My Lovely Followers

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Distress Ink Colouring Tutorial 1- Materials & Equipment

Hi everyone, I hope you're all having a great weekend. My back is feeling quite a bit better, thank you to all who wished me better.

Since I couldn't really do too much stuff around the house last weekend, I decided that it was a good time to make a start on those colouring tutorials that I promised....ohhh months ago now.

Today I'm not delving in and showing you any actual colouring technique as such, but I am going to go through everything you'll need to start, as sometimes people jump right in and don't have the correct equipment they need, end up very disappointed with  the results they get and then tell themselves that they can't do it.

Honestly, I think that  distress ink colouring can be learnt by anyone.

Before I start I just have to say that the way I colour is what works for me, it may not be the same as other people do it and that doesn't make other ways wrong, you have to use what works best for you. My advice it to learn the basics, look at the various different techniques that people use, and then practise lots, until you find what you like best and what you feel most comfortable with.

So lets start. I've made a video of this too, for those who prefer video tutorials and I'll link that at the end.

So....what materials will you need?

Obviously you will need your colouring medium. In this case since we are using Distress Inks, you will need either 

Distress Ink Markers (this is what I mostly use)

Distress Ink Pads

Distress Ink Refills

For myself I have some of each, but I mostly use the markers and I have the full set. Why? Because they are cheap, easily portable, easy to store and in my opinion the most versatile to use. (We'll go through that later).

If you already have some pads in the right colours, you may wish to start with those to save money buying others, and in fact this is the way I first started colouring in DIs to try it out with little additional cost.

Paper......your choice of paper can make or break your colouring. There are many watercolour papers out there, everyone has different favourites or what works best for them, but I can only comment on what works best for me.

When choosing a paper there are many things to consider. Smoothness, whiteness and absorption.

A Hot Pressed paper will be smother. This doesn't really matter that much when it comes to the end result as you have to get pretty close to notice the difference in my opinion, but if you are using rubber stamps as opposed to digis, it's easier to stamp on smoother paper (no surprises there). The other options are NOT and Rough, which are Cold Presed. You will not want to use Rough.

I use two types of watercolour paper. 

Langton Hot Pressed

or Canson Montval

The Langton is smoother and whiter. However it soaks up the ink really fast, so it doesn't give as much time for blending. You won't want to use a pen to paper method with the Langton HP.  It's harder to erase mistakes also as you can't blot or 'lift' the inl so easily. However it does give a beautiful smooth finish and it's easier to get fine detail with the Langton HP.

The Canson Montval is not as white and a bit more textured (it isn't heavily textured though). What it does have is a special coating that means that unless you drown it with water, it doesn't soak up the ink as fast, giving you plenty of time to work and correct mistakes. It's also easy to 'lift' too much colour or blot out if you have slipped over the lines. It's the only paper I would use the pen to paper method on. It's a bit harder to find in the shops than the Langton (which is available in many places) and I generally buy mine through Amazon. 
This is the paper I would highly recommend for beginners and is also my paper of choice if I don't have a lot of time and need to colour something up quickly. Downsides of the paper (apart from the marginal ones of colour and smoothness) is that because it doesn't soak the colour up fast you have to be careful not to use too much water or you'll wash everything out and it's not as easy to add small details as the colour blends out so easily.

I would recommend buying the smallest pad of each and see which you prefer, or if you can beg a few small pieces of a friend that would be even better. Once you have decided which you prefer, buy the biggest size pad you can afford as it will work out cheaper.


Ideally you'll want Sable, but they can be quite expensive and synthetic brushes also work well. I would however advise buying proper artist grade water colour brushes as you will not get a great result with cheap brushes. You do not need lots. I mostly use a 00 and a 000, though I usually switch to a 0 or a 1 for backgrounds just because it's faster.

You'll need something to keep your water in, this can just be a glass or mug or any container of your choice as log as it's clean.

You'll also need something to put your ink on, such as an acrylic stamping block, but you can also use anything that won't absorb the ink, such as the acetate that comes with your rubber stamps, or a CD case etc. 

Other than that you'll need some absorbent paper such a kitchen roll to blot your brushes wipe excess ink on, and a clear space with good light. I prefer to colour by the window if possible to get good natural light, but as I'm often colouring in the evening after work, I find a good daylight lamp, or using a daylight bulb, is more comfortable and accurate to work under.

I won't cover techniques here, but I will list the colours I mostly use for hair and skin as this is what we will be starting with, so that you can get your supplies in.

For skin my colour of choice is Vintage Photo. You can use Tea Dye if you prefer a lighter finish, or a combo of Tattered Rose and Vintage Photo, but I find that the Vintage Photo give great shadows and if you keep a light touch and blend well, you can fade out to white for the highlights and won't need to use another colour.

For blush or lips it really depends on my chosen colour scheme, but for the purposes of these tutorials Victorian Velvet works well.

For hair, we'll start with the most common Antique Linen and Walnut Stain which will give you light and dark blonde and also light to medium brown. Hickory Smoke and Black Soot are great for black hair and also for white and black clothing etc.

Any of the green or blue shades would be good for eyes, but we can also use the same as we use for hair to cover hazel, brown and grey.

I hope you've found this post helpful, I will try and complete my next videos by next weekend for you, we'll be covering stamping your image and what inks to use and how to print your digis in Tutorial 1a, and then moving right on to colouring skin in Tutorial 2. I hope you find this useful and I'll be back next week with some more cards.

Happy crafting! :) xx


  1. Thanks so much!!! Very accurate tutorial!

  2. Thanks Linda for sharing your awesome 1st Tutorial with great tips! Looking forward to see more!
    Hoping you are feeling more better!

    Have a wonderful day!

  3. I enjoyed waching your video!
    thank you for sharing!
    Bad Kitty's Craftroom

  4. Wonderful tutorial Linda! Thanks for sharing you tips and secrets :)


  5. Loved your tutorial it is fabulous


I love to read your comments and feedback and every one left is read and appreciated. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have, I will always do my best to answer them. Thanks for visiting!

Linda xx