Beginner Copic Marker Coloring: Shading Yellows

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

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

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...

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

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. |

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. |

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.


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