Copic Expert Colleen Schaan Designer Spotlight

MEET COPIC EXPERT Colleen Schaan and discover how she colors her world with creativity!

By Brooke Smith

Read through the pages of CardMaker and you're sure to find Copic® markers mentioned multiple times. Copics are alcohol-based markers that have riseen in popularity among card makers and have become must-haves in paper crafters' toolboxes. While Copic markers produce beautiful, colored images, educating yourself is required to learn how to use them to their full potential. For this reason, CardMaker now has a regular column written by Colleen Schaan, a Copic Certification Instructor, and we're delighted to have her sharing her talents with us! Be sure to check out Colleen's new book Copic® Coloring Guide, which went on sale June 10, 2011.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a "retired" English teacher who now enjoys working in the paper-crafting field. I demo and teach Copic classes as a Regional Copic Certification Instructor and Fine Art Educator for Imagination International Inc. I've been lucky enough to design for a number of amazing companies and I recently added the title "writer" to my job description. When I'm not traveling, I love to spend time with my husband, Nathan, who supports me through the good, the bad and the colorful. We currently live in Atlanta, Ga., with our adorable pets.

How long have you been involved with the paper-crafting industry and how did you get your start?

I've always been artsy, but I really started using paper as a medium about 15 years ago. A fellow teacher was involved in scrapbooking and invited me to a paper-crafting class. While I enjoyed scrapping, I was really intrigued by stamping. I'm an instant gratification sort of gal and card making was right up my alley. Once I picked up a stamp, I never looked back.

Besides Copic markers, what are a few of your other card-making essentials?

My essentials kit would have to include X-Press It Blending Card, two black Copic Multiliners (.3 and .5 sizes), my Big Shot Pro die-cutting machine, Spellbinders™ circle and scalloped circle dies, some colorful cardstock from Bazzill Basics, and of course I'd need my Tuxedo Black Memento ink pad and some adorable line images from some of my favorite stamp companies.

What advice would you give to someone who might be intimidated by using Copic markers?

Educate yourself. Copic markers are amazing tools, but there is a learning curve to using them successfully. Learn the ins and outs of the Copic numbering system, how to pick good blending groups and how to blend Copic colors together. And then, just like any other skill – practice, practice, practice!

For someone just beginning their Copic marker collection, what markers would you recommend they purchase?

My advice is to think about what types of images you like to color. If you like flower images, then reds, yellows and pinks are good. If you like nature scenes then blues and greens are good. If you like to color people, then skin tones are really important. Here are the Copic colors in the first kit I would recommend:

R32/R35/R37 (real red)
B21/B23/B26 (bright blue)
G12/G14/G16 (grass green)
Y11/Y15/Y17 (sunny yellow)
I have a full listing of "kits" that I would suggest for beginners on my Copic FAQ page on my blow www.distinctivetouches.com.

Who are some designers/artists that inspire you?

This one's easy: Debbie Olson and Julianna Hudgins! Debbie Olson is one of the most talented card designers in the industry and the most humble and kind individual. She has such an eye for color and her layouts are spot-on perfection. She has an easy sophistication to her style that I just love. And Julianna is an industry rock star with a huge hear and an infectious smile. With her strong business sense and her knowledge of the industry, she inspires me to challenge myself and to reach for my goals.

Do you have any magazines/books/websites you took to for inspiration when designing?

CardMaker of course! I've been a subscriber for years and I've got a whole library of back issues that are full of sticky notes and folded corners. I also like to browse the gallery at Splitcoaststampers and a number of blogs for inspiration.

What are some of your favorite activities to do other than paper crafting?
I love snuggling up with a good book. Heck, I've even been known to read a book even if it wasn't all that good. I just really like to read! I also enjoy sailing and curling, but I haven't done either in a few years.

Do you have a card-making tip you'd like to share with our readers?

My motto is, "It's not done until it's doodled!" Try adding a sketched or doodled frame around the image or some faux stitching on some of the layers. It's amazing how much impact such a little thing can have.

CardMaker magazine featured this interview as the Designer Spotlight in its July 2011 issue. To learn more about Copic instructor Colleen Schaan and learn from her expertise, you can: