Gamsol Magic

by Cecilia Ross

Use colored pencils, odorless mineral spirits, and blending stumps to color a masterpiece.

Supplies

  • Prismacolor™ Pencils or other wax-based colored pencils

  • Blending stumps in various sizes

  • Gamsol or other artist-grade odorless mineral spirits

  • Emery board or sanding block to sharpen stumps

  • Soft eraser

  • Metal pencil sharpener

  • Neutral colored cardstock

  • Outline stamp

  • Dye based ink


  • To purchase Prismacolor Pencils, Gamsol or blending stumps, check out the web store at Inky Antics. Be sure and tell them Splitcoast sent you!
    Check the bottom of the tutorial for lots of great technique and supply tips added since the tutorial was initially published.


Step-by-Step

  1. Step 1

    Ink stamp with dye based ink and stamp image on neutral cardstock.

  2. Step 2

    Start coloring the image background (usually sky and ground) with a pencil, applying a light amount of color close to the edge of your image. I used Copenhagen Blue.

  3. Step 3

    Dampen the tip of your stump with Gamsol.

    Blend the color with the side of your stump, pulling the color towards the outer edges in a small circular motion.

    HINT: This works best if you have a small plastic bottle with a dauber lid (like a bingo marker) or a small piece of felt soaked in Gamsol. Press the stump against the felt or the dauber top to dampen.


  4. Step 4

    Continue coloring and blending the inside images as in Steps 3 and 4.

    Always start with the lighter colors first like the skin, goose and puddle.

  5. Step 5

    Once all of the base colors are in, go back and add some shading or highlights.

    To shade, add darker color around edges, in creases and anywhere a shadow would be.

    Highlights should be added with a lighter color or simply by removing color with an eraser.

  6. Step 6

    Now put the card together. There is no need to seal the image. Gamsol sets the colors so there's no worry about smudging.

Variations

    Pencils
    Your colored pencils must be waterproof. Water soluble pencils will not blend with mineral spirits. Usually the box will just say colored pencils and not have anything that refers to aqua or water (like Aquarelle).

    Stampin' Up! Pure Color, Derwent Studio Line, and Faber-Castell (better quality, but pricier) pencils also work for this technique, but Prismacolor Pencils have more colors to choose from. You can always blend two or more colors together to get the shade that you want, it's just extra work.

    Blending Stumps
    Try to find stumps made in Taiwan instead of those made in China. This may sound frivolous, but the ones from Taiwan are made of a softer paper making it easier to move the color around on smooth paper like SU! Whisper White.

    A.C. Moore has blending stumps by Pro Art (made in Taiwan) in their art department by the charcoal pencils.

    Michaels and other art supply stores also carry blending stumps (made in China), but just make sure you use them on a paper with a grain like Confetti or Naturals.

    Clean your stump often with an emery board or sanding block so that the tip of the stump is not holding too much color. Sharpen the tip for finer work. The emery board also serves to rough up the tip (if the tip gets shiny you'll notice it just squeaks on the paper and doesn't move the color around).

Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Gamsol Magic. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

I bought some odorless mineral spirits for this project but it is not Gamsol since I couldn't find that brand...will this work the same or does that brand work the best? I also have heard of people using baby oil instead, how does that work? This is my first time trying this technique and want to make sure I am using the correct stuff for it. I would rather do this then spend all the money on Copic markers (which I really don't know how to use either).
Thanks in advance for your help!!
Tina  |  Fri May 8, 2009 at 7:50 AM
Hi Tina,

Yes you can use odorless mineral spirits. You will use it, just like you can use baby oil, instead of the gamsol listed in the supplies. The steps of the technique will stay the same.
beate  |  Fri May 8, 2009 at 9:58 AM
Thank you for the tutorial! I like all the other posts love this stamp. The tutorial is wonderful and easy to follow. I can't wait to get started!
Lisa  |  Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 12:47 PM
djuseless has a Tut with baby oil. use waxy pencils not watercolor. similar effect.

Gamsol-can't get? Then try Bob-Ross OMS. shame I let mine go...

Blending stumps-can be hand rolled but its really hard-sorry I have lost the instructions many years ago.

Thanks for everyones help and tutorials, hope this helps others.
dalek  |  Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 5:28 AM
Great tutorial, fairly new to Prisma's so still need lots of practise, so this will help. Thanks Sarah
Sarah  |  Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 3:15 PM
the 'stumps' are more correctly called Tortillions, and are available from any store which sells art supplies.
HuggiesCrafts  |  Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 3:09 AM
Do you think this would work on fabric. I am trying to colour digital prints on tee-shirts.
Dianne  |  Sun May 2, 2010 at 3:21 PM
I bought everything and tried it, and they're not blending at all ?? :( I bought the Prismacolor Soft in the black box (artist grade). Thanks for any help
blujay  |  Wed Sep 1, 2010 at 1:12 PM
Thanks for the information--this is great!
Margie  |  Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 4:55 PM
I use Gamsol and Prismacolor pencils on almost all my cards and I love the technique. I am going to try the mineral oil as I am almost out of Gamsol before buying more. I tried this with Crayola crayons and it does work great. It really smooths the colors out and I let my 6 year old granddaughter work with it and she thinks she is a "real artist"!
Lenoria  |  Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 8:36 AM
What kind of card stock should I use? Can I use water color card stock?
Tina  |  Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 8:48 PM
thank you so much for this info. I have been confused for months on this. i have the mineral spirits and I'm grabbing some pencils and give it a try. Wanda
wanda  |  Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Will Crayola pencils work? I have some Prisma but not a lot. They are expensive. I thought maybe the Crayola wax based pencils might work?
Yalova Anahtarcı  |  Mon Jul 9, 2012 at 10:09 AM
Finding some of these items are more difficult than I expected here in Canada. Does anyone know where to puchase the best blending stumps in Bulk? Thank You, Dawn
Dawn  |  Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 8:17 AM
Thanks so much for this easy step-by-step lesson. I've been fairly close on how I use my Gamsol, but now my work will look much nicer. Appreciate the tutuorial.
Barbara  |  Wed Sep 18, 2013 at 6:19 AM
Thank you so much for this tutorial. I love my Prisma pencils and I use Gamsol as well. I also use all types of Card stock with no trouble at all. Thank you for the felt tip because my Gamsol bottle did not come with a special tip, so I will definitely try the felt.
Jamie Vanskiver  |  Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 5:46 PM

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