Improve your Coloring: Add Life & Zest to your Neutral Colors

 
Neutral color palettes do not have to be boring. Learn how to add artistic touches to improve your Copic Marker and colored pencil projects. | VanillaArts.com
 
 

Are Neutral Colors Bland?

Copic Marker fans love color. Colored pencil people love color.

That's why you color, right?

For most of you, it's rainbow, rainbow, rainbow all the time.

Bright reds, brilliant blues, verdant greens... bring on the color, baby!

Because I teach a lot of classes and I want my presentations to be unique, I do a lot of internet surfing; looking at other project photos and tutorials so that I'm not repeating tired concepts and techniques that have been done to death.

Beige or gray doesn't have to be boring! 4 tips for adding life and zest to neutral coloring palettes with Copic Markers or colored pencils. | VanillaArts.com

In that research, I see a lot of bold and vivid colors being used.

But not a lot of neutrals.

It seems that many colorers are afraid of the toned down and slightly muddy colors.

So you write them off as unimportant.

Bland and boring. Browns and beiges and foggy grays.

Zzzzzzzzzzz

What a snoozefest!

I think that's really sad.

Neutral colors are only boring when you treat them that way!

Neutrals are some of the most interesting and complex colors available to artists. Many artists spend years, even decades learning to hand mix perfect neutral colors. If a whole bunch of artists are spending that much time studying one specific thing? Well, that's a sign. There must be something pretty darned important about neutrals.

So why aren't you using them in your coloring projects?

It's not that neutral color palettes are boring, it's that you're using them wrong!

 

Are you sick of Kiddie Color Palettes?

Do you want to improve the look of your coloring projects?

Are you searching for that polished professional look?

Are you tired of coloring like a circus clown or a 12 year old Disney Princess wanna-be?

Do your coloring projects have a childish look? Learn to add maturity and sophistication to Copic Marker or colored pencil projects with the use of neutral colors. | VanillaArts.com

Neutrals!

Neutrals are the solution!

Neutral colors can add the sophistication you are looking for.

Adding more neutrals to your projects is not hard.

Don't build it up to be more taxing than it ought to be.

Four simple keys...

Just four? Yep.

I have four little tricks that I use to add life and zest to my neutral color palettes!

  1. Expand your definition of neutral - supplement the palette with near-neutrals like violet grays and dusty yellows.

  2. Use a full range of color values - don't get stuck at the zero end of the Copic color set!

  3. Don't skip texture and pattern - smooth & plain is boring no matter what color you use!

  4. Add some spice - find pop colors to provide some kicky interest

Want to know more?

Great, because there's a lot to explore. Remember, I've sat through all the boring color theory classes so that you don't have to.

I can't wait to share this fun lesson with you!

 

Join me for an introduction to neutral color palettes

Learn to add zest and liveliness to the colors you've always written off as boring.

It's not hard. You can do this!

Sorry, this class has expired. For the current list of Vanilla Livestream classes, please see here.

Vanilla Livestream lessons for Copic colorers. Learn to use neutral colors in a mature way. No more boring neutrals! | VanillaArts.com
 

What is Vanilla Live-Stream?

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!

Neutral color palettes don't have to be bland and boring. 4 tips to spicing up your neutral beiges and grays for amazing Copic and colored pencil projects. | VanillaArts.com

This is just like my local intermediate & advanced level coloring classes, but online!

I'll walk you through my creation process, discussing the ins and outs of the coloring project. We always cover a bunch of artsy tips and tricks which you can apply to tons of other projects.

There's even a live chat feed so that you can ask questions and I'll answer live.

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 available to members immediately after each broadcast for replay. You can watch six months worth of recorded sessions, replaying them as many times as you need to understand the lesson and finish the project.

Hey, that's something you definitely can't do in my live class!

 

20% off cup of Columbine!

Cup of Colum Capture.jpeg

Marcella Hawley, the amazing artist at Power Poppy is giving all my Patreon members 20% off the class digital stamp! It's 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 this class works?

Want the project supply list and lesson info?

 

April's Live-Stream:

You must be an enrolled at Patreon.com/VanillaArtsCo to participate

Sorry, this class has expired. For the current list of Vanilla Livestream classes, please see here.

Lesson: Adding life and zest to neutral color palettes

Stamp: Cup of Columbine by Power Poppy

Medium: Copic Marker and Prismacolor Premier Pencils

Skill Level: Intermediate through advanced colorers. Once you can blend Copics smoothly with confidence, you're ready to join us! No drawing skills necessary.

Vanilla Livestream online lessons for Copic colorers. Neutral colors don't have to be boring! Learn to add life & zest to your adult coloring projects. | VanillaArts.com
 

Join me online for zesty, spicy and special neutral colors

And a ton of coloring fun!

