Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Colorless Blender makes jeans

I really have a lot about the colorless blender that I just need to get off my chest before I can move on. Any time I think I've said enough, more comes to mind. I will do other things besides ramble about the colorless blender, really I will.

Using the colorless blender to blend colors
I guess I should explain how the colorless blender blends colors, since it is called a colorless blender. Remember though, the colorless blender is best at lightening, pushing, and fading to white. So, if you want to actually blend two colors together, know that the blender marker will also lighten, push, and fade those colors together.

Usually when I am blending two colors together I just blend those two colors (this is a subject I could cover for a whole month sometime later!). Only when I want my colors to also get lighter do I use the colorless blender. This technique will work best with colors that are in the same Natural Blending family and only 3 or 4 digits off each other.

A common time to lighten and blend colors is when you want to make something look old, faded, or weathered. In this case, let's make some stonewashed jeans.

1. Color your image about 2 shades darker than you want it to end up. This does not need to be the prettiest coloring, just get the colors on paper and have your shadows in the general area you want them to end up.

2. Color with the blender from the lightest faded area, out. Do this while your base color is still a little wet so your edges are soft. Yesterday's example we had hard crisp edges because we let our color dry. Stonewashed jeans however are much more subtle. If you had crisp edges on your faded area it would look more like you dripped bleach on your pants (that could work as well). You don't need to be perfect when adding blender, it's the irregularities that make it interesting. The third swatch is with the blender dabbed on to give irregular patches. (Dabbed- I dabbed the marker in the same spot a few times to make sure it left lots of juice behind)

3. Repeat as desired. The first fade might be all you need. If your pants are really dark to begin with you may want to do this a couple times. I did one base layer then came back while it was still wet and pushed a little more color out.

You don't always have to use the blender to fade out a color. There are whole piles of other pale Copic colors that you can use over the top of darker colors to get neat blended effects.

Remember how we layered grays to tone down a vibrant color? If you don't want your jeans too pale, use B32 instead. Compare the two swatches- the B32 is more soft, and I dabbed it on for texture. This will stonewash them in a more subtle manner.

Want to shade them? I added C3 to really gray them down. The last swatch shows how you can blob on totally opposite colors, like Y02 for a stunning pattern (I think I had a swimsuit that looked like this once). See how the yellow pushes out the blue? This is because I made each spot really juicy. If you just draw a little yellow spot it won't be as strong. Really soak that light color in to push out darker colors.

Here is a finished example using the blender techniques we've covered in the last few days. This Bella stamp was colored with only 5 colors plus the blender. Not bad for the range of shading you see. I used the stonewashed technique from today on her jeans, and I used yesterday's technique of coloring the edges only on just about everything else. I picked a hair color from the same color family as her skin, that way they have good tone together. The green is kinda dark, since I knew I'd want some nice rich dark areas, but see how I used the blender to make it lighter on most everything else. You also can't see where I fixed a slight mistake with the blender.

Hooray for blender markers!

Stamp: Good-Luck-a-Bella by Bella Stamps Paper: Neenah Classic Crest Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black


Teresa Abajo said...

SOLD! Now I want a colourless blender. I'm enjoying your blog - you are one walking encyclopaedia! Thanks for sharing.

Michele Kovack said...

I am so excited to try all these techniques in your class!!! Would never have thought there was so much to know! : )

Janet said...

Marianne, you're killing me! After your help on SCS, I ordered 16 Sketch and now I want to order more, even before receiving the first order! Your blog is a wealth of knowledge. If it weren't for you, I probably would still not have ordered any! Thank you for all the step by step examples. You're a great teacher!

Cris A said...

Thank you for al your hard work on this blog. It's fun learning something new everyday!

Michelle Tech said...

Wow, my head is spinning with the possibilities. When I bought a couple of handfills of Sketch markers from Hobby Lobby (their colors are limited, but it's my only local source) I had to wait for the colorless blender to come in. When it did, I misunderstood what it was for since I had no resource like YOU, and I quickly became frustrated. NOW I KNOW what it's for! Thanks so much!

Stefanie Staniak said...

Marianne, your tutorials are OUTSTANDING!! I Can hardly wait for my certification class in Milwaukee. I just know that I will be returning to your blog often for a refresher! :)

Terri said...

LOVE your tutorials...the next best thing to going to the "Certification" (btw, coming to the Phoenix area any time soon?). I do have a question...I just tried this technique but as I kept working the color out, it began to "bleed" over the lines. I know your tutorial the other day was how to fix errors, I would like to know if you should just do a little at a time as opposed to all at once. I was just starting to get the color I wanted when it became completely "feathered" over the line.

Jessrose21 said...

Thanks for another great tutorial! I'm learning so much.

marianne walker said...

If it starts to feather out beyond the line then you should stop and let it dry a little bit. There's wet and then there's SATURATED. IF it's saturated then let it dry a bit before pushing any more.

stampinsam said...

Marianne, your training session in Seattle was outstanding and these written instructions with samples are a bonus gift because they help me to remember all those little things that are so important! Keep up the great work, girl - you rock!

Nancy said...

Marianne, Thank you so much for sharing your time and knowledge with us, This Blog is my new favorite. I am new at using Copics and I am already poor Prisma pencils are dusty now. Now I just need to find free time so I can update my dusty blog with some new cool Copic colored cards!

Whimsey said...

Love all you're teaching us; thanks for taking the time - you're amazing!!

Katherine (beadfreak22) said...

I am a new but avid Copic fan, and your blog is tremendously helpful!! Thanks so much for the awesome tutorials!!

I didn't find an e-mail address for you, so I'm going to ask you a question here. I hope that's okay! Do you know which Copic color best matches Stampin' Up's Bashful Blue? I'm looking for a color that is a lighter shade of B21. Any advice you can provide would be awesome!!!

Katherine (

Sandy Knecht said...

How unique that blender is. I need lots of practice. Thank you once again for the tutorial.

Nicole said...

Great work on that image, Marianne!

Bellawhoop said...

That bella is SO cute! I love what you've done with that blender!

annfromcan said...

I just love your techniques! I cant wait to see what you will show us on Saturday!