Thursday, October 15, 2009

Coloring a sweater

As the weather quickly grows cold and wet I figure now is a good time to cover how I color a nice fuzzy sweater. This project will really show you if the paper you like to use is too soft or not absorbent enough. Be sure to work with plenty of scratch paper under your work, as this technique will really soak through most papers.

Adding texture to a specific area
In this image I want the main body of her sweater to look like a knit, but the ribbing on the cuffs should be straight and I don't want her skirt or skin to get textured either. This is where you need to plan ahead. If you add the texture after you've colored the whole picture then you'll want to mask off any areas that you don't want to get textured.

This is a picture I drew last week and since it is going into my example book I photocopied my original onto color laser copier paper. As I mentioned earlier, paper will make a huge difference in your final results. You'll get better results if you work on Neenah Classic Crest Solar White, Copic sketchbook paper, or Copic Stamping paper. Prism Simply Smooth will work but you'll need to soak the texture more, along with Papertrey Ink, and Gina K. papers. Test a few paper types until you get the technique to work correctly.

I start by coloring her main sweater nice and evenly with a BV00. To make sure it is really smooth I started at one sleeve and colored with the side of the brush (not the tip) in circles, really soaking the paper evenly. I didn't let any area get too dry or else I would have had streaking.

Next I added my darker BV04. Usually this is too big a color jump in this family, but I couldn't find my BV02 and I know that I'm going to be adding texture anyways so I went for it.

Notice how I added my darker color in feathered strokes. In areas that I want to have a softer blend I lift up at the end of my stroke. This puts less dye on the page and makes it easier to blend back in.

Then I come back with my BV00 and color over the whole area. In this case I start coloring on the light side and push my BV00 into the darker BV04. See how the whole sweater gets darker and the areas that I feathered with the darker purple really blended in nicely. If the sweater is a little uneven or blotchy at this point it's OK, since I'm going to be adding texture anyways.

Now I'm ready to add my texture. On an older post I added texture with a wadded paper-towel soaked in Copic Colorless blender solution. In this example I don't want the wrinkly look that worked with the bushes, I want a specific sweater looking texture. What better way to get sweater texture than with a sweater? Luckily my husband had a black sweater hanging in the closet with just the right woven look I wanted. This technique won't ruin the sweater (though try at your own risk) and if any color happened to come off my paper it wouldn't show up on the black sweater anyways.

This will take practice to get it right, so don't give up if it doesn't work the first time (click on the photo to enlarge).

At this point I would suggest getting clean, absorbent scratch paper under your work. Any stray color on your scratch paper might bleed through where you don't want it.

After my base colors were dry, I carefully pinched a small area of the sweater in my fingers, about the size of a large coin, and soaked it in colorless blender solution. Not sopping wet, just a little damp. Then I dabbed it onto my sweater.

In the first try you'll see it was too wet and is kind of soft and washed looking. You might like that look, but I want a stronger knit look. This wet look is caused by one of a few things:

1. Wrong paper. softer papers, like Georgia Pacific, will not give crisp definition.
2. Base color too wet. Let the base colors dry longer before adding texture, particularly on thicker papers.
3. Too much blender soaked into your texture fabric. Let your fabric dry a bit more before you try again (I like to make a test-dab first to see how wet my fabric is)
4. Holding your texture too long in one place. Test and practice to see how long you need to hold it in place. This varies from paper type to paper type.
5. No scratch paper/ wet scratch paper. Get clean scratch paper before you try this.

To fix the first try I let my paper dry completely and I used less blender on my husband's sweater. Then I carefully dabbed it on again over the same area. Success! See how crisp the sweater texture is. Notice on her arm that the color was bleeding a bit. After I finished texturing the whole area I went back and fixed my bleeding mistakes using the colorless blender. Be sure to clean up the pendant while you are working on other mistakes. Then I colored the ribbing last, in little streaks, with the BV00 and BV04. Now it's the same color as the sweater, but without the knit look.

Here is my final artwork that I colored last week and I forgot to scan in the steps. Original artwork by Marianne Walker. Hair/notebook Y11, E31 Sweater BV00, BV04, Blender Skirt R83, R85, R89 Shoes R83, Blender Skin E000, E11, BV31 Socks BV31. Now your artwork can have a fuzzy, warm winter. Have a great day!


Stampin_melissa said...

Wow, great job Marianne!

Nancy ~ Inkcicles said...

Very cool! I don't think I would of thought to let the texture spots dry and then do another layer again to make them more crisp.

Thanks Marianne!

NikkiNix said...

Awesome tutorial - thanks so much!!

treesawardincrafts said...

I just love this tutorial! Much, much better than bloc colouring. I will definitely have to try this one. Thanks.

Jessica said...

Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us!

Cheryl O said...

What a great tutorial, Marianne! Thank you for sharing that one with us. I'll have to try this on those fall and winter stamps I have.....

Sammi said...

what a great tutorial! thanks!!
will definitely have to try this!

Rebecca Ednie said...

This was awesome! I knew how to add texture but I wouldn't have thought to use an actual sweater! Duh! Thanks for sharing.

Bev said...

Nifty! Thanks!

leenda said...

This is too cool! Thanks for the tutorial!

Deebi27 said...

I love your talent and can't wait to take Sally's Copics 101 in Evansville, In, actually Princeton, In on Saturday...YEA!!!!!!!

Debbie Olson said...

Love this, Marianne! You rock, but you knew that, right? ;-D

Lorraine said...

Stunning result!

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