Colouring In : 11 – 15

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11. Take A Good Look At The Image You Want To Colour

Whether you want a look of reality or fantasy, before you start colouring in a digital stamp – have a good look at it – firstly on your computer/laptop.  Do you want it a full A4 size for a very large card, or around 4″ for a smaller card.  Is it so intricate that it would be impossible to colour at the smaller size but would look good on an A5 card?

Once you’ve made your decision on size and have printed it out, then what about colour choices?  You may have seen an image of a person and immediately thought that it looked like somebody you knew so you’d already decided that it would have black hair and brown eyes, but if not, now’s the time to have a look at your colour chart and have a think about what colours you want to use.  And once you’ve had an idea, scribble a bit of the colours by the side of each other – either on the side of the printout of your digi (if you intend to trim it out at a later stage) or on a spare sheet of the same card-stock.  Some things may not work out to your satisfaction, so it’s best to have an idea at this stage, before putting pen to the actual digi stamp.

If you are not confident in your colour choices, and have either gone for the Colour Blend Sets, or have built up your collection of pens enough to have a collection of the pens that would go together in your sets, then you just need to decide on whether you want red, or blue, or green, or whatever, and pick the set of colour blend pens that’s relevant for that colour.  You might even like to have a look at, and even download and print out, Letraset’s “Basic Colour Theory” leaflet as this can give you a much better idea of colour groupings, etc., than I could ever do.


12. Blending Using Five Pens

cup398531_437 - card02 - Scooter Dude Digital StampFor this little section I’m going to give you a rough idea of how I coloured in the bottom of the scooter.

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  1. I printed the sheet out onto 300gsm Super Smooth white cardstock, cut out the image I wanted to work with, put it onto my Buddy Board and grabbed my selected pens (then realised I’d still got my non-stick mat on my board so had to take the lot off to remove that before beginning to work).
  2. I looked carefully at the area to be coloured and decided roughly on the zones.  I don’t actually write on the card-stock, this is just an indication of what I had planned in mind when I started.
  3. I coloured in with shade 1 all the way from the base up to around the end of the area marked 1 on my plan.
  4. Next I coloured in with shade 2 all the way from the back to around the end of the area marked 2 on my plan.

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  1. The next stage was to colour in with shade 3 up to the end of the area marked 3 on the plan.  Notice that where I’ve just put colour down looks a bit darker, but it lightens a bit as the alcohol dries off the paper leaving just the colour on the paper.
  2. I coloured in with shade 4 before taking this picture.  I went a bit further towards the end of shade 3 than I intended, but I don’t stress out about things like that.  The plan I get in my head before I start is always subject to change and development.
  3. This picture shows the addition of the 5th shade.  So that’s the light to dark done.
  4. I then took my 4th shade again and went over shade 5 and up to around half way of the initial 4th shade.  So this begins the blending of the line between 5 and 4.  Remember, it’s a bit wet at the moment, so the blending doesn’t look as good as it will when it’s dried – so don’t be tempted to go over and over as you’ll just undo the work already done.

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  1. I then used my 3rd shade to go over the initial line between 4 and 3.  Notice that I tend to do this in a liniar motion, not a circular motion.
  2. Then it was the turn of shade 2 to be coloured in the area going over the line between the intial 3 and 2.
  3.  Next I took pen 1 and coloured from area 2, over the line to area 1, and carrying on over the line to the initial white area, just putting down a quick, light, coat.
  4. It was more or less dried off when I took this last picture.

This isn’t quite as smooth a blend as I was going for.  I think the fact that I kept on stopping to take the photos meant that more drying was happening as I was going along than I usually get when I do a quick bit of colouring.  I usually work as quick as possible over a small area to keep the ink moving without having to really soak the cardstock, but that’s just me.  Experiment and find out what works best for you.


13. Shading Using One Pen

cup356222_1749 - Card03 - Twenties Fashion StampI used the finished digi I started colouring in for this pictorial guide to make a screen card, using a Glitter Girls embossing board to create the base card.  I’m concentrating on the main area of the dress for this guide, and only using one marker pen to achieve some depth of colour in parts of the areas I’m working in.  Further details of what I used for the whole card can be seen on my blog post – here.

