Friday, January 28

Technique Class - Colouring with Copics

Every paper craft artist has their own preferred techniques and tricks for colouring images with copic markers. In this tutorial I would like to share my methods, hints and suggestions developed through instruction from other artists, reading and a great deal of trial and error.
Beccy's List for Success:
1. Start with a good quality cardboard.
I personally use Whisper White cardboard from Stamping Up, but there are other brands that work just as well including one produced by Copic. Your cardboard needs to stand up to a fair amount of liquid without pilling or tearing. Don't underestimate how important it is to use a good base.
2. Use a series of colours in the same shade or tone. Copics are made to work together to shade and highlight.
The letters and numbers on the copic pens actually represent the colour and the tonal value. You can find lots of information on the Copic site regarding colour sequencing. Using a "collection" of one colour is how artists achieve the best results.
3. Work the shades together until you are happy with the results.
You do not have to stop at just one layer of colour, in most situations you will achieve a better result if you continue to blend. If you have a streaky finish, simply add more of the lightest colour, working in small circles to rub the ink together. This ability to work the ink is the reason you want to have a good quality paper that doesn't tear easily.
4. Use the 0 pen (colourless) to strengthen your highlights.
Many artists use the 0 pen as an eraser, which does work to an extent but I have never successfully removed all the colour from an error in this way. I find the 0 pen is best for strengthening a highlight or for blending lighter colours together without adding any more depth.
5. Practice!

Right, let's get down to business.
Colours used in this project:
0, E35, YR21, YG03, YG05, YG07, E25, E27, E29, G12, G14, G17.

Identify the position of your highlights by deciding which direction the light source is coming from. I want my light to be in front and slightly above my pear, which means that the highlights will be almost at the top of the pear and leaves. Colour the pear with YG03, leaving the highlight areas blank as in the picture below. I prefer to have jagged edges where my colours finish as I find it blends easier, but that's a matter of preference.

Randomly add some YR21, keeping the colour mostly to the bottom of the pear. The warmer colour makes the pear look as though it is starting to ripen.

Add a few little "imperfections" to the pear using E35. Once we blend over the top with the other shades of green, these won't appear quite so obvious, but they do add interest to the overall design.

Add a shadow with YG05 below the leaf that is covering the pear.

Add more shadows with YG05 to the bottom of the pear and around the "waist". Refer to the picture for placement. You can already see how the colours are starting to shape and round out the fruit.

Deepen the shadows with YG07, keeping the colour to the very edges of the pear in a narrow strip. Don't take this darkest colour into the lightest green, you should be able to see three distinct shades at this stage.

Starting in the darkest green area, blend your colours together using the YG03 marker in small circles. Work around the pear, slowly making your way to the blank highlight areas, filling them in last to keep those areas of the fruit lightest.

Use the 0 blending pen in small circles over the highlight areas to strengthen the highlight and add further dimension to your pear.

Use E25 to colour the branch and down into the spine of the leaves. Don't bring the colour all the way to the end, but don't stop it abruptly either. It will look better if you have a little of the brown mixed with the green. Refer to the picture below.

Add shadows to the branch with E27. Make sure you darken areas that are behind other things or in crevices. Use E27 to colour the core at the bottom of the pear.

Add the darkest shadows to the branch and core of the pear with E29. I generally don't blend branches or tree trunks as I like the rougher look, but you can if you prefer by using the E25 marker to blend the three different browns together.

Colour the leaves, including the stems, with G12 leaving the highlight areas blank on the top two leaves. We want the back leaf to be slightly darker to give the impression of depth. Darker colours recede while lighter ones come forward.

Add shadows with G14 keeping the topmost leaf lighter than the others.

Now add the darkest green G17, again keeping the topmost leaf lighter than the others. The back leaf should have the most amount of shadow since it is behind the pear and the other two leaves.

Let's add some imperfections to the leaves using E27.

Blend the leaves by working in small circles with G12, starting in the darker green areas and finishing in the highlights. You can use the 0 blending marker on the leaves if you would like to strengthen the highlights, or the G14 to strengthen the shadows.

I hope this tutorial has been useful and has given you some tips for using your Copic markers. Keep in mind that everyone uses their markers in a different way and that what is good for one artist may not necessarily suit you.


  1. I love this.. thank you so much for this great tutorial and the lovely image; I have bookmarked it!

  2. WOW Beccy I love this tutorial and have learned a LOT! Thank you so much for taking the time to do the color technique in steps and to document with pictures for us to see all. I will be referring to this all the time.

    Shirley G

  3. thanks for this clear tutorial Becky....I just love to see different uses of the copics....your pear looks like real!
    xxx Margreet

  4. Thank you so much for taking the time to detail the sequences and colours used. I am new to Copic colouring and will find this invaluable.

    Janet xx

  5. Thank you! you are an exceptional teacher!

  6. Excellent tutorial Beccy, thank you for sharing!

  7. Thank you for this tutorial... Very interesting!

  8. Greatu tutorial! Thanks very much for sharing your Copic techniques.

  9. Beccy when are you starting classes girl! You have so much knowledge about these kind of colouring & would certainly pay for a class or 3
    Thanks for the tutorial.

  10. You have perfect timing! I have had my Copics for awhile, but just recently started to use them in earnest. Just today I went to the Copic website to better understand what the letter and numbers on each marker means and how best to pick colors to blend well. Thank you for this excellent information and for sharing your talents with us.

  11. Thanks for your very detailed pictures. It really helps to see them as they are colored.

  12. Hi Beccy
    Thanks for the tutorial.. I recently start with Copic.

  13. some how I missed this tutorial....I am going to try your colors and technique....I like to eat my pears the color of yours...haha

  14. Fantastic tutorial Beccy, thank you, take careX:)

  15. This is a great tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing your techniques.

  16. thanks for sharing this great tutorial.