Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Change It Up - Texturing

Jennifer Dove's Copic Corner - Texturing

Texturing can be so amazingly fun to do when you are coloring with your Copics (or other alcohol based markers). I would like to share with you some different ways to texture. In this tutorial we will concentrate more on texturing fur. There are many different ways to create texture. One way is basic blending and using Blending solution to remove ink to leave the texture. The second way would be to actually create the texture by using a texture stroke. Lets take a look at these methods. 
Texturing with Rags - This technique is more of a quick method to creating texture. For this method you will want to only color the portions of the image you wish to texture. In this tutorial you can see I am using a bear illustration (image by Crafters Companion, Popcorn Bear – Happy Birthday), and have ONLY colored the bear and NOT the blanket. If I was to color the blanket as well, I might end up with a textured blanket. Although this is a nice effect on cloth, it is not the desired look I am going for. I use basic 3 color blending on the bear. Next I will put some Copic colorless blending solution onto an old wash cloth. I use as little as possible and make sure I fluff up the area I placed the solution on. I then apply it with medium pressure to the bear image and hold for 3 seconds. Repeat this application until the image is textured. If you wish to add more texture make sure you let the solution evaporate off the image before applying more. 
Once the texturing is complete you can then color in the remaining part of the image. If you find that the colors are bleeding outside the lines, you might not want to use so much colorless blending solution on the wash cloth. 

Here is a step by step illustration on how this is done (see images). 

Basic Blending Colors E31 E23 E57 E79 

FLICK TEXTURE - Let’s try the next technique. This one is applying the texture by way of texture strokes. The strokes are a light-handed crisscross stroke. You will get the best results after you practice your strokes a little. Get in a rhythm with your strokes and the process will go a lot faster. First thing you do for this method is take a deep breath and let it all out. Relax; this is supposed to be fun! 

You will blend the colors using a flicking motion similar to a loose "X" motion. For this image we start with our darkest marker (E79) creating "X's" in the shadow areas. When you crisscross the "X" you will leave white spaces of which will be filled in later as you overlap the next color. Your “X’s” don’t necessarily have to cross; you just want to carry through with the motion. Next, take your medium color (E57) and overlap the darkest marker you just applied, using the same motion. You will continue to repeat the "X" motion using the lighter medium marker (E23) overlapping every time, finishing off with your lightest (E31). Make note that the lighter markers are slightly blending the darker ones together while still leaving texture. 

Here is the end results (pun intended)

You can use the same textures above to texture so many things. Take for instance using the Colorless Blending Solution and a piece of burlap, that has a thicker weave, to create texture on an image with a straw hat. How about texturing up clothing on an image? Using the “X” motion, texture up under an image to make it look like a stone pathway. You can also use a dot application as well, slightly overlapping like the “X” motion to create a texture. The possibilities are endless. Give it a try. 

Here are more samples using some images from Crafters Companion. I just love to color bears so this was fun to do. The cat in the glass was also colored using this technique. 

Only Skin Deep

Jennifer Dove’ Copic Corner - Coloring Skin

Coloring skin is fun to do and there are so many color choices to use.  I hope this article simplifies things for you as you delve into coloring images with people.  We have already talked about coloring hair in the past article.  I skipped ahead of things with that article because when you are coloring people I always recommend you start with the skin tones first.  This prevents you from dragging the color of the hair into the face.  Let’s get started.

Light and Medium Toned Skin

Coloring skin can be pretty simple if you have general blending some to a smooth science.  When coloring light colored skin you always want to start with the lightest tone first.  Do this in a single layer application so your lightest tone remains light.  If you use multiple layers of the lightest tone it is now darker as each layer darkens.

Determine in your mind where you want your light source to come from.  This is an important step so you can get the proper shadowing.  If your light source is coming from one side or the other then the opposite side will have the shadow.  If it is coming straight on then both sides will have the shadows.  This provides dimension to your object and removed the “flat” appearance you get using a flat image.