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  1. I printed out the digi stamp onto onto 300gsm Super Smooth white cardstock. After I made my initial choice of colour, Powder Blue, I coloured in a little sample panel near the side of my card, firstly making an oblong of a single layer of colour.
  2. I then went back over two thirds of the rectangle to put on a second layer of colour.
  3. Sorry that this picture is a bit fuzzy, but it is supposed to show how the panel looked after I’ve added a 3rd layer of the same colour to the right hand third of the rectangular test area.  I was happy with my colour choice as I could see that colouring over the same area gave me a depth of colour which would allow me to add shadow/dimension to my colouring.
  4. The next thing I did was look at the area to be coloured and decided which areas I thought would be in most shadow and therefore appear darker.  This is just an idea of how I saw it, with the larger arrow-heads denoting the darker areas.
  5. I then started colouring in the area on the digi-stamp, leaving a fleck of white on the arm most forward, and a larger area of white on her chest and just concentrating first on getting colour around the edges.

Having thought that stopping to take photos at every stage was allowing more drying time in between adding layers of colour than I usually do with my quick colouring, I decided to speed up my colouring a bit for this pictorial demo, but this does mean that I’ve not been as careful about keeping just inside the line as I’d usually be, so some colour has gone over – but I’m not worrying about this, or thinking it’s ruined and needs to be thrown, or thinking it’s a catastrophe.  I will do a bit of a tidy up at a later stage, but will probably have more ti tidy up before the end and so won’t fuss about little details like this until later.

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  1. I then started adding colour to the chest area, flicking colour up from the arm and down from the neck area.
  2. Then it was time to add a second coating of colour in the area of her armpit on one side, and all over the sleeve on the other side.
  3. I went on to add a second coat of colour to the area that would be in shadow under the arm that comes across the body.
  4. Then working in from the sides below the arm, and adding some more colour along the line between the area I was colouring and the area below.
  5. The area just above the arm that comes across her body has been coloured in now, and also up the sides of her body to her underarms and the far arm, adding a deeper shade to the blue.

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  1.  This picture shows that more colour has been added to the top of her arm, working it’s way along her neckline and flicking down onto her chest area and in from the sides.
  2. And more flicking in of colour from the top and bottom across her chest, adding more to the underarm and arm-pit to keep deepening that colour as I was going along.
  3. And a further build up of colour, working ever closer together from the top and bottom until the area being coloured just meets finishes off the colouring of this area.
  4. I prefer not to colour two areas that are right by each other in quick succession to make sure that the first dries and doesn’t quickly blend into the next area, so I jumped over the scalloped band on the dress and went to work on a lower, skirt, area of the dress.  I started colouring in around from the outside and down the middle, as indicated by the fold on the dress front. Once again I left a white area on the area at the front of her legs.  These are the areas that will be coloured lightest at the end so I don’t want to start putting down a lot of colour there in the beginning.
  5. I next added a second layer of colour around the outside of the area being worked on and up the centre from the bottom, as denoted by the fold line given.

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  1. I gradually built up the depth of colour around the outside, building the colour inwards towards the white areas.
  2. Then it was a case of colouring in from either side of the white areas in a flicking motion.
  3. And putting colour down until both sides of colour were just touching but the colour was very pale over the centre line down the front of both thigh areas.
  4. My results may not be the perfectly blended colouring that some others achieve, and my methods may be different to some, but I usually end up with results I’m happy with, even when they turn out with more of a contrast than I originally aimed for.  And as barely anything in the world around us is perfectly smooth and blended I quite like textured looks to my end results and don’t worry about it.

When I get back to colouring in more of this digital stamp I’ll try and remember to take photos as I go along.  And hopefully get a picture of the completed card up here for you to see before too long.


14. Colouring In Detailed Digital Stamps 1

cup222855_597 - card03 - Decorative Edge Card Blank 1 - StudioThere are two types of what I’d called “detailed digital stamps” – the type where there are a lot of small, intricate, areas that have a lot of detail on them that need to be picked out and coloured a tiny bit at a time, and the type where the designer has added lots of detail such as shadow lines and creases in clothes, etc., so that the person colouring in knows exactly where light and dark goes, and sometimes doesn’t even need to do a lot of shading.  If you are worried about putting detail into your colouring in then look out for stamps or digital stamps that already have the detail, such as the one I’m going to work on an area of in this photographic guide.

