Festive Watercolor with Aqua Markers

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Use your Spectrum Noir Aqua watercolor markers to create a cute Father Christmas image!

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Using the brush nib end of your Aquamarine marker brush some color directly onto his hat.

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Spread color it out a little with a damp paintbrush.

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Scribble a bit of the Slate marker onto some acetate (tip: save the packaging from products and use this too).

With a damp brush pick up some color and add to his hat

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Repeat the above step with the Charcoal marker – only use the lightest of touches, so the color kind of “cauliflowers” into the existing colors.

This just add a bit texture to your image.

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Blot with some paper towel (kitchen roll) or any other clean, absorbent cloth.

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You can leave the fur trim like this or continue adding color as desired.

If needed remove color by wetting the area and blot again.

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Color red using the brush nib of the Scarlet marker directly to the image

Tip: don’t be afraid to turn your image around, whichever way it is easier to color a certain part of an image (turning it around will avoid smudging what you’ve already colored if it is still drying).

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Using a damp brush, pull this color out to fill the area.

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Using the acetate technique again, scribble a little Charcoal and add a little depth adding to the hat with a brush.

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Use some Scarlet directly from the marker to color the coat.

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Repeat the damp paintbrush step to pull to brush color out.

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And a little Charcoal picked up with a paintbrush on acetate to add depth.

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Color the rest of your Father Christmas, adding a little glitter to his fur trim if desired.

Aqua Markers used on this image:
Scarlet, Charcoal, Slate, Aquamarine, Gold, Marigold, Topaz, Peach, Jasmine

Tutorial credit: Jo McKelvey

Christmas Tree Branches

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Every one is short on time around the festive season! Thsi tutorial will share a quick way to make a stunning card using our colored pencils!

Design team member Jo shared, “This is such a fun way to create a Christmas card, very quick and very effective. I used pencils from the AquaBlend Primaries set. I think with this kind of design, it doesn’t matter which colors you use – the more you use the more effective it becomes.”

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Start by drawing three slightly curved lines on your piece of cardstock (here,Sheena Douglass’ white stampin’ cardstock has been used).

Taking a green pencil, begin adding some flicks to the lines you have just drawn. This does not have to be neat!

Curve the flicked lines… flick them up, down and every which way.

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Complete all the three lines. This gives you an idea now of where to add more color to complete the tree branches and give them a realistic look.

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Taking a darker pencil add more flick lines in to define the main curvy line.

Stop when you feel there’s enough. This part is completely up to you!

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Taking a lighter, brighter pencil, begin adding in more flicks. Continue to curve the lines.

Once you have done that, begin blending with a damp paintbrush.

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Place your die-cut baubles over the card to see where you want to add a little light shadow (do not adhere yet).

Choose a pencil which corresponds with the bauble and draw a rough outline around it (for placement purposes),then remove the die-cut and set aside.

Blend the area using a damp paintbrush.

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Use a Sparkle pen Emerald Green is shown) and add some random flicks to the branches.

To finish the card, matt and layer the piece. Then used some twine to add the lights string and stuck my lights using 3d glue gel and added a tiny little bit of white acrylic paint to them.

Materials Used
Sara Davies Signature Collections Traditional Christmas – Sentiment stamp and Bauble die
AquaBlend pencils
Sparkle pen

Coloring Skin with Illustrator Markers

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We recently launched our new Illustrator markers in the UK (they’re coming to the US in early 2017!)… have you had a chance to check them out? These markers come with a brush nib, which can have a bit of a learning curve if you’re not used ot them. This tutorial will show you how to color skin using this new brush nib – enjoy!

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Print an image on to your preferred cardstock (here: a Morgan Fitzsimmons image from the CD-ROM onto Neenah cardstock, all available from Crafter’s Companion).

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Using FS9 (Eggshell) scribble some color down on areas you would want to appear lighter.

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Using some TN2 (Honeydew) begin adding in some shaded areas. Use a sweeping motion to apply the color.

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Following your TN2 (Honeydew) color, begin adding in some TN3 (Apricot). Each time you apply a different shade, you will apply slightly less.

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Use RB1 (Pecan) – this will be your darkest color for shading. Add this in the areas you feel would be darker.

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Use FS7 (Linen) pen as a blender color. It conceals the darker colors and lightest color together.

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Then to finish her off give her a very light coat of FS9 (Eggshell) again.

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Use FS5 (Peach) you can add in some pinky areas like her lips, cheeks, shoulders.

Once you have colored up the rest of your image you can add her to a card!

Share your work with us on our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (use our #spectrumnoir or #spectrumaqua tag) – we’d love to see what you’re coloring!

