Shadows are one of the most common struggles that people have when coloring with Copic Markers.
It’s especially difficult for images that don’t require a lot of color.
Like these adorable little Mice from an older stamp set called Field Mice, from Hello Bluebird.
It’s all about what colors you are using.
On this birthday card I’m using W00, W1, W3 and yes even W5. But there are many different color combos you can use instead.. which I’ll get to later.
Before I get to the examples of coloring white, let’s go over some of the reasons why it’s difficult to achieve the “white” look.
- You don’t know where to put the shadows.
- Not leaving a white space or a lot lighter space.
- You’re heavy handed and it comes out too dark
Tips: Adding Shadows to White
Shadows: So many people overthink about Shadows and Light Source. Stop and ask yourself where do the shadows make sense?
If you were coloring a girl that was wearing a hat there would be a shadow on her forehead because the hat is hanging over her head.
If a kid was holding their arms in front of them there would be a shadow casting onto the shirt under the arms.
Deepest Shadows: Same thing with these little mice. The shadows make sense under the ears, under the arms, and the bottom of the body. These areas are going to have the darkest shadows.
Subtle Shadows: Since the mice are not wearing clothes we still want to add contrast and dimension to some of the areas. For example, I want to be able to tell that there is a difference between the head and the body, so I need to add a subtle shadow on the neck.
Sometimes, if look at other things that are colored with a different color, will give you ideas for the shadowing. Here’s a video Coloring Tutorial using the same Field Stamp Set and coloring the mice fully grey.
Tips: Not leaving a White Space
Depending on what you are coloring is going to depend on how much shadows you want. Here’s a Video on coloring a coffee cup white with Copic Markers. It’s a cup and it’s a small image so you don’t need a lot of shadows because there’s not as much texture as, let’s say snow.
This next example of coloring white has the deeper shadowed areas but it also has more of the subtle shadows to create texture and depth in the snow.
You can see the video on how I colored the snow on This Post.
Both of these examples I’m leaving a white space.
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Different Colored Shadows
Another tip to coloring white is to use different shades.
You can use a cream color combo such as E50, E51, E53 and a little E55. This color combo works great for critters, clothing or even a vintage looking white.
Shadowing with light blues and blue violets are great for shadowing snow. Here are a few samples.
1st Card: I mixed my grey colors with some blues and blue-greens.
2nd Card: Here’s a vintage looking cake but instead of grey I’m using the beiges.
3rd Card: I’m using blues and blue-violets, for the ice skating rink.
Being Heavy-handed or your Image comes out too Dark
When coloring or shading any white area you want to try to leave a white space.
So if the area is smaller you want to skip between colors so you don’t take up all the space. Using the 000 and 0000 colors are light enough, that when you do a heavy flick you can feather the color out against the white of the paper.
If you are heavy handed or go overboard when shading your white space that’s okay! In order for the lightest part to look lighter you need to add a darker shadow to the darkest part.
Note: I try to always color the lightest or “white” areas first so I don’t take the chance of pulling in a darker color, into my white or light areas!
Okay, so that we know what is causing the difficulty with coloring white…
..and know the helpful little tips that will help us with the obstacle of achieving the look we want.
It’s your turn to give coloring white a shot!
Copic colors I used to color my images:
- Mice – W00, W1, W3, W5, R30, R000
- Purple Balloon – BV02, BV00, BV000, BV0000
- Orange Balloon – YR12, YR20, YR00
- Teal Balloon – BG13, BG11, BG10
- Green Balloon – YG11, G20, YG13
- Pink Balloon – RV11, RV10, RV000
- Butterflies – B32, B34, B000
Emboss Resist Technique
I embossed the Birch Trees background in White Embossing Powder on white cardstock. I took my blender brushes and Hickory Smoke Distress Oxide Ink and and lightly brushed the cardstock to make the trees have a grey tone. This Emboss Resist technique is perfect for solid stamps, the distress oxide ink wipes right off of the embossed area.. Next, I distressed some mowed lawn Distress Oxide ink and trimmed a piece of cardstock to resemble grass and lined it along the bottom part of my card.