6 Tips for Left-Handed Colorers - Copic Markers or Colored Pencils

6 Tips for Left-Handed Colorers - Copic Markers or Colored Pencils

Are you a left handed colorer?

No? I'm not surprised. Lefties are a definite minority.

Southpaws like me are the few, the proud, and the backwards.

But hey, even if you are right handed, keep on reading. While I'm aiming these Copic Marker and colored pencil tips at those of us who color counter-clockwise, you righties can totally use these tips too.

You righties can flip the tips cattywampus the way we keck-handers have to do every day!

Copic Coloring: The Quest for Realism- How Texture Improves Your Coloring

 
There's more to realism than choosing the best colors. Learn why texture is vital for adding realism to your coloring projects. | VanillaArts.com
 
 

coloring that steals your breath away...

Think back to the last coloring project that knocked your socks off.

Maybe you spied it in a shop on the "Upcoming Classes" bulletin board. Perhaps you scrolled past it on Pinterest and had to abruptly backtrack to get a closer look.

When I ask students "what was it about the project which drew your attention?" they usually tell me it was color.

Color. Color. Color. Color.

People who love Copics and colored pencils all looooooove color.

Color. Color. Color. Love. Love. Love.

All good coloring students have been trained to say they love color.

"Hello, my name is B1GCulorLVR and I'm a color addict..."

It's a point of pride, a mark of belonging. Coloring people love to love color.

And maybe color is what initially attracts our attention to a few projects; but for the most part, pretty color is no big whoop. We see pretty color all the time, every day and everywhere.

If you were as addicted to color as you claim, you'd never get anything done. You'd spend hours gazing at the beauty of the blue toothpaste on your red toothbrush and zone out in meetings over the rhapsody of your boss' plaid necktie.

Color may grab your initial attention but that's not what holds it.

 

The quest for realism

Last week I talked about depth and dimension, how they're fool's gold when it comes to coloring better and with more realism. Be sure to read that article here-

There's more to realism than choosing the best colors. Learn why texture is vital for adding realism to your coloring projects. | VanillaArts.com

Why depth & dimension aren't enough for realism.

In that article, I gave you a list of things which together add up to greater realism in your coloring projects.

To color with greater realism, you need to capture all of these elements:

If you want to capture realism, you need to pay attention and incorporate all of these concepts.

Did you see that color palette selection isn't on the list?

Did you note that blending combinations aren't there either?

And notice that I didn't say a darned thing about light sources?

Get the idea that your coloring class is studying the wrong stuff?

 

Texture is a vital key to realism

I know, you took a class once about texture.

There's more to realism than choosing the best colors. Learn why texture is vital for adding realism to your coloring projects. | VanillaArts.com

You used colorless blender solution on a washcloth to make a teddy bear look curly and kinda-sorta-maybe almost furry.

You used short little flick strokes to make Santa's beard look fluffy... well...  his beard looked fluffier than his boots did.

You used a white gel pen to add highlight hairs to a doe-eyed girl with long flowing locks. And if you squint a lot, the white streaks kinda looked like highlights.

So you're a pro at texture now, right?

Uhm, not so much.

Basically, you took regular old ho-hum standard marker coloring and added a few swishes of something weird.

You used a novelty technique.

And it was only good for that one kind of thing. Teddy bears, old man beards, really odd shaped girls whose tiny little necks can't possibly hold up such gigantic heads.

That's not real texture and it's not going to get you closer to realism.

 
 

so what's missing?

Thought.

Thought is what's missing from your dabbles with texture.

You're not stopping to think about what you're coloring.

I mean seriously, look around you. Right now. Scan the room around you. I'll bet you can't find one object in the room that doesn't have unique and specific texture to it.

Your computer has a smooth and glassy screen but the frame around it is slightly pebbled with a beveled edge. The pencil on your desk has a glossy paint job but there's one area that is a little matte from finger print wear and there are two bite marks down by the eraser. The desktop has a wood grain and there's a ring from your coffee yesterday and the far left corner is a little dusty.

There's more to realism than choosing the best colors. Learn why texture is vital for adding realism to your coloring projects. | VanillaArts.com

If an object has a surface, that surface has a texture.

And I'll bet your class on advanced washcloth textures didn't mention that fact.

Novelty techniques can not solve your realism problems.

Artists who capture realism in their projects spend a lot of time thinking about the objects they're about to color.

And they spend that time thinking about the texture of the object, not the color.

Is it hard and matte? How do I convey that to my viewers?

Was it just plucked from the garden and still wet with dew? How do I demonstrate that?

Is it so fragile and lightweight that it might disintegrate if you touched it? How do I show that with my marker or pencil strokes?

Did you catch the word touch there?

Color may grab someone's initial attention but it's texture that captures our imagination. Texture makes people want to reach out and touch your coloring, it keeps us looking at and thinking about your project long after we've wandered away.

Real items have texture. Texture conveys realism and realism is far more impressive than a snazzy color palette or colorless blender tricks.

 

Not your average coloring class

There are a lot of talented and generous coloring instructors (both online and in shops around the world) who do a really great job educating students about basic marker and pencil techniques.

