Introduction to Rubber Stamping - using watercolour pencils (part 1)

Once you have mastered the art of stamping there are loads of different places that have advanced techniques, I love to view the Hero Arts blog and they often have videos. 


The stamping section on the forum has lots of advice on techniques: rubber stamping forum

I am no expert at colouring, but I have improved over the years, so this is a basic introduction, to encourage you to give it a go.  Many, many years ago I just used watercolour felt pens such as the Marvy range straight on the image, but now I prefer to use brushes or pencils. 

Watercolour pencils
Years ago the other half got into drawing a bit and we accumulated quite a few water colour pencils, they had sat in a box for a long time until my friend (Sue)from the forum suggested I use them for colouring, and I have never looked back. I did buy a set of WHSmith own make a while back in the sale, but I could really tell the difference in quality to the ones I already have, so have expanded my 'stock' over the years from Derwent or Rowney, here are a few of the ones I have.


rubber stamping with colour

rubber stamping with colour

I find that I use a couple of greens, a skin tone, a pale grey, and a couple of browns are used on many images.  Then it is a case of choosing some of your favourite colours.  I am pretty sure we started with a 'selection tin'.

The pencils can be used wet or dry, and to use them wet you will need a couple of good paint brushes, I also use the reservoir brushes that you can see in the above picture.

Using the pencils dry
Firstly, you can just use them as a colouring pencil.  I always make sure that I use them on the slant and not the harsh point, unless I want to define the edge.  I have scrap paper under my working area and I start to colour on the scrap first to make sure that it is smooth, and also the shade and colour that I require.  I select most of my pencils first and then keep them away from the other pencils, just in case I need to touch up an area afterwards, then I know my colour pallette.

Colour the image in with the lightest colour first, and then use darker colours, or more of the same colour on top which will give the image some 'depth', or use a different shade.  Again try this on your scrap paper and see how it looks.  Many of the stamps will have lines where there should be darker areas, and it will be easy to see what to do.

So this little girls dress was just done using the same pencil, but I went over the 'creases' marked with the lines again, so that it is darker.

<-- This stamp is by Sheena Douglass.

I prefer to use more than one colour for the hair, using browns, yellows or even orange. I use strokes of the pencil, in the direction of the hair.

This one has only been coloured with a few colours applying a 'second coat' of the same colour to shade.

This Lili of the Valley stamp has been coloured with a selection of boy colours, and I even gave him a checked cap. -->

rubber stamping with colour

rubber stamping with colour

This one I only coloured some areas, so that he is a ginger and white cat.  I used the Inktense range on this, these are much stronger colours.  A light grey around the image can often make the image stand out, particularly if there is a lot of white, but this is not a technique I use much.

rubber stamping with colour

A couple of quick ones here with just a couple of colours - so easy to do. 

This one is available as a free image on the site here -->

Using water 
Move onto the next page for the water in your water colour!

rubber stamping with colour

 © Carolyn Woodruff July 2012