This image also used the following colors:

Hair – EB2 Natural Brown, EB4 Earth Brown, EB7 Dark Brown

Wings – BT1 Pale Mint, TB2 Periwinkle, DP2 Old Lavender

Purple – HB1 Lilac, HB2 Hydrangea, LV3 Amethyst

Sparkling up Colorista Foil Pad

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Here is a really quick and easy tutorial to show you an alternative way to color up your Colorista foiled coloring pads!

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Remove the selected design from your pad and lay it flat onto a craft mat, completely saturate it in water.

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Using some of your sparkle pens, add random droplets of color over the entire image, it will start to cauliflower out… we like that though, so don’t be worried!

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Place some paper towels/kitchen paper under your design and tip it up so the color runs off onto the kitchen roll.

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You can repeat the first few steps and then turn it sideways.

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At this stage you can leave it to dry naturally, or pat dry with a piece of kitchen paper, then leave it to thoroughly dry out before adding to a project.

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The effect of this looks really cool, and you do not need much to make it into a card, I matted it and stuck it to my card base and added a ribbon bow, really effective.

Tutorial credit: Jo McKelvey

Colouring with Metallic Sparkle pens

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Have you tried coloring with the gorgeous Spectrum Noir Metallic Sparkle pens? This quick tutorial will focus on using them to color a quick image.

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Using watercolor cardstock, print or stamp your image. Next, wet the tail heavily with a paintbrush or waterbrush.

This image is from A Day for Daisies.

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Using the Onyx Black Sparkle pen, begin dropping color in on the edge of where you have wet the tail.

The water will draw the color out, so it creates a “cauliflower” effect.

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Using a dry paintbrush, paint out the rest of the tail to the edges.

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Wet the body of the squirrel and begin adding in the color again direct from your pen, do not totally immerse your Sparkle pen in water.

You just need the tiniest amount for it to be drawn out by the water.

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Then use a dry brush and paint it out to the edges.

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Add some water droplets onto the main body and using a paper towel (kitchen paper), dab the excess away.

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Using the Gold Metallic Sparkle pen, begin adding in flicks to the tail area.

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The gold really shimmers through the black beautifully!

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Then using the gold add some color to the main part of the squirrel’s body.

I mainly used flicks and followed the lines already in place on the image to guide me.

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Using the Silver Sparkle pen add a little color into his eye and ear, and he is finished (apart from his strawberry)!

Share your work with us on our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (use our #spectrumnoir or #spectrumaqua tag) – we’d love to see what you’re coloring!

Tutorial credit: Jo McKelvey

Halloween Green

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Halloween is coming! It’s the perfect time of year to experiment with colors of skin that aren’t something you see every day… like purple, blue, orange, or green!

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I love coloring up with green markers, and this image from Pollycraft/Little Miss Muffet Designs was screaming out for green skin!

Start with a layer of LG5.

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Add in some depth with the JG2 marker (mainly the shadow areas) and then add a little JG6.

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Color over the entire piece with some LG4.

It may look a bit patchy but that’s ok, as it’s not finished yet!

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Go in again with the LG5 and add some more color around the edges.

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Using the darker greens, JG2 and JG6, add some more depth to the image.

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Color over the entire image using the LG5.

I added in the neck and arms.

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Finally, the ears!

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Color the rest of your image in your desired colors.

Share your work with us on our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (use our #spectrumnoir or #spectrumaqua tag) – we’d love to see what you’re coloring!

Spectrum Noir Marker List

Skin – LG4, LG5, JG2, JG6
Hair – IG6, IG8, IG9, IG1, BT5
Purple – HB2, LV2, LV3
Black/Grey – IG3, IG5, IG6, IG8, IG9
Orange – OR1, OR2, OR3
White – IG2, IB1

Tutorial Credit: Jo McKelvey

Depth and Highlights

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Here’s a quick tutorial on how to add a little depth and highlight to your colored image using two other mediums! You can really take your coloring to the next level by adding a bit of colored pencil shading on top of your markers, and then adding a bit of AquaTint ink.

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Start by completely coloring your chosen image with Spectrum Noir markers. This image is from Di’s Digi images.

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With your Black ColourBlend pencil, color using small circular movements. Then add some shading into your image.

Using a paper stump and some blending soloution, soften it out.

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Next, with a very thin paintbrush, shake your white AquaTint ink (with the lid on!).

Remove the lid and use the paint from the inside of the lid to add some fine lines to your image

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You can add more or less, once the AquaTint dries a bit you can build it up more if you want!

Share your work with us on our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (use our #spectrumnoir or #spectrumaqua tag) – we’d love to see what you’re coloring!

