Beginner Copic Coloring: Small Collection, Big Color

 
 You don't need a full marker collection to get glorious color. How mixing media can save you money and improve your artistry. | VanillaArts.com
 

It's not a numbers game

"I don't have very many Copic markers yet, so I can't color much"

I hear this a lot from beginners and I always wonder what the magic number is. How many markers does it take to get started?

It's a common situation, you want to learn Copics but it takes a while to build up a collection, especially if money is tight. So you're stuck in limbo where you have a few but not enough to get anything done.

But how many is enough? Ten? Twenty? Seventy?

At what point do you graduate from "not enough to do anything" to "enough to do everything"?

Are you a copic wallflower?

 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

Are you waiting at the sidelines watching others color?

It must be torture.

But you know, there is a way to begin coloring before you hit that arbitrary number of markers goal that you set for your starting point.

Why not try mixed media?

There's no rule that awesome coloring has to be 100% Copic Marker.

I can't remember the last time I did anything 100% Copic. I've got well over 300 Copics and I never do anything with just markers.

As a matter of fact, a full marker project always looks a little naked to me. They're so much more interesting after I add the little bits of pen and pencil.

Mixed media is actually easier than Copic because you're utilizing supplies you already own and know how to use.

To be honest, most of the time my Copic basecoats are just that, the basecoating process. Eating my spinach before cutting into the chocolate cake.

When I pick up the colored pencils, then the playtime starts.

Mixed media is a way to combine the Copic you want to learn with the products you already love.

And it gets you off the bench and into the game!

 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

Greens and Browns

My beginner classes this month are using green and brown markers.

And not a lot of them at that. I know, lots of people use 5 marker blends but we're keeping it simple- three browns and three greens for all the leaves, stems, acorns, and olives!

Then we'll add pops of color with colored pencils, enhancing our simple marker base with kisses of autumn artistry.

Most of us own colored pencils and even if you don't own many pencils, they are cheaper than markers. You can easily use them to expand your small marker collection.

But it doesn't have to be colored pencils... you could top of your Copic base with Distress Markers, Tombows, pastels, heck- even crayons filched from the back of the junk drawer.

The goal is to get you started coloring now. We can worry about the size of your Copic collection later.

Something is better than nothing

 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

And now is better than tomorrow.

Stop waiting for the ideal sized collection. Start learning and having fun today.

Join me for a class on Color Kisses

I'll teach you how to do simple three color blends, even two color blends with Copics...

and then how to add kisses of creativity.

Celebrate fall with glorious autumn color that doesn't rely on a gigantic Copic collection.

 

Two live sessions:

Remember When Scrapbooking in Macomb, Michigan-

Wednesday, November 1st from 1 to 3:30pm

Thursday, November 2nd from 6 to 8:30pm

Lesson: Simple Copic Blends + Color Kissing

Stamp: Oak & Olive by Power Poppy

Medium: Copic Marker & Prismacolor Premier Pencils

Skill Level: Absolute beginners through intermediate colorers. No drawing skills necessary.

RSVP: Call 586.598.1810 to reserve your space.

Remember When has Oak & Olive stamp sets and the supplies to top off your supply list. Call ASAP to have your items waiting for you at class.

Bee Creative Retreat sessions in Oxford, Michigan are on hiatus until January. 

We'll be back after the retreat's busy season loosens up!

 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

livestream online session:

Vanilla Arts Company on Patreon

Join Amy for a livestreaming session from the comfort of your own home.

Saturday, November 18th at 12:00pm EST

Replay archive available for those who can not attend live session or who want to watch it again.

Check the time zone converter here to calculate the difference between your time and the Eastern Standard Time for the United States.

Class is open to all patrons of Vanilla Arts Company. Joining is easy and gives you instant access to monthly livestreams.

 

Join me for autumn color!

And a ton of fun!

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For live class updates and the latest class supply lists-

 

Beginner Copic Coloring: Shading Yellows

 
 Learn to shade yellow and orange without making mud! Beginner Copic Marker lessons. | VanillaArts.com
 

Do you hesitate to color with yellow?

A lot of people do.

In traditional Copic blending, most colorers have been taught to shade with a marker that is two to three digits higher than your main marker color.

So Y15 would be shaded with Y17 or Y18 and YR12 might be shaded with YR14 or YR15.

But anyone with at least one working eyeball can tell that this simply doesn't work for yellows and light oranges.

That's because there's more to shade than darkness.

Let me repeat that for you- there is more to shade than simply coloring something with a slightly darker marker.

When you step up a marker number in Copics, what you're getting is a more saturated version of the same color. Saturation refers to the strength or the value of a color. To put it in really simple terms- Y15 and Y17 are the same exact ink, the only difference is that Y15 has been "watered down" or diluted with more colorless blender solvent.

So a higher Copic is MORE saturated, meaning it has more pure ink color in the mixture.

But that's not how shade works

 Learn to shade yellow and orange without making mud! Beginner Copic Marker lessons. | VanillaArts.com

Shade is the opposite of saturation.

