Author Archive

Pen and Ink taking me back to high school!

August 1, 2016 |  by  |  Copics, Doodling  |  No Comments

Imagination International, Inc. as many of you know not only carries Copic. (gasp) Yes I know hard to believe that there is OTHER art mediums worth playing with, but I am an equal opportunity artist and I LOVE to play! One of the newer additions over at III is dipping pens and ink.

I have to tell you this takes me back to my high school days! No Sharpie markers for us, no sir! We had to use dipping pen’s and ink for cross hatching, pintails and doodling, really anything that was rendered in ink. I’ll be honest the extra time it took to dip the pen every 30 dot or so of a larger pointillism piece was a little wearing at times but the results…magnifique! I was really excited to be given the opportunity to play with an pen and ink set again. Especially now when I can appreciate the value of the quality ink and wonderful pen nib.

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I ended up with two styles of nibs or more specifically the same style but in two different materials, ink and a very fun instruction manual. The instructions served as wonderful reminders and I learned quite a bit about the carrying nibs and why I might what a few more in different styes. The ink also comes in a wide range so if I really continued to explore I could do more there as well.

So I started by hooking up one of my nibs into the holder and doing some experimenting with the two different nibs that had arrived.

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The holder has a slot in the end that the nib slides down into easily and then is just pulled out and changed when needed. (The instruction manual talks about how deep to dip the nib, how to hold the pen and how to clean the nibs as well.

I started with the aluminum nib, both of mine are “spoon” nibs No. 600EF by Tachikawa. I dipped and started doing some writing and then dipped a second time to see how long I could go with a single dip. I did cross hatching until the ink ran out, you can see here how long it lasted. Then I dipped again and added a few doodles.

I did the same with chrome nib in the very same size and style to see if there are differences. Just as a note I am working on a rough sketch paper today, not a smooth cardstock, so you will see some bleeding of lines that would not be there on a paper with a tighter tooth.

blog ink 3Next I wanted to experiment a little with color so the chrome sample got some Copic love. I did have a little bit of bleeding with my lightest color. This could be because I did not wait quite long enough for the ink to dry. It could also be because of the toothy paper I am using. It would need a little more testing on my part if I want to use it regularly with Copic.

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Then the aluminum sample received some watercolor. It held fast and was really what I figured would be what I worked with today anyway.

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On to my project, this is a page I started 2 years ago on a trip to Alaska with my family. I created a short art journal that I shared on-line but have never completed the last 3 days/pages. I started with a very light sketch in pencil, and then I went over my lines with the dipping pen and ink.

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I erased the pencil and had no smudging (Yay) then added all the detail to my Rainbow trout with the pen and ink.

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I could have left him here, I really do like him just as he is, but I wanted the effect of the gorgeous colors on the fish so I added water color over my ink.

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TA-DA! All complete. I do love how he turned out and loved working with pen and ink again! Thank you Imagination International, Inc. You can find more information about the complete line of products available HERE.

Have a Happy Colorful Day!

Shading Objects and Creating Depth with Copic Workshops

July 12, 2016 |  by  |  Classes, Copics  |  No Comments

The Copic Papercraft Team get’s asked frequently, “What is that Vintage Values and Mono Tones class all about? I really don’t do vintage images and don’t want to color things mono tone so why would I take the class?”

Well here is the answer!

When the Copic team designed the Vintage Values and Mono Tones class we were listening to YOU! We take the public’s input very seriously when we design our classes and one of the most frequent requests is for information on creating consistent light source and shadows on objects. Once an artist discovers the magic of Copic and figures out the basics of blending the colors they are ready to tackle shading and shadowing, but where to start?

Enter Vintage Values and Mono Tones!

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This class is all about using shading to create that three dimensional look we are all trying to achieve. We start class with a quick discussion of why tackle mono tone images, how it will help, and how to begin looking for that illusive light source.

We practice creating a consistent light source on a variety of images, creating a cheat sheet we can come back to later.

We move on to color 4 images from start to finish, creating rich depth and contrast with a limited color palette to really hit home the concept of consistent, strong light on an object.

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This past year and a half this class has been the unsung hero of our teaching schedule. We have more light bulbs going off and more “ahh ha” moments in this class then in any other we teach. They value the information received in workshop weekends, and they leave feeling much more confident with creating shape and depth on a wide variety of images.

A side bonus of the class is our exploration of the incredible range of Earth Tones! Who knew that the Copic Earth Tones had such breadth of color…well we did and we are crazy excited to be spreading a new love and appreciation for this large color family!


We still have several locations this year where the Vintage Values and Mono Tones class will be visiting and there will even be some lucky locations in 2017 that still have the opportunity to catch this information packed class. Check out the remaining 2016 schedule HERE and come join us!

Manga Comics Anyone? Yes You!

