Plumeria with Tombow Markers by Karen Page


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These days there are so many options for watercoloring your stamped images. New water reactive mediums have been popping up in the industry in the form of inks, paints, sprays and markers. The newest, Karin markers, has been all the rage and are taking social media by storm. Those new to crafting might not know that Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers, still available today in 108 colors, were the original lettering and watercolor markers, and because of their dual tips, have some advantages over the newer Karin and Zig Clean Color Real Brush pens. While I’m always tempted to buy new supplies, I am a firm believer in “use what you own” and my Tombows have been my trusty and faithful brush pen for years now. For this project, I opted to use them on a beautiful floral image from Jane’s Doodles called Plumeria.

I started by stamping my image on Strathmore Bristol smooth paper in Versamark and heat embossing it with Wow! Rose Gold embossing powder with my Wagner heat tool. I set it aside to cool while I selected colors for my floral image. Using a web search to guide me, I selected the following colors of Tombow markers: 723, 743, and 925 for the flower petals, 296 for the leaves, and 879 for the stems. The trick to getting a good watercolor result, is allowing space for a hi-light. You don’t want to color the whole image, rather you want to lay down a small amount of pigment, with the color going in the areas that you will want the darkest. Then when you liquify it with water, the color will lighten as you pull it away from where you laid down the color. To make sure I didn’t mistake a branch for a petal, I colored those in first. Since I wasn’t trying to leave a highlight, I just applied pigment and ran a barely damp brush over it. Then I moved onto the petals, applying he dark pink to the tips and orange to the part of the petal closest to the center of the flower. Here is a look at my first petal, before and after adding water.

In real life, flower petals have variation in color naturally, even on the same flower. Also, each petal will look slightly different from light and shadows. While watercoloring with markers can make the process more controllable than working with tube or pan paints, there will be variation in your petals even I you a trying to get them to look identical. That is simply the nature of watercolor. For this size image, I found working with a Round #4 brush worked best for me to have the most control, but you may prefer to work with a larger or smaller brush. Use what you have! Once I developed a feel for how the colors looked when they mixed, I became confident enough to apply pigment to all the petals. It is important to work on Bristol paper with water soluble markers. Even if the pigments dry, they will still liquify when water is added. Had I used other paper, I would have risked the dark lines of the pigment becoming permanent and not diluting when water touches them. Here is what it looks like in the hot mess stage with the pigment applied but not yet liquified.

It really only takes a little pigment! In some petals I had too much and needed to daub my brush off on paper towel to remove it otherwise the petals would have become a solid coral color. Here it is again once I finished these petals.

It was at this point I brought in a lighter pink for the undersides of the petals. Still a bold pink, I wanted to lighten the shade. I scribbled some onto scratch Bristol paper and used it like a palette. Yes, I was able to apply water, pick up some of the pigment, and apply it to the areas I wanted it. Being already diluted by the water on my brush, it was just the right shade! You don’t have to use paper as a palette; any non-porous surface works well too, but I had this piece close to test the colors on and to rest my hand on to keep it out of the wet petals. I applied the same process to coloring the leaves; apply pigment where you want it to be the darkest and draw the color out with a barely damp brush. Tip: To liquify the pigment, I rinse my brush in my water, wipe the bristles against the jar edge, then run the brush against the back of my non-dominant hand. If I get beads of water on my hand its too wet, and I daub quickly on the towel. If my skin glistens but there are no actual drops, its just right! Here are the leaves, before and after water:

After finishing both images, I set the panel aside to dry before fussy cutting. I knew I wanted to use this new to me cover die called Ellentina Lattice Frame by Tessler Crafts. It looked good in white, but I decided to heat emboss it with the same Wow! Rose Gold powder that I used for the images. For my sentiment, I used a Thanks die from Taylored Expressions onto Bristol paper that I colored with the green used on the leaves and liquified with water for a subtle ombre effect. Below you can see how I made the sentiment.

I neglected to get a picture, but I die cut a banner die from a set by Cutter Bee aptly named Banners, and heat embossed it in the same Rose Gold powder. I smudged the embossing so I added a second layer and re-melted, which provided a smoother finish. In hindsight, I wish I would have embossed the frame a second time too so the finish would match. I added foam tape to the edges of the embossed frame die, then added foam tape to the images, and glued them on top. Knowing where the images and sentiment banner were going allowed me to add more foam tape under the frame where it was hidden by the images. I used Sticky Dot adhesive sheets by Thermo Web to apply adhesive to the back of the “thanks” sentiment before applying it to the embossed banner. With the frame complete, I peeled all the foam tape and applied it to the white card. I love how the frame looks as though it is floating off the card and how it casts a natural shadow of the lattice! Here is another look at the finished card, and I encourage you to explore the full capabilities of the supplies you own before spending money on a ‘similar but different’ product!

Supplies used:

Tombow Dual Brush Pens #’s 296, 723, 743, 879, 925

Jane’s Doodles Plumeria stamp set

Ellentina Lattice Frame cover die by Tessler Crafts

Foam tape

Thermo Web Sticky Dots adhesive sheets

Round #4 paintbrush

Wow! Rose Gold embossing powder

Thanks die by Taylored Expressions

Cutter Bee Banners die set

eBosser letter sized electronic die cutting machine and plates

scissors for fussy cutting

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