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5 Tips for Coloring Stamped Images


Hello friends!  I’m here again with another post for Gwen Lafleur’s Artist Tribe.  I’ve been playing in my art journal with one of Gwen’s three new Paper Artsy stamp collections - Eclectica³ EGL23 a.k.a. Ullasa.  It’s the second edition in her Build-A-Collage series with seven nature themed designs that coordinate beautifully with her other collections.


I just love using these stamps to create both focal points and collage fodder for my journal.  Some examples of collage fodder I’ve created are pictured below.

Here I’ve stamped the mirror images of the butterfly onto a vintage book page.  I love the shapes created in the negative space between the butterflies antennas and wing tips.

Mirrored butterflies
Next I used the patterned design to stamp over an onionskin book page from a vintage Japanese dictionary.  Then I used a wood burning tool to burn holes into the paper.  (This is so much fun to do!)


While Gwen’s designs are so detailed that they can stand up and make a statement all on their own.  I also enjoy adding color to them.   Here I’ve used a motif design from Gwen’s first set, EGL01 on a small piece of Washi paper.  Then I masked it, over-stamped with the patterned design in her new set, and used Pitt Pens, Posca Markers, and Uni-ball pens to add color to the design.


I realize though, that coloring the details on a 2.5 by 2 inch design can be intimidating for many of us.   So I thought I’d use this post to share my 5 best tips for coloring stamped images.

Tip #1:

Make friends with a Hero Arts Misti Stamp Tool and re-stamp!   The trick is to stamp your designs with a Misti but to leave your stamps in place on the plate so that you can re-stamp the designs after you add the base layer of colors to them. This frees you up to focus on the big picture and saves the details for last.

Tip #2:

Use a spray matte fixative to seal your paper 1) after you’ve stamped, 2) before you re-stamp, and 3) after you’ve added the final details with Gel Pens.  (I’m partial to Blair Very Low Odor Spray Fix.) This is especially important if you’re working on thin papers that tend to bleed with wet mediums.  I use a heat gun to dry the fixative so that I can quickly move on to the next stage.

Tip #3:

Work on multiple images at once so that you can move to another design while the previous one is drying.  

Tip #4:

Layer your colors to make them more interesting. When working with watercolors, minimize the water content.  Work with a drier brush to control where the color lands. 

Tip #5:

And finally,  give yourself time to practice and experiment with color.  Remember, it’s only paper and you can re-restamp as many images as you want.  Just keep practicing until you find a rhythm that works for you.

Putting it all into Practice:

You can see in the pic below that I’ve fit all seven images from the set onto my Misti.  I stamped them onto a mixed media paper using Versafine ink. Versafine is an oil based pigment ink that can capture an amazing level of detail.  Since it’s water proof when dry it can safely be used with watercolors and other wet mediums. After stamping I sprayed the paper with a matte fixative.


Choices for coloring your images are limited only by you imagination. Colored pencils, water based markers, Pitt Pens, Posca Pens, acrylic paints… they all work.  Use whatever you have on hand and are most comfortable using.  Today I chose to work with my Shin Han Professional Korean Color Hybrid Watercolor set .  The vibrancy of the Korean Color is just awesome and I love mixing them to create new shades.  

Because I’m going to re-stamp the images I don’t have to be so precise when coloring them.  I really don’t pay much attention to the details.  Instead I  focus on adding color to the major areas. Most of the time, I paint right over the inside detail lines.  (I never was very good at conforming to the norm.)

I paint a base layer of color on one image and then move to the next to give the first time to dry.  Since I’m not adding a lot of water to the paint the colors are more saturated and dry quickly.  Then I rotate through all of the images until I’m happy with the base colors.  I like to use a #8 watercolor brush but use whatever is most comfortable for you.  

These images have several layers of color already.


Sometimes I wrap a single color around the image to create a border.  This makes cutting the image out a little easier. 


Once the images are fully dry, I spray them again with the fixative, put them back in my Misti, and then re-stamp them to bring back the detail lines. This gives me a nice clean image to work with.


Then I use a black Micron Pen along with white and gold Uni-ball Signo pens to further accentuate the design and add details.  I really like this method because the result is always a unique image that looks like a painting rather than a stamped image.  Sometimes it ends up looking totally different than the stamp and I love that!
After I finish with the details, I spray the images one last time with the matte fixative.  I like the finish it gives and it keeps the water soluble products you’ve used from smearing.  Then I use a craft knife and/or scissors to cut the images out.  Finally I use markers or an ink pad to edge the sides and hide the white if the paper  


I used these colorized images on a burlap page in my Dina Wakely Art Journal.  I really enjoyed stitching my stamped images in place over the stamped background.  I’m think finally starting to warm up to those burlap pages.


Here’s closeups of the butterfly and the branches.  The stitches on the butterfly became a design element.



I’ve been teaching myself black work embroidery.  The patterned design in this set reminded me of black work so I decided to turn it into a black work pattern.  My thinking was that the pattern would form a brick wall for my leaves to grow on.


I cut out a section of the burlap to create a window into the next page.  The woman in the window came from an old postcard that I colored with Pitt Pens.  The white patterned background that she’s sitting in front of is a piece of waxed copy paper created with my Chinoiserie Mask by StencilGirl©.  


And when you turn the page in my journal you’ll find this… Notice any other of Gwen Lafleur’s designs?


My final tip for you today is to take your time, have fun adding your own style to stamped images, and make them uniquely yours..  

Thanks for hanging out with me today.  If you’ve got any tips for colorizing stamped images please leave them in the comments below. I’d really love to learn from you.   And as always, I’d love to see what you’re working on so don’t forget to share.

Hugs until next time, Jill


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