Well tonight I am taking some time to answer some questions that have been put to me in the past. Please remember that I am not an art instructor, these are only my personal observation and things that I have learned through different endeavors.
Why do you use Distress Ink's, and how do you use them? Distress Ink's are made by Ranger. They are water based, acid free, non toxic and fade resistant. They come in 24 colors and are great for creating an aged look to a variety of surfaces. They can also like SU pads be used direct for watercolor. One of the reasons that I am often reaching for them in my projects is that a) they have a great selection and choice of color. They are all colors that seem to bring out the best in my projects without detracting from my other ink choices. b) their blend-ability. They are unparalleled for blending. SU inks are great, but sometimes they dry faster then I may want them to. If I am doing a fair bit of blending with a little bit of color, I want my ink to glide across the paper without having to go back and tap down on the ink pad. The pads are also saturated with color and pigment, and are great to dip your brush into for water coloring. They are used like any other ink pad with sponge or other ( toilet paper, saran etc.). Great Place to get it is All That Scraps.
What is AIG glitter? AIG glitter is simply Art Institute Glitter. It comes in a rainbow of colors, Comes in different sizes ( micro, fine and a chunky glass). The color are amazing, and it often adds just the perfect touch to a project. I use Stickles a lot, but I find that the glitter is big and spread out. Sometimes its nice to have a thick sugar coat effect from your glitter. Great place to get it is Frantic Stamper.
Next: What kind of Odorless Mineral Spirit do you use for the color pencils, does it have to be Gamsol? The answer to that is no it does not have to be Gamsol. The ones up above are the ones that I use and I purchase them from the Art store. Gamso is simply a brand name. I know that some people swear by Gamsol saying they have better results. I have never used it, and have not felt a lack of results because of it. Let me put it this way. I play around alot with color pencils, and have many books on the subject of color pencils, and have taken classes with people who use them, and spoken to artist who use them. None of them swear by Gamsol. All you are looking for is a solvent to break down the binders in the color pencil. They are all toxic, so be sure to use them in a ventilated area, and not to leave the bottle open on your desk as you work. I have heard of good results with baby oil, but am personally not into trying it as I am not sure what long term effect the oil would have on my paper. The solvent fumes like alcohol will dissipate.
Does it matter what kind of color pencil I use? Yes it does. If you buy a cheap color pencil you will have cheap results. What determines the cost and quality of a color pencil is the quality of the pigment used, the quantity of that pigment in the pencil, and the binders used. I use Faber and Castel as well as Prismacolor Pencils. Other top notch brands are Caran D'ache, Lyra, and Derwent ( although I'm not partial to the last as it is a bit hard for my taste, they have a softer brand out though that I have not tried). Some of the qualities that I like in these are that they are soft and creamy, and highly pigmented. If you ever noticed with Crayola how the leads are hard and scratchy, it is one of the things that prevent it from being spread well. One of the indicators of quality is price. Don't expect to get great quality for cheap prices. Expect to pay anywhere from 1.45-2.00 a pencil. Which brings me to another point, that quality pencils are usually available open stock. There is nothing wrong with buying a set ( I do) but its nice when a color runs out to buy one of the color and not a whole new set.