But there's also a weird merry-go-round mindset that says if you take enough classes and meet enough instructors- eventually, you'll grow your skills from coloring level to artist level.

So you bounce from instructor to instructor, technique to technique, spinning your wheels because no matter which class you take, you never move past beginner level concepts.

There's more to realism than choosing the best colors. Learn why texture is vital for adding realism to your coloring projects. | VanillaArts.com

If every class only covers novelty techniques, you'll never move past novelty techniques.

There's a great big world beyond colorless blender tricks and that's where I want to take my students.

I have a growing Workshop full of online courses and lessons that are NOT swishy-swashy things to do with marker demonstrations

You've done depth. You've done dimension. You've explored the many uses of colorless blender and white gel pens.

It's time to make some art.

Let's start working on real realism.

2 Signature Teal.jpg

Copic Coloring: Why Depth and Dimension Aren't Enough for Realism

 
There's more to realism than depth and dimension. Why more taking classes and reading more tutorials won't lead you to better coloring results. | VanillaArts.com
 
 

You thought it was you

When you first started coloring, it was all about controlling color. How to make your strokes, how to fill in areas smoothly, how to blend.

And your projects turned out okay but they were missing something.

So you went looking for answers.

"Read my blog tutorial about depth!"

"Learn how to add shape to your stamp coloring!"

"Take my class where we use the right marker combinations to make your projects pop with dimension!"

So you did everything they said.

You bought the magical marker combinations. You added the special pens and pencils. You followed the recipes and instructions to a tee. You got so good at blending, layering, light sourcing, and shadow casting that now you can practically teach the class.

You're an intermediate level colorer. You've got the class certificates to prove it.

And yet your coloring is STILL missing something. It looks better than it used to... but it still doesn't look realistic.

So it must be you, right?

Maybe you're simply not as talented as everyone else.

Because really, after all this time and investment, what else could it be?

 

depth & dimension

Colorers want depth and dimension. They'll pay good money for someone to show them how to get it.

And yet I'm not convinced that colorers or their instructors really know what depth and dimension are.

First, let's define the terms.

Depth. What do YOU think it means?

Before I give you the answer, define "depth" for yourself. What does depth mean?

There's more to realism than depth and dimension. Why more taking classes and reading more tutorials won't lead you to better coloring results. | VanillaArts.com

Depth is a measurement of distance. It's how far away something is sitting.

Spacial planes if you want to drag out a geometry term.

Depth in coloring is making far away items look farther away and making nearer items look near.

So when two items overlap, like two leaves or a mommy bear and her baby bear, depth is about making the baby bear look as if it's sitting in front of the mother bear.

Depth is near and far.

Now tell me about dimension. You claim to want more dimension in your coloring, so what does "dimension" mean?

Dimension is the shape of an object. Not where it's sitting but how the object is shaped. Is it flat and curled? Is it rounded and plump? Is it squared off with flat sides? That's dimension.

Dimension is shape.

So a blogger or teacher who promises to help add "depth and dimension" to your coloring is supposed to teach you how to set the distance of your objects and to define their shape.

Do they really do that?

No.

They yammer endlessly about what colors to use.

 

Let's get real about realism

Realism doesn't come from using the perfect color combinations.

There's more to realism than depth and dimension. Why more taking classes and reading more tutorials won't lead you to better coloring results. | VanillaArts.com

It doesn't come from buying the best brand of colored pencils or from owning lots of spiffy art supplies.

Realism is a quest.

It's not a formula. It is not a method.

Realism is a journey.

A lifetime's worth of journeying.

That's why artists talk about realism in terms of quantity. We want "more realism" or we describe something is "less realistic".

Realism is a quality to strive for, not a technique.

Depth and dimension are keys to realism but they're only part of the equation.

That's why you can add depth and add dimension to your coloring projects and still not color with a decent amount of realism.

Depth and dimension are pieces of the puzzle, not the whole picture.

 
 

so what's missing?

Well, every project is different and every student is unique. I can't diagnose your realism problem from afar. I can't solve anything in the space of a single blog post.

But if I had to take a wild stab at the problem, I'd point back to my previous paragraphs above about depth and dimension.

There's more to realism than depth and dimension. Why more taking classes and reading more tutorials won't lead you to better coloring results. | VanillaArts.com

Most classes and tutorials talk about depth and dimension in terms of color.

Color can't solve your realism problems.

Depth and dimension are only part of the way to make objects look real.

Objects look real (or real-er) when you show us more than what color something is.

Things look real (or real-er) when you show us how hard or soft they are, what the surface texture is, and how each object relates to the other objects within the image.

Realism comes from a combination of factors:

  • space

  • shape

  • desaturation

  • texture

  • environment

  • relationship

  • rationality

Notice that I didn't mention depth, dimension, or blending combinations?

Notice that I didn't say a darned thing about light sources?

Get the idea that you're focused on the wrong things?

Bingo.

You can be an advanced Copic colorer... you can have years of colored pencil experience under your belt... you can take every coloring class under the sun...

But if the lessons never move beyond color combinations, you'll never color with realism because you're only hearing the fluffy stuff.