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Some products used in Cup of Columbine: (affiliate links)

 

Loud & Vibrant Color: Finding Balance for Outrageous Colors

 
Vanilla Livestream lessons for Copic colorers. Ultramarine Blue is a bold and vibrant color which can easily overwhelm your projects. Learn to balance gem tones to make mature and sophisticated color palettes. | VanillaArts.com
 
 

A clown Car crash?

We've all been there.

You pull out your favorite color marker for a brand new stamp. Maybe it's Ruby Red, Emerald Green, or Ultramarine Blue.

Oh, glorious color! So yummy.

Vanilla Livestream lessons for Copic colorers. Ultramarine Blue is a bold and vibrant color which can easily overwhelm your projects. Learn to balance gem tones to make mature and sophisticated color palettes. | VanillaArts.com

But the stamp image has lots of little pieces and elements to it, and every one of those things needs another color.

So you end up grabbing lots of other markers, just to make it work.

And when you're done, it looks like the aftermath of a Crayola factory explosion.

Color riots happen to the best of us!

They're a bit embarrassing because you're not an eight year old girl. Adults are supposed to have better color sense and mature taste...

...right?

A simple color like Ultramarine Blue can take over and dominate any image. It's so loud and attention hogging that suddenly all you see is glowing blue.

"Gem tones" are the nice name for vibrant extroverted color.

"Obnoxious" is a little closer to the truth though.

I suspect this is why Copic sells so many 0, 00, and 000 markers. People want to use bolder colors but they can't figure out how to do it with sophistication and taste.

 

But the world is full vibrancy!

And darn it, we want to use our favorite color!

Finding balance is the key to using extroverted color. Balanced color palettes add serenity and restore order to lively color.

Vanilla Livestream lessons for Copic colorers. Ultramarine Blue is a bold and vibrant color which can easily overwhelm your projects. Learn to balance gem tones to make mature and sophisticated color palettes. | VanillaArts.com

But color palettes can be intimidating. You've seen pre-made color palettes on Pinterest and other websites... but creating your own color palettes? That sounds hard!

So let me ask you...

How's that grabbin' colors at random method woking out for you?

Four simple steps...

Yes, I use four simple steps when I design new color palettes for student projects and those for my professional artwork.

And it's not hard. You don't need an advanced degree or a genius I.Q. to do it.

  1. Minimize

  2. Neutralize

  3. Balance

  4. Desaturate

That sounds fancy but I can show you how to do it in just one lesson!

You can learn to balance your vibrant Copic Markers and Colored Pencils to create mature and sophisticated coloring projects!

 

Join me for an online introduction to Color balance

Learn to tame your favorite bold and vivacious colors so that they fit nicely within your project instead of grabbing center stage.

It's not hard. You can do this!

Sorry, this class has expired. For the current list of Vanilla Livestream classes, please see here.

Vanilla Livestream lessons for Copic colorers. Ultramarine Blue is a bold and vibrant color which can easily overwhelm your projects. Learn to balance gem tones to make mature and sophisticated color palettes. | VanillaArts.com
 

What is Vanilla Live-Stream?

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

Vanilla Livestream lessons for Copic colorers. Ultramarine Blue is a bold and vibrant color which can easily overwhelm your projects. Learn to balance gem tones to make mature and sophisticated color palettes. | VanillaArts.com

We'll have fun coloring with lots of Copics!

This is just like my local intermediate & advanced level coloring class, but online!

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

Every month, we tackle a new art technique or process, helping you develop your artistic skills and realism!

Can't attend live?

Not a problem!

All livestreams are recorded and available to members immediately for replay. You can watch six months worth of recorded sessions, replaying them as many times as you need to understand the lesson and finish the project.

You can't do that in my live class!

 

20% off Heart Abloom!

HeartAbloom_PPFEB1802D.png

Marcella Hawley, the amazing artist at Power Poppy is giving all my Patreon members 20% off the class digital stamp! It's 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 this works?

Want the project supply list and lesson info?

 

march Live-Stream:

Vanilla Livestream lessons for Copic colorers. Ultramarine Blue is a bold and vibrant color which can easily overwhelm your projects. Learn to balance gem tones to make mature and sophisticated color palettes. | VanillaArts.com

You must be an enrolled at Patreon.com/VanillaArtsCo to participate

Sorry, this class has expired. For the current list of Vanilla Livestream classes, please see here.

Lesson: Finding balance for gem tones and vibrant colors

Stamp: Heart Abloom by Power Poppy

Medium: Copic Marker and Prismacolor Premier Pencils

Skill Level: Intermediate through advanced colorers. Once you can blend Copics smoothly with confidence, you're ready to join us! No drawing skills necessary.

 

Join me online for Color balance with ultramarine

And lots of fun!

