What is this strange looking object, you say. A turkey baster? A clean-up suction tool for coffee grounds? An alien ray gun?
No! It’s a Tim Holtz’s Distress Marker spritzers, and you use it to get watercolor effects using water-soluble markers. My friend, Tina Walker, kindly sent me one, and I thank her profusely!
The name specifically mentions the Distress Marker, a water-soluble double-ended marker with a hard plastic tip at one end, and a felt brush tip at the other. The spritzer will work with most felt-tipped markers.
The marker needs to fit into this guide-hole, or…
I also found that there was a variation in how much ink I got from a pen. Some gave me a strong spray of color, and others an anemic spit. Some of this probably has to do with how well I’m lining up the felt tip. There’s a sweet spot, for sure. I think the amount of ink in the marker counts as well. Most of my Distress Markers have been used a lot, and they’re a couple of years old. It only makes sense that a fresh, barely used marker will give you more color.
So what effects do you get?
The spray is a bit like splattering watercolor–you have some control but mostly with aiming the random splatter. How harder you squeeze, the amount of water you use, the kind of marker you use, and the paper are all going to make a difference.
Basically, I found that I got three different types of spray. The factors mentioned above make a difference, but the pattern of the spray and overall look are similar. I got the widest variation using watercolor paper, and these examples are all done using Strathmore 400 series watercolor cards.
Just spritzing the color onto dry paper gives a pebbly textured look with strong coverage in the center and a soft radius around the edges. The largest spritz I could get was about the size of an elongated dime.
Before I spritzed this second example, I wet an area of the paper so that it what shiny, but not pooling. You still get some of the pebbly look, especially around the edges, but you also get some feathering and the color travels along the water, covering a larger area, and taking the shape of the water-covered area. This example spritz is more quarter-sized. Because water always dilutes color, the intensity of the color is less.
For this last example, I wet the paper thoroughly, leaving big drops of pooled water. When I spritzed, the air moved the water, taking some color along with it. The color, itself, didn’t move too much–almost like the water protected it. I got spots of color surrounded by dilute streaks.
This technique gives your hard edges to your color where the first two give softer edges.
I did find one other technique that I like, but I’ll discuss that when I get to my second example artwork.
For this card, I use all the techniques above, and then used a water brush to spread some of the color.
After it dried, I picked out floral shapes with a Pigma Micron pen.
As well as the Spritzer, Tina sent me a cool exclusive stamp set from Frog Dog Studios that included a telephone call box. If you’re a Doctor Who fan you know his ship, the Tardis, looks like a call box, and that when it’s traveling time and space, there are all sorts of lights and special effects.
For this card, I wet an area of the card where I intended to stamp the call box. Then I colored the stamp with Dusty Concord and Chipped Sapphire Distress Markers–colored right onto the stamp itself. I stamped into the wet area, and then used the Spritzer–with no marker–to spread the water and color across the card.
Those lovely purplish streaks were a result of using the spritzer purely to move water mixed with color. The stamped image gets a soft, out-of-focus look very similar to the Doctor’s Tardis as it comes in for a landing.
I used a series of different markers in the spritzer to add more color and different textures.
This is a nifty little tool. You can get interesting textures and more full-blown watercolor effects than you would normally get from a water-soluble marker. It does take a little experimenting to get the hang of it, but it isn’t difficult.
Using it might be difficult for people with arthritis or other pain in their hands or wrists.
Is it a must-have for your craft or art stash? Probably not–but if you use felt-tipped markers very much, you’re probably going to want one, anyway!
Here’s a great video that demonstrates the use of the spritzer.