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News - Leading Ladies

Copic Marker Shading Tutorial

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Learn to add shading and contrast to the Essentials by Ellen Leading Ladies with Copic markers in this video tutorial!

Good morning! Emily Midgett here with you today sharing some more inspiration using the new August Ellen Hutson release. These new Leading Ladies are great for coloring in any medium. Simple, line-drawn images that are so generously sized (as the characters in the Leading Lady line are!) are great for getting some serious shading practice using the medium of your choice. Today, I’ve chosen to work with Copic markers and practice getting in all of the nooks and crannies of the new Teacher and Medical Leading Ladies. I’ve created a video showcasing the new Teacher Lady, with some tips and tricks on how to get great contrast using your Copic markers.

One of my goals in life is to have a complete Copic collection. I made the mistake once of selling off a large portion of my Copic collection, because I didn’t think that I “needed” them, so I’ve been slowly trying to build it back up (thanks Ellen Hutson for enabling me with amazing prices on Copics!). One of the things I’ve been working on recently is stepping outside of the box with my marker combinations. I’ve discovered that you don’t have to use the markers in solely numerical order to get them to blend. I like to practice on a piece of scratch card stock to ensure that the colors will blend nicely without feathering too badly.

I like to add lots of layers to my colored pieces (in any medium). With Copics, I color my base layer with the trio of markers and let it dry, which cuts down on feathering. For the next layer, because I don’t have a complete collection, I sometimes have to improvise when it comes to coloring images. If I don’t have a really dark color in a particular color family, I will use a dark gray or brown to add some shadows, then blend them out with the colors in my trio or quartet. This technique is demonstrated in more detail in the video.

Adding this extra layer of dark gray or brown helps to really add contrast and dimension to my Copic images. To my mind, shading is conveyed by the contrast of dark and light, so the more contrast you can add, the more realistic your shading will be. I apply the same basic techniques to all colored areas, including hair. I color the hair with my initial trio of colors, then add some flecks of dark brown or gray to add that contrast. Ensuring some contrast will help to define those layers of color and give your ladies some high and low lights, almost like they’ve gone a salon! (ha!)

For my card layout, I used the same basic technique on both of my cards. I used a pale gray to stamp a subtle background using the accessories in both the Teacher Lady and Medical Lady, then used a die cut shape to “ground” the ladies. This die cut helps to keep the ladies from appearing to float in midair, because there isn’t really a scene built around them. When I spend some time coloring my images, I like to keep the background simple, so that the bright coloring can really pop. For the Teacher Lady, I used a plaid cover plate die, then used a circle die to cut a piece from the center. The Medical Lady was “grounded” using a hexagon die cut from plain white card stock.

Well, that’s all for me today! I hope you’ll try doing some experimenting with your Copic markers and the new Leading Ladies, even if you have just a few markers of each color. You can still get great results by doing some mixing and matching. Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Supplies List:


Essentials By Ellen Clear Stamps, Leading Ladies - Medical Lady By Brandi Kincaid

Essentials By Ellen Clear Stamps, Leading Ladies - Teacher Lady By Brandi Kincaid

Essentials By Ellen Designer Dies, Leading Ladies - Teacher Lady By Brandi Kincaid

Essentials By Ellen Designer Dies, Leading Ladies - Medical Lady By Brandi Kincaid

Altenew Dies, Layered Plaid Cover B

Hero Arts Dies, Infinity Nesting Circles

Honey Cuts Dies, Hexagon Solid Stack

Hero Arts Bold Ink Pad, Intense Black

Hero Arts Shadow Ink, Silver

Hero Arts Shadow Ink, Soft Granite

COPIC Sketch Marker T0, Toner Gray No. 0

COPIC Sketch Marker T1, Toner Gray No. 1

COPIC Sketch Marker T3, Toner Gray No. 3

COPIC Sketch Marker T5, Toner Gray No. 5

COPIC Sketch Marker T7, Toner Gray No.7

COPIC Sketch Marker T10, Toner Gray No. 10

COPIC Sketch Marker E000, Pale Fruit Pink

COPIC Sketch Marker E00, Cotton Pearl

COPIC Sketch Marker E11, Barley Beige

COPIC Sketch Marker E47, Dark Brown

COPIC Sketch Marker E49, Dark Bark

COPIC Sketch Marker E57, Light Walnut

COPIC Sketch Marker E59, Walnut

COPIC Sketch Marker R24, Prawn

COPIC Sketch Marker R27, Cadmium Red

COPIC Sketch Marker R29, Lipstick Red

COPIC Sketch Marker R39, Garnet

COPIC Sketch Marker BG13, Mint Green

COPIC Sketch Marker BG15, Aqua

COPIC Sketch Marker BG49, Duck Blue

COPIC Sketch Marker BG78, Bronze

My Sweet Petunia MISTI Laser Etched Stamping Tool (8-1/8 X 10-1/2)




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