Wednesday, December 21

Colouring Candle Light

I enjoy colouring light, especially when it's warm, glowing candle light shining on a cute little face! Today I want to show you my technique for colouring candle glow using coloured pencils on smooth cardstock. You can apply the same technique to little bulbs, birthday candles, lanterns or most other light sources. If you'd like the light to be less "warm" opt for either a lighter shade of yellow or white.

I started by printing one of the gingerbread characters onto a smooth piece of kraft cardstock. I like to use the kraft as it gives a nice base for the gingerbread cookie, both colour-wise and for texture.

I'm using a warm brown for the gingerbread base and a dark brown to shade. To make sure I don't lose the lines as I'm colouring, I generally trace over them with the darker shade so they are still visible through the first layer of colour.

I like to add additional colours between the layers, such as shading and "blush" for the cheeks. I have also coloured the candle flame, which is going to be the source of light for this project.

All the shadow areas will be above or below the light source - in this case, the candle flame. Shadows will occur wherever something obstructs the light from the candle, such as the gumdrop nose or the icing around the head. Don't forget to add shadows to the eye sockets so they recede into the head.

The light from the candle will hit the areas of the face that are not obstructed, such as the bottom of the nose, the chin and cheeks and the centre of each eyelid. Add yellow pencil to those areas making sure you fade out the colour as you move away from the light.

I coloured the icing with a cream pencil and shadowed with a warm grey tone. The icing will have shadows above as well as a very thin shadow below where the candle light can't quite reach. Don't forget to add some yellow along the bottom of the icing where the light touches.

Colour the rest of the design in the same way. Add your dark brown shadows in the areas where the candle light doesn't reach, particularly under the arms and tummy, the backs of the legs and bottoms of the feet.

I darkened some areas even further with black pencil. Adding very dark shadows helps to accentuate the light by adding contrast, but don't go overboard unless your character is in a lightless area.

Adding a final layer of the base colour will blend everything together nicely.

Now we add the glow to the body, remembering to hit the areas that aren't obstructed, such as the tops of the hands and arms. Very little light will reach all the way down to the belly and legs, but if you wish, you can add just a touch to the tops of the feet.



Lori m said...

Thank you for the awesome tutorial, you bring your images to life, fabulous card, hugs, Lori m

karin said...

Thanks for all the colouring tips Beccy.

Margreet said...

Wonderful colouring, Beccy. Thanks for explaining.
xxx Margreet

Teresa said...

Thank you. Your images always look great!

Colinda said...

Thank you, gerat to see him come to life!!
Hope you'll have a wonderfull christmas!

Faith A at Daffodil Cards said...

WOW! Beccy, this is an awesome tutorial, I've bookmarked it.
Happy Christmas
Faith x

Mel C said...

Wonderful candle light Beccy, so sweet!

TracyM #6773 said...


THANK YOU for sharing your tutorial with us :)