Bleedthrumanade with Butterflies and Grottos

Got lemons?  Make lemonade!
Got the dreaded alcohol marker bleedthru?  Make bleedthrumanade!

Alcohol markers are notorious for bleeding through paper and leaving color on the back of the page.  I decided a while back that this could be a good thing.  I color the front of the page with markers, and then add art of some kind (usually Zentangle®).  When I’m done, I flip the page and make art using the color shows through on the back.

Today, I’m going to share how a bleedthrumanade that started like this:

Front of page                              Back of page

Ended up as a bleedthrumanade that looks like this:

Front-Sunshine & butterflies in the Morning Dew   /Back-Underground Grotto
To get the grayscale bleedthrumanade colorbase
Front of page: I colored the entire page with various Spectrum Noir alcohol markers in Ice Grey colors, and then created streaks by running the blender pen vertically down the page.  At this point, I turned the page, and started working on the back.
Back of page: No further marker color was added.  I stamped my Sabal pattern image three times without re-inking.  The first image was very clear, the second just above it was faded, and the third image at the top barely showed.  Using a Micron Pigma pen, I darkened the corners of the first image, and drew lines to change the second image into a whole new pattern.  I did linework all around the stamped images, and added shading.   This resulted in the Grayscale picture-front & back–that you see at the beginning of this post.
Adding Color
Frontof page: For the front, I was looking for a contrast in lighting.  The idea I had in mind was the morning sun evaporating the morning dew.  I chose thin-tipped, hard pointed colored pencils to get a lighter tinted color and chose Distress markers for the deeper sunlit colors.
I colored the entire page with the pencils, then I stamped my Butterfly collage image twice without re-inking.  I didn’t want the complete image in either case.  I used Distress markers to deepen the colors on and around the Butterfly image and to eliminate the square edges.  When I was satisfied, I used the white Pentel gel pen to break up the second image–I only wanted it to add a little texture and give the feeling of light refraction.  I used the white gel pen to add the dewdrop bubbles.  The last step was to use the Distress markers to deepen the color on the dewdrops.
Back of page On the back, I wanted a different lighting effect–the dim lighting you might find in an underground grotto, where the sun merely glances off the surfaces.  I chose colored pencils with soft, deeply pigmented points to color the page. Then I used the Black Soot Distress Marker to re-darken some of the lines and shadowed areas.
The Black & Gray colorbase gave me tinted shades to work with and a sense of shadows and forms in the background.  This was an experiment from start to finish, and I think I’ll be repeating this process.  
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Both Front & Back
Stillman & Birn Epsilon Series Sketchbook
Spectrum Noir Cool Greys Marker set
Spectrum Noir Blender pen
Front of page:
Viva Las Vegastamps! used:

Stamp Pad ink: Colorbox Cranberry
Primascolor Verithin Colored Pencils-Canary Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Apple Green, Peacock Blue, Light Peach, Ultramarine
Tim Holtz Distress Markers-Fired Brick, Barn Door, Dried Marigold, Crushed Olive, Scattered Straw, Tumbled Glass, Broken China
Pentel White Gel Pen

Back of page:
Viva Las Vegastamps! used:
      Sabal pattern from Plate 1427
Stamp Pad ink: Memories Dye Ink Black
Micron Pigma Pen .05
Lyra Rembrandt Colored Pencils-Pale Geranium Lake, Lemon Cadmium, Apple Green, Light Blue

Tim Holtz Distress Markers-Black Soot

Author: Life Imitates Doodles Art, Reviews & Tutorials

Artist Ambassador for Zebra Pens. I'm a self-taught artist who dances about with all sorts of artistic mediums. My main loves are Watercolor, Zentangle and Ballpoint pen. The subjects of my work are many and varied and change at whim. I'm a little bit crazy, but doesn't that come with being an artist? At my Life Imitates Doodles Blog, I post a list of resource links for Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways two times a week. I also write reviews, hold giveaways and share my art work.

5 thoughts on “Bleedthrumanade with Butterflies and Grottos”

  1. so your work..still looking to soak it all in my mind..haven't gotten brave enough to attempt..but know I need to work on getting one of those White pentel gel pens I see you talk is that 'Sabal pattern' a stamp?

  2. Thanks for the refresher/new technique. Love doing these but they never approach what you achieve. They do stretch the mind and are a fun exercise.

  3. Thank you both!

    Antoinette, the Pentel White gel pens are available at Fred Meyers stores and many places where Pentel pens are sold. There are better white gel pens, but they aren't that much better, and I find them much more difficult to find.

  4. Antoinette, the Pentel White gel pens are available at Fred Meyers stores and many places where Pentel pens are sold. There are better white gel pens, but they aren't that much better, and I find them much more difficult to find.

    Also, the Sabal pattern is from a stamp that was created from my artwork. However, you can find the steps to drawing Sabal at

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