Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Using colored pencils to lighten areas

A couple weeks ago I mentioned in a post that most people pick Copic colors that are too dark to start. Instead of investing in a whole new pile of Copics (which will probably happen anyways since the markers are so addictive) here is a way to get more from what you already have.

Adding Light with Colored Pencils
For today's technique we are working opposite of a technique I shared back in August for using colored pencils with Copic markers. For that post I was working with light marker colors and adding dark colored pencil, for today's technique we're going to be using dark marker and light colored pencil.

Colored pencil is a wax that leaves an opaque residue behind when you are working with it. Colored pencils look better on a paper that has a slight tooth to it, since this helps pull the color off the paper, so today I'm working on a rough textured paper (sorry, I don't know what brand).

Remember: Always use the pencil LAST. Otherwise the wax clogs your marker tip.

If you have a dark colored area you can overlay a lighter colored pencil and cover up the darker color, to some extent (it's hard to get back to pure white, rather, you can get close with a white pencil). This is handy when you are in a small area and you colored it too dark, but pulling the extra color out with your colorless blender would leave a bigger mess than you had in the first place. Just add a dab of light pencil and you're good to go.

One nice thing about colored pencil is that you can overlay lighter colors that normally you would have a hard time blending back into a dark area with marker. If you look at my example you can see that I added a few different tones of pencil over my dark red and each came out feeling a little different.

For my final example today, I'm working with the stamp set Poppy Patch by Flourishes. Notice in the first example you can only get so much color variation from a YG67 and a R59. Both colors are dark and they make the poppy seem flat. I like that even on this textured paper the marker looks smooth and clean, but having dark colors is a bummer.

If you add a bit of light colored pencil you can quickly and easily bring back some of the highlights and make the image not so blah and dark. It changes the tone of the poppy to more of an orange, rather than a deep red. The texture on the paper also adds to the feel of the artwork. It reminds people that these were colored by hand and not generated on a computer.


Susan said...

I love the effect you achieved on the poppy. Thank you for sharing!

kris fulk said...

I've never considered mixing media before. I've read about copics and colored pencils, yes, but it makes a big difference seeing an actual example. Thanks so much! I will try this next.

Mary said...

Thank you for the very interesting technique. And for continuing to remind beginners like me to start with lighter colors. That is my constant downfall! Your blog is very much appreciated.

Mrs. Nancy G said...

Excellent tutorial. Thanks so much. I've tried the opposite with my pencils and when we get settled I'll have to give this a try too.


Shelby said...

Really nice effect.... I bookmarked your site!

Holly Nester said...

Ohhhh. Thanks for sharing! I had not thought about layering. On my blog header I mixed markers and pencils but it was more a matter of what colors of each I had on hand and not a deliberate technique!

Shelly Schmidt said...

I think the first one is gorgeous- but the addition of the colored pencils really adds alot. Cannot wait to give this a go. I am so thrilled with your tutorials- I went out and bought about 30 of these markers...I held out for so long! (Last Christmas, I bought about 20 of them, and returned them). I am a beginner with all of the shading techniques and all- but am working on it. One example is the bird on the ornament you posted- I would have painted a bird with browns- but I bought the grays- and sure enough that is the perfect look- i would have been unhappy with the browns after all..... Oh well, I needed the browns for my Riley stamps anyway....
Thanks again for sharing your talent!
Merry Christmas
Shelly Schmidt

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