Thursday, August 13, 2009

Contrast Contrast Contrast

People frequently show me their coloring and they ask me if they are doing it correctly. Almost always their coloring is great. It looks smooth, their blends are nice, and their colors match each other well. So why do they feel that there is a problem? Because their artwork doesn't jump off the page - it just looks flat and sits there.

I know I mention it often, but the biggest reason the art doesn't look complete is because there isn't enough color range to make it exciting. To achieve the look of 3-D you need to have darker darks and lighter lights. Don't forget that Copics come in all 334 colors for a reason (I know the new pale colors are exciting, but don't forget about dark colors too!).

Look at the top example of this cute little turtle. I followed all the rules. I colored in color families that are all bright and vibrant. I picked colors in two color sequences that follow the Natural Blending groups. All my colors are just a few digits off from each other (except yellows because those are so vibrant you can get away with larger jumps). He's cute, you can see some shading, but he's kind of flat looking and plain.

Now compare him to the bottom example. All I did was take each color group from the first and add one shade another 3 or 4 digits darker (the yellow was shadowed with a grayer yellow, Y26). Just that one simple change in each color group makes the turtle appear more alive and rounded.

You might be one of the people who needs this. Look at your work. Hold it at arm's length and squint at it. Does it all blur together, or can you see shapes and forms because of the shadows? If your colors seem flat then add more shadows (go dig through my older posts to find out where to put those shadows). It may take a bit of effort to get out of your comfort zone to add the deeper colors. If you find yourself only using colors that end in a 5 or lower then I strongly urge you to add a bit of darkness in.

Try today's example for yourself. Color a picture in only 2 colors, then color the same picture and add in a darker value to each color family. I think you'll quickly see the change it makes.

Here is my final, easy card I made with this image. It's for my son's summer play-group teacher, his play group ends this week and he really likes his teacher. I stamped Kona with Memento ink onto Gina K. Pure Luxury cardstock, used Prima crystals, paper by Reminisce, and wrote the sentiment with my 0.3 mm Multiliner. Have a great week, and I hope to see you in Southern California this weekend!


Nicole said...

You rocked out that card, Marianne, AWESOME!!

I have always been afraid of using black, so using darker colors is a challenge for me as well, but at least I try!

I have been posting a lot of cards using digital images that are COPIC colored if you care to see them. I think I have gotten pretty good at the black/brown hair with highlights, let me know what you think if you have time!

Hugs to you!

SandyK said...

Wonderful post. I can really see the difference. Thank you for pointing this out.

Karen Hanim said...

This is something I soooo need! Thanks for your great explanation. Here is a question for you. In my original pack of copic markers they included the color B39, Prussian Blue. It is so dark that it looks almost black. What would you use this color for?? Also what colors do you use to color the sea?

Heather said...

Love the fun card! You always give great tips! Really hoping to be able be a part of the class in Minneapolis MN during scrapfest....I'm a Stampin Up Demo and missed out in taking the class at CHA Chicago last year, as well as a friend of mine. I know there are also gals from Worthington MN interested! Had the opportunity to chat with you a little bit as well as Michele Wooderson! Sure hoping there will be spots open for some us non-store owners :-)
Hope to see you in Sept!!!!

Janice said...

This is such a good tutorial. I'm getting my copics soon and am reading up in anticipation!

Vicki Dutcher said...

WOW!!! Can I just have a little bit of your TALENT!! Awesome coloring - I am so "blind" to shading!