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Ask the Artist


Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions


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  • June 28, 2017
    Q: Mary asks: "I have been practicing combining colored pencils with Copics. Does it matter what type of colored pencils to use with Copics, wax or oil? Does it matter what type of paper you use?"

    A: I love using Copics with other mediums, and pencils are definitely a favorite - there are just some textures and details that can be added with the sharp point of a pencil that I miss with the markers. To combine the mediums, you'd need a paper that has a little tooth for the pencils, but isn't so absorbent that it sucks the ink from your markers. From the papers I have to choose from, I prefer Bristol Smooth, Neenah Classic Crest, and matboard. The binder of the pencils (wax or oil) shouldn't make any difference at all. Just be sure to lay down your Copic ink before adding pencil shading or details.


    June 21, 2017
    Q: Kate wants to know: "What is your favorite die or set, and why can't you live without it?"

    A: I am so glad I purchased the Spellbinders A2 Matting Basics sets - these are rectangle die sets that are sized for perfect matting on A2 cards. I make a lot of full-panel backgrounds, and these dies produce a perfectly cut panel with a finished edge and just the slightest border. For full-panel techniques like Herringbone or the Starburst Background, the dies create a perfect panel and trim off all the excess in one pass through the die cut machine - that's difficult to do with a trimmer, and scissors never get the edges quite perfect enough. These are simple and practical dies, but they save my trimmer blades from a lot of wear.


    June 14, 2017
    Q: Becky wants to know: "Can you use Copics on fabric?"

    A: You can! However, you'll have to take note of a few things. The weave of the fabric will make a difference - look for a tighter weave that will better hold the ink in place (like canvas or muslin). Copic ink will tend to bleed on a lighter weight or looser woven fabric. If you have enough fabric to do a test swatch first, that will be helpful. For stamping, use a craft or hybrid ink that will be permanent on fabric but also resist reaction with the alcohol ink, and heat set well. When you color, use a light touch and start from the middle of each color area to avoid bleeding. Gradually move toward the outline, or leave a small space and allow the fabric to wick the color out to fill each area.


    June 7, 2017
    Q: Marlena asks: "I love making cards with flowers and layers. Is there a preferred way to send these through the mail?"

    A: Hi Marlena! Any cards that are thicker than 1/4" now have to be sent at package rate... the best product I've seen for sending highly dimensional cards through the mail are the Card Guard boxes from My Sweet Petunia - - they're very sturdy and a perfect fit for an A2 size card. Another alternative are thin plastic boxes tucked into a padded envelope - I order that type of product from Clearbags.


    May 31, 2017
    Q: Louise wants to know: "What is a belly band?"

    A: A belly band is a strip of paper that's wrapped around a card or box to keep it closed, with adhesive that holds the strip into a ring. They're usually about an inch wide. Usually the seam or overlapped ends are covered by an embellishment or other small stamped panel that accents the design of the project.


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