The Spectrum Noir markers I used were:

Red – DR1,5,6,7, IG9, OR3
Black – IG8,9 True Black
Blue – TB1,2,3
Aqua – IB1,2,BT1,IG3
Green – LG4,5,JG2
Floor – BG1,2,4,5,9,EB1
Hedgehogs – FS6,8,PP4,BG1,2,4,5,9,EB2
Black ColorBlend pencil
White AquaTint

Tutorial credit: Jo McKelvey

Shading Skin with Multiple Markers

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There are so many ways to add depth and shading to skin coloring using tones that wouldn’t normally be considered when coloring skin. This tutorial will show how to create this look using several different alcohol markers.

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First, add some shadow to your image using some HB2.

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Then go over the entire image with some FS2. It does not have to be neat.

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Begin adding in some shading with some FS7.

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Add some BG4 and BG5 in to the shadow areas.

Then use the BG5 and BG9 to add more darker areas in.

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Use TN2 to add in more depth over the entire area that has already been colored with the darker tones.

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Add in TN5 to the shadowed areas.

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Go over the entire image with FS2 to blend the colors together.

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Using some of your pink tones add in some color to the nose and cheeks.

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Add a little more FS7 over the image.

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Add some FS2 to blend everything together again.

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Add the color into her eyes.

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Finish her off with colors of your choice and add it to the finished card!

Skin: HB2, FS2, FS7, BG4, BG5, TN2, TN5, FS6, FS8, PP4, TB3
Eyes: TB3, CR9, True Black, IG3, TB5, BT1, TB4
Aqua: IB2
Hair: BG5, GB8, GB10, EB2
White: TB1, IG3, IG5
Yellow: CT3, LY2, GB4
Red: DR5, DR6, DR7
Green: LG5, JG2
Blue: BGR3, BGR4, BGR5
Orange: OR1, OR3

Share your work with us on our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (use our #spectrumnoir or #spectrumaqua tag) – we’d love to see what you’re coloring!

Tutorial credit: Jo McKelvey

Spectrum Noir Sparkle Quilling Flower Background

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This tutorial will show you how to create a gorgeous quilled flower, decorated with Spectrum Noir Sparkle pens. These are wonderful for adding that extra personalization and wow factor to any card or papercrafting project.

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Cut your chosen quilling flower using a die cutting machine. I have used the Rose quilling flower from Crafter’s Companion.

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Construct your flower, shaping the leaves if you desire. I have used tacky glue to hold my flower together but you can use strong red liner tape too.

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Cut some of the quilling leaves die out.

Tip: always cut more than needed in case your design changes as you are making it.

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Emboss one of your favorite embossing folders onto white stamping card.

Here I have used the Textures elements ‘Rain’ folder (from Crafter’s Companion).

Make a contrasting matt for it but do not adhere them together yet.

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Using your Vintage Sparkle pens – Macaroon, Sea Breeze and Ocean Wave, randomly and messily splodge color onto your quilled flowers.

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You do not want these to be fully dry before you stick them to your embossed piece of card, so you may want to wear gloves to protect your fingers while you stick them down.

Once adhered, wet the embossed piece of card.

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Using a clean, heavily-loaded with clean water paintbrush, hold it on the flowers and allow the water to drip down onto your flowers.

Then the drips will drip on to your background; the wetter the background the more the color will spread

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Once happy, pat dry with some kitchen paper/paper towel.

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Place a few drops of color from the pens onto your craft matt and using a paintbrush, pick up the color and splat it (flick it) at your embossed card.

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Pat dry with kitchen paper/paper towel again, and ink the edges using a black ink pad.

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You can now adhere this to the contrasting piece of card you cut earlier and create a card base for it.

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Take the leaves and cover them in a black ink pad, then splat some of the red Sparkle pen over them.

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Stick them in place. Have fun creating flowers in all sorts of color combinations!

Share your work with us on our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (use our #spectrumnoir tag) – we’d love to see what you’re coloring!

Tutorial credit: Jo McKelvey

AquaBlends Splat Background

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This tutorial will show you how to create a “splatty” style background on your image.

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First of all colour your image and trim to size as you usually would. I have used Aquablend pencils to colour this image, from A Day for Daisies.

Scribble some of the pencils onto some scrap paper and add some water drops to it.

Using your paintbrush pick the color up and begin “splatting” it at your image. To do this, flick your paintbrush in the direction of your image.

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Add a few drops of the Crystal clear sparkle pen to one of your colors and again splat that at the image.

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You can keep splatting until you are happy!

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Really water down the AquaBlend color and paint a rough outline around your image.

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Using a clean but wet paintbrush, spread this out. It will water down your splats but that is ok.

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Leave to dry and then make into a project!

Tutorial credit: Jo McKelvey