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  1.  Click on the link to the digital stamp and note the details already added to the boy’s clothes.
  2. I decided that two colours would be plenty for the boy’s clothes and chose Denim Blue and Bluebell, and did an oblong of each colour, laying down more layers of colour towards the right of each.
  3. I also did the same again with the colours overlapping, to see the interaction between the colours, and decided that I was happy with what I’d chosen.
  4. I quickly coloured over the boy’s clothes with the Denim colour.  Not worrying about any shading, just laying one layer of colour down all over the area.
  5. I then used my Bluebell ProMarker and just blobbed the colour down over the areas of the digi-stamp that had the shading lines and blocks.  I wasn’t trying to keep within anyarea, or being careful.  I just blobbed the colour about.

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The addition of the second colour is very blended and subtle when the first layer is coloured quickly and the second colour dotted on very quickly while the first is still wet, but it just gives a subtle texture to the look of the clothes that will only be noticeable to the eye on closer inspection.


15. Blending Using Two Pens

CF cup222859_597 - card06 - Decorative Edge Card Blank 4 - STUDIOFor this pictorial guide I’m using one digital stamp (you can see the finished card I made with it in my blog post – here) and colouring in three different areas using three different coloured pairs of pens.  I’m looking for light and dark areas with a fuzzy join between them, rather than a completely blended and seamless flow of blending as shown with the five pens.

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  1. One of the flowers to be coloured.
  2. The lightest yellow colour put on the centre.  Note that I’m leaving a splash of white, uncoloured area.
  3. How it looked after the darker yellow was added and then gone over with the lightest again.  For this project I’m leaving the highlight as a white area, rather than using a lighter colour.
  4. The lightest yellow colour put on the petals.
  5. The petals with the darker colour added – I flicked it our from the central area, turning the picture around as I went to keep flicking of colour going outwards without trying to contort my hand into odd angles to get the laying down of colour in the right direction.

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  1. I started colouring he pig himself by putting the lightest pink over most of his ears, again leaving splashes of white as highlights.
  2. I then put down the darker pink colour.
  3. And finished off the ears by going back over the area originally coloured with the lighter marker again to gently blend the boundary between the light and dark.
  4. The same method was used to work on the body.

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  1. This shows the snout areas coloured light and dark before going over to blend.
  2. This shows the same area of snout after going back over with the lightest pen.
  3. I don’t always mark an area for leaving as a white highlight before starting to colour an area, but I did this time.
  4. This shows the pig’s face with everything bar the white highlight coloured using the lightest pink.

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  1. This shows where I’d coloured in using the darker pink colour.
  2. And here you can see the more rounded and shaded effect of the pig’s face after I’ve gone back over with the lighter pink colour.

I’m sure you are getting the idea of how I work this two marker method of colouring in areas by now, so it won’t be any surprise to you how I coloured in the darker wood pieces of the frame.

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  1. I coloured in the whole area, bar the white highlight, using the lighter colour of brown.
  2. I coloured in the darker areas where I wanted them. (Sorry but this photo has come out lighter than it should, but you can still see the contrast. The lighting conditions were changing a bit as I was working so the actual colours shown are not always completely accurate in my photos, but you can see the relative position of colours and the areas of blending.
  3. This is the same area after I’d gone over again with the light.
  4. And another similar area coloured in with the lighter brown marker.  This time with no white highlight as I felt that it would be in the area behind the flower if the light was catching it anywhere.

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  1. And again added the dark brown colour as shadows, this time going round the petals as if they are casting a shadow.
  2. I then coloured in the inner frame with the lighter brown colour.  This time I’m not very sure that I’ve chosen the best places for the white highlight, but it isn’t critical where you place any highlights.  If you don’t like highlights, don’t put them in, and if you want them, but they don’t look like where you’ve put them first then colour over them.  You can always use the blender tool to dilute the colour in another location to add a lighter area.


Please do come back and have a look at these pages again in the future as I hope to continue adding pictorial guides to some of the colouring I’ve done.

Please Note:

  • Other than the craftsUprint badge and the photos of Letraset products, the photographs used in this pictorial guide were all taken by me and are copyright to me – so no taking copies for your own use in either paper or electronic format.
  • The digital stamps I’ve been colouring in are copyright to the designers.  I’ve bought the digi stamps (and been given one as a prize from the designer) and have used them in my card making.  I’ve just used selected areas in these pictorial guides to show one way that they could be coloured, but if you buy the digi stamps you can colour them however you prefer – you will quite probably make a better job of it than me.  I’ve provided details of the stamp name and the designer for each one, plus I’ve put in links to where they are legally sold, so if you like them you can go and buy your own.


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