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Happy Birthday Flowers for the Discoverer


Happy Birthday Flowers
By: Melanie Smith, Artistic Guide

StampersQuest is all about the journey and I have been having a fabulous one! I would like to invite you on the story of my journey as I discovered how I could achieve magnificent effects with colouring pencils.

I have long admired the colouring that people do using Gamsol.  I had no idea what it was and it is unavailable down here in NZ (or Australia for that matter) because it is a brand name product.  Soooo... what to do, what to do?  I did a little reseach on the web and visited one or two (or twenty) sites to discover that Gamsol was the brand name for an odourless mineral solvent used for mixing with oil paints and for cleaning brushes.  Well! That information I could use!  (I was getting pretty excited at this stage - because I had tried baby oil - Yuck)  I was straight down to my local art supply shop and seaching the shelves and found exactly what I was looking for.  I went straight home to try it out - I can't tell you how long I was dancing once I knew I had discovered the missing ingredient for this technique.  I was in a very happy place!

Finished card size: 5.5" x 5"

Vertical Birthday (Rubbadubbadoo, New Zealand)
12" x 12 " "Color Me"... Happy (Luxe designs)
12" x 12" Red cardstock  (unknown)
5.5" x 5.5" Vellum (unknown)
Black Archival ink pad (Ranger)
Coloured pencils -  I have used a mixture of Prismacolor  (Prismacolor©), Aquarelle (Faber Castell), and Inktense (Derwent)
Artists oil painting odourless solvent (Art Spectrum - Australia)
Paper stumps (unknown)
Double sided tape (unknown)
Vellum tape (unknown)
Red gems (Kaisercraft)


  1. Cut a piece of "color me" paper from the 12 x 12 sheet, measuring 4.25 inches by 12 inches then cut in half again at six inches. (6 x 4.25)
    (this leaves a 6 x 4.25 for another card and a remant of 7.75 inches by 12 inches for the canvas project)
  2. Using coloured pencils colour the flowers.
    Some around just the edges, some in the centre only and some on one side of the petals.
  3. When all of the flowers are coloured, dip the paper stump into the odorless mineral spirits. Use a swirling motion just wider than the coloured pencil line to blend the colour along the edges of the coloured area and drag it slightly out to the white area.
  4. Repeat along the colouring line back in the opposite direction using the same size swirls.  Turn and repeat as many times as required.
  5. Re-dip the paper stump as needed.
  6. Continue until you have moved colour onto all of the white space and you are pleased with the result.  (you may want to practice on a scrap so you know how much colour pencil and how much blending produces the results you want.
  7. melanie-april09discoverer2

  8. To make up the card trim the paper to 4 x 5.25.
  9. Take the red card and trim to 9.25 x 5.5 then score at 4.25".
  10. Trim the vellum to fit inside the card and attach with vellum tape.
  11. Stamp the vertical sentiment down the outside edge.
  12. Attach the "color me" paper to the front of the card and embellish with tiny red gems in the centre of some of the flowers.




A Paper stump (or tortillon)  looks like a double ended pencil and is made from compressed paper pulp (there is also a kind which is made from tightly rolled paper.  My research on Wikipedia said  "When blending, hold at an angle to avoid driving the point into the paper, and to increase the surface area that contacts the paper.  The tip of the tortillon must be kept clean while blending in light-toned areas of a drawing, so as to not smear darker media from other areas onto it.  Eventually the tool will become dull from use, and sandpaper (can be)... used to clean and re-sharpen it."

I used  end of a paper stump for each colour and kept complimentary colours on each pencil so I didn't get confused as to what colour was on each pencil (yellow/purple, orange/blue and green/red) - sometimes the red and the orange looked the same, especially if I had been blending the two colours together.

The paper stumps I preferred were the ones made in Taiwan as they were softer and blended the colours more smoothly and in a larger area - the more dense ones were good for very small areas.


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