I’ve been working with Copic markers for more than four years and the vast majority of that has involved colouring stamped or printed images. There have been a few times when I’ve hand-drawn pictures and coloured those, but that’s still working within the lines, just lines that I’ve made and that aren’t as solid as the usual black-stamped ones. Then there are the times when I’ve turned my hand to no-line colouring, but of course, even then, there are lines, they’re just very faint.
The real challenge is to create something with just Copic markers and a blank piece of card. There are limits to what I will attempt without any sketched lines — my drawing skills would have to greatly improve before I tried anything with a particularly complex focal element without refining a sketch beforehand — but landscapes and scenes that could be used to provide a setting for a stamped image are well worth trying.
Last year I did the Autumn Scenes class on Art Classes; two of those images even made their way onto cards. Sandy Allnock has a wonderful knack for creating interesting scenes and then being able to explain how she did it and why she did it the way she did. I picked up the Winter Wonderland class as well but didn’t get around to doing until now because, well, to be honest, colouring snow is intimidating. Especially for someone who normally tends towards stronger colours…
But I shouldn’t have worried. One watch through to get an idea of how the scene was built up and then follow along the second time through, pausing the video as necessary. I am so pleased with how they all turned out, I really ought to have more confidence when I try something new but there’s always a part of my brain that is convinced that this next thing is the thing I will fail horrifically at. Even the one with the night sky worked and that one had the intimidating blending dark colours over a large area and the large splodges of snow on the big tree to deal with.
I am absolutely convinced that anyone who is at all confident with handling a Copic marker — who can reliably make flick marks, do basic blending, draw a straight line (possibly the hardest part) and a squiggly one — would be able to create a decent looking scene by following Sandy’s instructions.
I think that the trick is to forget your assumptions about what snow looks like, or trees, or mountains. Forget your ideas about how you would create an icy path or a snow-covered tree. Just watch what Sandy does and do the same thing. There will be plenty of time to adapt the techniques and add your own twist to them later. I’ve coloured snow before, but I haven’t coloured it this way, and I might not do it exactly like this in the future, but I now have another tool in my Copic colouring arsenal.
The biggest lesson is that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be good. I could point to bits on each of these that I’m not completely happy with, where I had to rework things until it didn’t look odd, and just where I found it hard to visualise what I was trying to achieve so it’s not quite right. But I like them all. I am happy to show them all to people. And the thing is, if there are any bits you don’t like, you can always fussy cut a monster and cover it up.
Some of the photos could be better; winter is a rubbish time to try and photograph wintry pictures when the light in your craft room isn’t brilliant.
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