Hello everyone, it’s Christine here today with a colouring tutorial. And because I’m Canadian, we’ll have lots of extra “U’s” today too! We’ve just come through a fabulous week of the Happiest Holiday release at Power Poppy, and today I thought I’d follow-up with an easy tutorial showing how to colour WHITE! It seems funny, doesn’t it, that you have to add colour to make something look white? But, there are some simple steps that really make a difference in making your white stamped images pop, and look more realistic.
It would seem to make sense that white stamped on a white sheet of paper should just look white. But when you look at it without colouring, it really just looks flat. Here I’ve masked and stamped several of the paperwhite images from Glistening Paperwhites with some of the greenery from the set. I added some colour to the greenery, but left the paperwhites alone, just to illustrate the point. The reason those paperwhites don’t look right is because they need some help to create contrast. Contrast between light and dark is what makes the flowers feel more white.
Look at this beautiful example of paperwhites in nature. If you look critically, you can see that even in those white paperwhites, there are a lot of other colours in the petals giving you contrast, shadow and detail. I can see cool gray, warm yellow, green and then crisp white in these blooms. And yet, when you look at them, everyone would say those are white paperwhites, right? It’s actually the contrast between the shadows and crisp white that give the paperwhite flower it’s “whiteness” to your eyes.
So, how can we do that in our colouring?
1. Contrasting Background
One of the ways to give your stamped images pop, is to give the background a deep contrast in colour.
With these first paperwhites, I took some B60 - B66 markers and added a very deep blue background fading out the colour with a colorless blender. You could also do this with masking and an airbrushing system, but I don’t have one, so I just used the markers. Start with your lightest marker, and use a swirly motion with your colouring to give it the feeling of a soft mottled background. Closest to the image I added darker marker colour, blending it out with the lighter marker and then coming back in with the Colorless blender to swirl the background. I also added some pointillism to tie in the different depths of colour together. You can see how much more white the paperwhites look just by the depth of the background. Ignore my blob of B66 that dripped there....I made sure that didn’t make it to the final card!
Here you can see that I’ve coloured in the centers of the flowers and then used the B63 marker to bring some slight shadow to the petals of the blooms. You really don’t need to add a lot of colour into those petals because you do want the primary look to be white.
I’ve also read another good tip for background colouring. Whatever colour you use in the shadows of your petals, use the contrasting colour as your background. So, because I used a B63 in the shadows, another good background colour for this design could have been a yellow or orange. It would really make the white pop. I chose to go with blue because I used yellow for the flower centres.
2. Cool Shadows
When you look at a white flower, what you’ll often see if you look closely is gray in the shadows. It’s an obvious choice for shading. Here you can see I’ve added C1 - C5 markers into the shaded areas of the petals with small strokes. Marcy always illustrates her image with such good cues as to where the shading should go.
The biggest tip I can give for adding shading to white is to use a light hand. What makes something look white is not the shading really, but its the CONTRAST between the bright white that is uncoloured, and the shading. That’s what helps your eye read white, and see depth and realism. In otherwords, don’t overcolour or overblend the shading in your petals. To much shading will just make your image look muddy and not white. Be sure to leave large portions pure uncoloured white and just add some soft shadow strokes in the depths. It will look much more realistic this way and then will still feel white.
Warm grays will also work in this type of image, but it will give you the overall feeling of a warm white.
You can see I didn’t blend some of the deeper gray marker strokes, left it quite unblended actually, and yet it still demonstrates depth to the petal and reads as a white flower.
Of course, even with the cool gray shading, I couldn’t help but add some pretty soft bluey-green to the background, as it makes such a difference in adding to the contrast. This colour is one of my favourites for backgrounds! Plus, because it’s softer - it’s really easy to blend out. Another tip was that I added just a few strokes with the Y0000 in some of the highlighted areas of the petals to make it look “sunny”. You might not even be able to see it well in the photograph. But again, it’s so important to leave a good portion of the petals pure white, so you establish contrast.
3. Colourful Shadows
You can also add unexpected colour into your shading and the image will still read white too!
On these paper whites I used a combination of purple and green to create shading in the petals. Green occurs naturally in paperwhites and the coolness of the purple also works well here. The same principle applies here too - even if I am adding purple and green into the petals, and again... I leave large portions white so you have a good contrast.
You’re not limited to traditional blue or grey for shading in white, other colours still work well! Cool colours are often the best in shading because in colour theory - cool receeds (or looks farther away), and light or bright advances (or looks closer).
To finish it off, I added a very soft swirly background with the BV0000 and G0000 markers. See how the contrast between the light background and the petals create enough contrast that it makes the flowers look MORE white?
Soft and pretty, and even with the colourful shadows - the flowers still looks white.
So here are the 3 coloured images. They all look white, but are all coloured differently. Which is your favourite?
Now, how about I show you some completed card examples?
The lovely contrast of the deep blue in the background is a personal favourite of mine.
Here the combination of the cool gray shadows and the soft bluey-green background is also really effective.
And though I didn’t have enough time to finish the third colouring sample into a card, I thought I’d show you some of my other designs I created for last week's release, just to focus on different ways of colouring of the paperwhites.
On this white on white design I made use of blue in the shadows of the petals. Because I also left lots of pure white without colouring, when you first look at it you don’t see blue, you see it as white.
And on this design, I made use of grays, blues and yellow to bring the petals to life. Even with all that colour, it’s because of the uncoloured areas that you see depth, but can still call them paperWHITES!
Thanks for joining me today, I hope you have fun making white come to life!