Monday, September 05, 2022

Inspire Me Monday: Copic Base Layers

Hello! It is Power Poppy Inspire Me Monday time again! I started out wanting to share something with an autumn theme, but it is as far from autumn as you can get where I live! We are in the triple digit temperatures for the second week in a row here in inland southern California! And, with no end it sight! It is normal for here, so I am told, but I am not used to this heat. We just celebrated our one year anniversary in our new house and in our new city...and wow, it's HOT. We are making good use of our solar energy and our swimming pool! 

As I had picked out an image for a fall theme, I decided to keep my originally planned image, but to make a simple change at the end, as you will see.
Now, for the technique I chose this week: Copic Base Layers. Or, as some people call it, under-painting. I am not sharing true under-painting, as it is a lot more complicated than what I am sharing. What I decided to share is something called "basing" or "base layering." 

Base layering is a popular technique in adult coloring groups. Many folks use water-based markers or water coloring, to put down a first layer on coloring pages, then they will add colored pencil on top. Since I am using a digital image and my choice of paper, I am using Copic alcohol markers for my base layer.

Let's get started!
First, print the apples image from the Apples in Season digital stamp set onto white cardstock suitable for Copic coloring. I use Hammermill 100 pound (271 gsm) Premium Color Copy Cover for most of my Copic projects, but you may use whichever paper is your favorite. I am using a black line version and have printed the image at approximately 5" x 7". 

Next choose your markers, one for each main color in  the image. I chose a Copic R14 for the apples, YG05 for the leaves, and RV02 for the flower buds. I chose colors that were between the medium and light tone that I would pick if I were coloring a full Copic piece.
Use the three markers to base (or under-paint) the images. I chose to not color the flowers that I wanted to be mostly white, nor the branch, which will be brown. I did a nice layer of ink with each color and then allowed the ink to dry.
Next choose a set of colored pencils that are a middle hardness which will work well if your cardstock is quite smooth. The pencils need to be soft (or waxy) enough to blend, but you don't want to burnish and fill in the tooth of the paper too quickly. Remember, smooth cardstock has very little tooth (texture). If the pencils are too hard, they will just sort of skim over the surface of this very smooth paper.
I chose a set of pencils called Schpirerr Farben, which are marketed as an oil pencil, but seem to be in the middle between oil and wax. The pencils are a medium softness and quite vibrant. I used the pencils to add details and shading to my inked images. 

My set of pencils has 96 colors. Below are the colors I used.

Apples: 240 True Love, 650 Ruby Brown, 130 Burnt Sienna
Leaves: 090 Golden Yellow, 560 Apple Green, 520 Green, 510 Moss Green
Flowers: 012 Ivory, 260 Carnation, 280 Rose, 290 Fuchsia Pink
Branch and stems: 668 Espresso, 660 Brown

Because we fist added the alcohol ink layer, we don't need to lay down as much pencil to cover the white of the paper! We can add more layers of color and more detail because we are not needing to fill up the tooth (texture) of the paper with the pencil. 
I used a few fine line pens and a white gel pen just for some tiny details on the flowers. 
Normally an image of this size, coloring fully with Copics, would take me two to three hours to complete, maybe longer. If I use only pencils it may take me as many as 8 or more hours to complete. Pencils are a very slow medium! 

Using this technique, it took me approximately 35 minutes to finish this coloring project! Base layering with Copic covered the white of the paper and the pencils added shading, highlights, and dimension! 
Now for the change-up. I realized that you won't see buds, flowers, and fruit on an apple tree at the same time. Plus the addition of the flowers made this image decidedly NOT autumnal. So, I had to cover up the sentiment that I had pre-printed onto my image. 

I printed a different sentiment onto the same type of cardstock. I chose a sentiment from the Folklore Flora digital stamp package.  I simply used a die cut to trim out the sentiment, then added a black mat with cardstock. A little glue, and presto! The original sentiment is all covered up! 
I hope you enjoyed learning about base layering and that you will give it a try, especially on larger images. It really does speed up the coloring process! 

Keep in mind that alcohol markers will ALWAYS bleed through your paper! If you wish to try this technique in a coloring book, make sure you are using a single-sided page and that you protect the following pages from the ink bleed through. 

Power Poppy Products Used:
Apples in Season digital stamp set
Folklore Flora digital stamp package

Other Products Used: 
Copic markers
Black cardstock
Elizabeth Craft Designs Stitched Rectangle dies

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