Tutorial - Color-Bleed Grid Technique

Thanks to Cindy O. for today's technique. This looks fun! You will want to check out Cindy's other creations over at her blog, Mostly Markers.

Color-bleed? Sounds like a laundry disaster, but it's actually a beautiful and easy Copic background technique. I learned it from a tutorial by Julia Stainton on Ellen Hutson's The Classroom blog, where you can find a detailed how-to with photos at every step. The Classroom blog is one of my favorite resources for techniques.

What you will need:
- Several different Copic markers. Other types of alcohol-based inks might work, but I don't have any to test.
- Your favorite Copic-friendly white or light-colored card stock.
- A refill bottle of Copic colorless blender liquid. If you don't have a Copic colorless blender refill bottle, you can use 91% rubbing alcohol and a small eyedropper from the drugstore. I tried it and it works fine, just takes a bit longer to dry.

Here is the basic process and my tips:
1. If using a digi stamp image, print it first.
2. Cut the card stock down to your desired finish size - no bigger than A2. I would suggest starting with a smallish piece, maybe 3x3".
3. Color a rough multi-color checkerboard with Copic markers, using plenty of ink (should be visible on the back). Color completely with no white spaces. I like my squares to be about 1/2" to 3/4" wide. Uneven squares look more interesting to me, so I don't use a pencil grid. IMPORTANT: Let it dry completely. ("Completely" means it no longer feels cool when you touch the back.) This will give you crisper drip marks in the next step.
4. Drip small drips of Copic colorless blender refill onto the colors, including your card stock edges and your borders where two colors come together. Do NOT overlap your drips at this stage. Again, let it dry completely.
5. If desired, drip again, this time overlapping your previously dried drip marks. Let it dry completely.
6. If using a non-digi stamp image, stamp it now.
7. Color your image, if desired, with Copics or other media. If using Copics, keep your coloring fairly simple, and the drip background will show through nicely.

A few tips:

How much blender liquid to drip:
Think of it as an experiment! The process is unpredictable, and no two pieces will look alike. I learned that I prefer small drips, released close to the card stock. The little eyedropper from the drugstore was very helpful for me. If you get a large puddle on top of your card stock, you may not like how it looks. If that happens, you can let it dry completely, recolor the area, and re-drip.

Selecting Copic marker colors:
After the drip process, you will see rings of color. The drip centers will be lighter than your original color, and the outer rings will be darker. Try Copic colors ending in 1 or 2 for a soft pattern, or colors ending in 4 or 5 for something bolder. The colors don't really mix together, so for instance, you could use orange next to blue, and not worry about it looking muddy.

Selecting images:
For your image, keep in mind that your drip pattern will look "busy." With a dark, bold drip pattern, try a silhouette or simple-lined image. For a more detailed image, choose lighter color inks in your pattern. Or you can skip the image and just use it for a nice patterned paper.

Questions? please leave a comment, and I'll be happy to explain more. Enjoy!

Thanks, Cindy, for this great tutorial! I swear, you guys are going to make me buy copic markers yet!

Everyone remember, if you see a nifty technique, or you'd like to show us how you made a special card, please email me at kate@operationwritehome.org.

Unknown  – (November 29, 2011 at 5:07 AM)  

Cool! Love the blue and green at the bottom. I'll have to try this.

adele holcomb  – (November 29, 2011 at 5:47 AM)  

What a pretty effect! I've never had any interest in Copic markers, especially at the price, but now I'm tempted to invest in a few!

Nancy Keller  – (November 29, 2011 at 6:38 AM)  

Very pretty! Definitely looks like something fun to try!

Ronni Unger  – (November 29, 2011 at 6:43 AM)  

I love to see new and interesting techniques - and exceptionally beautiful work showing the technique as an example! Your cards are!! TFS

Cindy O  – (November 29, 2011 at 6:45 AM)  

Hi everyone - if you want more details on the last 3 example cards, you can click the Inlinkz (Card 2, 3 and 4) at the bottom of the tutorial. Hope you all have fun playing with this technique! Please leave me a comment here, or on my Mostly Markers-Cards blog, if you have any questions.

Paula S.  – (November 29, 2011 at 2:54 PM)  

What a cool effect and interesting how varied your samples are too. Thanks Cindy!

Paper Therapy Ponderings  – (November 29, 2011 at 4:02 PM)  

very cool - I will use my blender pen to just remove color so it looks like I made polka dots -

Barb Housner

Anonymous –   – (November 29, 2011 at 5:36 PM)  

These are gorgeous, I have never used the copic markers.

Yvonne B.  – (November 29, 2011 at 7:24 PM)  

Very fun! I love a good science experiment! You made some wonderful backgrounds and cards. Thanks so much for sharing! I've played with this technique within an image but never so much for a nice background. I must play with this!!

Kathryn  – (November 29, 2011 at 7:39 PM)  

This is such a clear and detailed tutorial. Thanks, Cindy! :)

Ruth Little  – (November 30, 2011 at 1:50 AM)  

Sweet! I will be trying this one! Thanks!

Holly Iossa (Homeschool Homestead)  – (December 4, 2011 at 2:30 AM)  

What a neat idea. I can't wait to try. I am going to me working with some teens who draw and letting them experiment with my copics. We will have to try this.

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