by Tyra Smith

Using your stipple brushes with dye inks on glossy card stock is a very easy thing to do.

To load your brush with ink, tap it 2-3 times on your dye ink pad, then tap it on your card stock. Remember that the first tap of the brush on your card stock will be the darkest, with subsequent taps being lighter and lighter until you load your brush again.

Gently "tap tap tap" with the stipple brush when applying the dye ink to the card stock. If you tap to hard, the bristles will bend andit will show up as a "smoosh" on your card stock rather than tiny individual dots of color. Use a light pressure when tapping the stipple brush on the card stock.

When using a stipple brush to add color to your card stock, sometimes you will see that you get a defined "circle" where you tap the first time, usually more noticeable when stippling with darker colors. That's because the dye ink is most heavily concentrated on that first tap. To avoid getting that defined circle, load your stipple brush with ink, tap once on scratch paper and then go on to "tap tap tap" on your card stock. Sometimes you will need to do this, sometimes not. It's something you learn by doing it and developing your own particular style with the stipple brushes.

Think of the stipple brush as several tiny "dots" (EACH bristle would be one tiny "dot"). When you apply the color to the card will go on very lightly at first. You simply keep loading your stipple brush with dye ink and tapping again on the card stock until you have the coverage/hue you want. It will NOT look like you are painting, meaning that the entire surface of the card stock will not be totally covered with dye ink. You will have a "layer" of tiny dots of color and this is what you want.

Stippling multiple layers of colors in areas helps to give depth to the scene and help blend the colors as you stipple giving a more even coverage of ink. If you find that after a few layers of color that you still look a bit "splotchy", go back to the lightest color you stippled in the area and stipple it again. Always try to work light to dark with your colors.

For example: When creating a sky scene, rather than using the EXACT color of blue you want for the sky, use 2 or more colors of blue to combine and CREATE that color. You start out with the lightest shade of blue and stipple that across the sky area. You then add the next shade of blue, stippling lightly over the first color. Dye inks are translucent in nature, meaning that if you apply one color over another, they combine to create a third color. The first color is not completely covered up Try to think of the layering of colors like this: One layer of layer of layer of color...another layer of air, etc. This creates a natural sense of depth when you use multiple colors. Try doing this on a scrap piece of glossy card stock and see what happens!!!

Remember, Stampscapes and stipple brushes are all about freedom. There is no right or wrong here. We all see things differently. YOU might see pink or purple in your sky, work it in. Experiment with it and see what you can come up with.

Always clean your stipple brush between colors. Stipple one color, then "wipe" the stipple brush back and forth on a baby wipe until the dye ink is all off and the brush wipes "clean" across the baby wipe. Then gently wipe the brush across a piece of paper towel to remove any extra moisture it accumulated from the baby wipe. You really need to make sure the bristles are "dry" before you begin stippling with another color. It doesn't take the brush long to dry if you wipe it across a paper towel a few times. If you are working through a color group such as blues, you can stipple the light blue, then go on to stipple the medium blue without cleaning the brush in between colors. However, if you've worked with a dark blue and need to use the light blue again, be sure to clean your brush before loading the stipple brush with the light blue.

The dye inks will stain your brushes. When you clean the brush between colors....wipe it off on the baby wipe until you don't get any more color coming off the brush...dry it by wiping it across a dry paper towel. Sometimes I like to TRY to clean some of the stain off my brushes.... and an OCCASIONAL good cleaning won't hurt them. I just use rubbing alcohol, dump some in a cup, put the brushes in the cup with the bristles soaking in the for maybe 5 minutes... then I use plain old dish washing soap (liquid) and clean them, making sure to get the cleaner off the bristles..rinse in warm water.... then stand them up (bristles up in the air) and let them air dry over night. I only do this once a month, at the most....but I also use my brushes on daily basis.... so if you use your brushes less... don't clean them like this quite so often.

I use one stipple brush of each size per color group...meaning I have one brush of each size for blues/purples, reds/pinks, yellows, browns, black/grey and greens. This helps to keep my color group "true"..and I don't have odd combinations of colors blending in sometimes when I use the brush. I wouldn't suggest you do this, because it can get a bit pricey. What I suggest you do, is simply use one brush of each size you want to have and wipe it clean in between colors. Once you find out if this technique is something you would like to continue doing, then you can invest a few dollars and get get as many brushes asyou need.

If you find you need a more controlled application of dye ink, meaning you have small areas you want to apply dye inks to, maybe some small detail areas, find yourself smaller white bristled paint brushes to use and wipe them gently across the ink pad to load them with ink. Find the size of stipple brush or white bristled paint brush that allows you the degree of control over the application of inks that you need. Larger stipple brushes are great for background work, smaller brushes are great for detail work and small tight spaces.

When using stipple brushes with Stampscapes it will be necessary to remove the ink from the "dotted outer edges" of the stamp before you stamp it on your card stock. To remove the ink use a piece of paper towel and lightly "dab" the dotted outer areas. Then stamp on your card stock. This can be referred to as sculpting your stamp prior to stamping it. Remove the ink from the areas you do not wish to use.

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