Colouring with Inktense – Flat Colour

The pencils that I primarily use are Derwent Inktense, these pencils can be used dry just like regular colouring pencils you can also use water and a brush after putting the colour down to bring out the really vibrant ink tones. The colour is also fixed with water, making them permanent and can then be worked over further or even used on a variety of surfaces.

Onto Colouring

Pencils work best if you don’t apply too much pressure and build up layers of colour.

The four colours I used on this piece were;

I also use a blender pencil or a water brush.

Starting with field green I apply a light layer to both blades of grass following the direction of the line art. I then applied a second layer to the blade of grass that is further in the background, this gives the impression that there is light and dark areas to the piece but keeping all the areas of colour as flat colour.

Next using leaf green I follow the line of the stem and the leaf, while the stem is mostly straight the leaf has a definite curve to it, following the natural shape of an area will give even flat colour a defined shape.

For the centre of the flower a simple yellow, as this is naturally quite a light colour I used three layers of colour to intensify it, colouring in a circle to follow the shape.

The main petals of the flower are all done in thistle, because of how I am used to colouring with promarkers I still work in logical sections, firstly the petals at the front. For these I used just one layer of colour and kept the strokes of the pencil linear to follow the crease line in the centre of the flower.

Onto the petals at the back and I used the same principle as I did with the grass blades, two layers of colour here make the rearmost petals darker and appear in shadow while still having an even colour within the area.

While you could say at this point the colouring was complete because of my light application of colour the tooth of the paper has left a texture to the colouring making the tone appear lighter that it should be or look incomplete.

Rather than add extra layers, which could end up more time consuming, or use more pressure to begin with I finish all my pencil work either with a blender pencil or water. This smooths out the colour and provides an even finish.

Finishing with a Blender Pencil

The blender pencil is incredibly easy to use. Colour each area of the picture with the blender pencil as you did with the coloured pencil, between each colour make sure to wipe off any pigment that remains on the blender pencil on a black sheet of paper or it will transfer into the next colour. If areas remain where there are gaps in the colour lightly go over with the blender pencil again but colouring in a circular motion. It can leave you with a wax bloom but it will just blow off. I always blow this away as if you sweep it off with your hand it can add pressure to it which will cause smudges.

Finishing with Water

You don’t need a lot of water, just a damp brush is enough to work areas in colouring books, with your brush lightly go over the area you have coloured, the pigment will go ink like and give an even coverage. As you work across an area the pigment will gather in your brush and leave a slightly darker area where you finish so when I work with water I make sure I finish the brush strokes at the base of an area, or in a place where shadow might happen.

Both methods give a different appearance to the finish. More layers of base colour leave a more vibrant colour after finishing.

using derwent inktense coloured pencils

final stages of colouring with derwent inktense pencils

The methods of colouring can be applied to any coloured pencil, though not all work with water and it is normal that with other water colour pencils the final colour is not as vibrant as with the inktense.

Happy Colouring

Colouring with Promarkers – Blending 1

Mostly I colour light to dark with promarkers, early in my colouring journey I used the dark to light method because I didn’t “get” to keep the inks wet when I first tried light to dark, this lead to patchier results and I had no idea I was doing anything wrong, now I know better through my own experiments and light to dark colouring is now my preferred method.

Before you start with light to dark blended colouring I recommend that you get to grips with flat colour first.

The biggest trick is working while the ink is wet. As I have mentioned before the easiest way to achieve this is to work in sections, it does take longer but you will get better results.

To get a good blend you will want between 3-5 colours, this will depend on how much depth you need from a certain area of the image and of course the size and amount of detail in the image itself. For this little guide I will only be using 3 colour blends as the flower isn’t overly detailed and there aren’t any large areas to really warrant being able to add lots of layers of colour.

These are the colours I will be using

Remember the trick to getting the blend to work is to add colour on top of the colour underneath while it is still wet, do not pause between colours in each section.

Start by getting tulip yellow, leaf green and grass ready, this is for the blades of grass at the bottom of the picture.

