water reactive, says so right in their name.  However, for this demonstration, I only used the pigment dry.  I smudged the color on selectively, and filled the image in using a Q-tip. Similar to the oil based pastels, the application can be a bit tricky in small spaces, but the pigment is easy to move around.  If you use Gelatos and add water, the luminosity onto straight kraft cardstock does diminish considerably, that is why I like this technique in its dry form. One plus to this medium is you can erase mistakes by diluting with water.  (*Pay attention, some brands are more glittery, while you can "erase the pigment' the glitter remains.)  In a dry application, backgrounds are more challenging.  I'm sure it's user error for me.  But, I found the dry use of the pigment to be splotchy.  
Final results- Can you tell which medium I used on which card?  

Top- Chalk pastel
Middle- Gelatos
Bottom- Oil pastel.

Do you think this was a fair assessment?    What is your experience with these supplies?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Unless you disagree with me, and then, you know..go lick some chalk pastels, and keep your opinions to yourself!  LOL.

Don't forget to comment to be entered into the drawing on Saturday for a Unity prize! 2 people will be selected to received some yummy Unity goodness!  

See you tomorrow!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Growing in Unity Day 1:

I'm so excited to get started with Day One of being a Growing in Unity Girl! I am beyond honored that I was selected.  Sure, I raised my hand when no one else was looking, but the feeling is the same! However, reality hit pretty hard about 2 minutes after I got the call up and quite a bit of panic set in. Now what are you going to show them?!  Seriously, the only sound I heard for a good 30 seconds was the noise that the old school dial up internet made when you first connected.  (If you do not distinctly remember that sound we can never be friends.. you are too dang young).

Once the fog cleared from my brain, I realized I wanted to showcase how I color my Unity Stamps. Then my brain went to which method?!  Copics, Pit Pens, Distress inks, colored pencils, watercolors...... the possibilities for coloring Unity Stamps are endless. Therefore, my goal this week is to walk you through the different types of coloring mediums. Not necessarily a coloring tutorial, but more comparing and contrasting the end result.  I'll try and compare supplies apples to apples, but I might mix a pineapple in there just because I can.  If you have specific questions how I colored something or which specific supplies I used, I'll be more than happy to answer them.  I am no way claiming to be an expert on coloring, but I can answer some general questions to set you on the right path.

Unity Stamps:

Paper- it's all about the paper.  Ok, it's some about the paper, some about the medium, a lot about your technique.  Really, I don't know the rations exactly; and I could be talking out my keister here. (Now is a good time to say "Bless her heart ". ) Using the correct type of paper for a specific medium is critical for the result, I do believe that.  Not as much as I believe in Santa Claus, but enough to write about it here.

  • Markers used on smooth cardstock
  • Water mediums- 140 lb Cold press paper

 Mediums to compare today-
  • Alcohol Markers
  • Watercolor 
  • Water Soluble ink pencil

 As you can see.  Easy type of medium gave a different appearance.  Can you tell which one is which?

Color Mediums:

Alcohol Markers are definitely easier to control.  The color of the pigment is easy to blend.  But, they don't necessarily give you the translucency that watercolor provides.  Generally speaking, once you lay down your color it takes a bit of effort using a blending pen to "erase" any mistakes. Consistency in the amount of color that is released is an asset here. The color will be the same if you lay down a layer of ink now, or you come back two days from now.  You can achieve some great effects using the blending pen, or just simple rubbing alcohol. I'll be honest, you are going to lay down a good bit of ink to get a smooth background.  That can be a challenge even for the skilled artist.

Watercolor is great for laying down layers and layers of translucent pigment.  The process takes a bit more time, because you have to wait for each layer to dry.  Correcting mistakes is much easier to manage (at least while the paint is still wet). Background are so easy to achieve with a few swipes of a paint brush. Water control is your biggest challenge here.  Too much water and you dilute the pigment, too little and the color balance is off.  Maintaining consistent color blends can be difficult.  
However, the versatility of watercolor is unmatched.  Strong vibrant colors, cool soft colors all can be achieved by the amount of water you use! Most people will tell you watercolor has a mind of its own You decide if that's a pro or a con!