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The Problem of Pink: Why Copic Blending Trios let you down

 
Pink Copic Blending Trios fail at realism. Why shading with red or hot pink markers disappoints you every time. | VanillaArts.com
 
 

Blending trios stink for pink!

Copic Blending Trios do not really add realism to your coloring. Learn the method artists have been using for centuries- Color Sculpting. It's easier than you think and no math required! | VanillaArts.com

Deep down you know I'm right.

We've all been there. We want to color something pink and according to all the Copic laws, we're supposed to select three pink markers in a row.

Which leaves you sitting there with one or two red markers.

To color something pink?

Yep, and it all goes downhill from there.

Stop shading with red markers!

And ditch the hot pink markers too.

Want to know why your pink coloring always looks nice but totally fake? It's because you're using a BLENDING combination instead of a SHADING combination.

They're not the same thing, no matter how many people use the terms interchangeably.

 

Let's try to color pink bunny slippers...

Pink Copic Blending Trios fail at realism. Why shading with red or hot pink markers disappoints you every time. | VanillaArts.com

...using the standard Copic rules.

The R20s are a popular Copic Blending Trio and the lighter end of that set feels very pink.

But if we use the +2 method, we end up with R24 which next to R20 looks downright red. I don't see any red in that bunny slipper photo!

Instead, let's try some RVs. RV11 might work but look at where that run of color leads us. I don't see any pinkish-purple in our bunny slipper photo either.

So then you fall back to the standard Copic Cop-out.

Yes, the Copic Cop-out.

When you can't shade something accurately, you step all the way down to the zeros and color the slippers super pale.

Because at least they're still pink then, right?

So basically, the Copic rules are saying that we can never color anything medium pink.

Nope, you have two choices in Copic-land: you can either shade with an inappropriately dark red or magenta OR you can make everything washed out and barely pink.

 

But the world is full of medium pink!

Pink Copic Blending Trios fail at realism. Why shading with red or hot pink markers disappoints you every time. | VanillaArts.com

And rose, blush, salmon, coral, amaranth, flamingo, and tons of other glorious middle range warm rosy colors.

Look, the problem isn't with Copics markers, the problem is with Copic Blending Trios.

You've locked yourself into a world of coloring by the numbers, using mathematics when you should be using your eyes.

You're also trying to squeeze realism and realistic depth out of a marker rule that wasn't designed to generate realistic color.

That Copic "shading" technique? It's a shortcut for quick and easy coloring projects.

Artists do not do this weird shading thing that Copic experts teach. Artists don't purchase or mix paint, pencils, or pastels using "+2" or "+10 +2" rules. In four and a half years of art school and decades as an illustrator, I've never taken a class or read a method where you step-up in color to simulate a step-back in depth. This Copic shading stuff simply doesn't work for realism.

And Copic's pink problem makes that crystal clear.

 

Join me for an online introduction to Color Sculpting

Color sculpting is a method that has been used for centuries to create depth, dimension, and realism. 

It's not hard. You can do it too!

Sorry, this class has expired. For the current list of Vanilla Livestream classes, please see here.

Pink Copic Blending Trios fail at realism. Why shading with red or hot pink markers disappoints you every time. | VanillaArts.com
 

What is Vanilla Live-Stream?

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

Pink Copic Blending Trios fail at realism. Why shading with red or hot pink markers disappoints you every time. | VanillaArts.com

We'll have fun coloring with lots of Copics!

This is just like my local advanced level coloring class but online. 

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

Every month, we tackle a new art technique, helping you develop your artistic skills and realism!

Can't attend live?

Not a problem!

All livestreams are recorded and available to members immediately for replay. You can watch six months worth of recorded sessions, playing and replaying them as many times as you need to understand the lesson and finish the project.

You can't do that in my live class!

 

20% off "Rose' All Day"

Rose All Day.jpeg

Marcella Hawley, the amazing artist at Power Poppy is giving all my Patreon members 20% off the class digital stamp!

It's an instant download from PowerPoppy.com; just print it to a Copic safe paper and color along with me!

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

Want more info about how this works?

Want the January supply list and lesson info?

 

February Live-Stream:

Pink Copic Blending Trios fail at realism. Why shading with red or hot pink markers disappoints you every time. | VanillaArts.com

You must be an enrolled at Patreon.com/VanillaArtsCo to participate

Sorry, this class has expired. For the current list of Vanilla Livestream classes, please see here.

Lesson: Color Sculpting technique for realism, focus on pink and light red objects.

Stamp: Rose' All Day by Power Poppy

Medium: Copic Marker and Prismacolor Premier Pencils

Skill Level: Intermediate through advanced colorers. Once you can blend Copics smoothly with confidence, you're ready to join us! No drawing skills necessary.

 

Join me online for Color Sculpting with Pink

And lots of fun!

