Colouring with Stabilo’s – Shading

Once you are ready to embark on shading the Stabilo 68’s and 88’s are probably one of the simplest to learn with, there is no blending with these so don’t expect smooth transitions every time, some colours do work better than others but you will always have a darker shaded area which allows you to add that extra level of depth to your colouring.

If you haven’t read it yet I suggest reading the flat colour guide to see how I work with these pens.

Onto Colouring

Greys can be your best friend with shading, because they will work with any colour. Don’t reach for the grey that is a darker tone to the main colour though as it will end up appearing too dark. Choose a grey that is a shade lighter than you think you need. With colours though you will be using one shade darker.

When it comes to shading I do a lot of the work with the finer point 88 pens as it is easier to graduate the colour by fanning out the lines drawn the closer I get to the light source. It is achievable with the pen 68 but you will get a denser colour.

These are the colours I am working with:

  • Light green 68/33 or 88/33
  • Green 68/36 or 88/36
  • Yellow 68/44 or 88/44
  • Orange 68/54 or 88/54
  • Lilac 68/58 or 88/58
  • Purple 68/55 or 88/55
    and
  • Grey 68/96 or 88/96

I am starting with the grass again, I will be colouring this in exactly the same main colours as I did for the flat colour guide. Decide where you want shade to appear. For the grass I have opted for light shading on the blade that appears to be behind in the image and have added a “centre line” in the front blade to show the “fold” you see in grass.

You can then go over the grey with the main colour. If the paper saturates easily or is prone to loosing fibres wait until the grey has dried.

Again with the grey I have added shade to the top of the stem quite heavily as the shadow cast by the flower would be denser there. A little shading between the grass and shading that fans out on the leaf working from the stem.

Go over all the shading with the main colour (in this case light green) I realised at this point that the grey was perhaps to dark for the light green but hopefully it shows you what I mean about going a shade lighter than you think you need with greys. As the grey I am using was the lightest I had at the time it was all I could work with though there is a grey one step lighter in the range.

Next I add a little orange alongside one edge of the centre of the flower.

Colour over that with yellow. I didn’t wait for it to dry here and as you can see a little blending has occurred with this combination though it is not something I would rely on happening.

Next I use the purple and add some quick lines into one of the petals at the front of the flower, this will keep the shading fairly light as I don’t want it too dark and the lines created by the point 88 are perfect for this. Follow the lines within the drawing as if you were just adding a few more.

Do the same on the other three front petals.

Once the shading has been added and dried using the lilac in the pen 68 colour all of the front petals. I have found the combination of purple and lilac to work rather well.

You can then start on the back petals.

With the purple again but this time filling the area you want shaded (the point where it meets the front petals) with a denser bit of colouring, for this you can either use the point 88 or pen 68, though I continued to use the point 88 and used obvious lines that were just a lot closer together.

I then coloured the petal I had shaded.

Continue to add the shading on the remaining three petals.

Then,  when dry, go back to the lilac and colour the other back petals.

Finished you will have an image, with the extra depth shading provides. I use this technique in my animal kingdom book as well as on some free printables.

Experiment with different colours to find which ones work best together or give the effect you are after. Some combinations will appear seamless while others will be noticeably darker, some of course won’t work, even if you think they should.

Let me know how you get on shading with your Stabilo’s or other fineliners/fibre tips in the comments below, or show me your coloured images here, on facebook, @scarletleonard on twitter or @scarletimpressions on instagram.

Happy colouring!

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