Water Soluble Ink Pencils are the easiest to use out of these three.  Just like a colored pencil. Great for getting into tight spaces, or use on small images.  Can be used dry or wet.  But, the pigment is more difficult to control when wet, and once the ink dries, there is no correcting mistakes. Furthermore, there isn't a lot of erasing the pencil marks prior to the ink being activated.  So, maybe not your best choice after a glass of wine or two.. (I don't judge drinking and coloring activities- just know you have to have a steady hand while in use! ) Personally, I have a limited palette, but just through layering, I was able to achieve similar results.   The water soluble ink takes more practice to mix multiple colors together, ( you have to mix them wet on a non-porous surface first). Then there are all of the challenges associated with water control.  Creating smooth background requires a bit of practice to avoid any splotchiness.

Which method do you prefer?  Do you need to run out an get a new coloring implement?  Or do you have something in your stash that will give you similar results? 

If you are still unsure which image I colored with which product the answers are as follows:

  • Top- Watercolor
  • Middle- Water Soluble Ink Pencils
  • Bottom- Copic
Which comparisons are we looking at tomorrow?  You better just come back and see!

Don't forget to comment and enter yourself into the drawing for a prize pack from Unity.  2 Winners will be selected from this weeks entries on Saturday.


Growing In Unity Girl- A little bit about me.

Hello, my name is Annie Sterner, your friendly Growing In Unity newb this week.  ((waiving hello))
I’m super excited to throw myself into the deep end of sharing with you my “talents” (trust me, I use that term very loosely!) What I can say is I try hard.  And most importantly, I do not take myself seriously at all! I’m a go with the flow kind of gal.  Life has taught me that much.   The basics about me:  I’m a mom, a wife, I work.  I encompass all the BORING parts of adulting.  But, what you really need to know about me, (what I am morally obligated to share with you before we start this craft adventure): I’m always one moment away from appearing on the nightly news. 

“This just in, local Denver woman lands in the hospital for near drowning as a large pack of rogue dogs knocked her down and dry hum…. Uh, cuddled, yeah..amorously cuddled her in front of the Pope. First responders turned fire hose on dogs in rescue attempt.  Pope sped away in bubble car before he could be reached for further comment. More at 11.”

You think, I’m kidding- but, this is my life. Weird things just happen either to me, or around me. It’s true, ask my friends.  And yes, I have friends.  Not sure why they stick around. But hey just like those frisky dogs, I have found a good set of legs and I’m not letting go until I get sprayed with a fire hose

My crafting style is much the same way, things just sorta happen over here.  I either create a masterpiece, or I end up spilling both the large bottle of tacky glue and the jar of ultra fine glitter down my shirt. I then spend the next 48 hours explaining to my husband why our dinner sparkles.  Let’s just get real, I’m a hot mess. I get that.  Unity keeps my hot mess moments at bay, but I take nothing for granted.  Should Karma come a knocking this week, and I find myself being trampled by that pack of dogs again, your best comments are   “Bless your heart” ,  “Oh how fun”,  or my personal favorite, the one my husband uses  EVERY TIME  I show him my crafty creations…  “That’s nice.”  You all know the tone of “That’s Nice.” It’s the same tone you give to your Aunt Gladys when she buys you nylon underpants for Christmas.

But, hey- It’s all about the journey right? I can’t promise you masterpieces, or a clear outline of where we are going this week, but it will be an adventure for sure!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Unity Stamp- Missing You Girl

Been busy this weekend working on a blog project.  Found some scrap paper, and one of my newest Unity Stamp.  "Missing You Girl".

Monday, February 20, 2017

It's been a long absence from blogging.  Not much has changed over the years.  New room, same old desk.  Maybe a few more supplies to talk about.