Monday, November 13, 2006

Alligator clips and a new tutorial!

Who knew? Who knew that my casual little mention of alligator clips last time would provoke such a furor of speculation? Over on Splitcoaststampers, there's a whole thread in the demo area about it. I'm amazed and gratified. And yeah, it was FUN teasing you all...hee hee.

So this is it...tada! Or maybe I should say, "Voila!"

"But Jan," you say, "what is that?!?!?!?"

It's a recipe holder....see?

The idea came about because I was thinkign of including something in the class with the recipe box (the one I showed you in a previous post) that could be made along with it. I thought of a recipe holder and googled "recipe holder" and came up with a number of different options. One company sells some that are pretty much like this with flowers on them. I saw it and said, "I can make one of those!" And the rest is history.

This is made with armature wire that you can find in the fine arts area of Michael's. Look for their extremely tiny metal working section and that's where you'll find it. It's quite easy to bend and manipulate. I used a little SU! glitter jar to create the circle at the top. Then I put the end of the wire through the hole in the alligator clip and crimped it back. The chef piece is cardstock that's been double laminated. When I trimmed the laminate around the chef, I left a little tab at the top and bottom, punched two holes in it and folded it to the back. That is what attaches Mr. Chef to the's threaded through the holes in the laminate tabs.

After I made it, I decided I wouldn't include it in the class, but I still think it's a nifty project and makes a nice gift for the cook in your family. The holder keeps your recipe card off the counter so it won't get messy and it's easy to see.

I worked on this this weekend so I could get it done and out of the way. Here's the dividers for my box:

And here's the recipe cards I made. My students will get three sheets of Sahara Sand, allowing them to stamp 12 recipe cards. They will be able to color them at home, or if they have enough time, at my class.

Here's a close-up:

I know you're going to ask me...what did I color them with? Prismacolor pencils. "But Jan," you say, "that doesn't look like colored pencil to me!!!" Well, it is. I've been using Prismacolors for a looooonnngg time and have found a nice way of getting them to look like paint. I don't use Gamsol. I just use the pencils. And since I know you guys, you want EVERYTHING, and being I'm so nice (yes, I love myself), I decided, out of the goodness of my heart, to make a new tutorial, just for you! Here it is:

JanTink's Ink-redible Painterly Pencils Tutorial

First of all, you'll need the following:

  • Prismacolor Pencils - don't be cheap, now. Yes, you can get good results with SU!'s Pure Color pencils...they just don't have as many purty colors. And you need at least a white pencil, if not several very light colors. A good set of Prismacolors will last for YEARS...the only ones I have to replace are the white and cream colors because I use them the most. Don't buy Verithin because they are not at all the same. Do I wish that Shelli Gardner (may she live forever) would put these in the SU! catalog? Oh, yes, I do wish, but I don't see it happening any time soon. Wah.
  • A mid-toned neutral cardstock, like kraft, Sahara Sand, or Creamy Caramel. You can use colors like any of the Soft Subtles...I just like the look of the light brown behind the makes them pop.
  • A stamp set that needs to be colored line-art.
  • If you wish, a blending pencil like Lyra's Splender. This is a pencil that has no color itself; it only helps to blend your other pencil colors together. If you're looking for a very smooth look, get one of these and play with it and see how you like it. I didn't use it for this tutorial.
Step 1

Stamp your image on your mid-toned cardstock using dark ink like Basic Black or Brown or a color like Elegant Eggplant. Stop laughing! I should have cropped out the sticker sheet up there on top that tells you that I mounted this stamp just to make the tutorial. No, don't ask me how long that set has sat without being mounted...I ain't gonna say!!!

Step 2

Select the area of the image you are going to color first (in this case, the cute piggie.) Then choose three or four colors: a) your mid-tone in the color you want, b) your dark tone - a shade darker than the mid-tone, c) your light tone usually a very light neutral, in this case white, and d) if this is the part of the image you want to pop the most, choose a second dark tone from the color that is directly opposite what you are using on the color wheel. In this case, I'm using peach shades, which are a variant of orange, so I chose a dull blue...that helps to make shadows that recede, making your image more dimensional.

Step 3

Basecoat the image with your mid-tone pencil. Don't feel like you have to lay down a lot of color...just a basic coat.

Step 4

Decide where the light is coming from. Some stamp images don't indicate it, though some do, so look carefully...crosshatching usually will tell you that's where the artitst who designed the image meant for the shadows to go. For me, I like the light to come from the right. On here, the artist agrees, since she or he put just a little crosshatching on the left side of the snout. Then using your dark tone, color the areas where there will be shadows based on where the light is coming from. If the light is coming from the right, the shadows will be on the left and vice versa. Put the color down fairly heavily.