 

Not your average coloring class

There are a lot of talented and generous coloring instructors (both online and in shops around the world) who do a really great job educating students about basic marker and pencil techniques.

There's more to realism than depth and dimension. Why more taking classes and reading more tutorials won't lead you to better coloring results. | VanillaArts.com

But there's also a weird merry-go-round mindset amongst colorers. The idea is if you take enough classes and meet enough instructors- that eventually, you'll grow your skills from coloring level to artist level.

So you bounce from instructor to instructor, technique to technique, spinning your wheels the entire time because no matter which class you take, you never move past beginner level concepts.

If every class covers color selection, you'll never move beyond color selection.

There's a great big world beyond color recipes and that's where I want to take my students.

I have a growing Workshop full of online courses and lessons that are NOT what-marker-goes-where style classes.

You've done depth. You've done dimension. You've explored the many blending combinations and the nifty novelty techniques.

Let's start working on real realism.

2 Signature Teal.jpg

Colored Pencil Plus: Week 2 Challenge- Finding an Ideal Pressure (and sticking to it!)

 
Colored Pencil Plus- 12 week online colored pencil course takes you from beginner to WOW! Learn artistic techniques with solvent-free methods. Begin a lifetime of artistic expression. | ColoredPencilPlus.com
 
 

We're all guilty...

And you know you're doing it. You either press too hard with colored pencils or you don't press hard enough.

Colored Pencil Plus- 12 week online colored pencil course takes you from beginner to WOW! Learn artistic techniques with solvent-free methods. Begin a lifetime of artistic expression. | ColoredPencilPlus.com

Heavy-handedness and light-handedness are both beginning colorer traits.

But wait!

Someone told you to press hard for vibrancy!

Or someone told you to lighten up so that you can erase your mistakes!

Or that all the professionals are heavy/light handers.

No.

They're wrong.

Good colored pencil artists are not all heavy handed or light handed (depending upon who told you this). That's nonsense.

What good colored pencil artist are, is even handed.

Even handed.

Even-handedness is control.

 

you will always color like a beginner

Until you learn control.

Until you can judge how heavy or light to color in each situation.

Until you can keep a consistent pressure across entire areas for smooth looking results.

That's what we're working on in Week Two of Colored Pencil Plus!

CP+ is beginner level instruction

But it's not just for beginners.

If you're a beginner, that's great. Start at the very beginning and work your way towards intermediate or advanced level results.

And if you're already an intermediate, I help you double back and pick up the important things you missed. And help you make sense of all the things you do.

Colored Pencil Plus covers a lot.

It's TWELVE weeks

SIXTEEN original digital stamps

And a ton of tips, techniques, and insider tricks to improve your coloring instincts!

Join anytime. Forever access. Work at your own pace.

 
Colored Pencil Plus- 12 week online colored pencil course takes you from beginner to WOW! Learn artistic techniques with solvent-free methods. Begin a lifetime of artistic expression. | ColoredPencilPlus.com

Week two challenges your pressure

The Poppy project is designed to help you build up dynamic color and vibrancy without damaging the tooth of the paper or leaving gigantic white spots.

One pressure doesn't work for everything and we investigate why you might need to increase or decrease your pressure levels in distinct areas.

This is a skill you can apply to all your coloring images!

Sure, you'll color a gorgeous poppy flower but this isn't a "how to color poppies" lesson. This is a "how to color anything and everything" lesson.

Project oriented classes teach you how to color one stamp- what a waste! Vanilla Arts classes give you good solid technique oriented lessons which are applicable to all your coloring projects. Not just colored pencil either. You can apply these value and vibrancy concepts to all coloring media.

 

Beginners welcome!

Colored Pencil Plus is ideal for:

  • beginners who are frustrated with their lack of growth using tutorials and "how to color a ______" videos

  • self taught colorers who feel as if they've missed the big secret to amazing coloring

  • unconfident colorers who still encounter problems with blending, shading, or developing convincing depth

  • frustrated colorers who struggle when coloring unfamiliar stamps

  • habitual colorers, stuck in a rut where every project looks the same

  • dreaming colorers who want to push beyond craft level coloring into creative and artistic self-expression

Colored Pencil Plus- 12 week online colored pencil course takes you from beginner to WOW! Learn artistic techniques with solvent-free methods. Begin a lifetime of artistic expression. | ColoredPencilPlus.com
 

Join anytime!

Learn when you are available, on your own schedule.

Colored Pencil Plus- 12 week online colored pencil course takes you from beginner to WOW! Learn artistic techniques with solvent-free methods. Begin a lifetime of artistic expression. | ColoredPencilPlus.com

We've got a great group of students already working their way through the lessons but everyone works at their own pace as their life allows.

Lessons are slowly paced to help you perfect every technique

Lessons include detailed breakdowns to show you what to do and when to do it. Coloring demonstrations guide you through applying the week's technique to a fun and challenging floral image.

Beautiful color and amazing vibrancy, along with tips to develop control, instinct, and even-handedness.

You'll love the difference in the Colored Pencil Plus approach!

Join me for Colored Pencil Plus!

You're going to love your new outlook on color!

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