Copic Colouring – Clothing/Fabrics: Whites & Shiny

Continuing on with our focus on clothing and fabrics (did you see Philippa has been playing with denims!!?) today we are going to look at a couple of other common elements in colouring character stamps. Colouring whites and making things look shiny.

COLOURING WHITES: When you are colouring an image and you want something to be white, it might be tempting to just leave the area uncoloured, but this would look very flat – the rest of your image has depth with shading and shadow so your whites should too. 

Don’t feel you have to avoid whites though – they are very easy to colour and can add a sense of realism to your pictures. Of course there is the obvious snow scene and wedding dress – you don’t have a lot of choice there! But when colouring everyday characters try incorporating some white, it can be a lovely touch. White socks and T shirts are very sweet looking, which suits a lot of the cute character stamps we all love. Those who purchase a Copic Club add on kit this month will have the choice of 2 different CC Designs stamps. The gorgeous Sugar Country Girl I have used in my samples today is one of them, and she has a sweet lacey looking dress on which could be coloured in any marker of your choice, but choosing white for it gives a sweet angelic innocence to the image.

When colouring whites your first step is to decide what kind of white you want to colour. Whites are not all alike! Anyone who has tried to choose the perfect white wall paint knows just how many whites there are! Think of the subtle differences between a variety of everyday white items; the clean bright white of copy paper, the creamy white of eggs or a pearl bracelet, park a white car next to different things and it will take on a slight hue of green from the surrounding shrubbery or the blue of the nearby water. Your choices are almost unlimited. As a general rule, choose light Cs or Ws for ‘normal’ white, leaning towards  Es for a warmer vintage look and Bs for a crisp cold look.

Choose a 3 colour family like usual, but make the first, lightest colour (your base) your paper. I like to think of my paper as 0000. This makes it easier to choose the next colours in your family. Use the basic rules from ‘natural blending groups’ to decide what your middle and darkest colours will be. If you really did have a marker 0000 then from here you can go in one of several directions. There is no letter at the beginning to restrict you so pick whatever you like as long as it remains quite light. In the sample below I have used W1 and W3.

With white colouring, we treat the blank paper as our base colour – so we don’t need to apply the first step – but we do need to add shading followed by shadow. Choose your light source then apply shading in a series of sharp lines only in the areas where the darkest shadows would be – opposite your light source (#1). Soften the lines with a blender pen (#2). Finally add your shadows with the darkest colour (#3)

Above you can see how much control you have over the look of your image by the choice of white. #4 is created with B000 and shadows of C1. It looks very clean and fresh. #5 used E41 with shadows of W3. It looks much more vintage. #6 is C1 and C3 for the shadows. This one somehow appears to be a ‘truer’ white.

MAKING THINGS LOOK SHINY: Another useful technique to know is how to make things look shiny. Think of shoes, handbags and other accessories.

Heavily blended images can look very effective, but the secret to creating shine is contrast. We will explore this further in a later focus on hair, but for now, concentrate on creating a layering effect from dark shadows furthest away from the light source, to pure white where the light hits directly.

#1 – apply your base colour but leave a white spot at the direct impact of your light source. #2 – build up your shading layers. Here I started with YR02, added YR04 and YR07. #3 – blend lightly using YR02 and add some W3 or C3 to the very edges, under the hair and furthest from the light. The sheer difference from dark intense, slightly greyed sections through to pure white is read by our brains as representing distance and proximity to light and it appears to shine. See how the headband seems ot be made from plastic? Without the shine it would look like a fabric headband. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But the ability to make things appear shiny will come in handy!

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