This skill of mine was first developed thanks to budgetary constraints. I have come to now believe that a lack of supplies on hand is fuel for far more creativity than an abundance of accessories. Stampin' Up!'s ink pads are flexible, so you can squeeze the lid into the ink pad and create for yourself a pool of ink that you can pick up with either a paintbrush or a blender pen (a blender pen is a dual tipped marker, filled with clear fluid). So, I used this technique because, at the time, I did not own a set of markers.
Here are my secrets:
Go slow. Add only a little bit of color at a time, and use it sparingly.
Use more than one color. For example, in the card below I used a Moss color and a darker Olive color for the leaves. I used a Mustard color and a darker Rust color for the flowers.
Layer. I usually start off using a very watered down amount of ink and then layer on top of it several times until I get the hue I am picturing in my head.
Think about natural lighting. Sometimes your images will assist you in this by showing hash marks for shadows and the like. Other times, you will have to invent your own. Just imagine the sun is coming from one side of the paper and paint accordingly.
Here is one of my favorite cards of all time:
Copyright Stampin' Up!® 1990-2005
You can view and comment on the card here, at my gallery: Mustard Toile Blossoms.
This card was inspired by one that I saw in the 2002-2003 Idea Book and Catalog. I simply copied the card, substituting a different flower stamp for the image that was used in the IB&C (see how easy card making can be? Just be a copycat!). I used VersaMark, the “wonder tool,” to create the background watermark and tied some pretty ribbon on for the final touch.
Ah! I just love this card. I don't think I can ever part with it!