Shade is an area of DE-SATURATION.

Look at any object around you right now, it doesn't matter what thing you choose, it could be a pen, a mug, or your computer keyboard. All objects have areas of shade on them and all shade is color that has been de-saturated with gray.

The color in shady areas isn't darker, it's grayer.

I don't know why Copic teaches shading differently. I don't know why so many instructors teach students to saturate their shady areas rather than desaturate them.

And it's a complete mystery to me why so few people notice the problem.

Until they try coloring yellow...

The shade version of yellow is not more yellow

I think a lot of people sense that something is wrong with the Copic system when they get to yellow. You can almost get away with shading blue with more blue or red with a darker red. But adding more yellow to yellow simply looks wrong.

So a lot of people avoid yellows all together.

And then there are the mud makers...

Every once in a while, I'll come across a tutorial or a project photo where the colorer has tried to find a solution to the yellow problem.

They'll try using a muddy yellow like Y28 or they'll try a browish yellow, like YR14.

And a very few, rebel kind of folks try adding warm grays to their yellow mixes.

All three of these solutions kill the sunshine. Your yellows get muddy instead of retaining that sense of joy and purity.

Yellow is a fragile color. It's tender. It can't withstand a lot of desaturation and still retain it's yellowishness.

 Learn to shade yellow and orange without making mud! Beginner Copic Marker lessons. | VanillaArts.com

Join me for a class on yellow

My live beginner classes will learn to shade yellow with ease.

This is a lesson that works on everything from bananas to little baby ducklings.

You can shade yellow accurately and artistically without sacrificing its sunshiney, optimistic nature.

We're shading Y35 in class but I'll also demonstrate how the same technique works with several of the pure yellows.

This is an incredibly practical lesson... but it's a fun technique too!

Three May sessions:

Remember When Scrapbooking in Macomb, Michigan:

 Learn to shade yellow and orange without making mud! Beginner Copic Marker lessons. | VanillaArts.com

Wednesday, May 10th from 1 to 3:30pm

Thursday, May 11th from 6 to 8:30pm

Lesson: Shading Tender Yellows

Stamp: Daffodils by Power Poppy

Medium: Copic Marker & Prismacolor Premier Pencils

Skill Level: Absolute beginners through intermediate colorers. No drawing skills necessary.

RSVP: Call 586.598.1810 to reserve your space or to order the class stamps or Copic Markers.

Bee Creative Retreat in Oxford, Michigan:

Wednesday, April 26th from 6:30 to 9:00pm

Same as above

RSVP: Purchase your space here. Sorry, no walk-ins.

 

Join me for a celebration of yellow

But hey, we can still make mud pies if you want! It'll just have to wait until after class.

For live class updates and the latest class supply lists-

 

Is Your Copic Coloring Flat? Learn to Color with Depth & Dimension

 
 Copic Club- Casual and beginner level coloring class, "Where's Bunny?" a lesson on depth and dimension for beginning colorers. April 2017 | VanillaArts.com
 

Do you draw arrows?

Are you one of those people that starts every coloring project with a little tiny arrow in the upper corner of your paper?

Why?

No really. I sincerely want to know.

Why?

 Confused about shade? Stop drawing arrows and worrying about which direction the sun is coming from. Shade can be as simple as pushing or pulling. Copic coloring lessons that make sense! Ideal for beginners and self taught colorers. | VanillaArts.com

Because someone told you to.

Correct?

Because that's supposed to remind you which direction the light is coming from and somehow if you just remember that key fact, your coloring will be full of depth and dimension.

And yet you still have shading problems, right?

Yep. Drawing an arrow in the top right hand corner of your paper doesn't solve much if you don't understand what it means. And frankly, I'll bet the person who told you to draw that arrow doesn't really understand what it means.

Look, I don't know who started this idiotic idea of arrows and directional light charts. I've seen 'em all. Clear acetate versions, penetrating line versions, even one that involved the earth with a little pink equator going around it.

If those things actually worked, I could have saved myself four years of art school tuition and fees.

Sunlight charts and arrows are snake oil. They don't teach you diddly-squat about how to shade objects for depth and realism.

Yep, it's no wonder that you're confused about shade and shadow. You basically bought the Brooklyn Bridge. Instead of teaching you how to shade, all that tutorial gave you was a headache.

 Confused about shade? Stop drawing arrows and worrying about which direction the sun is coming from. Shade can be as simple as pushing or pulling. Copic coloring lessons that make sense! Ideal for beginners and self taught colorers. | VanillaArts.com

the secret to depth & dimension...

The secret to shade has nothing to do with which direction the sun is coming from.

I know that sounds strange, but that's because you've been brainwashed.

When the sun goes down, do you suddenly turn into a pancake?

Does your dog flatten out at the stroke of midnight ?

Oh... so you're still three dimensional when the lights go off?

That's because the shape of an object is completely unrelated to the lighting conditions around it.