Colour all of the grass with the tulip yellow, then take the leaf green and colour almost to the tip, then take grass and colour up to a point before where the leaf green stops.
Go back to leaf green and go over the point where grass meets leaf green then do the same with the tulip yellow where that meets the leaf green.

Get leaf green, grass and china blue ready. this is my favourite blend for leaves.
Colour the whole leaf and the stem with leaf green, then add a thick line of grass up from the base of the leaf and along the centre line also add some at the top and the base of the stem. Use china blue to go along the centre line of the leaf and at the base of the stem where it meats the grass as these will be the darkest points. Once you have done the blue, use grass to blend the blue into the grass and leaf green to blend the grass into the leaf green.

For the front petals you will need orchid, purple and plum. To make sure the ink stays wet as you are working only do one petal at a time, though dependent on the paper once you get used to blending you may find on small images you can work more than one section for certain details.

Begin by colouring one whole petal with orchid, then with purple add some lines that follow the lines on the flower from the lower edge of the petal, leaving you with a triangle look to the shadow in this example. Use plum to just add a thin line at the very base of the petal. As with the other colours use purple to blend in the plum and orchid to blend in the purple at the points where the colours meet.

Continue with the other front petals in the same way.

The back petals are using the same colour combination and process but the shadow comes further as the petals are partially masked by the front ones. As you can see in the example the purple comes up both sides of the petal quite a way, the plum is still a thin line at the base and up the sides, blend in as before by using the lighter colours to work the darker one to it.

After completing the first petal, work on the others individually until you have completed all four.

I did forget to photograph colouring the centre of the flower, though that is done with tulip yellow, sunflower and pumpkin. Tulip yellow is the base, colour the whole circle with that, using sunflower add a crescent moon shape on one side of the flower and with pumpkin just add a small deep shadow line on the edge of the circle within that crescent moon shape.

If you do have difficulty keeping the ink wet as you are working you can use the blender pen to dampen the area before you start colouring it, this will keep the ink wetter for slightly longer but it will lighten the colours slightly and dependent on the paper it will cause the ink to spread a little more than normal.

Choosing a colour blend can be part of the fun of colouring too, use a spare piece of paper to test out blends by colouring a square with the lightest colour, then going over 2/3 of it with the mid tone and then the bottom 1/3 with the darker tone. Having a colour chart of your pens will also help you identify colours that will work well together in a blend, or keep an eye on my library where I publish blends that I have tried, tested and used.

Once you have the hang of 3 colour blends you can look at adding further colours to build up greater levels of shadow or highlight.

While I work with promarkers the process isn’t any different between brands of alcohol markers, Spectrum Noir and Copics (the other two brands that are commonly used) work in the same way.

Let me know in the comments if you found this useful, or if you have any questions.

Happy Colouring

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Personalising Enchanted Forest

wpid-wp-1433275975628.jpegThe other day I bought a copy of Enchanted Forest. After the title page there is a this book belongs to… page

So, write your name in, it can’t be that hard. Oh but it is, I wanted it to look pretty, I started pouring through my calligraphy and typography books looking for the perfect way to add my name onto this page.

My husband did suggest that I did an illuminated starting letter. In my sketch book I started playing with a few ideas but nothing looked right.

Then it all made sense, if I wanted it to look right I needed to write my name so it was in keeping with the book. Luckily for me practically every letter in my name appeared in the books title so it was quite easy to mimic exactly the right look.

wpid-wp-1433277972510.jpegWhile I had the pleasure of being able to reference each of my letters from the cover of the book, not everyone will have that luxury, after a few people asked about it I have written this as a mini how to draw your own enchanted forest style name.

Firstly you will need:

  • A Pencil (I use a mechanical purely out of preference)
  • An Eraser
  • A Ruler
  • Drawing Pens (I used 0.05 and 0.1)

I’m working on a blank sheet of paper as I have already done my book, you can practice on paper first or go straight into the book. Either way you will need three guide lines. (The bottom line is the dotted line in the book) The top line is where the highest point of your letters will go and the middle line is about 2/3 up from the bottom and will be the height for lower case letters. If you have a name where letters extend below the writing line, add a fourth line that is the same distance from the bottom as the middle line is from the top.

