You've followed my tutorials and drawn a picture you're proud of. Now you want to colour it in! Well, here's how I bring my pieces to life.
The easiest way to demonstrate this is with a simple ATC. Since 'tis the Spring season and Easter is passing us by, I have decided to rustle up an Easter card.
This is an Easter Bilby. In Australia (and indeed, New Zealand), bunnies are the Ultimate Evil. Thus a native animal has been selected to be the Easterial icon. The bilby is also known as the "rabbit-eared bandicoot" and is, as you may have guessed, a bandicoot with bunny-like ears. They are exceptionally cute and make an adorable Easter card.
So, let's give her some colour. For this I will need:
* Colour pencils
* Pencil Sharpener
* Gel Pens (white and some pretty sparkly colours)
* Inking pens (Uniball Pin, finelines - 0.5, 0.3 and 0.8)
* Coloured markers
I always use Polychromos pencils. They are an oil-based pencil produced by German company, Faber Castell. The leads are relatively soft and gives a good, bold colour that blends very well. Far superior to Crayola or the non-artist Faber Castell brands. Derwent and prisma pencils are also quite good. Derwents are even softer, and quite good for final light highlights. I have not much experience with them however (I only own one, a very light purple, a colour not produced by Faber Castell). Prismas are not available in my country, New Zealand.
Firstly, I print off my lineart onto a nice, clean piece of watercolour paper. Although I do not intend to use watercolour pencils, the paper has a nice grain to it and a good thickness. I print the lineart lightly, so that I can fix any errors in the original sketch and re-ink it. To make the image lighter on the paper by increasing the brightness of the scanned image. Examine the file for corruption thanks to stains on your scanner or not-quite-erased pencil lines. It is possible to scan pencil lineaart, of course, but I prefer to ink it first and thus give myself a smooth outline to work around.
We shall begin by colouring the main character, the Bilby. Firstly, I select the colours I need - a dark grey, medium grey, and light grey. I start with the medium grey by defining in the greater shadows - the lower parts of the limbs and head, beneath the neck and ears, and along her rump.
Having added in these, now I skip to the lightest grey and colour in the remainder of the Bilby. You will notice I have also began work on the belly. For this I am using cinnamon, cream and ivory coloured pencils. I often use ivory as a substitute for white when colouring animals. It has a touch of yellow to it, which makes it a little more obvious against the white paper. I reserve the white pencil for highlights (drawn over the original colour) and to help blend colours together.
The colouring of the belly and feet is following the same technique as the main body - I start with the shadowed areas and the cinnamon - the pads of the feet, the arm pits, etc and then add in the cream.
Now I take the darkest pencil and add in the fur strokes. The most effective, and efficient way to do this is in a series of little "V"s. For this you will need to sharpen the pencil to a fine point. Don't make the "V"s too big, or it will look more like feathers. Use the medium coloured pencil to blend the fur in a bit. If working on a larger scale, you can use the medium pencil to shade beneath each V.
With your nice, sharp, dark pencil increase the shadows.
Now the main character is coloured, it is time to move to the background. Here the same principles apply.
Beginning with the shadows, making sure they are dark beneath the feet and belly and where the tail touches the ground. Do not forget here to take the sun's position into consideration. If you have a visible light source in the card, shadows should fall as that light source would dictate them to. If there is no visible light source and it is an outdoors, natural scene, choose a corner and imagine the sun is shining from there. Remain consistent! Can you guess which corner my sun shines from?
It's the top right corner. I hope you guessed correctly (because it proves I've done my job right).
For the desert, I have chosen a range of shades of ochre. I would tell you the exact names, but my pencils are so short I can no longer read these! The darkest golden brown is used for the shadows (deeper shadows are black or indigo, depending on which I manage to grab first). I use a variety of shades to scribble in a few lines that indicate stones and grain. Here's a secret tip - a quick squiggle does the trick. You do not need to draw every pebble!
The remainder of the background is fairly easy to complete using the same technique. Where flowers are concerned, I colour in the foreground stalks with a light green pencil, and shade the flowers in what is almost a stylised manner. Depth can be added by taking up a dark green or black marker pen and drawing in a few stalks behind the foreground ones. This adds an impression of depth.
I use markers to colour in the eggs, giving them a bright and playful feel.
Additional embellishments can be added to the eye with gel pens - the glint of white off the pupil, a bright blue iris. I also make her claws shiny and silver and add a gold touch to the centre of every flower. The "Happy Easter" greeting I colour with glitter gel pens.
And now she's ready to go to her new home - a little late for Easter, 'tis true! But it's the thought that counts, right?