Chameleons on Noah’s Ark: trialling the latest alcohol markers

ColouredThe image I’ve used is a digistamp from The Stamping Boutique sponsors for this month’s Crafting Cafe challenge – check their blog later in the month to see the card I make with it.

But the purpose of the colouring in was to trial and review the deluxe set of Chameleon Pens I recently purchased. There have been a fair number of reviews online, both good and bad, and a fair number of my Facebook friends had indicated they hadn’t got on with them at all and had returned them. I watched all the available videos I could find, as well as the shows on Create & Craft, found a good offer and went for the full set.

For the uninitiated, the pens are a basic dual tip alcohol ink pen – there is a bullet point and a brush-like nib. In addition is a reservoir of the solvent attached to each pen with its own  brush nib. In use, you put coloured tip to solvent tip, keep solvent on top and the pen upright for a defined period, and then start colouring – the solvent dilutes the colour, resulting in a tint which develops the fuller colour as the ink flows back into the nib. Thus from one pen, you can get all the shades. The ink on the page is also translucent, and along with other alcohol ink pens, blends whilst wet and overlays once dried. The deluxe pen set includes all 20 colours, a blending pen and a detail black pen, along with some spare nibs and an instruction sheet. They are in a handy holder which also presents the pens for use when open.

For my full review, read on… but in the meantime here’s the executive summary. I think in terms of colour intensity, blending, bleed and application, these pens are pretty much like-for-like alongside Letraset’s ProMarkers. Their USP is the many shades, one pen however:
PROS> no swapping pens constantly, no need for several pens or layers to shade light to dark, mix time allows for planning next area (i.e. time isn’t wasted). CONS>Getting large areas the same shade is very difficult unless keeping to undiluted pen colour; may need to use a different colouring method.

CONCLUSION: These are a great addition to my alcohol pens, and best suited to detailed images needing obvious shading. I’d not recommend them for large areas of same shade colouring – I’d stick with several ProMarkers. I certainly don’t regret buying them and definitely won’t be sending them back!


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Layered-Paper Rocking Horse

Rocking HorseIt’s ‘anything goes’ over at The Crafting Cafe this month, and the DT were given the pick of several digistamps from our sponsors The Stamping Boutique. I took on the challenge of this wonderful rocking horse image, and after some digital tracing created this layered paper (160gsm) decoupage sculpture – frame is 9″ square to give you a sense of scale. My Silhouette Cameo is certainly proving itself a useful purchase! There are no lines in sight, so the project relies on shadows to create the relief and sense of depth.

A couple of tips for you – take the glass out of the frame to take photos of your mounted project. I tried to light everything evenly, as normal for my project pics, but of course for this particular project even lighting just ruined it… Uneven light was the key. The first mount I tried was a single layer with equal padding all round – and it looked awful. So I used the picture framing practice of having a deeper section at the bottom and layered the mount as well and think it all works far better 🙂

I hope to develop the technique further and create more original layered paper art.