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Bumpkin Bears Bumpkin Bears
Antwerp, Belgium
Posts: 2,190

Hi everyone, I was wondering what any of you use to shade the faces and toes etc on your mini bears?  I'd love to add that little extra detail to my wee ones  bear_original

Thanks for any tips,
Hugs
Catherine
xx

Gantaeno Je Suis Lugly!
Posts: 1,065
Website

I shade mine using the stippling oil paint method described on the boards bear_original Nothing too complex, but it looks pretty good at the end...

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Hi Catherine,

When I began shading my minis it was in 1993/4 ans there were no real markings on bears at that time. The drawn illustrations of how to do it are in my kits from that period.

Boy, do I sound like Old Grannie History!!! We take from granted now all sorts of shading (airbrush included) trapunto paw pads (after just pulled toes became common). Almost all bears are marked nowadays, whether it's just to emphasize the eyes, shade certain seamlines, blend the areas between fabric & utrasuede, around the muzzle, mouth & nose, age a bear - the list goes on and on.

The bears that I saw on the show circuit, both minis and larger bears, had no shading on them. I had some Prismacolor Pencils from previous art projects and first accented underneath the eye beads with them to make the bears look 'softer' in expression. From there I branched out into shading in other places on bears' bodies.

Today's bearmakers are gaining knowledge by leaps and bounds, piggy-backing over each others' newest techniques, compared to what was happening in the 80s and early 90s.

I used the P. pencils because I could vary the intensity by how much 'pigment' I rubbed into the fabrics, how many shades were laid on and how they were blended together. As everyone knows  #948/Sepia still remains my favorite pencil! I've now identified the shade # of Copic marker that matches {Prismacolors Sepia marker.  The markers of the time were too intense; once it was on there was no way to remove it, as the color blenders (erasures) were not commonly available then.

One could also get a deeper concentration of color that was permanent, by moistening the fabric/area first and/or by heat setting it with steam afterwards.

When I switched to needle felted wool fiber, no matter how firmly I'd needled the surface, the surface always fuzzed up after applying the pencils. Re-needling the areas sometimes changed the look, so I went looking again.

In the meantime, Micron, Sakura, Prismacolor, Copic all began producing a wide range of shades due to the new Anime drawn characters out of Asia (not the large-headed anime-look bears). These markers are great for NFing as well as on any fabric. napped or not, because the color blenders now make it easy to leave just the perfect amount where you want it and even mix your own custom shades in new empty markers.

I can't speak for air-brushing, in spite of having taken classes, read books and have all of the Tools, -- just no time to experiment yet.

Cat Gabriel Cat Gabriel Crafts
Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 923

Hi Catherine,

In the past I just used ordinary coloured pencils to do subtle shading on my minis, moisten the tip to give a darker effect.

Lately I have started using prismacolor pencils, they work really well.

Hope this helps  bear_smile

annalong MadebyAnna
Posts: 425

Hello.
I'm another prisma pencil fan. Sassy bears and fabrics carries them. I like the brown colors to shade. I tried markers but feel I have more control with the pencils.
happy bear making
bear_original

thumperantiques Newcastle, Ontario
Posts: 5,642

Catherine,
     I use a "heat-set" paint, that I find in the craft stores.  I think the brand is Setacolor.  Once you have the shade you want, you heat set it with a blow dryer. 

                                 hugs,

                                 Brenda

Grin and Grimace Pasadena, CA
Posts: 38

When I switched to needle felted wool fiber, no matter how firmly I'd needled the surface, the surface always fuzzed up after applying the pencils. Re-needling the areas sometimes changed the look, so I went looking again.

Yep! Just about ruined my first little NF mini-bear...thus no pics yet! I'll keep the little guy to remind me of hopeful improvements in the future. Anyhow... because colored pencil does not work well with NFing, I'm wondering what to use as highlights for my current NF bear which is a very dark blue, almost black. Not sure if there are any markers out there that will work.

Suggestions anyone?

Ah... just rethought that I may need to use lightly applied acrylics. (???)

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

The biggest problem I found with using any brand of pencil-style colorant, is that it sits on the top, surface fibers and it's VERY obvious that it has done so, due to the secondary fibers laying just out-of-reach by the pencil tip.  It's darn near impossible to get any NFed area colored evenly.

I also found that keeping the pencil point sharp and them beveling the tip at an angle seemes to deposit better.

The markers however, need very little pressure to sink into all visible fiber.

Black is the only color not modified by the Color Blenders: they just smudge into messy dk grays. That probably wouldn't be all bad if they stayed where you'd originally placed the black, as it is a 'lighter' black, but with all of the pigments in black (dyes - hair & fabric, markers, paints, etc) removing them completely is not a reality, so use all blacks cautiously & judiciously!

Here's an interchange between a friend, Pat and me:

I'll post this, as it's background for anyone wondering about this. Do you mind making your reply public?

