Copic Coloring: The Quest for Realism- How Texture Improves Your Coloring

 
There's more to realism than choosing the best colors. Learn why texture is vital for adding realism to your coloring projects. | VanillaArts.com
 

coloring that steals your breath away...

Think back to the last coloring project that knocked your socks off.

Maybe you spied it in a shop on the "Upcoming Classes" bulletin board. Perhaps you scrolled past it on Pinterest and had to abruptly backtrack to get a closer look.

When I ask students "what was it about the project which drew your attention?" they usually tell me it was color.

Color. Color. Color. Color.

People who love Copics and colored pencils all looooooove color.

Color. Color. Color. Love. Love. Love.

All good coloring students have been trained to say they love color.

"Hello, my name is B1GCulorLVR and I'm a color addict..."

It's a point of pride, a mark of belonging. Coloring people love to love color.

And maybe color is what initially attracts our attention to a few projects; but for the most part, pretty color is no big whoop. We see pretty color all the time, every day and everywhere.

If you were as addicted to color as you claim, you'd never get anything done. You'd spend hours gazing at the beauty of the blue toothpaste on your red toothbrush and zone out in meetings over the rhapsody of your boss' plaid necktie.

Color may grab your initial attention but that's not what holds it.

The quest for realism

Last week I talked about depth and dimension, how they're fool's gold when it comes to coloring better and with more realism. Be sure to read that article here-

There's more to realism than choosing the best colors. Learn why texture is vital for adding realism to your coloring projects. | VanillaArts.com

Why depth & dimension aren't enough for realism.

In that article, I gave you a list of things which together add up to greater realism in your coloring projects.

To color with greater realism, you need to capture all of these elements:

If you want to capture realism, you need to pay attention and incorporate all of these concepts.

Did you see that color palette selection isn't on the list?

Did you note that blending combinations aren't there either?

And notice that I didn't say a darned thing about light sources?

Get the idea that your coloring class is studying the wrong stuff?

 

Texture is a vital key to realism

I know, you took a class once about texture.

There's more to realism than choosing the best colors. Learn why texture is vital for adding realism to your coloring projects. | VanillaArts.com

You used colorless blender solution on a washcloth to make a teddy bear look curly and kinda-sorta-maybe almost furry.

You used short little flick strokes to make Santa's beard look fluffy... well...  his beard looked fluffier than his boots did.

You used a white gel pen to add highlight hairs to a doe-eyed girl with long flowing locks. And if you squint a lot, the white streaks kinda looked like highlights.

So you're a pro at texture now, right?

Uhm, not so much.

Basically, you took regular old ho-hum standard marker coloring and added a few swishes of something weird.

You used a novelty technique.

And it was only good for that one kind of thing. Teddy bears, old man beards, really odd shaped girls whose tiny little necks can't possibly hold up such gigantic heads.

That's not real texture and it's not going to get you closer to realism.

so what's missing?

Thought.

Thought is what's missing from your dabbles with texture.

You're not stopping to think about what you're coloring.

I mean seriously, look around you. Right now. Scan the room around you. I'll bet you can't find one object in the room that doesn't have unique and specific texture to it.

Your computer has a smooth and glassy screen but the frame around it is slightly pebbled with a beveled edge. The pencil on your desk has a glossy paint job but there's one area that is a little matte from finger print wear and there are two bite marks down by the eraser. The desktop has a wood grain and there's a ring from your coffee yesterday and the far left corner is a little dusty.

There's more to realism than choosing the best colors. Learn why texture is vital for adding realism to your coloring projects. | VanillaArts.com

If an object has a surface, that surface has a texture.

And I'll bet your class on advanced washcloth textures didn't mention that fact.

Novelty techniques can not solve your realism problems.

Artists who capture realism in their projects spend a lot of time thinking about the objects they're about to color.

And they spend that time thinking about the texture of the object, not the color.

Is it hard and matte? How do I convey that to my viewers?

Was it just plucked from the garden and still wet with dew? How do I demonstrate that?

Is it so fragile and lightweight that it might disintegrate if you touched it? How do I show that with my marker or pencil strokes?

Did you catch the word touch there?

Color may grab someone's initial attention but it's texture that captures our imagination. Texture makes people want to reach out and touch your coloring, it keeps us looking at and thinking about your project long after we've wandered away.

