Improve your Copic Marker projects by balancing your colors | VanillaArts.com

Improve your Copic Coloring by learning to balance the colors you choose. | VanillaArts.com

After you've blended an area, do you call it finished?

A lot of Copic Marker colorers work that way- color - blend - finished. New area- color - blend - finished.

Hmmm... and a lot of you suffer from depth problems in your coloring.

Hmmm... have you ever thought those two things might be related?

the color you use is not the color we see

The marker you use is not the color we see! Learn to balance color. | VanillaArts.com

We all enjoy those optical illusion color tests... "Which square is darker, the answer will amaze you!"

But how many of you have stopped to think about how these little quizzes affect your coloring?

Not many, if the variety of coloring projects posted on the internet are representative. I see a lot of pale and flat projects on Pinterest and Instagram.

"But wait a minute! I used a lot of really colorful markers and I followed all the tutorials for shading! Why do some objects in my image still look flat?"

It's because you're not going back to adjust your coloring at the end of the project

Nobody but you looks at your project and says "that's B32 right there!". In fact, even really experienced Copic professionals would be hard-pressed to identify the specific markers you've used in any one area.

That's because humans do not see color in an isolated way.

An area of B32 will look like a very light blue when it's sitting next to an area that's been colored with V09. That same B32 will look dark and cool if it's sitting next to an area colored with YR82. It's the exact same blue marker but it looks totally different because the human brain always judges color in context.

neighboring colors change our perception...

The marker you use is not the color we see! Learn to balance color. | VanillaArts.com

...of whether a color is light or dark, warm or cool. Value and temperature change based on what colors are nearby.

So the very first thing you color on a project- that first item, whether its the face or the cherry on an ice cream sundae... the very first thing you color goes down onto white paper. You judge how the coloring looks based on how it looks against stark white.

Meanwhile the last areas that you color are being judged against large areas of intensive marker-work. It's subtle, but the next time you color, take note of the changes in the way you use your markers from start to finish. People tend to color darker and shade more as the project progresses. That's because you're evaluating these newer areas based on the colors that are already on the paper- you are not making decisions based on white anymore.

But your viewers can't tell by looking, which areas you colored first and which areas came last. All we see are inconsistent color values across your project, with zones that are noticeably lighter, washed out, or lacking depth.

The marker you use is not the color we see! Learn to balance color. | VanillaArts.com

Marker decisions based on white will always look washed out later

This is why there are so many terrible Copic recipes on the internet for skin. Colorers tend to color the skin first which means that against the white paper, YR000 looks like a perfectly reasonable color. But once you've added vibrant hair, a bright background, and beautiful clothing colors... well, that character now looks as if they just got off a rollercoaster and are about to loose their lunch all over the sidewalk. YR000 only looks dark compared to white. Against real color, YR000 is deathly pale.

So what's the solution?

It's rather easy. In fact, the fix to this problem is so stupid-simple that I'm amazed that it's rare to see instructors or tutorials mention it.

It is absolutely essential to go back and adjust your coloring!

After you've finished laying in the color on the very last item in the image, you need to re-evaluate all the areas that you colored first.

The marker you use is not the color we see! Learn to balance color. | VanillaArts.com
  • Are all your objects in the image still generally dark enough?
  • Did you loose some of the sense of depth because the shade is now too light?
  • Are the temperatures still correct?
  • Have recent additions led you to an image that feels temperature imbalanced because the palette skews warm or cool?
  • Have you over highlighted the project?

Now I know. Some of you are groaning.

You work hard to get blends nice and smooth. Once you get them silky and flawless, the last thing you want to do is go back and mess with them.

But if you want to take your coloring to the next level, if you want to amp up the realism in your projects and to get your depth and dimension feeling natural... you have to learn to ride the teeter totter.

If you add something dark, go back and adjust your lights. If you add something light, go back and adjust your darks.

It's a matter of balance.

Good coloring involves constant evaluation and adjustments. It's a process, not a do it once and you're done forever kind of thing.

Week 10 of Marker Painting Foundations is about Color balance

Improve your Copic Coloring by learning to balance the colors you choose. | VanillaArts.com

In week ten of this 12 week online course, we look at fixing the natural imbalances that happen to every project as you color. We learn to prevent and to fix:

  • value imbalances
  • skewed temperatures
  • over highlighted zones

And we do it all without ruining the hard work and perfect blending that you've already layed down.

Marker Painting Foundations is a course designed to move you from beginner level coloring into advanced or even artistic realm. Yes, students are moving from coloring to creating art!

First we tackle the basics like marker selection and blending but then we move on to painting techniques which amp up the realism, depth, dimension, and overall artistry of your coloring.

This isn't a you-watch-me-color set of videos. Nope, that's a coloring demonstration, not instruction! Instead, I give students the information and teach the techniques necessary to color the way artists paint! It's a totally different approach to markers.

Begin anytime. Work at your own pace. Forever access. Tons of instructor feedback.

This is the marker course you've been waiting for. It will change the way you see color, forever.

Click for more info:

Join me for Marker Painting Foundations; I can't wait to share the art of coloring with you!

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