Distress markers (How to)

In this guide, we will discuss how to use Distress markers and some useful techniques.

Distress markers

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At first when you hear “distress markers” you think of special markers that can help you somehow through the ink to feel more calm or relaxed, but they are just simply called tat way.

They are not magical or have therapeutic abilities, or at least not any we are aware of.

However, they are a good option if you’d like to get creative and explore your artistic side.

Distress markers have become very popular and are considered very useful tools for crafters and artists.

The ink is water-soluble so you can use the markers to watercolor paint by using the maker ink with a wet watercolor brush or applying your marker directly to the paper and then using a watercolor brush to spread the ink, you can achieve a traditional watercolor look without having to buy watercolor paint.

We will first discuss how to apply the marker ink with a watercolor brush, according to Wikihow. 

After purchasing your distress markers in the colors that you’d like to use (since buying the full set can be very expensive) or those you’ll likely use the most.

The most popular brand of distress markers is Tim Holtz’s but you can buy any you prefer (e.g Zig Art, Graphic twin, and Tombow ABT markers).

Now find a piece of paper.

Take into consideration that when you are applying marker in with a watercolor brush, you would like to make sure that the paper is secured with tape around the edges so it won’t move when you start painting. 

You can try coloring on a nonstick sheet or acrylic plate and subsequently, you can use the brush end of your marker, apply a square of color to the acrylic plate or nonstick sheet.

It is useful to apply a wet watercolor brush to the ink that will reactivate it and it will become wet again.

Do not worry about the ink getting dry while you work. 

Now you can pick up the exposed ink with a wet watercolor brush by using the watercolor brush of your preference and using it to pick up the exposed ink by rolling it on your patch of marker ink.

The amount of ink depends on how saturated you need or want your colors to be.

Now you are ready to apply the ink into your paper and once you have the ink on your watercolor brush, apply it to your paper. 

It is recommended to start by applying a lighter coat of color and then layer it to make it darker. 

Review of the Tim Holtz Distress Markers (top 5 tips/techniques)

We will discuss the top 5 tips according to Mementoes in Time.

As we have indicated already, distress markers have a water-based ink, which you can use in different ways and get different results each time. 

There are other Distress Ink products you would like to take a look such as the ink pads and distress stains since they tend to complement very well with these markers.

However, be aware that the colors are not an exact match between products.

This is due to the composition of each of the inks being slightly different (eg. the stains are a bit more washed out and the ink pads are much richer).

Additionally, it is important to consider these markers are not refillable.

You can use these markers for coloring, shading, stamping, using in journaling and more.

The markers are dual tipped with a brush end for coloring and a thin-tipped plastic end for writing or more detailed effects (mementoe in time).

You can use these pens on all kinds of card stock, from watercolor paper to stamping card, glossy and coated cardstocks.

The result will vary from paper to paper but I think this makes it interesting, as you can get different effects, just from changing the paper you use (memento in time).

“The markers match the normal range of Distress Inks (36 colors) and include a White Marker – which is really cool. You can get them in small packs, or blow the cash and get the whole lot in a neat canister. Here are some ways to use these markers. The list is by no means exhaustive and you can play around with them to get different effects yourself (mementoe in time).”

First technique: Basic Colouring in

You can apply the markers directly to the page, you can also stamp and image of your preference and your preferred color (the markers are waterbased and they are actually quite ‘juicy’).

The Archival pads don’t bleed when you go over the lines with water-based markers, so they are ideal for this.

Of course, any similar pad will be fine. The color applies well and is nice and rich, giving a quite vibrant effect, while keeping the lovely muted Distress Ink color.

Second technique: Creating a Watercolour Effect

According to memento in time, they indicate how using this technique is where these pens come into their own.

Being water-based, they lend themselves beautifully to creating watercolor effects.

“After hunting high and low for my water brush, I had to go and buy another one for this blog post but I love using mine, so it was worth it! Tim Holtz has a new range of specially designed brushes but is warned, they are expensive. The detail brush is nothing special but the flat brush is a really good idea…”

They recommend making sure you are using a good card or thick paper for this, just as you would for any water-coloring.

Ranger has a range of special stamping cards which works really well with these inks but again, a bit on the pricey side.

If you decide not to color directly to the paper you can also scribble them onto a craft mat, piece of acetate or an acrylic block and then use the water brush to pick up the color.

“This is what I have done with the blue shown on the lower wing in the image below and on the flower image underneath.”

Third technique: Colouring onto the Stamp

This is considered the main benefit of the markers and you can actually color each pat of a stamp in a different color, producing a beautiful effect.

The Distress Markers are very ‘juicy’ so they are easy to apply. You can also use a rubber stamp or acrylic.

Note from memento in time:  If you are using an acrylic stamp for the first time, that you might need to sand the stamp very lightly with very fine sandpaper to allow the ink to adhere properly.

Just test the stamp out first to check your image. Take care not to ruin your stamp by sanding too heavily and with too rough a sandpaper.

“You can color over parts of the stamp you have already colored, as the pens can easily be cleaned up with a scribble on a piece of scrap paper. You can also take as much time as you like adding colors, which is really helpful if you are using a complicated or large stamp. The ink has a huge ‘open’ time and when you come to stamp and when I say huge, I mean, you can walk off and do something else and come back later to stamp. You just need to breathe or ‘huff’ on it, to reinvigorate the ink and get it ready to stamp.”

Try not to use a spray bottle to refresh your stamp since the wet ink will get messy in your stamp.

Fourth technique: Colouring the stamp and then blending out the image

According to memento in time, “You can use your marker to soften your stamped image and create a real watercolor effect. Instead of just stamping they show in their example, you take your water brush and apply it to the stamped image, taking care not to smudge or blur it. You can work on a piece of the stamp at a time or just wait for each bit to dry first if you wish.”

 “The end result is a much more ‘blurred image’, which can work very well with stamps designed to give a watercolor effect. I’ve used a thick, slightly more absorbent card, which allowed the color to bleed.”

 Fifth technique: shading

The ability to use Distress Ink Pads to shade around or across an image (to create depth) is considered one of the best items/products. 

One of the best things about the Distress Ink Pads. The effect is very nice as you can see in the pictures of mementoe in time, giving it a distressed effect.

However, you can achieve this effect with the markers as well.

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Distress markers are very useful tools for crafters and artists but if you neither, you can still get them and get creative.

In time you can learn how to properly use them following the tips we mention, however, there are also videos and other tutorials you can follow while you learn to use them. 

The techniques are very useful and fun to try, you can even come up with other ways or techniques in the process of starting to use your distress markers, get crazy and elaborate your own designs.

Remember there is no right or wrong way of using the distress markers, you just need to find the one that suits you the best or is more comfortable. 

Please feel free to comment in the comments section below!

Amazon.com: Distress Markers






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