I'm not a big believer in abracadabra style tips and tricks.
Changes and improvements usually require a bit of blood, sweat, and that stuff that leaks out of your eyes when the ASPCA commercials play.
But sometimes there really are easy things which we completely overlook- because they're so simple.
Here's another installment of the tiny thing series
Otherwise known as "Amy points out the little things some of you are not doing..."
Once a month, I point out one small thing, one mind-numbingly easy step that you can add to your coloring routine that will allow you to color better forever.
Last month, we talked about why it's important to identify every element in your stamp image BEFORE you begin coloring. Today we tackle a brand new Tiny Thing:
Refill your Markers
I know it's dumb for me to even mention this, but stick with me here. I'm not going where you think I'm going...
I'll bet for 99% of us, the top reason to purchase Copic markers instead of another brand is because Copic Sketch, Ciao, Original, and Copic Wide markers are refillable.
If you're like me, you actually used refill-ability as the primary justification for splurging on a luxury marker rather than going with a standard marker.
"Jinkies! they're totally refillable!!! So in the long run, I'm saving tons and tons of money!"
That's what you said, way back then. But let's be honest now...
How many Copics have you actually refilled? How many Various Inks do you own? How many of your markers are more than 2 years old and have never been refilled?
I'm not just talking about your favorite go-to markers, the ones you use in almost every project. I'm including the pumpkin orange markers that you mainly use in the fall and the pine-dark greens that only see action in December.
Of all the Copic Markers you own, what percentage of them have been refilled?
If you're a normal crafter, I'm guessing it's a fairly low number.
"But, but, but... my teachers and my favorite blogs... they all say that you don't have to refill a marker until it squeaks!"
You won't hear that kind of nonsense from me. Here's the low-down and dirty truth:
- Some markers always squeak- call 'em the squeaky wheels, they never shut up!
- Some markers never squeak- these are the martyr markers that will die before they complain
- By the time a marker squeaks, you've been coloring at less than full power for quite a while
Skills & technique can only get you so far
Let's say that tomorrow, you decide not to tie your shoes. You head off to work or run errands and your sneaker laces are flapping in the breeze. Just because.
What could go wrong?
Well, for starters, you're going to move at grandma pace, especially after you stumble for the fifth time. You'll be lucky not to break your face when you run down a flight or two of stairs. You might even miss a big staff meeting if your meandering lace gets stuck in the elevator door.
But I'm willing to bet that the last thing you'll do is to berate yourself, "Geeze, I'm sooooo bad at walking!"
I'm also guessing that you won't surf the internet for tutorials on how to walk better and you won't price out unicycles as an alternative mode of transportation.
It's the shoelaces, not you.
The condition of your tools matters too.
You can be the love child of Rembrandt and Picasso but if you're using dry markers, you aren't going to be cranking out any masterpieces.
Every time you use a weak marker, you are deliberately deciding not to tie your shoes.
Copics need adequate juice to blend properly
If you've got enough ink in the mix, even improbable sounding blends are possible.
Here, I've feather blended BG18 into Y35. I'm not sure when you'd ever use this blending combination, but with enough moisture, you can blend any two markers.
Moisture. In markers, that means solvent. Your coloring needs to be ooshy, gooshy and wet to give the pigments a chance to get cozy and mingle.
Solvent is like Barry White music. To make a blend, ANY BLEND, the pigments need to get romantic and really looooove one another.
Mmm hmmmmm, baby.
Low-ink markers have no sex appeal.
But here's the problem, Copic Markers do not come with a see through window. There's no level markings, no handy-dandy fill gauge, and there's no ADT alarm system that makes your desk lamp blink Def-Con 3 red until you refill your marker.
Instead, you have to pay attention, you have to know your markers. Copics are 358 little children and you are their mother.
Unless you are magical, your marker projects all use ink
I colored the same large image three different times last week.
These images are each 8.5" wide.
That's three big reasons why my BG53 and BG57 markers are now low on juice.
Barry doesn't like it when my markers are dry.
No, baby. Noooooo.
Neither marker is squeaking yet. As I said above, by the time a marker cries out in pain. it's already past it's prime.
As a good marker-momma, I know my two babies are hungry. If I'm to continue coloring at top level, I must refill them before I can expect good results from either maker. To continue using them half-full is the equivalent of not tying my shoes for the next few projects.
I have a mug where I stash markers that need refreshing.
Did you catch that? I don't even call it refilling. I refresh my markers... because having to refill them means I am not being good to my precious little Copic babies.
This weekend, or when I have a few spare moments, I'll refresh all my sad mug markers that need attention. It's much easier to refresh a bunch at a time than to stop everything I'm doing to freshen and clean just one marker.
Keep your markers topped off, fresh, and juicy
Mmm hmmmm, baby. Make Barry happy.
It's One Tiny Thing you can do today which will improve your coloring immediately!