June 30, 2016 |  by  |  Copics  |  No Comments

So if you are a Copic fan you might know what Manga is:

 a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels, typically aimed at adults as well as children.
Not necessarily your style? I beg to differ! Imagination International, Inc. has an amazing Manga program called iiiAcademy and it is for EVERYONE. The iiiAcademy is in comic book style and they even teach you how to read them!
Then each “comic” or episode tackles another Manga issue, and here is the best part, the lessons are completely applicable to anyone learning to work with Copic markers, inks, and other products carried by III.
How about a lesson on which paper to use?
Or possibly how to refill your markers?
Of course there are several lessons about how to color with Copic markers. I was particularly excited to see a few drawing lessons as well!
There are even a few free line images you can print and color to try your new skills on. And as a bonus there are short Japanese lessons you can download with each episode as well. You don’t need to read Japanese do not worry! This is really just a fun addition.
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This is another piece of Imagination International, Inc. just screaming to be explored. My daughter and I are both excited to do more learning and playing with Copic!
So I have not tried anything of my own creation yet but figured I might as well color one of the downloadable line art images!
blog iii Academy 2 Blog iii academy

 Come check out iiiAcademy, I know you will LOVE it!



And the Winner is!

June 27, 2016 |  by  |  Announcements, Copics  |  No Comments

Well we had a bucket full of wonderful Copic friends send me an e-mail with answers to the 6 questions I asked!

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My beautiful daughter Sara did the honors, I shook and held the bucket above my head (she is just about as tall as me, Yikes) and look who she pulled out…

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Barbara Nies!

You are the lucky winner of a Copic Coloring Workshop! (sorry for the misspelling on the paper :-o) I have passed your name and e-mail onto Nancy so she knows who our winner is. Either she or myself will contact you with details on how to register for your free Copic Coloring Workshop.


Copic Blog Hop

June 20, 2016 |  by  |  Announcements, Copics  |  7 Comments

Welcome to a Start of Summer Copic Blog Hop!

As summer get’s into full swing our Copic teaching team will take a short break from teaching to focus on refueling their creative juices and preparing classes for the Fall season and brand new classes for 2017.

But as we hit pause on teaching, we are ramping up for the fall season of Copic Workshops, More Whimsical Faces and Hair, Vintage Values and Mono Tones, and Dress For Success: Clothing and Accessories! All three of the workshops will be taught at all 9 of the following locations this fall.

Registration is NOW open for these three locations:

Chicago, IL August 19th-20th

Dallas, TX  August 26th-27th

Edmonton, AB August 26th-27th

The rest of the fall classes will be opening soon so make sure to register to get e-mail notifications so you will be the first to know when classes are open in your area.

(Sign up at the bottom of the page)

Upcoming Copic Workshops will be held in:

Charlotte, NC September 9th-10th

Las Vegas, NV September 23rd-24th

Sacramento, CA September 23-24th

Boston, MA October 14th-15th

Hanover, MD October 14th-15th

Portland, OR October 14th-15th

To celebrate all this Copic coloring goodness we are hopping through our Copic instructors and friends AND have a prize worthy of hopping!


One lucky winner will win a pass to attend a single Copic Coloring Workshop class in the US or Canada in the 2017 season. ***(We will not be offering an alternative prize for those living outside the US or Canada. You are welcome to participate, but be aware that the prize will be for a class in the US or Canada in the 2017 year)***

So how do you win?

You will need to answer the 6 questions at the bottom of this post! There is a question related to each of our bloggers today so you will have to check them all out! Then send a quick e-mail to ME with your answers. Go to the upper right corner of my blog and hit the little envelope icon, this will get an e-mail directly to me.

Include your name, and e-mail address with your 6 answers so I can make sure to get the prize to the right person!

Those who have all 6 questions answered correctly will be entered into the drawing to win the Copic Coloring Workshop. E-mails must be received no later then Midnight Eastern time, Saturday, June 25.

How about a little Copic Love for this blog hop? This is what I have been working on recently, lots of color studies for the photo tutorials over at Copic In the Craft room! Did you know that I create a new video and photo tutorial that are available free to everyone at the Copic In The Craft Room Facebook page? Here are some quick peeks into some of the art I have created for the photo color comparisons.

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Every week I have compares all the natural blending groups in one Copic color family. I have a few more weeks left and I will have them all covered.

On the video front we have really focused in on simple shading with natural blending groups and even one marker shading. Here is a pile of a few of those as well.

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All right enough already, you ready to win a class? Here are the 6 questions:

  1. What is Debbie’s Olson’s favorite thing to sketch and color?
  2. What is Michele Boyer’s favorite use for her colorless blender?
  3. What technique does Lori Craig share on her blog today?
  4. What is one of Cindy Lawerence’s favorite ways to fill her backgrounds with Copic color?
  5. What is Sharon Harnist’s favorite Copic color?
  6. Besides my blog where do I (Michelle Houghton) post LOTS of Copic information?

To find all the answers hop to all the other blogs and e-mail your answers to me by hitting the little envelope in the upper right corner of my blog.

Debbie Olson at:

Michelle Boyer at:

Lori Craig at:

Cindy Lawerence at:

Sharon Harnist at:

Michelle Houghton at – hey you are already here!

Good Luck and Have a Happy Colorful Day!