When adding in the shadows, you always want to use a wider flicking motion coming from the edge of the image. Never start the flick from the center of the image. The beginning of your flick places the most ink and darkest placement of that tone, and we want to keep it towards the outer edge. Now that you know the details of “how,” let us flick using the darker skin tone. Again, make sure the heaviest part of the flick is started at the outer edge and then lifting your pen up a bit to allow for a lighter end of the flick as you reach the inner part of the image. 

There are a few different “looks” people create for cheeks. Some like to just put round rosy cheeks in little circles. Although this is very cute, it is not very natural. I prefer to wisp in the cheeks similar to the way that the shadows are done, then come back with the lightest color and smooth out the edges into a smooth blend. 

Whether you are placing in the shadow area or the cheeks, you need to smooth in the edges with the lightest color. 

As a final touch to any image you color, add drop shadows where shadows might be cast using a color such as BV20 or a darker tone of the color you were using for added dimension.  

Colors used: Pinks R81 R83 R85 R89, Hair C10 BV29 C6 C5, Browns E31 E35 E57 E79, E40 E43 E44 

Dark Colored Skin 

I have tried coloring dark colored skin in the same fashion as the light and medium toned skin but end up with results that are too dark. Remember with every layer of color applied, the tone gets darker. If you’re using dark color to begin with, then it ends up way too dark and doesn’t allow “highlighted” areas to really show. I have found a more successful way. Start out with the darkest tone in the area you want the shadows to be, then using your medium or light tone to smooth out the transition into the lightest tone. Work in small areas at a time and not over the whole image at once as your darker tones will be harder to make smooth if they are allowed to dry before applying the lighter tone. 

Example using image by 
Colors used for this image are: Skin E27 E23, Hair E44 E47, E49 E79, Reds R35 E46 R59, Blues B91 B93 B95 B97 B99, Greens G40 G43 G46 G29, cone E31 E35 E57 E79, Gray T5 T7 T8 

Apply darkest tone (E27)

Blend with the lightest tone (E23)

Here are some fun skin tones to try.
Image compliments of

 Here are a few more fun images.  look at the details when it comes to cast shadows.  Most these images come from and you can find more details in older posts on the exact colors used.  Thank you for joining me in some fun!  Please share the tutorial with friends but make sure you give them my blog as well.  I love the feedback.

E50 51 93 and BV23 for the skin

E50 51 93 and YG11 for the skin

E50 51 93 and BV20 for the skin

Image by Mo manning

Hair Today...Gone Tomorrow

Jennifer Dove's Copic Corner - Hair
Image contributed by Simply Betty  -

It’s fancy seeing you here again, at the Copic Corner. The next few tutorials I will write are going to get you started on coloring images of people. We will go over different color choices and different styles of coloring. This article is all about coloring hair. I want to share with you two different styles of coloring and let you decide which one works for you. The two methods will be smooth blend and flick blend with highlight. No matter what technique you prefer, the hair should always go in the direction that the hair would lay naturally. 

Smooth Blend  - With the smooth blend method you are simply coloring the hair using the normal way of blending. Leave your lightest color visible where you wish to have the highlights, and your darker tones where you want the shadows. When I use this method I like to put darker tones in the hair that surrounds the face, like a frame. It has more impact. 

1.  Start off by coloring the base coat of the image (for easier blending) using the lightest color. 
2.  Add the darkest shade along the images hairline, at the crown of the head, as well as the bottom of the hair. Remember, if the hair is appearing to go behind the image, this would also be dark as the face and over hanging hair would block it from the light source. 
3.  Using your medium tone, you will slightly blend out the darkest tone. If your blending isn’t perfect, that is okay as texture in the hair gives more character. 
4.  Blend out the medium tone using the lightest color, just slightly overlapping the color. Leaving some of the original light tone is great as this makes the highlighted areas stand out a little more. 

Flicking Blend - If you want a more dramatic look for the hair you might want to leave white highlights. To do this you need to determine where you want the highlights to be. You will leave this white. When doing this technique you will want long fine strokes and you will not be blending them smooth. It is very important that you place the strokes in the direction the hair would lay naturally. 

