Techniques with AquaTints

Hi everyone thanks for joining me,

I recently bought a set of Spectrum Noir AquaTint brush pens, from a website I stumbled across called Craftasmic, for a fantastic price of £64.99.  Now, at first glance, you might think that’s a bit steep, but I worked out if I bought each 3-pack (7 of them) separately from Crafter’s Companion, the set would have cost me £90.93 so, when it’s something I’ve had my eye on for ages, why not go for it?

Anyway, now I have the pens in my hot little hands, I thought I’d put them through their paces.  I’m not a spontaneous crafter;  I have to plan things before I play (and here’s where my friends will be rolling their eyes and saying ‘here she goes!’  I do love my notebooks, my pink (yes always pink) highlighter pens and lists!, but I’m digressing), so I sat down and listed how I wanted to use the AquaTints:

  • Colour blending
  • Faux bleaching
  • Colouring on to acetate
  • Colouring in (using as pens and as watercolours)
  • Stamping

I also went on to the Spectrum Noir website for some inspiration, and found a tutorial by Jo McKelvey, which I’m linking here.  I’m not doing the project itself, I’ve just taken the info on how to colour on acetate for the purpose of this blog, but it’s a great tutorial.

So, let’s take each technique in turn.

Colour blending

The first thing I wanted to see was how well the colours reacted to different card, so I used 2 different types – Sheena’s Stamping card and Crafter’s Companion Watercolour card.  I used the same 3 colours (from the Glitz and Glamour pack) on both cards and they blended beautifully, with both cards holding the colour well.

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Faux bleaching (using the colour blended card)

On the smooth card I made splats by tapping water from a paintbrush, varying the height of the brush from the paper, to make the splats different sizes, and then dabbed off with paper towel.

I then placed a stencil on to the paper (I think this is a Stamperia one) and used a baby wipe to take away the colour.  I was a bit heavy-handed here, so you will see the stencilled image isn’t very sharp, but you get the idea.

I free-styled it on the watercolour card.  I’ve seen Sheena Douglass demo this technique so many times but I’ve never tried it myself until now.  I’m so glad I did.

I love the results on both pieces of card.  Faux bleaching is a bit of a hit with me, I think the pens make it easy.

Colouring on to acetate

Inspired by Jo McKelvey’s tutorial, I stamped my Dragonfly (IndigoBlu) twice onto some acetate, using Jet Black Archival ink.

This time I chose 3 different colours and went with pastels (from the Shades of Spring pack).  On a spare piece of acetate I squeezed out 3 blobs of tacky glue, added a drop of each of the colours into the glue and mixed.  I then painted the colours onto the reverse side of my dragonflies.

But oh trust me to do this on one of the hottest days of the year!  I found it was drying as quick as I was painting it on!  I also discovered it was drying so fast because I wasn’t applying enough, so I added some more and left it to dry.

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On reflection, my colour choice may not have been the right one, I was expecting the effect to be much stronger than it actually was.

There is also something else I learned here and that was the archival ink doesn’t hold to the acetate like I thought it would – hence the thumb print on the right wing, which happened when I was cutting it out 🙄.  Next time I’ll try Stazon ink.

All that aside I was quite pleased with how they turned out for a first go;  they are very subtle, and I will use them on a project.

However I wasn’t totally happy so I did try again.  I dug out a pre-printed piece of acetate and repeated the technique using 3 stronger colours (from the Summer Time pack).  I was much happier with these.

I loved this technique, but I won’t be doing it again on a hot day!

Colouring in

So for this technique I stamped out an image onto 2 pieces of card (the stamp was a freebie which came with a magazine) and heat embossed it.  As before, with the blending technique, I used Sheena’s Smooth Stamping Card and the Crafter’s Companion Watercolour card.

On the smooth card I covered the stamped image in drawing gum.  When it was dry, I used the AquaTints as paintbrushes and flicked the ink directly onto the card (I used the Shades of Spring pack).  When it was dry I rubbed away the drawing gum, to reveal a splash-free bunny and flowers.  I then covered the image in random scribbles of the same colours.

I’m not sure what I was trying to achieve really, I just wanted to play with this one.  It’s not my usual style but my daughter liked it (I’m not so sure).

For the watercolour card, I only masked the bunny with the drawing gum.  This time, I used the AquaTints in a few different ways.  The first thing I did was colour in some elements directly from the pens themselves, I then put some colours onto my mat and used them like watercolour paints.  I also mixed some colours on my mat and found they mixed extremely well.  I used different pens from each of the packs.

My favourite effect was when I put water straight to the card (the pink gerberas/daisys) and then added a drop of colour to the water, it was lovely.

My only mistake was rubbing off the drawing gum a bit too hard (heavy-handed again)!  I managed to rub into the card stock itself when it was still wet from my watercolouring, hence the smudge across bunny’s tail.  It’s funny though because it looks like bunny is looking at it 😆.  I did say I’d show you my crafting be it good or bad!

Stamping

Finally I had a go at using the AquaTints to stamp.  Now I’ve seen this technique demonstrated a few times and I’ve never been keen if I’m honest – I’ve always thought this looks a bit messy but, the technique is on my list 😉 so on I go!

I thought I’d use some of my IndigoBlu stamps for this technique.  My first try was the bumblebees – the left one was stamped with a rock-a-block, but IndigoBlu stamps are quite thick so I took the stamp off the block and did it again with the same pens but in a different combination.

All of the others were stamped without any blocks.  I even managed a secondary stamp with the meadow flowers (the middle picture below).

I think I might be a convert to this style of stamping.  Ok, it’s not a sharp image, but if you like grunge then it’s perfect.  I don’t think selly telly does this technique any justice.

My thoughts

I’ve tried out a few techniques this week (some for the first time), and I have to say I’m really happy with both the results of the techniques and my purchase.  The AquaTints are no one-trick pony;  you can do loads with them (and I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface, I’m now wondering if they can be mixed into texture paste for stencilling 🤔).  I love things which are multi-functional, and these really are, because they then become better value for money.  Yes they’re pricey, I wouldn’t pay £90 for them, I couldn’t justify it.  They they are available to buy as individual packs of 3 pens, so you could build up your stash gradually, (which is what I was going to do before I spotted the offer).

I have checked the Craftasmic website and, at the time of writing this post, the bundle offer is still available for anyone who might be interested.

I hope you have found this week’s blog interesting – I’ve really enjoyed writing it, not to mention all the playing I did to make it happen 😊.

Before I go, I couldn’t sign off my second week without saying a huge thank you for the lovely messages I’ve had about my first blog. Your words of support mean more to me that you’ll ever know 😘.

Bye for now.  Happy Crafting!

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