I'm feverishly prepping for my upcoming classes in Texas and England...took a break to do some sketching. I'm still not awesome at it, but I am getting better. That's what it's about, right? Progress, playing...the process is paramount!
We had a fabulous time in New York City...classes at The Ink Pad were awesome. Lovely, lovely fellow artists came to class and created wonderful art!
CJ was my travel buddy...we only had one day to spend in the city, but had a fab time.
We'll be back for sure. I came home & promptly fell ill (maybe it was all those hours on a germy airplane). Plus I am in a funk. Paralyzed with stress, overloaded...ugh. Trying to conquer one step at a time...trying not to stress eat every carb in the house. Trying to have the courage I need to make necessary changes...why is it so hard to make changes that we NEED for our own sanity?
While paint is drying on my assignments, I've been squeezing in quickie journal pages. I'm a big believer in working on several projects at once. I hate, hate, hate waiting for paint to dry...so when a project needs to rest, I set it aside and grab my journals. Sometimes all I do in my journals is smudge in leftover paint or blot a stencil...but at least I'm continuing the creative process without a forced stop.
I've had a few questions lately about my stamps. I'm happy to answer questions any time, so always feel free to contact me. One question was about inks...and I thought I'd share with you my thoughts on inks that work well with my stamps.
[in the picture above I used a heavily-inked pigment ink & stamped right over the acrylic paint. I actually reinked the pad after every inking of the stamp...that's how much ink it took to get a good impression on the super-rough surface.]
Let's start with a little story. I used to stamp a lot many moons ago (I was a demonstrator for a stamp company). I love, love stamping. When my stamps first arrived on my doorstep, I was beyond thrilled! I ripped 'em open and started stamping...and then got really frustrated. I just wasn't getting good impressions.
Then it hit me.....I wasn't using the right inks & surfaces! Many of my stamp designs are very solid. It can be tricky to get a good impression from any large, solid stamp. Your ink and your stamping surface need to be right.
So, off to Paper Plus I went. I came home with several reams of smoooth cardstock. I remembered from my old stamping days that smooth cardstock takes ink really well. Like mind-boggingly well. The brands I bought are:
I do know that other companies make smooth cardstocks...like Neenah Solar White, etc. Stampin' Up also sells ultra-smooth cardstocks.
Next I took a look at my inks. Lots of my pads were old & dry. I bought some new ink pads from Ranger. I purchased dye-based and pigment-based inks in the Adirondack range, and some inks in the new Archival range. I refuse to buy an ink pad for which I cannot also purchase a reinker. That's why I love Ranger...you can get reinkers for every single pad they make! I always buy a pad and the reinker at the same time. Why? Because I live in Arizona. It's dry here, and pads do seem to dry out sorta fast. And, I like my pads reeeallly inky. Not super-saturated, but well-inked.
Let me quickly review the difference between dye-based and pigment-based inks. This isn't official info...it's just off the top of my head. Of course, qualities of inks will vary by manufacturer.
Dye-based inks are water-based. Great all-purpose ink. I use it 90% of the time. Dries quickly. Looks great on smooth cardstock. Usually not permanent.
Pigment-based inks have a thick, glycerin base. You use these when you want to heat emboss, when you want a high opacity to your stamped image, or when you are stamping on a "rough" surface (such as watercolor paper, or over acrylic paint). Pigment inks may never dry on glossy surfaces. May be permanent when dry, depending on the ink.
Ranger's Archival inks are dye-based inks that are permanent. Must be heat-set on glossy surfaces. Doesn't bleed!
Tim's Distress inks are a cool, unique beast...they are dye-based, but have a longer "open" time so you can emboss with them. This open time is what makes them supremely blendable. Very cool stuff.
So...I got my smooth cardstocks & my inks and started stamping. Whew! My stamps were giving me amazing impressions!
[In the picture above, I stamped with dye-based ink on white smooth cardstock. Then I cut out the image and glued them onto my painted canvas panel.]
If you're struggling with the solid stamps in my line, first take a look at your surface. What are you stamping on? Choose an ink that will work well with your surface, and you will have better success.
If your surface is regular cardstock, choose a VERY well-inked dye-based or pigment ink pad. Make sure you ink your stamp by putting the stamp on your table face up, then opening up your pad and pouncing your pad onto the stamp. Inspect the stamp and make sure you have an even coating of ink.
If your surface is smooth cardstock, choose a dye-based pad. Ink your stamp as described above.
If your surface is rough, choose a VERY well-inked pigment pad. Ink your stamp as described above.
I will say that I have a hard time stamping on watercolor paper, no matter what ink I use. I started inking my stamp, spritzing the stamp with water, and then stamping...it gave me a cool look! Watercolor paper simply isn't meant for stamping.
[In the picture above, I used dye-based inks on the tags. I used the Ranger Archival Black pad on the white pages, which are smooth cardstock.]
You know how much I love the brilliant & talented Dyan and her awesome store, Art from the Heart. Next weekend is their 10th anniversary, and in celebration they're doing FIVE blog hops! See Dy's blog for all the info & details.
I'm on the Ranger hop...it's no secret that I have a serious love of all things Ranger. Their products simply cannot be beat. I'm a slave to their spray inks and ink pads...so awesome. Honestly, almost everything I do has something Ranger on it--very often spray ink and the Ranger Archival Black ink pad.
This is one of my fave projects I have done with Color Wash Adirondack Spray Ink and Claudine's Sticky Back Canvas:
Here are the last pages of my "It's a Smashing August" project...I did one page spread per day in August in my smash book. I couldn't keep this up indefinitely, but I will do this again someday. Maybe in December? That would be a fun project!
(PS I'm doing to draw the winner of my class tomorrow...trying to meet a deadline today!!)
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