I teach beginners, people who have never picked up a marker before in their whole entire lives, I teach them to color with depth and dimension and we do it all without a single arrow or sunlight chart.

You can learn it too. No advanced degree necessary. No mathematics, no rulers, and most especially- no arrows... just you, me, and a few Copic Markers.

End the confusion about shade. Join one of my Push & Pull classes. It will change the way you color forever.

Three live sessions in april:

 Copic Club- Casual and beginner level coloring class, "Where's Bunny?" a lesson on depth and dimension for beginning colorers. April 2017 | VanillaArts.com

Remember When Scrapbooking in Macomb, Michigan:

Wednesday, April 12th from 1 to 3:30pm

Thursday, April 13th from 6 to 8:30pm

Lesson: Push & Pull Technique for Depth

Stamp Sets: a collage of Chirpy Chirp Chirp and Happy Easter by Lawn Fawn

Medium: Copic Marker & Prismacolor Premier Pencils

Skill Level: Absolute beginners through intermediate colorers. No drawing skills necessary.

RSVP: Call 586.598.1810 to reserve your space or to order the class stamps or Copic Markers.

Bee Creative Retreat in oxford, Michigan:

Wednesday, April 26th from 6:30 to 9:00pm

Lesson: Push & Pull Technique for Depth

Stamp Sets: a collage of Chirpy Chirp Chirp and Happy Easter by Lawn Fawn

Medium: Copic Marker & Prismacolor Premier Pencils

Skill Level: Absolute beginners through intermediate colorers. No drawing skills necessary.

RSVP: Purchase your space here. Sorry, no walk-ins.

Want the Online Version?

I teach the same Push & Pull technique in my online workshop called "Flutterby".

Flutterby is 1.25 hours of fully narrated video instruction plus learning aids and printables. Flutterby uses my original digital stamp, designed especially to help you learn and practice Pushing and Pulling.

My classes are thorough! I don't do "watch me color" videos. Instead, I break down the techniques and explain what we're doing every step of the way.

My goal isn't to teach you how to color butterflies. I want you to leave the course knowing how to layer and shape objects for maximum depth. That's not just a butterfly lesson it's an every-stamp-you-own lesson!

Forever access, instructor feedback, work at your own pace.

(Free sample class here if you want to try me out!)

Join me for a class that clarifies the shading process

We'll burn the arrow charts in a bonfire afterwards.

 VanillaArts.com

Copic Club: Casual Coloring Class- Learn to color on kraft paper

 
Learn to color with Copic & Prismacolor on kraft paper. Copic Club casual coloring classes. | VanillaArts.com
 
Learn to color with Copic & Prismacolor on kraft paper. Copic Club casual coloring classes. | VanillaArts.com

There are many tutorials for coloring stamps on kraft paper

And they usually involve multiple coats of colored pencil.

Layer after layer after layer after layer...

That's because mid-toned paper tends to shine through the pencil layers to dampen their vibrancy.

Some of these tutorials are simply exhausting! Color it white, then color it again, then add another coat, then  brighten it with more white...

Stop. Just stop. This is stupid.

Mid-toned papers are pretty standard in the art world, we use them for quick sketches and studies.

Did you notice the word quick there?

Yep. Quick studies are pretty much the opposite of 92 layer crafty style coloring.

Coloring on kraft paper doesn't have to use up an entire white pencil to get the job done. There's a minimal amount of white in this image, I sharpened my white pencil twice for this 8.5" tall piece (and that's only because I love a sharp point on my lead).

Coloring with colored pencils does not require a massive pencil collection. There are 14 pencils here and I could eliminate three of them if I wanted to prove my Ebenezer Scrooge street cred.

You do not need solvents or chemicals either. I don't use them.

And you don't have to press hard! Not a thing on this image has been burnished, rubbed, or scrubbed. It's 100% carpal tunnel free!

There's an easier way to color with colored pencils. Let me show you how.

Learn to color with Copic & Prismacolor on kraft paper. Copic Club casual coloring classes. | VanillaArts.com

Copic Club is a monthly live class for casual coloring

Perfect for beginners, hobby colorers looking to increase their skill set, and self-taught colorers who feel as if they've missed key technique details.

Wednesday, March 8th from 1 to 3:30pm

Thursday, March 9th from 6 to 8:30pm

 

Lesson: Secrets of Kraft Coloring

Stamp Set: "Garden Variety" by Memory Box

Medium: Copic Marker & Prismacolor Premier Pencils

Skill Level: Beginners who are ready for a challenge. No drawing skills necessary.

Remember When Scrapbooking is my home-base for classes

Learn to color with Copic & Prismacolor on kraft paper. Copic Club casual coloring classes. | VanillaArts.com

Located in Macomb Township, Michigan at 23 Mile and Card roads. 

RSVP for classes by calling Remember When at 586.59.1810 or email here.

Stamp sets available for purchase. Call to reserve your set.

Check out Remember When Scrapbooking on Facebook here.

Join us! You'll enjoy the project and you'll love the class!

VanillaArts.com