>>>>Hi Bobbie, I haven't tried the Prismacolor brand. Have used the Marvey Uchida brand, with the brush end and the tiny tips. Have them in shades of brown, gray, and black. They have a blender also, which works ok, but dries up real fast, and since it is in a pen form, very hard to fill, and don't know what to fill with. Guess they want you to buy a new one every time. I also have tried Prismacolor pencils, but not sure I like the effect, or if they would wipe off like regular pencils. I also have used eye shadow, which actually looked the best, but I figured they would wear off, just like they do on people. I did buy an air brush and paints, but again, kind of scared of what to put where, and how much. Is this copic blender filled with special fluid?? I will check it out, Do you need to buy the whole system in order to just use the blender?


Me:
This color blender of Copic's is amazing. No, the colorless blender pen isn't used with the system but stroked on by hand, just as any marker would be. I suppose you could but it would waste a lot of the fluid and not be as customizable as to what part you want to fade-to-nothing on our minis. I'm sure some students have thought me an absolute slob but there've been times (Berta and some Florida ladies can tell you this!!) that I had no scrap of fabric or wool with me (it works on both! so try it on wool felt paws and needle felted wool) and after removing/blending out the edges of my favorite shade - Sepia, which goes with everything - I wiped the nib point on the inside hem of my shirt. It dries in a minute and there's nothing left, though it doesn't affect (bleach) the shirt color. This one piece of equipment is the answer to all shading with permanent pens. I've used it with other brands and it's good with all. Black is the only color that doesn't erase completely, at least the things I've used it on have retained some Dk Gray smudge.

Drying out: Copic has a click-on top and mine of 2+ years ago has not dried up. I refilled it recently and it's like a brand-new pen. It's said that rubbing alcohol does the same but I've done side by side comparisons and the alcohol looks like water color effect whereas the blender just fades to nothing.

Filling: It's also the only brand that's refillable! There is a set of syringe-like tips that insert into the sides of the nibs to refill all of their pens, colored and colorless blender. I use a craft syringe (Monoject 412 again) to suck up a bit of blender fluid and refill it. This is the only brand of marker that has a rectangular nib, leaving just a tiny gap along the 2 longer sides of the nib to insert the tip down into. It doesn't take much to renew the pen.

(Prismacolor markers now have a groove alongside the broad nib to refill)

I have an almost complete set of Prismacolor pencils; they don't wipe off or fade. I work at a certain chair when I'm in the kitchen and I've sharpened the points there. When I went to wipe up the powdery shavings, I found that they sort of stuck to the floor and didn't wipe off like chalk dust. They're not described as 'oil' pencils but they have something in them to keep them onto the surface they're rubbed into. I use the cheap small new cosmetic sponges to rub off most of the surface deposits; the base of the fibers retain the now more subtle shading. I layer on 2 - 3 colors (Sepia's one of them!) with a lighter shade extending further and going on first,  a very dark brown or black barely encircling the eye bead last and covering the smallest area.

I've got the hand-held Copic airbrush system as well as a craft-sized compressor and an industrial glass carving cabinet in the basement but have such success with just the colorless blender that I haven't experimented with any of those yet! If I made larger than mini size think would have, but our things are so small that the job's done in minutes.

Judi has told me that the Copic air spray system doesn't have as small a spray area as I'd need for minis. I'm going to sell my never used set from E'bgh on eBay soon... keep watching for a good deal.

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Stacey, when you wrote 'highlights', I assume you want to go lighter? I too would choose acrylics, like Liquitex, but water then way down. And mask off areas you don't want touched as the brush may drip. That wouldn't protect from seepage underneath but it would gve you a better chance at control.
I'd do it in several passes too, with drying time in between.

Grin and Grimace Pasadena, CA
Posts: 38

Thanks Bobbie, yep will be going lighter. Wish me luck!

By the way, did you get your PM?

Bumpkin Bears Bumpkin Bears
Antwerp, Belgium
Posts: 2,190

thanks so much for all your help.  I tend to use the oil paints on my larger bears, but found I couldn't get the fineness I wanted for my miniatures.  I have used pencils on my latest little girl and was pleased how it went, will have to check out the prisma pencils next :)

Hugs
Catherine
x

Michelle Helen Chaska, Minnesota
Posts: 2,895

Bobbie: You are so kind to give us all this information. I have prisma color pencils. I have not used them on bears though. Do you have to heat set them once you put them on? Also, you said you layer the colors. So starting with a lighter shade first and gradually moving to darker colors is how to do this right?

Also, I am curious, do people use different coloring mediums on one bear ie: pencils and paints together? If so what goes well together and what effect does it give?

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

I'll post a bit on this tonight, when I can get into my old kit masters.
On fabrics, both mohair and upholstery fabric, it's not necessary to heat set them. I rubbed them well with the cosmetic sponges (100 per bag for a few $$) and it lifts off a lot of the loose bits (can't think of the right words when I'm rushing LOL) and rubs it into the fibers well. What is left is left permanentally.

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