Next write in the basic shapes of the letters, the font in the book is quite rounded so I have used a rounded style of writing.

Now have some fun, the letters are all decorated with different styles of leaves and leaves are very simple. Nearly all of them follow a teardrop shape just with different parts inside. You can “shake” a little as you draw some to give the the edge of the leaves texture for others start with the tear drop and then take parts away to give more of an oak leaf style. Make the teardrops all look different by adding different styles of line inside.

As you add leaves make most of them follow the line of the letters, some can go off at angles or curve more than the line of the letter. Leave some spaces where it is just the letter though.

Where you have multiples of one letter, they don’t have to be the same. it can be hard to directly copy one you have already drawn and if they are different it will just make it more interesting to colour.

Once you have added leaves to all your letters it’s time to ink it, using the fine liner pens I did some of the smaller internal details with the 0.05 nib, all the other lines are with the 0.1 nib. Wait a moment for the ink to totally dry then erase all the pencil lines and sit back to admire your handy work.

Show me what your name page looks like, over on facebook, @ScarletLeonard on twitter or in the comments below.

Colouring with Promarkers – Flat Colour

wpid-wp-1430228815296.jpegBefore we look at blending it’s best to look at flat colour.

Promarkers are a great pen for flat colour because you can layer the colour to give slightly darker tones. This allows you to go back to areas you do want darker if you feel extra depth is needed without the complication of blending. Of course flat colour is easily achievable with any pen.

Onto Colouring

When you colour with promarkers you have to remember that if you do go over the same area twice you will have lines of darker colour. This doesn’t happen though while the ink is still wet so because of this we break down the image to minimise getting unwanted lines. Look at the different sections in this tutorial image we have two blades of grass, the stem, the leaf, the centre of the flower four petals at the front and four petals at the back. Each of these will be coloured separately.

I will be using four colours;

wpid-wp-1430228824544.jpegWhen colouring follow the line of the drawing, this way your strokes follow the natural line of the section you are colouring, you will get the most coverage in a single stroke and the paper won’t get as wet which will minimise any bleeding. To fill in larger areas circular colouring motions will minimise colour overlay with promarkers. Also by following the shape of the section if you do experience any colour overlay it will be in the right direction and not look out of place. (something you can use to your advantage in certain colourings.)

To begin with I will start with using the leaf green a couple of downward strokes starting from the tip of the blades of grass is enough to fill this small area.

With grass a single stroke going down the stem, then work around the edges and the line down the centre of the leaf, this then leaves a couple of small gaps which because of the size of this image are able to be filled with quick strokes. If they had been larger I would have used a circular motion.

Using sunflower colouring in a circle is the best way to fill the centre of the flower. As it is round this goes around the edge and fills the centre, if there are any gaps just dot the pen into them.

With the purple do each petal individually, working in the same way as you did the leaf. (The outer edges, up the centre, fill the gaps.) I start with the front most petals before working on the petals at the back.

wpid-wp-1430228859626.jpegOnce you have filled all the petals you could leave it there, though for extra depth once the ink has dried you can go back to areas that would be in shadow and re-colour them.

The right blade of grass has had a second layer of leaf green and also the four petals towards the back have had a second layer of purple.

Alcohol markers, no matter what the brand do bleed they will pretty much always show up on the opposite side of the paper. Don’t use them in two sided print colouring books unless you are willing to sacrifice the image on the other side and always insert a blank sheet to prevent any ink going on to the page below.

Be careful with your choice of paper too. Some papers are very absorbent and will dry the ink up really quickly, it is difficult to achieve even colour on papers like that. Others keep the ink wet for a very long time and this can cause the colour to spread so you end up with colour outside the lines. When you print a colouring page or draw your own images you can use a specific marker pad or a decent paper. (I used a 140gsm medium texture cartridge paper for this tutorial, though as you can see I did get a little ink spread from not being careful enough on one of the flowers.)