I want lots of dimension in my Copic coloring!
"So I must blend, blend, blend!
I blend with my markers and I blend with my colored pencils and that's what gives me great depth and dimension!"
Do you really think so?
I mean, I know that's what you've been told or at least it's what you've assumed.
Copic blending is important. Dimension is important! So they're important together, right?
You might want to talk to Claude Monet about that. In fact, take a stroll through any art museum.
Van Gogh didn't blend.
Manet didn't blend.
I haven't taken an official artist's poll, but if I recall back to my art history classes, the number of non-blenders might just outweigh the number blenders.
I'm not kidding. I can name more non-blenders off the top of my head than painters who worked silky smooth. And there are a few guys like Picasso and Duchamp who deliberately flattened out their shapes and yet STILL managed to convey an interesting sense of depth and dimension.
Dimension and blending are completely unrelated.
The two concepts are tied in your mind because they're usually the main topics of conversation in Copicland. But that doesn't mean blending and dimension are interconnected.
You can have peanut butter without chocolate. And you can eat chocolate without peanut butter, no matter what the Reeses Cup commercials say.
That's the way it is with blending and dimension.
We've all seen colorers who can blend like a champion and yet their coloring is flat and cartoonish.
I've got news for you: in my Expressive Sunflowers project here, I didn't blend a darned thing.
I'm not kidding.
It's 100% unblended. I didn't blend the Copic and I didn't blend the Prismacolor pencil.
And yet it's dimensional.
Blending is a technique
Now I know Copic people throw the word "technique" around a lot but I often suspect that the word is losing its real meaning due to overuse and trendiness.
A technique is a process. A manner or method of getting something done.
You walk to the store. You write a grocery list. You bake a cake.
Walk, write, bake. These are verbs.
So is paint. So is draw. And so is blend. When you boil it all down, a technique is a verb.
But you don't dimension anything, right?
Dimension is a characteristic. A descriptive word. Dimensional is an adjective. We're talking about what something looks like rather than how it got that way.
Dimension is the result of a technique. Dimension is not a process.
Which explains the flat look we see in a lot of coloring. If you're focused on the blending something perfectly smooth, you're practicing a technique that may or may not give you dimension.
You can blend all the live-long day and still not make anything dimensional.
So if dimension doesn't come from blending, where does it come from?
Oh grasshopper... that's a big ol' question
I wrote a three part series about shading for depth and dimension.
But if you're not into reading the War & Peace version, here's the summary:
Dimension comes from accurate shading.
Ding, ding, ding! There's your verb!
The technique for dimension is shading or to be more accurate, the technique is color sculpting.
You've got to pick the right colors to make shade. And then you've got to get those colors into the right spot in the right shape.
Correct sculpting technique is what makes your projects look dimensional.
And that's got nothing to do with blending, which is why these sunflowers can feel life like without the use of blending technique.
In fact, if I had to pick just one skill, if I could only use one technique for the rest of my life?
It's not even a contest!
I'd give up blending in an instant. I'd much rather have color sculpting skills than blending skills.
Because with shade comes realism.
welcome to the unblending!
Pssssttt... can I ask you a question?
When was the last time you used your chisel nib?
Yep, you know... the hard, flat, diagonal, old fashioned, what-the-heck-is-this-for nib that comes at the other end of your Copic Marker.
Oh, thaaaat end!
Why do I ask?
Because if you never uncap the weird end of your Copic Marker, you're missing out on a whole wonderful world of un-blending!
That chisel nib is useful!
I took marker drawing classes back in art school, way back in the 1980's when all we had was a chisel nib.
Yes, I know!
There were nooooo brush nibs. I think my only bullet nib was black. Yet somehow, we made great art.
Well, in my case it was mediocre art. Truth be told, I hated marker classes (yes, I get the irony in that).
Anyway, we arted away for days on end without a brush nib in sight.
Chisel nibs totally rock.
What's the point of having a dual-ended marker if 50% of your marker gets no love?
Let's learn how to use those chisel nibs!
Here's the thing though... chisel nibs do not blend.
In fact, chisel nibs can't blend. They're hard and they're a little dry which is likely why you've avoided the darned things.
But chisel nibs allow you to color with vivacious strokes and lots of emotion. Chisel nibs are the end that Van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso would choose.
You are not obligated to use the brush nib. Blending is optional!
The chisel nib can be the artsy end of your marker.
You can make beautiful, dimensional, and completely unblended art!
Want to master your chisel nib?
Join me for a fun Copic + Colored Pencil lesson at Patreon!
using Power Poppy's "Gerbera Daisies"
Vanilla Livestream is held monthly at Patreon.
September 14th at 11am EDT
Can't make the livestream? Recorded version of Expressive Sunflowers is available until March 2019!
Note: class details change each month. Expressive Sunflowers information is available on the website until late September when it will be replaced with October info. Full Expressive Sunflowers info is kept on Patreon until March 2019.
What is Vanilla Live-Stream?
It's a live coloring demonstration and Q&A session.
Real coloring in real time plus a chance to ask lots of coloring questions.
Vanilla Livestream is similar to my local advanced coloring class, but online for easier viewing.
I'll walk you through my coloring process, discussing the ins and outs of the project.
We always cover a bunch of artsy tips and tricks which you can apply to tons of other projects.
Every month, we tackle a new art technique or creative process, helping you develop your artistic skills and realism!
Can't attend live?
Not a problem!
All Livestreams are recorded and archived for members immediately after each broadcast. You can watch 6 months of recordings. Replay them as many times as you want.
That's something you definitely can't do in my live class!
20% off gerbera Daisies
Marcella Hawley, the amazing artist at Power Poppy gives all my Patreon members 20% off the class digital stamp! This is an instant download from PowerPoppy.com; just print it to a Copic safe paper and color along with me!
Want to know more about how the class works?
Want the project supply list and lesson info?
You must be an enrolled at Patreon.com/VanillaArtsCo to participate
Topic: Master the Chisel Nib- and shade for depth & dimension!
Stamp: Gerbera Daisies by Power Poppy
Medium: Copic Marker and Prismacolor Soft-Core Pencils
Skill Level: Intermediate through advanced colorers*
* No drawing skills necessary. Basic blending and marker skills will not be covered in Livestream sessions. Livestreams are a coloring demonstration with unscripted conversation. This is not the same as my Workshop courses and should not be considered an "inexpensive" substitute for my regular skill-building classes.
Join me for an online lesson that will change the way you think about color!
Plus, it'll be fun!
Supplies used in "Expressive Sunflowers":
(contains affiliate links to Amazon and Dick Blick)
Vanilla Arts Company is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for use to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com.