THE BASICS WITH COPIC OR MARVY LE PLUME PERMANENT
September 9, 2011
by Stacey Dunning, Blockheads Paper Arts
There are only two things a stamper needs to know before
picking up alcohol markers and begin coloring stamped
1. They can make many stamp inks bleed, which may discolor
the nibs. The ideal ink for use on paper is Tsukineko
2. They will probably bleed through your cardstock,
unless you're using certain glossy papers or Matte Coated
paper. Put something under your paper to protect your
If you like to learn on your own, go play, be free.
If you'd like more information read on.
Benefits of Using Alcohol Markers
Permanent on many surfaces including paper, glass,
Can be used on cloth that won't be washed
Can lay colors on top of one another or blended seamlessly
Can be removed with a blender pen to "erase mistakes"
Brush tips give great detail coloring control
There has been a lot of discussion regarding the best
cardstock for alcohol markers. The latest choice of
stampers is Neenah
Classic Crest, Solar White. Some companies sell
this under a different name. It is available in 80#
and 110#. We carry the thicker 110# because it seems
you can do more blending before the color starts to
bleed outside the lines. Some other neat papers to try
Coated and Stardream metallics. Blending on these
papers is different because the ink doesn't soak into
the paper like they do on other cardstock.
Metallic Cryogen White is much like the thinner
weight of Neenah Solar White but it has mica in it to
give it a slight metallic look without making it nonabsorbent.
Blending Techniques for Uncoated or Coated Papers
Uncoated Cardstock Blending
Think of uncoated paper as a sponge. If you place one
color down and then another, the top color will push
the original color down. The more of the top color you
add the less visible the original color becomes. This
is how you blend colors and also how the blending pen
works as an "eraser". The blender pen helps
blend on coated papers but on uncoated paper, it just
pushes the original color down and replaces it with
clear. On uncoated papers placing dark colors on top
of light just overwrites the light color immediately
but light over dark will actually blend the two colors
with the light becoming more predominant the more you
add. Here is a blending sample. It is actually a good
example of shading but doesn't require any knowledge
of shading because the stamp already has a shading in
it to use as a guide. We used the 3 pens in our purple
Le Plume Permanent shading set. These sets take
the guesswork out of picking pens that will blend to
look like a single color with shading and highlights.
stamp has so much detail that stamping in black
would prevent really seeing the blending. Memento
London Fog is a little bluish so the best gray
I find is to ink the stamp with black, stamp once
on scrap paper and then stamp using the left over
with the darkest color and place it down in the
darkest areas of the petals. If you're starting
with a dark color, apply the ink sparingly.
Next use a slightly lighter color of ink in the
lighter shaded areas of the petals and color over
a third, lighter color, again coloring over the
other colors. If you didn't want the dark be lightened
an more, then don't put the light ink over it
to push the dark color down.
Use the blender pen in the center of the petals
to bring back the highlights and further blend
the inks. I used two colors of yellow for the
center and black sharpie fine point for the black
on the back of your paper, you can see how the
darkest inks were pushed to the back a little
more as each lighter color was added.
If you are comfortable with selecting colors
that look good together, feel free to start experimenting.
If you want a full explanation of the marker number
systems to help you select blending able colors,
we provide that a little later on this page.
Coated Cardstock Blending
Blending on coated carstock is a lot like blending
on plastic or glass. You use a lot less ink but the
tips of the markers tend to become contaminated with
the other colors you're using. This isn't a problem
because you can scribble on some uncoated cardstock
to clean the tip. The blender pen acts as a blender
on coated cardstock and not as much like an eraser.
You can lighten colors a little with it but nearly as
much. If you make error you can cover it up with the
Marvy Le Plume Permanent White marker. Don't use white-out
if you plan to color over it. It ruins your pen tips.
sample was done on Matte Coated Cardstock. I start
with my lightest color first. Somehow putting
one color down first allows the darker colors
to be moved around.
Now the technique is similar. Put the darker
color where there is the heaviest shading.
a medium color to the next darkest areas of the
petals and you can pull some of the darkest color
into the medium to make the colors blend.
Now pick up the lightest color again and pull
some of he medium color into more of the shaded
the blender pen to pull a little more purple into
the centers. The blender pen will pick up color
and move it around on coated cardstock. Here is
another coloring idea.