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Vanilla Arts + Power Poppy- Online Copic Coloring Class, "Layer Cake"

 
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
 
 

Do you use Copic math?

You sit down for a little Copic coloring time.

You decide to color a daisy, or a fluffy bunny, or a piece of cake.

So you pick out your main color and then you start doing the math...

"Let's see, if my cake is YR31 then my shade color would be YR31 + 2 = YR33 but they don't make a YR33 marker, so maybe I need to do +3 or +4... but they don't make those markers. Darn it!  

So let's try YR31 + 10 + 2 = YR43 but they don't make that marker either! Ack!"

Wait a minute, did you want to color or did you want to do math equations?

 

Look, I know they mean well...

"Shading" and Copic +2 +4 techniques are shortcuts which do not really add realism to your coloring. Learn the method artists have been using for centuries- Color Sculpting. It's easier than you think and no math required! | VanillaArts.com

The idea started out simply- find an easy way for colorers to choose the correct shade colors for any project.

A lot of colorers swear by this addition method. "It's totally great!" It takes the guesses out of shading.

And the shading you get looks kind'a, maybe, sort'a almost realistic. Or at least "realer" than your projects looked before.

But hold on. I'm about to blow your mind...

Did you know that artists do not shade?

Nope.

This shading stuff? Shading is something crafters do.

But artists? The folks who paint and draw with stunning realism? We don't shade and we definitely don't do math problems to choose our colors.

Don't you love the part of the show where Bob Ross sits down and does long division to decide which tube of paint to use?

NO! Bob Ross never had a math segment because ARTISTS DON'T DO MATH!

So how do artists create depth, dimension, and realism?

Color Sculpting.

 

Color sculpting?

"Shading" and Copic +2 +4 techniques are shortcuts which do not really add realism to your coloring. Learn the method artists have been using for centuries- Color Sculpting. It's easier than you think and no math required! | VanillaArts.com

All objects have a shape, correct? Cubes, spheres, cylinders, or strange organic shapes that are hard to define.

And all three dimensional shapes have edges, right? The sides, tops, and bottoms.

As those edges get further away from us, the color desaturates- it gets grayer and less brilliant, less pure.

So all of those Copic formulas telling you to color the edges of an object one or two steps darker? They're telling you to do the wrong thing!

Copic says to ADD more color when you should be using LESS color.

And that's why your coloring isn't getting more realistic.

You can practice and practice and practice... but if you're always "shading" using Copic math, you are never going to add any realism.

Artists do not "shade". We use our eyes and our powers of observation to determine what the color is doing as it moves away from us. Then we duplicate what we see on our projects. That's Color Sculpting.

 

Relax, it's easier than it sounds!

People have been using this method for centuries. They used to teach it to kids, so YOU can totally learn to do it too!

It's not magic.

It's not math.

It's using the eyes in your head and the brain behind them. You were born with all the tools required to color sculpt, you just need to learn to pay attention to what you're seeing!

 

Join me for an online introduction to Color Sculpting

Sorry, this class has expired. For the current list of Vanilla Livestream classes, please see here.

 

What is Vanilla Live-Stream?

"Shading" and Copic +2 +4 techniques are shortcuts which do not really add realism to your coloring. Learn the method artists have been using for centuries- Color Sculpting. It's easier than you think and no math required! | VanillaArts.com

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!

This is just like my local advanced level coloring class but online. 

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

Every month, we tackle a new art technique, helping you develop your artistic skills and realism!

Can't attend live?

Not a problem!

All monthly livestreams are recorded and are available to members immediately for replay. You can watch this archived session (plus several more), playing and replaying them as many times as you need to understand the lesson and fnish the project.

You can't do that in my live class!

 

20% off "Layer Cake"

LayerCake Digi.jpeg

Marcella Hawley, the amazing artist at Power Poppy is giving all my Patreon members 20% off the class digital stamp!

It's an instant download from PowerPoppy.com; just print it to a Copic safe paper and color along with me!

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

 

Want more info about how this works?

Want the January supply list and lesson info?

 

January Live-Stream:

"Shading" and Copic +2 +4 techniques are shortcuts which do not really add realism to your coloring. Learn the method artists have been using for centuries- Color Sculpting. It's easier than you think and no math required! | VanillaArts.com

You must be an enrolled at Patreon.com/VanillaArtsCo to participate

Sorry, this class has expired. For the current list of Vanilla Livestream classes, please see here.

Lesson: Color Sculpting technique for realism, focus on white or light colored objects

Stamp: Layer Cake by Power Poppy

Medium: Copic Marker, Prismacolor Premier Pencils, Distress Ink (optional background)

Skill Level: Intermediate through advanced colorers. Once you can blend Copics smoothly and with confidence, you're ready to join us! No drawing skills necessary.

 

Join me online for an Intro to Color Sculpting

And lots of fun!

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