Real items have texture. Texture conveys realism and realism is far more impressive than a snazzy color palette or colorless blender tricks.

Not your average coloring class

There are a lot of talented and generous coloring instructors (both online and in shops around the world) who do a really great job educating students about basic marker and pencil techniques.

But there's also a weird merry-go-round mindset that says if you take enough classes and meet enough instructors- eventually, you'll grow your skills from coloring level to artist level.

So you bounce from instructor to instructor, technique to technique, spinning your wheels because no matter which class you take, you never move past beginner level concepts.

There's more to realism than choosing the best colors. Learn why texture is vital for adding realism to your coloring projects. | VanillaArts.com

If every class only covers novelty techniques, you'll never move past novelty techniques.

There's a great big world beyond colorless blender tricks and that's where I want to take my students.

I have a growing Workshop full of online courses and lessons that are NOT swishy-swashy things to do with marker demonstrations

You've done depth. You've done dimension. You've explored the many uses of colorless blender and white gel pens.

It's time to make some art.

Let's start working on real realism.

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Copic Coloring: Why Depth and Dimension Aren't Enough for Realism

 
There's more to realism than depth and dimension. Why more taking classes and reading more tutorials won't lead you to better coloring results. | VanillaArts.com
 

You thought it was you

When you first started coloring, it was all about controlling color. How to make your strokes, how to fill in areas smoothly, how to blend.

And your projects turned out okay but they were missing something.

So you went looking for answers.

"Read my blog tutorial about depth!"

"Learn how to add shape to your stamp coloring!"

"Take my class where we use the right marker combinations to make your projects pop with dimension!"

So you did everything they said.

You bought the magical marker combinations. You added the special pens and pencils. You followed the recipes and instructions to a tee. You got so good at blending, layering, light sourcing, and shadow casting that now you can practically teach the class.

You're an intermediate level colorer. You've got the class certificates to prove it.

And yet your coloring is STILL missing something. It looks better than it used to... but it still doesn't look realistic.

So it must be you, right?

Maybe you're simply not as talented as everyone else.

Because really, after all this time and investment, what else could it be?

depth & dimension

Colorers want depth and dimension. They'll pay good money for someone to show them how to get it.

And yet I'm not convinced that colorers or their instructors really know what depth and dimension are.

First, let's define the terms.

Depth. What do YOU think it means?

Before I give you the answer, define "depth" for yourself. What does depth mean?

There's more to realism than depth and dimension. Why more taking classes and reading more tutorials won't lead you to better coloring results. | VanillaArts.com

Depth is a measurement of distance. It's how far away something is sitting.

Spacial planes if you want to drag out a geometry term.

Depth in coloring is making far away items look farther away and making nearer items look near.

So when two items overlap, like two leaves or a mommy bear and her baby bear, depth is about making the baby bear look as if it's sitting in front of the mother bear.

Depth is near and far.

Now tell me about dimension. You claim to want more dimension in your coloring, so what does "dimension" mean?

Dimension is the shape of an object. Not where it's sitting but how the object is shaped. Is it flat and curled? Is it rounded and plump? Is it squared off with flat sides? That's dimension.

Dimension is shape.

So a blogger or teacher who promises to help add "depth and dimension" to your coloring is supposed to teach you how to set the distance of your objects and to define their shape.

Do they really do that?

No.

They yammer endlessly about what colors to use.

Let's get real about realism

Realism doesn't come from using the perfect color combinations.

There's more to realism than depth and dimension. Why more taking classes and reading more tutorials won't lead you to better coloring results. | VanillaArts.com

It doesn't come from buying the best brand of colored pencils or from owning lots of spiffy art supplies.

Realism is a quest.

It's not a formula. It is not a method.

Realism is a journey.

A lifetime's worth of journeying.

That's why artists talk about realism in terms of quantity. We want "more realism" or we describe something is "less realistic".

Realism is a quality to strive for, not a technique.

Depth and dimension are keys to realism but they're only part of the equation.

That's why you can add depth and add dimension to your coloring projects and still not color with a decent amount of realism.

Depth and dimension are pieces of the puzzle, not the whole picture.

so what's missing?