If you look at the back of your cardstock you
should not see any bleeding through.
Alcohol Markers and Color Number Systems
Some stampers really like the number system and for
others they find it confusing. If you don't want to
try to understand these numbers, you can select groups
of markers from our Marvy Le Plume Shading Sets. If
you do want to learn to select your own colors to shade
and blend with by using the numbering system, please
give yourself the freedom to experiment by straying
from the rules a little.
Like Copic the letter(s) in front of the number
designate the broad color class. Also the last
number designates the color value similar to Copic
and colors with the same middle number will fall
into the same intermediate color class, but unlike
Copic, the intermediate class number does not
a suggest saturation or level of gray present
in the color class. For this reason, Marvy's numbers
will provide hints for good shaders and highlighters
for a color but do not help find colors that will
V (Violet) = Broad Color Class
75 = Intermediate Color Class
4 = Value or Relative Darkness
This color is darker than V750 and lighter than
V757. It also shares a similar saturation (level
of gray) with other colors beginning with 75,
but there is no indication whether the 75 is more
or less gray than 76.
If you memorize the order than the colors are
organized you will know that 75 has more blue
in it than 76, but that is not really helpful
for choosing blending colors.
The letter(s) in front of the number designate
the broad color class. The last number designates
the color value The first number is the intermediate
color class but it also has another function.
Unlike Marvy that first number suggests the saturation
of the color. V04 will be a bright medium darkness
violet. V94 should be about the same darkness
but will be a very gray purple.
V (Violet) = Broad Color Class
0 = Intermediate Color Class
4 = Value or Relative Darkness
This color is darker than V00 and lighter than
V07. It also shares a similar saturation (level
of gray) with other colors beginning with.
Using Numbers to Select Shading and Blending Colors
Here are some guidelines for selecting colors. Sometimes
you can vary an intermediate color group or even a full
color group and still end up with natural looking shading,
particularly if you move to a warmer color group for
highlights and a cooler group for shading. My point
is that these are good guidelines to get you started
but the more you do this the more comfortable you'll
feel straying from these guidelines.
Shaders are, as the name suggests are different shades
or values of the same color. With a good blend you can
give depth to your object with highlights and shadows
upon the object itself. We will cover shadow cast upon
another surface in another tutorial.
You can select shaders from each brand in the same
way. If you want the main color of an object to medium
Violet like Copic V04 a good highlight color will be
a V0 with a last number 2-3 less than the 5, so V01
or V02. A good shader will be a V0 with a last number
2-3 greater than 5 so V06 or V07.
Similarly with Marvy medium Violet V754 a good highlighter
and shader will be V751 or V752 and V757 or V758.
*There is no V751 or V 752 so we moved to a warmer
color group for the highlight and found P782 which looks
with only one color and a blender pen. It takes about
3 times as long on uncoated cardstock and maybe twice
as long on Matte Coated card stock but it can be done
if you don't have good shading colors. You'll need a
color dark enough to be the shader. Color in the most
heavily shaded areas and then scribble a little ink
onto a piece of scrap plastic. Pick up some of the ink
with the blender pen and apply it to the paper. The
color will lighten the more you color with the bender
until the ink runs clear again, so as the color lightens
move to coloring areas that should be left lightest.
Once the color runs out pick more color and continue.
Blending Different Colors
These are colors in different color groups that look
good together. The most subtle blend of colors from
different broad groups will contain colors of similar
saturation (level of gray) which is the first number
in the Copic system, and similar value (darkness), which
is the last number in both the Marvy and the Copic system
and within neighboring broad groups, which you can find
from a colorwheel. Great blender colors will look the
same if converted to grayscale because the only difference
is the hue. So if you can blend a blue into a blue violet
for a New Mexico sky by choosing a B and a BV with the
same first number and same last number so a B26 and
Here's another example of good blenders
You might want to blend blenders and shaders together
like for flower petals. Pick two blenders and a shader
or highlight for one of the blenders. Here is an example.
Please feel free to contact
me with any questions.
If you would like a shading tutorial when coloring
an image that doesn't have any guide for shading view:
and Marvy Le Plume Permanent Shading Tutorial