Monday, July 28, 2008

Opaque White- adding snow

I hope everyone had a restful weekend. Although we haven't had record heat this summer, it's still hot enough to make you long for winter snow. The next best thing is to color a picture with snow in it...

A useful thing to help color snow is Opaque White. Opaque White is a waterbased, thick white paint that is applied as a finishing touch to your artwork. It's kind of like the icing on a cake. It gives you back the vibrant, tiny white spots that are so hard to keep when you are coloring with markers.

You use this AFTER all your coloring is done. It is not good to color over this stuff, so you want to use this when you know your marker work is done. This is similar to white-out as a no-no for coloring over (other things you don't want to color over).

Opaque white can be thinned with water, for a thin glaze over marker work, or kept thick for good coverage over dark areas.

This waterbased thick white paint is great for adding highlights, adding white where you need it, add glints of light onto shiny things, or thin it down to make clouds, smoke, etc. Eventually I'll show how this is a great accent also for making things look wet or to add water effects.

Today I'm using it on this beautiful snowy stamp. It's Christmas in July, and right now I wouldn't mind a bit of the white stuff to cool down the summer heat!

Look at how detailed the flecks of snow are in the sky on this image. Ick! Coloring around all those flecks and keeping them white yet doing a beautiful gradient sounds like a supreme pain. Also, there's snow that's accumulated on the branches, how do I show that?

Never fear. Just color the image and ignore the snow for now. It would be way too hard to try and get a smooth blend from light to dark while avoiding snowflakes in this picture. Same with the glints of light on the berries, and the light in this little chickadee's eyes. I just won't worry about it.

Once I'm all done with coloring my image looks flat (see the comparison below). Although my colors are rich, they just don't have any excitement to them. This is where we add back in the white. Using my smallest paintbrush and some Opaque white I add the snow, glints of light, and other highlights back in. Wow! What a difference white makes. Don't use this only on snow scenes, try this on any picture that looks too dark, or flat. Just go in and add highlights or glints of light back in. This works especially well on metal things (someday I'll show an example).

Opaque white is very thick so it completely covers up the marker. I had to thin mine slightly to apply it evenly, but it's water-based so thinning is easy. Best of all, you are using so little of this stuff that one jar will last a long time.

I hope you notice that many of the techniques I show you on this blog could be applied to any medium, not just marker colored pictures. If you work with colored pencils or watercolor, use the same technique. Don't stress about white areas when you can paint them in later. Also, the opaque white is really bright; brighter than your paper sometimes. Even if you do leave your snowflakes white, by painting over them they will stand out even more- that hint of dimension that paint gives will add a beautiful final touch to any artwork.

Image: Chickadee, by Carolyn Shores Wright, Stamps Happen Inc. Paper: Neenah Classic Crest Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black Other: Copic Opaque White

Note: I did not use any colorless blender on this picture.

15 comments:

Jodie said...

this is really helpful....

Anderson Arts Online said...

WOW, Marianne, I didn't even know that COPIC had this type of stuff! Like I said, I have noone around here to help me learn about COPIC and the types of things you can do with your products, so I am super happy you have a blog!

I just returned from Chicago, so I need to play catch-up on your last few posts! THANKS AGAIN! Nicole

Jana said...

Wow! What a difference! Beautiful.

Curious... Could you use any acrylic paint and get the same effect?

huntla1 said...

This is beautiful! It is funny, I bought a jar of the white shortly after I got my Copics - I was sure I needed it although for what, I did not know! So I was looking at it yesterday with bewilderment. And, here today, I have the answer. Once again Marianne, your blog is so incredibly helpful. Thank you.

marianne walker said...

Jana,

Any THICK white paint or guache would work.

Sandy Knecht said...

Beautiful Marianne. Thank you so much for this tip. I'll have to get some Christmas isn't that far away and I want to do some scenic stamping with snow.

Priscilla Heistad said...

Thanks Marianne, I was wondering what Opague white was meant to do. Beautiful image. Your blog is like a mini art school. Many thanks! Priscilla

Jessrose21 said...

I love this technique! I suck at leaving white for highlights, so this is perfect. I'm also enjoying playing with my Copic blender using the techniques you showed. Thank you!!!

Whimsey said...

STUNNING; absolutely amazing. The image really jumps once you added the Opaque White - gotta get me some!!

CathyRose said...

Thank you Marianne, I am learning so much from you. I don't have the white but I am going to see if I can find a substitute for it until I can get some.

Lilian said...

Thank you for the tips. I have the opaque white and am wondering if it is really hard/cakey? I use a brush to get it directly from the jar and it's clumpy. :)

marianne walker said...

The opaque white is very thick. I usually have to thin it a bit for best results.

Jeanne said...

Thank you Marianne for sharing these really helpful painting tips.
You explain the process so well, I can't wait to buy the product and try it myself. Jeanne

TN Granny said...

Marianne, I cannot believe what a difference the Opaque white makes with the image. Thank you so very much for sharing this info your blog has so improved my coloring with Copics.

sommar said...

Marianne, I am still wondering if there is a marker (somewhere) which we could use to color white with. Today I used a Uni-ball Signa broad white pen. I does an excellent job of covering, very opaque BUT it always shows up as being something different from the inked image. I am wondering if, even thinned, if the Opaque White looks the same way.