Well, every project is different and every student is unique. I can't diagnose your realism problem from afar. I can't solve anything in the space of a single blog post.

But if I had to take a wild stab at the problem, I'd point back to my previous paragraphs above about depth and dimension.

There's more to realism than depth and dimension. Why more taking classes and reading more tutorials won't lead you to better coloring results. | VanillaArts.com

Most classes and tutorials talk about depth and dimension in terms of color.

Color can't solve your realism problems.

Depth and dimension are only part of the way to make objects look real.

Objects look real (or real-er) when you show us more than what color something is.

Things look real (or real-er) when you show us how hard or soft they are, what the surface texture is, and how each object relates to the other objects within the image.

Realism comes from a combination of factors:

  • space
  • shape
  • desaturation
  • texture
  • environment
  • relationship
  • rationality

Notice that I didn't mention depth, dimension, or blending combinations?

Notice that I didn't say a darned thing about light sources?

Get the idea that you're focused on the wrong things?

Bingo.

You can be an advanced Copic colorer... you can have years of colored pencil experience under your belt... you can take every coloring class under the sun...

But if the lessons never move beyond color combinations, you'll never color with realism because you're only hearing the fluffy stuff.

Not your average coloring class

There are a lot of talented and generous coloring instructors (both online and in shops around the world) who do a really great job educating students about basic marker and pencil techniques.

There's more to realism than depth and dimension. Why more taking classes and reading more tutorials won't lead you to better coloring results. | VanillaArts.com

But there's also a weird merry-go-round mindset amongst colorers. The idea is if you take enough classes and meet enough instructors- that eventually, you'll grow your skills from coloring level to artist level.

So you bounce from instructor to instructor, technique to technique, spinning your wheels the entire time because no matter which class you take, you never move past beginner level concepts.

If every class covers color selection, you'll never move beyond color selection.

There's a great big world beyond color recipes and that's where I want to take my students.

I have a growing Workshop full of online courses and lessons that are NOT what-marker-goes-where style classes.

You've done depth. You've done dimension. You've explored the many blending combinations and the nifty novelty techniques.

Let's start working on real realism.

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Free Digi Club: "Festive Cranberry" - digital stamp for Copic, colored pencil, or watercolor

 
Get your FREE copy of the "Festive Cranberry" digital stamp in November 2017. Join the Free Digi Club for a new stamp every month! | VanillaArts.com
 

'tis the season!

"Festive Cranberry" is first of my holiday themed 2017 stamps and it's completely free to Free Digi Club subscribers from now until December 1st, 2017.

No strings, no spam. It's simply a free image for you to color.

Get your FREE copy of the "Festive Cranberry" digital stamp in November 2017. Join the Free Digi Club for a new stamp every month! | VanillaArts.com

Subscribers to the FDC receive one free image every month, delivered right to your email inbox.

My digital stamps are ideal for Copic marker coloring but they also work great with colored pencil and even watercolor. My stamps are full of wide open spaces to blend and celebrate pretty color. There are no distracting texture marks to get in the way of your creativity!

That's what the "Vanilla" in Vanilla Arts Co. is all about. I give you the vanilla base, you add the hot fudge, the sprinkles, the whipped cream, the Copic ink, and lots of leaves!

 

 

Get your FREE copy of the "Festive Cranberry" digital stamp in November 2017. Join the Free Digi Club for a new stamp every month! | VanillaArts.com

 

 

I love red!

And I love Christmas so I always jump at the chance to do an image that's red, red, red with a bit of red on the side!

"Festive Cranberry" is also a great chance for my marker and colored pencil students to practice their realism skills. How round and deep can you get these berries?

Technique for this level of realism is covered in this class.

 

Watch me color:

Holiday Digital Stamps for Copic, colored pencil, and even watercolor. | VanillaArts.com

 

Want More Christmas?

If you enjoy coloring Festive Cranberry, you might want to check out my digital stamp shop!

Fair Isle Stocking and Snowman Supplies are also perfect for your holiday cards, gift tags, or even as framed art. Both come with marker + colored pencil recipes

 
"Cool Peppermint" Beginner/Intermediate level coloring class for Copic Marker + colored pencil. | VanillaArts.com

take a Christmas class!

"Cool Peppermint" is another fun blast of Christmas realism.