1.  Using long strokes (in the direction the hair will lay), apply your lightest color in a flicking motion. Leave only the area you wish to be highlights in the hair. (Refer to image one for flicking direction.) 
2.  Using your darkest tone, flick where you wish the darkest part of the hair. The flicking motion should be heavier at the beginning of the stroke to narrower at the finish of the stroke. Don’t use too much of the darkest tone or you will run out of room for the remaining tones to be added. 
3.  Add the medium tone, slightly overlapping the darkest tone in a similar stroke as the darkest. Both darkest and medium tone will be colored over the lightest tone but not as far. 
4.  Next, come back over the edges of the medium tone with the lightest, flicking towards the white area and thinning the remaining white area out until you get the desired highlight thickness. If you bring too much of the lighter tones in, you can have a tendency to smooth out the “texture” too much. You can always flick more of the dark back in to fix this. 

Note: If you run out of room for the white, just make sure the “white” area remains at least the lightest color. This still leaves a wonderful effect as well. 

Here are some fun color combinations to try. 

Coloring hair will take a little practice in order to get just the right flick. But with practice, you will achieve success. Have fun and don’t forget… it’s just paper and ink. 

Here are some more samples of images colored up using these techniques.  These images all came from if you want to get yourself some to try.

It Is Just All The Same...Colors

Jennifer Dove's Copic Corner - Monochromatic

Welcome back to the Copic Corner. 

I thought we would talk a little about coloring monochromatically. Some of us are just getting started and only have a limited amount of pens to start off with, so this technique will be perfect for you. 

The monochromatic color scheme uses variations in lightness and saturation of a single color. Another way to say it is, “Colors that are a shade or tint lighter or darker in the same color family.” It leaves you with a clean and elegant colored image without having to use a lot of pens. Different monochromatic color choices allow for a different feeling or moods to be portrayed. Monochromatic coloring is easy to manage, and always looks balanced and visually appealing. You want to make sure to have nice contrast within the color family, and I encourage you to leave white as your lightest highlight especially when coloring faces.

How To: First choose an image that speaks to you. Next start by getting a scratch piece of paper and choosing your main color. You then want to grab a handful of pens within the same color family in different shades of that color. Test them out on the scratch piece of paper to visually see your color choices and make sure they will blend together. 

Start coloring using the general blending method. 

Another little Monochromatic twist you can do is called mono-chromatic spotlight coloring. To accomplish this method you will color the whole image monochromatic except the parts you wish to stand out as the focus. It will give your image a little more “pop”.   Notice the cherry image with the color pop?  A small amount of color makes a huge impact.

Here are a few samples of images I colored using the monochromatic technique.  

image by PSX - Discontinued

Image by Peddlers Pack

What Is The Solution?

Jennifer Dove's Copic Corner - Blender Solution

Welcome back to the Copic Corner. There are so many things to talk about. Let’s talk first about your Blender Pen, the one marked “0”. A lot of people think because this is called a “blender” that you use it to blend your colors together. This is far from true. The Blender Pen is more like a displacer or an eraser. If you try to blend with it, the results will be lighter and blotchy. There are many fun uses for this pen and I recommend everyone own at least one, as well as the Blender Solution refill. The refill comes in both a 25 ml container for easy refilling of your pen, or a 200 ml bottle. I own them both for different reasons. The smaller bottle makes refilling your pen a breeze, but the bigger bottle I use for texturing. Let’s talk a little about how to use them correctly. 

Items you will need: 
Blender Solution (either bottle)
Blender Pen
Some Copics
Your favorite Copic paper Texture rags
An image on your favorite compatible paper

Optional materials: Terry Clothe (wash cloth rag)
Burlap rag
Denim rag
Or any material that has texture
Dauber top for your 200 ml bottle of Blender solution (Tsukineko sells one I use)
Copic Multiliner Pen

Texturing with terry cloth and blending solution

I created a sheet with squares of which I colored in with a single layer of color. Next, using the Multiliner Pen, I wrote down the material I wished to use for texture testing. Color each one of the squares using your Copics. Using a small amount of Blender Solution (a little goes a long way but will evaporate so you might need to reapply), I dab it on each piece of material and hold the rag in one place on the colored portion of the paper for about three full seconds. I do this with each texture rag I own.  I recommend you use your palm to do this as it will give more even coverage then if you use a thumb which will just leave a thumb imprint of texture.  With the terry cloth, you will want to fluff up the nap of the material before applying to the paper.

