Monday, November 17, 2014

Digital Stamps + Alcohol Markers

If you recall last week I was talking about digital stamps and collage images.  Today I wanted to share a bit about using alcohol markers on your digital stamp images.  First let me say how much it honks me off when people show you their perfectly colored digital stamp images and all they do is list the color numbers from the pens they used but they don't explain to people HOW they got that great look.  It's very frustrating if you're not familiar with digital images because you can very easily screw them up.

NOTE: all digital stamps used today are from Susana's Custom Art and Card Designs.

Now I'll be the first to tell you I'm not a wizard at shading with these coloring is marginal at best but hey, I have fun so that's what counts.  I did learn something by trial and error that has had a major impact on how I color with alcohol markers (of any type).  

DO NOT under any circumstances color on the printed lines!!! 

Seriously, if you color on the lines you will screw the image up...sometimes just a little but other times a LOT.  This was the biggest reason why I originally disliked digital stamps.   So here are a couple photos of how I used to color with alcohol markers....  You'll notice that with my first pass of color there are already streaks by his hands and elbows...  

By the time I added the second color and tried to blend the black was really discoloring my image....this is usually where I quit and and gave up...multiple times!

 I actually figured out something by accident - alcohol markers wick into the paper...  if you watch when you draw a line you will notice that it spreads out a tiny bit - not a lot but just enough to make a huge difference when you color a printed image.

Now I never cross a printed line with my markers nor do I touch a printed line.  I let the wicking action of the markers help color the image.  I lay my marker tip along the edge of the line and let the ink wick towards the line.  You can see here that there is no smearing at all of the lines....

And I have added 2 additional colors plus blended them together (on the left side) and there is no smearing or smudging of the printed image lines at all.  None whatsoever!  You can see on the right side of the image how I just barely touched some areas with the marker tip and let it wick towards the edge.   Can you believe it....It is that simple! 

Here are the two images side by side (L = wicking action; R = old way of coloring) can see how much darker the 2nd image is because I was pulling the black ink from the printed digital image into the coloring.  You can also see how smeared the image got - especially near the hand and toes.   

The image on the left still looks crisp and clean because I didn't actually touch the ink lines with the marker.  

I went ahead and made a finished card using the wicking action coloring technique to color an image for the second APC for week #9.  I started off by adding some Distress Stain to my bingo card...

Added some PanPastels to the background...

Did a little stamping and added some washi tape embellishing to the flowers...

(flower stamp = Just For Fun Rubber Stamps)

And finished it off with my funky little alcohol marker colored digital stamp monster & sentiment.

And here are both of my week 9 cards together...
both digital stamps from Susana's Custom Art and Card Designs.


  1. The cards are fabulous. Your coloring looks great to me! I also love the backgrounds on each of them.

  2. I did not even know she carried digi images...... love your write up. I do not have any trouble with my ink running...usually. I like to color and color again so the colors are very vivid, and no running- wonder if it is your printer possibly? I Love your projects- fun!

  3. I don't have any alcohol markers but I found this interesting. I caught myself wondering if the paper had anything to do with it, I don't know, just wondering. I love seeing your comparisons and your discoveries! Great cards you made too! I had trouble with digis when I first started using them because I like to watercolour with my Tombows. Didn't matter which paper I used or how long I waited after printing, the printer ink still ran as soon as the water hit it. So I switched to Prisma pencils for colouring my digis - took some getting used but now I love them. Keep up the awesome blog posts!

  4. Thank you for showing us how NOT to color in digi images. I have had trouble and have been so frustrated in trying to color them in. There are some really nice digi images out there. One of my favs is Lizzy Love. After getting frustrated with markers I tried colored pencils. I felt like I was coloring in a coloring book and you get the lines when coloring unless you use the more expensive colored pencils. I have tried them too and used the blending pencil and they images turn out nice but it seems like it takes forever to finish an image. So I "cheat" Yes you read it correctly I "CHEAT"! I bring my digi image into my Paint Shop Pro and do all my adding of color there. Granted I don't get the nice shading but I also don't get the black ink smear either. Anyway Thank You for showing us the CORRECT way to color the digi images.

  5. Thanks for the tutorial on coloring the digi stamps Roni, I didn't go through this on my blog and probably should have. Next time I do digi stamps I will definately mention this. I too have done the black run many times with the digis. Your cards turned out really cool, love the digi stamp you used too.

  6. Thanks so much for that Roni!! I have not used the digitals yet, but am working my way there and now I have some great advice to go by!! Also, I love your comment"honking you off" haha made me lol! xo

  7. Thanks so much for the tutorial! I did want to mention however, whether or not you can color in your digital images without worry about ink running, is completely dependent on the ink in your printer. I print digital images on my Brother MSP using dye ink & my Epson workforce using dye ink, without issue. I also use my Canon Pro 10 which uses pigment ink and again without issue. Just print a digital image, give it about 10 minutes to set then try touching the black lines with a Copic or other alcohol marker. If it runs then you need to follow this awesome tutorial, but you may be lucky like me and find that your printer has ink that is not affected by alcohol marks. A note: using heavy card stock like Neenah solar white 80 or 100 lb card stock stands up well to the printer and alcohol inks.

    Thanks again for the great tutorials and posts Roni!


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!