Posts Tagged ‘Tombow Dual Brush Pens’

Finshed page in my affirmation journal.

The first page in my affirmation journal created with a laser printer transfer, marker and watercolor.

I have been wanting to experiment with transferring a laser printer image into a journal using solvents for a while. Since the weather is warmer, and I am able to work outside, I decided to start my newest journal creation, an affirmation journal, using this technique. The Ecosystem sketchbook paper seemed appropriate for this method with its bright white paper. Even though it is not as thick as the paper in a Moleskine sketchbook, it has a more porous surface and I thought it might take a transfer well.

On the first page of this journal I wanted to include a message that would express the overall theme of the journal and I wanted to create it primarily with text. Since my handwriting is awful, I created an illustration in my drawing program that would fit the page. Once I had a design I was happy with, I printed it out backwards, as a mirror image, so the transfer would read correctly when complete. Once I had my laser print out, all I would need to do is place it face down on the journal page and apply a solvent to the back of the print out to dissolve the laser ink so it would print on the journal page.

Laser Printer Transfer in an Ecosystem Sketchbook

In order for the transfer to read properly on the page, I had to print my image out backwards on my laser printer. I placed this image face-down on the journal page to make the transfer.

I used  lacquer thinner to make the transfer. It is pretty nasty stuff and should only be used outdoors or in a well ventilated area. This substance is not for everyone and if you are chemically sensitive, I would recommend that you avoid this technique.

Laser printer transer

I blotted the solvent on the backside of the laser print until I could clearly see the image below. I used a fair amount of pressure to be sure I was making good contact with the journal page. In some areas, I burnished the image while the paper was still damp for a stronger transfer. Once the solvent dries, the wet areas disappear.

Laser printer transfer in a journal

To check my progress, I carefully lifted the paper to see how the transfer was being applied. I was careful to hold the paper in place to keep it lined up with the image.

When making the transfer, I applied the solvent using a paper towel and blotted the back of the paper until I could see the image clearly through the back. I found that burnishing the image while the solvent was still damp improved the depth of color. I did this slowly and checked my work frequently by lifting the laser print to see how well the transfer was being applied.

Laser printer transfer being embellished with marker and watercolor.

I added watercolor and marker to the transfer to complete the image.

Once the transfer was complete, I added a watercolor silhouette of my hand to relate to the hand on the cover and provide a subtle transition to the interior pages. This caused the paper to buckle a bit, but I did expect this since the paper is sketch paper and not watercolor paper. You can see the cover image I created in an earlier post here. To complete the illustration, I darkened the color of the large letters to add color and contrast to the image.

Final touches on the laser printer transfer.

I added marker to the large letters for additonal color and contrast.

Final transfers using this method will be somewhat fuzzy and will never look as clear as the original. But this can be used to create images that look stamped or aged and adds an interesting effect to your art. It can be combined with other elements to give your designs a unique and professional look, and is worth experimenting with if you are looking for new ways to create art.

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The Ciak Sketchbook has a heavy, white, uncoated paper that is fairly smooth with just a little bit of tooth. There are no coatings on the paper like you would find on the Moleskine Sketchbook, so I was a bit concerned about how well the paper would perform using water-based markers. Would they bleed through, feather or dimple the paper?

I used blocks of color created with Tombow Dual Brush Pens to test the papers ability to handle markers.

I used blocks of color created with Tombow's Dual Brush Pens to test the paper's ability to handle markers.

I created a grid of color blocks using Tombow’s Watercolor Dual Brush Pens. I sketched each block with its own color and allowed the first layer of color to dry before applying a subsequent layer. I was careful with this layer and applied just enough to completely color the paper. The color went down smoothly, without bleeding or feathering and I was able to achieve crisp lines and edges. The colors were pure and clean and there was no muddiness. Upon checking the backside of the page to see if I had any bleed through, I was pleased to discover the paper was still white with only a slight hint of colors showing through on the other side. This appeared to be due to a translucence in the paper and was most obvious on the red tones.

After 2 layers of color, the backside of the page in the Ciak Sketchbook remained white with only a hint of color showing through.

Even after applying two layers of color with Tombow's Dual Brush Pens, the backside of the page in the Ciak Sketchbook remained white and without bleed through. Only a hint of color showing through.

Once the first layer dried, I painted a second layer in the lower right corners of the squares. The second layers appear as dark triangles of color in the lower right side of each color block. Again, I was careful to add just enough to darken the color, and I did not abrade the paper or overly saturate the area. A second check at the backside of the paper revealed the paper was still in good shape. The second layer did not bleed through.

The darker triangles of color in each color blocks were created using multiple layers of color.

The darker triangles of color in each block were created using multiple layers of color.

On some of the color blocks, I applied a third layer of color in the squares using a different color, as I would do when creating  a marker illustration. As long as I did not rub the paper too hard, there was no bleed through and the backside of the paper remained unchanged. However, when I applied the marker with a heavy hand, saturating the area and making it very wet, I broke through the surface of the paper and the backside of the page showed some bleed through as seen in the photo below.

When I applied multiple layers and damaged the surface of the paper as shown in the left photo, the color did bleed through to the backside of the paper as shown on the photo on the right.

When I applied multiple layers and damaged the surface of the paper as shown in the left photo, the color did bleed through to the backside of the paper as shown on the photo on the right.

The verdict: the Ciak Sketchbook is an excellent choice for using with your water-based markers. You get bright colors, crisp lines and the paper is thick enough to prevent most bleed through as long as you keep your color layers light. By allowing your layers to dry before applying the next, you will find that you can apply multiple layers without bleed through and the paper will stay fairly flat. If you prefer to work with heavy coverage and lots of wet areas, you will most likely have bleed through on the backside and you may even find your paper cupping somewhat. For more information on the Ciak Sketchbooks or to order, visit this link: www.journalingarts.com.

Ciak Sketchbooks come in a variety of colors and can be found at www.journalingarts.com.

Ciak Sketchbooks come in a variety of colors and can be found at http://www.journalingarts.com.

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I just heard from a Tombow rep today about how well Tombow Dual Brush Markers resist fading. She told me that because the markers are water-based and not light-fast, they will fade over time if exposed to direct sunlight. The speed with which the pigments fade depends on different variables such as how much time they are exposed to sunlight, marker color etc. While she could not give me a specific fade rate for the colors, she did confirm that they stay very well preserved in areas with regular, indoor lighting and that Tombow has a framed painting done with Dual Brush Pens that looks perfect and that it has been there for over 10 years.

It sounds like they behave in a similar manner to watercolors so similar care would be appropriate. To be sure your marker illustration stays vibrant, care for it as you would care for a watercolor painting or perhaps a hand-pulled print. Consider framing it with UV protective glass and displaying in away from direct and indirect sunlight for the best resistance to fading.

To test which colors fade the most quickly, apply the colors to a piece of paper along with a label defining each color. Tape it with the color side facing out in a window which receives direct sunlight for a week or two. When you remove the test page from the window, compare it to fresh sample of the colors to see which colors have faded the most. You can keep this page with your markers to help you choose the best colors for your next project.

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