Your Blender Pen is perfect for removing color or fixing mistakes if you were to go outside the lines. Make note that when you are using the Blender Solution or pen on your image you want another absorbent piece of paper underneath your project. This will allow more control of the solution. When cleaning up ink outside the lines, imagine that the Blending Pen Solution is pushing the ink back under the stamped line. This is essentially what it is doing. With a small pushing motion, use your Blending Pen and push the ink. You will have the most success if you do a little at a time going back over it again once the solution on the paper has dried… so let it dry in between little pushes. Some colors erase better than others. Colors that are more difficult are the browns and the reds. You might not be able to completely erase. If you over saturate with the solution or pen, you might actually draw the ink outside of the lines or push too far.  Practice makes perfect.  Another VERY important thing to know is if you are going to texture, do it BEFORE you color the rest of the image so that you don’t mess up your smoothly blended image. Always texture first! 
Here are some samples. Notice the ones with the bricks? This was done using the chisel tip of the Blender Pen. The one with the Dots is with the Brush tip. You get the idea… erases or displaces! Now go texture the world! 

I See The Light - Light Source

Jennifer Dove's Copic Corner
Images -

The most common mumbling I hear is "I can't seem to get the light source right." You are not alone in this. There are a few tools available to use if you weren't blessed with the capability of "seeing" the light source automatically when you look at an image. Let’s start by getting our own "tool," and then we will talk about using it. You will want three pieces of acetate or projector sheets that will go through your printer (if using a laser printer make sure it’s laser printer compatible or it will melt). Go to the right of my blog freebies and print out the templates onto clear acetate. These will be used as guides when trying to figure out coloring with light source. You can hand draw them, but this will save you time. 

Now that we are all set, let’s start talking about a few different light source characteristics. Light and shade forms the dimension of an object. Without these your images would appear flat. Every object should have a part of which would be your lightest shade, darkest shade, and the medium or intermediate tint of that color in order for a smooth blend. The brightest part of your object is the part that the light falls on directly. The darkest part of the object is the one that falls opposite to the brightest part where the light would not hit. This is not the same as what would be called the drop shadow or cast shadow. The drop shadow, or cast shadow, is the shadow that is cast off from the image where the light has been blocked. 

Light from the sun is not direct. You do not get a direct beam of light but more radiated light. Determine the direction the light will radiate from. Place the Arial Grid over you image. Where the grid lines first hit the image will be the brightest, lightest or highlighted area; and where it exits will be the shadow, or darkest area. When I am all finished coloring the image, I will come back and place the drop shadow. Drop shadows, or cast shadows, are not blended out. In the image, look at the entrance and exit marks. I have separated some of these sections to give you an idea of what you will look for to determine highlights and shadows on your image. 

Light, such as from a lantern or a candle, usually radiates out on all sides from the source. With images such as these, you will want to use the Radiating Light Source Grid. You will use it similar to the Aerial Grid, but as you can see there are different lines to follow. You would use the straight lines the same way, but the circular ones closest to the light source show the brightest areas, and as they get farther from the image, they become more muted. Let’s look at the picture to get a better idea. 

How about if we are creating an image where the light is more concentrated but radiates outwards from a single spot of origin, like a flashlight or flood light? You will use the Single Light Source Grid. Again, where the lines first hit the object will be brighter and more vivid. The further away the lines get, the colors will become more muted, or have more gray tones to it. It is similar to the radiating light except there will be very little light cast behind the light source as it is concentrated within the beam onto the image. 

Experiment with light source and your blending. Over the next several months, I will be showing you ways to use this information. Here is an image using the light source techniques. Can you determine the light source direction? 

I hope you enjoyed this little tidbit of information!  If you share this tutorial please make sure my name is included!  I appreciate it.

Jennifer Dove
DoveArt Studios
Copic Certified Designer