Step 5

Now, take your lightest tone and really lay it on. Scrub it on over the top of the mid and the dark tone. It will blend them together, creating that very painterly look. Be careful NOT to cover the black lines of the image; white Prismacolor is very opaque and it's easy to lose the details if you put too much on. Skirt around those.

Step 6

Now, retouch using your mid-tone, and dark tone. Adding the white will flatten it out a bit, so you may have to add more of the colors you just covered. Just go back and forth between the light and other tones until you achieve a balance that is pleasing. This is the point to add your opposite dark tone, just to the edges of the shadows, blending it in nicely. If you've covered a black line, try adding just a thin line of your darkest tone. Sometimes that will bring the dark line back up.

And here it is, completely colored in. You can add texture with your pencils, like I did on the wooden bed. I always like to put a little color behind the lettering...makes it look more like an integrated part of the image. I left it a little rough looking because I like it that way, but if I wanted to smooth this out more, I'd pick up my Splender and go at it.

There is a small difference when you are adding light areas like white. I usually basecoat using the white, then use light blue for shadows (light purple is nice too). Grey doesn't always's okay for metal objects, but when you are coloring fabrics that are white or snow, blue or purple makes better shadows. Then I hit it again with white, coloring very hard on the highlights. Putting down a lot of color, so that it looks waxy and hides the cardstock is the key to getting painterly looks with pencils.

And here's the finished card. Your Painterly Pencil image is going go be so visually stunning that you don't need much embellishment. And forget about sending this to someone who you don't really like. Save it for someone who is worthy of it. If that turns out to be YOU, I certainly will not tell!


Amber said...

You are too clever! Too cute of an idea. And thanks for the tutorial. Can't wait to put it to use!

Lisa said...

Absolutely adorable! And a great pencil lesson too!

OK... there was a WHOLE DAY's blogging dedicated to the arrival of your Winter Mini goodies.... SO???? Where are the results? LOL!

Thanks for sharing your "BURNING GENIUS" with us!

kathy said...

LOVE your recipe card holder! Giving those roach clips an honest job, eh?

Amy said...

Oh my gosh! What a great idea! You are so super cool.

Petals said...

Jan, as a stay at home mother/part-time grad student/Stampin' Up demo/part-time worker of misc. odd ball jobs, I deeply regret not finding your blog sooner. I am a whiner by nature, but the humor you bring in to my home makes life for everyone around me that much better. Thanks for sharing your entertaining personality and artistic talents! You really do help to brighten up my day!

Danita said...

Oh. Wow. This is an incredible tutorial! I love your work!! Thanks for the blog!!

Trish D said...

That recipe holder is BRILLIANT!!!!! I have *zero* counter space, but do a lot of cooking, so I'll be whipping up one of those babies in the near future. Thanks so much for sharing!!

Michelle said...

SO cute! Brilliant!

Aimee said...

I have a set of primsa pencils and have been afraid ot use them. But after your tutorial I think I may have to break them out and play on some sahara sand paper.

Kendra - SCS: apigonfire said...

you will definately cause a surge in sales of sahara sand paper!
absolutely stunning on the coloring! I will be searching for a michael's coupon VERY soon and getting me some prismacolors!

Dawn G said...

Hi jan your #1 Fan here ~ Dawn Grifith Hee Hee! Hey I love Love your recipe holder I must case ( if thats ok with you all credit going to you OF course :-) ) for my craft show I have coming up .. but for the life of my I am not getting it .. The way you have the wire thingy attached to the chef ? I read and re read your post .. I understand the laminate and the punched hole But I guess what I am asking is if the clip gator clip and the top Circle thingy is all one piece ? If you would be sooo kind , could you possibly send me a photo of the back side to get a visual of that ?? you ROCK and Love the tutorial girlie .. Thanks for posting More to by the way .. Your the BEST!!

Anonymous said...

I love your recipe hanger!!! Thank you so much for telling us all!!!

Devoted fan of your blog...but I can tell you have been busy stamping though....hows the knitting????

God bless, Margaret (alwaysstampin2 @
scs) said...

Well, criminy, is this adorable or what????!!!! And *great* toot, Janine!

I have some beautiful Pitt Pastels I received as a gift, and they are wonderfully chalk-like! I wonder if they'll yield an effect similar to what you have here, or if it will result entirely different . . . hmmmmmmmm!

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog tonight! Great tutorial. I've just purchased the big set of prismacolors so now I know what to do with them. THANK YOU!

Debbie Olson said...

Totally LOVE the chef! Great idea, Jan--you are the MOST creative!

Anonymous said...

I loved the colored pencil tutorial. I have made my first attempt, and thought you might want to see some of the fruits of your labor.

aka: Inky Button (scs)

AnneMarie said...

what a great tutorial!!! I was just posting about blending and such on a site I go to....
thanks! I will add a link from there to here ;)