Forever access, work at your own pace. Includes digital stamp.

Learn the concept of Universal Shading and apply it to this image full of stripes. You'll be amazed at the colors we use to get these lifelike and tasty holiday candies.

 
Get your FREE copy of the "Festive Cranberry" digital stamp in November 2017. Join the Free Digi Club for a new stamp every month! | VanillaArts.com

 

Want to learn the cranberry technique?

I don't have a class based upon "Festive Cranberry" because I'm hard at work on the Colored Pencil Plus course and converting my Patreon account to a live broadcast class for Patreon.

But never fear, the technique I use to get these cranberries so rounded and appetizing is extactly like the "Very Cherry" image used in my "Gray Matter" class here.

Happy coloring!

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Print

Vanilla Arts + Power Poppy- New Online Copic Coloring Class!

 
Join Amy for online live coloring broadcasts. All the fun of her live & local classes but now online. Every month, a new Power Poppy challenge. | VanillaArts.com
 

I'm so excited!

For years I've been posting project photos online, showing the fun stuff that I'll be teaching in upcoming local classes.

That's great if you live near me.

But it's frustrating for everyone else.

"Will you be teaching this class online?"

And the answer has always been, "Nope, sorry. I have lots of online classes but not THAT online class."

Learn to make the most of a very limited number of markers. Adding colored pencil can expand your color palette and save money. | VanillaArts.com

Not Anymore!

Starting on this month, I'll be teaming up with Power Poppy for livestreamed coloring sessions.

What's livestreaming?

It's a live broadcast, just like the evening news but with me instead of the creepy weather guy in a toupee...

We'll have fun coloring with lots of Copics!

And lots of Power Poppy digital images!

It's basically my local coloring class but in an handy dandy online format. And because we're coloring fabulous Power Poppy digital stamps, you can color along with me.

I'll walk you through my creation process, discussing the ins and outs of each image, and we'll cover a bunch of artsy tips and tricks which you can apply to tons of other projects. There's even a live discussion feed so that you can ask questions and I'll answer live.

Every month, we'll tackle a new subject, helping you develop your artistic skills and realism!

Join me on Saturday, November 18th at 12pm EST

for Livestream #1, Power Poppy's "Oak & Olive"

(Use this time zone converter to calculate your local time)

 

Can't Make the Live Broadcast?

Learn to make the most of a very limited number of markers. Adding colored pencil can expand your color palette and save money. | VanillaArts.com

Not a problem!

All of the monthly livestreams are recorded and will be available to members immediately for replay.

You can watch any of the archived sessions, playing and replaying as many times as you need to finish the project.

You can't do that in my live class!

It's basically a class that never has to end.

"Oak & Olive" is our first class in this new series but the archives will grow with each month. Pretty soon, we'll have an entire library of Power Poppy projects!

I'll also vary the time and date a bit each month. Hopefully you can catch a few live sessions in the near future!

And remember, the class site at Patreon is a membership based system so you can log-in at any time to access the latest class materials, the discussion board, and the growing replay archives. 

 

Students get 20% off "Oak & Olive"

Learn to make the most of a very limited number of markers. Adding colored pencil can expand your color palette and save money. | VanillaArts.com

The fine folks at Power Poppy are giving all my Patreon members 20% off the monthly digital stamp.

It's an instant download from PowerPoppy.com; just print it to a Copic safe paper (like X-Press It Blending Card) and color along with me!

Patreon Members: log into the class page to get your discount code.

Want more info about how this works?

Want the November supply list and lesson info?

I've got a new page here at the website, dedicated to this livestream class. Bookmark the page so that you can always check in on the latest dates, lists, and other info!

 
Learn to make the most of a very limited number of markers. Adding colored pencil can expand your color palette and save money. | VanillaArts.com

November's Live Stream Session:

Must be an enrolled at Patreon.com/VanillaArtsCo to participate

Saturday, November 18th at 12pm EST

Lesson: Simple Copic Blends + Color Kissing

Stamp: Oak & Olive by Power Poppy

Medium: Copic Marker & Prismacolor Premier Pencils

Skill Level: moderate beginners through advanced colorers. Once you can blend Copics moderately well, you're ready to join us! No drawing skills necessary.

 

Join me Online for autumn color!

And lots of fun!

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