My Foray into the World of Alcohol Markers

Or, How I Came to Purchase a Set of Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils

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A few years ago, alcohol markers became a big thing for coloring images in the crafting and card-making world. Like most others, I was intrigued. I started to do my homework. I looked at basically all the brands that were available in the United States and listed the pros and cons of each. Prismacolor markers were made in the U.S. but were not refillable. Copics were refillable but expensive. Spectrum Noir markers were refillable, had the best price per marker, but were made in China.

I watched videos about how to use the markers. I read reviews on several blogs. I read the fine print details on the companies’ web sites. I went around and around for months–many, many months. I also watched videos comparing the Sharpie and Bic alcohol-based markers to the more expensive, artist-level alcohol markers.

In the meantime, I had about 10 or 12 Sharpie markers that I played with a little bit. This gave me a little taste of how the alcohol markers work, if not the superior blending qualities of the more expensive brands. What I concluded was that I didn’t like the smell of alcohol markers. I also didn’t like the look I got in the finished project. I am not a trained artist and got results nowhere near some of the fabulous artists I have seen on YouTube.

At the same time as I was doing all of this research, I was also watching videos on wax-based colored pencils, watercolor pencils and watercolor painting. These demonstrations and tutorials looked like fun to me. They looked more like a style I would be comfortable with making my own. For many years, I have played with pencils and paints, so am much more familiar with the products, how to use them and what result I could get from them.

I came to the conclusion that alcohol markers weren’t for me. I can get along with a small handful of Sharpie or Bic markers for anything I might want to do now and then. I saved my pennies and looked for good sales (something I recommend everyone do). I found an awesome sale on Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils and bought those. I am now researching and looking at the watercolor paints and pencils that I think I will enjoy using more instead of following a trend.

If you love alcohol markers and they are right for you, I don’t have anything against people using them. Just do your homework into which brand is right for you. Don’t be afraid to mix brands. And as always, be patient and look for the best price that fits your budget.

A Little Review

I found an amazing 70% off MSRP sale on Prismacolor Premier colored pencils at Dick Blick. I have never seen the price that low. (As of the DATE OF THIS POST, the pencils are STILL ON SALE at Dick Blick . I don’t know how long the sale will last.) I bought the 48 count set which has a pretty good selection of colors. There are some colors not in the set that I want to buy later, but the pencils are easy to find to buy individaully. I am extremely happy with the Prismacolor pencils. They are creamy enough to blend well even without using a solvent like Gamsol (odorless mineral spirits) or mineral oil (baby oil).  My only disappointment is that the pencils are now made in Mexico instead of the United States. So if you are interested in colored pencils, save your money and buy a set of Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Disclaimer: I do not have any affiliation with any of the companies mentioned above. I am simply a satisfied, paying customer of Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils and DickBlick.com.

Playing with ATC kits

…from yourATCstore.com

What is an ATC?

For those of you who know what an ATC is, you can skip this part. For those of you who don’t, here’s the scoop. ATC stands for Artist Trading Card. It is a small card that is 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches in size, the same size as a baseball card or a standard playing card. The cards are not to be sold, only traded. You can use any form of art media in this small space. Some people paint, others collage or stamp. The possibilities are endless. According to Wikipedia, this practice was started in 1996 in Switzerland. Most people credit an artist named M. Vänçi Stirnemann for starting the current popularity of Artist Trading Cards.

Review of the Kits

I bought several ATC kits from yourATCstore.com. These kits were very inexpensive at about $1 to $1.25 each. Lisa, the owner, puts together some really fun kits packed with lots of goodies. I like to use these kits when I don’t feel like sifting through all my paper and embellishments to design an ATC on my own. I just want to sit down and do a little crafting.

The kits from yourATCstore.com are in the collage style, which is one of the styles I like to do. The kits are so generously packed that there is a significant amount of things left over after making one ATC. If you add another quote, a printed image or a stamped image, you can easily make another ATC with the leftover supplies. There are many different kits on the site to choose from. New kits are created often, about every month, so there is always something new to see.

The online store is also stocked with charms, collage elements and other items you might want to use on an ATC of your own creation. One of the things I like about the store is that the charms are sold individually. Many times, I see a charm that is really cute, but it comes in a package of several charms. I usually need one piece for my project and have all the others left over. At yourATCstore.com, I am able to buy only one charm at a time, which I really appreciate. And of course, they are reasonably priced.

So head over to yourATCstore.com for some easy, inexpensive ATC fun! Click on “ATC Kits” and scroll down to find your favorites. It looks like the February 2011 and the July 2010 kits I used are no longer available, but I saw so many other fabulous kits that there are plenty for you to find something you like.

My ATC Project

I am eventually going to finish a series of twelve ATC kits that I bought. The theme of each kit will be related to each month of the year, at least loosely. I want to make a small wall hanging like this to display the cards all at once. It will be fun to look at when I am finished and see all the details that make up each card.

These are the four kits I used.

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January ATC kit 2014 Red Riding Hood

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February ATC kit 2011

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July ATC kit 2010

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June ATC kit 2014 Floral Beauty

These are the cards I made with the kits. 

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“Little Red Riding Hood” So cute!

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“A Valentine Special” Love the vintage valentine image.

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“Celebrate Freedom” I struggled a bit with this one. Can you tell?

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“June Wedding” Such a pretty image and colors.

All I had to do was add my own adhesive, both regular and dimensional. I plan on putting together another 8 more kits. I’ll share those with you when I finish them.