This Heart Cluster image was actually created by stamping a single heart multiple times to create a new shape. The shading of the hearts uses a technique we call fractional coloring. By overlapping colors from lightest to darkest in a very prescribed manner it's easy to create this distinctive gradient color.
The supplies for this project include white Twinchie Squares, the Lockhart Itty Bitty Candy Heart stamp, Copic marker R00 - pinkish white and three Prismacolor pencils. The lightest pencil is blush pink, the medium is pink and the darkest is magenta. The card is from the neutral color assortment of Inchie Notes.
Before you do anything it's important to find the center of the Twinchie Square. Go ahead and mark the spot with a pencil dot.
Using the pencil dot as a reference point, ink the heart stamp (Tsukineko Memento Black ink) and orient the image with the point of the stamp a little ways from the center dot. By keeping the point of the heart a small distance from the dot it will give you enough room to 'fit' all 5 hearts as you stamp them. You might want to practice on a piece of paper first as it can be a bit challenging to create even spacing the first time. Don't be discouraged and just be patient with yourself!
Stamp the second heart and continue turning and stamping...leaving space away from the dot.
Continue stamping until there are 5 hearts, all centered and evenly spaced around the original pencil dot.
Now for the coloring. When teaching, I refer to this 'fractional coloring technique' as the 4/4 rule. To help in the explanation I will often create a little diagram to share with students. Sometimes showing this picture makes it a lot easier to understand the concept. Basically divide the image you are coloring into 4 quarters. The first, or lightest color covers the whole or 4/4. (Each color overlaps the previous one) The second, slightly darker color covers 3/4. Then the third, medium tone covers half or 2/4. And the last, darkest color covers 1/4.
As you may have discovered, the surface of the Inchie Arts squares is very similar to an artist quality drawing paper and has a bit of 'tooth' or slight texture. If you were to color with the pencils on the white surface you would see tiny spaces of white through your coloring because of this slight texture. To create more depth in your coloring try putting a layer of a light color Copic marker down first. In this instance your first color for the 4/4 technique will be Copic R00 or pinkish white. (important note: never use the Copic after you have colored with pencils as the marker will pick up the pigment from the colored pencil and ruin your marker - always use it first!)
Now for the pencils. This second color is done with the lightest pencil, the blush pink. As per the diagram overlap starting from the outside edge and color 3/4 of the heart. (note: leave the swirl white as you layer in the colors)
When layering like this it's important to apply very little pressure while making lots, and lots, of little oval motions. It may seem tedious, but that is what will give you the best results.
Next, color with the medium value pencil, the pink, and color halfway or 2/4.
The last pencil color is the magenta, color only the top 1/4.
Color the swirl with the magenta too. It's a tiny space so make sure your pencil has a good point.
Finish the Heart Cluster with a tiny pink pearl over the pencil dot!
(This cluster technique can be used to create new fun and whimsical images! Be sure and look through your stamp collection to see if you have any small stamps to try on a Twinchie Square.)