Practicing Creativity

How to Prevent Digital Stamps from Smudging When You Color Them – 3 Things to Try

How can you keep the ink on your printed digital stamps from smudging when you color them? If you're having this common digi stamp printing problem read on. 

I rarely had this dilemma with my old Canon inkjet printer, but last year after ten plus years of faithful service it bit the dust. I replaced it with another Canon (TS5350A) and unfortunately am now having smudging issues.

After a little googling and much trial and error, I've come up with some solutions. Although not 100% perfect, they do help. In my experience the three most important things you can do to prevent smudging are: 

  • Adjust your printer's print settings
  • Choose a less slick paper
  • Let your digital stamp sit a day or two before coloring

Your setup will certainly look different from the screen shots I've enclosed below, but these will at least give you an idea of what to look for.

Adjust Printer Settings

1. Get your digi ready to print. Click print and then make sure your printing type (here under Commonly Used Settings) is Standard. This will lay down less ink. Above all, do NOT choose Photo Printing, which uses more ink. Choose Draft and Grayscale features. I first change the settings on the Quick Setup tab and click Okay. It looks like this:

2. Next I click on the Main tab. Where it says Print Quality I choose Custom and for Color/Intensity I choose Manual. Note that Grayscale printing is showing selected.

3. When choosing Manual, a Manual Color Adjustment box pops open. I slide the Brightness indicator all the way to the right and the Contrast indicator all the way to the left. Click Okay.

To correct this, 

What some colorers are not going to like with this solution is the less intense digi outline you'll have with Draft and Grayscale printing. This doesn't bother me, as I go back over my digi's outline/details with black pencil or a fine line black pigment pen when I'm through coloring.

Choose Your Paper

If you're using alcohol based markers you have to use marker appropriate paper, which is slicker, so this solution is less relevant. If you're using pencils, however, you have more choice. Try a less slick paper made for pencils; one that has a little bit of grain, but is still smooth. Bear in mind expensive is not necessarily better. My favorite paper right now is Stylex's inexpensive 190g/m2 drawing paper (CHF 3.10 for a 20-sheet pad). Avoid waste and make your paper last longer by cutting bigger sheets into four; I cut A4 paper into four 10.5 x 15cm rectangles and print all digis through the printer's rear manual feeder – not the automatic one.

Let Your Digi Sit

After you've printed your digi let it sit a day or two before coloring. This allows printer ink to dry thoroughly. 

There you have it; some ideas to help prevent printed digis from smudging when coloring. If you have any questions, drop me a line in the comments section and I'll reply.

Happy coloring!

1 comment

  1. Great tips, Shani! The smudging is the only thing I don't like about digis.


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