Monday, December 21, 2020

Garden Dirt: Merriest Berries, Copic Marker Swatches for Power Poppy Stamps


Deck the Halls with Copic Coloring!

Way back in 2017, I taught a little local Copic Marker and colored pencil class using Power Poppy's Merriest Berries stamp

I remember it fondly because the class fell smack-dab in the midst of the Christmas crazy time and everyone came to class completely frazzled. Who still has gifts to buy? Who really should be home baking right now? Who still doesn't even have their tree decorated?

Coloring can be very calming. While it won't decorate the tree for you, color can soothe your cares away.

So this month, when the tasks feel overwhelming, tell that creepy elf on the shelf to go bug someone else. 

Sit down and color for a while. You'll be glad you did!

By the way, my name is Amy Shulke and I'm the illustrator and art instructor over at You can check out some of my previous articles on the Power Poppy blog here.

My specialty is hiding secret special colors underneath my Copic blending combinations in a process called Underpainting. This is how I create extra depth, dimension, and realism in my coloring projects and class samples.

Let's color festive & dimensional holly leaves!

Today I'm sharing that original version of Merriest Berries with you. Even though I colored it long ago, it's still a project that makes me smile.

You can find the Merriest Berries digital stamp in the Power Poppy shop here but don't over look all the other beautiful holly images Marcella has created. My Garden Dirt recipe can be used on any of them but if you're looking for a quick, last-minute Christmas project try the digital version of Hollyberries. It's sweet and simple!

Garden Dirt? Yep, that's how I think of the secret colors I use to make Power Poppy images really pop. It's the secret underpainting that you'd never know was there if I didn't share the secret here each month.

Under-painting and over-painting?

Hang on, this holly recipe is much easier than it sounds!

Now keep in mind, I always color dark to light. ALWAYS!

Start with Copic B34 and lay that color into your deepest holly zones. Any place that something overlaps a holly leaf or where the leaf is coming out of the cluster? Those are great candidate zones for the magic blue marker.

Then use YG67 to flick over the top of the blue, coming out slightly beyond. You're only 2 steps into the underpainting process and already you should be seeing two distinct greens. The blue under YG makes a deep and shady green. It's a shade of green Copic doesn't even make!

Then finish the blend with YG63 using it to smooth everything out.

Once dried, I kiss the points of each holly leaf with a bit of Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencil in PC1030 Raspberrry. This hint of deep red adds interest and complexity to an otherwise standard looking green leaf. Red draws your eyes and makes the leaves something special.

So that's the Garden Dirt for December:
  • B34 as underpaint for YG greens
  • Raspberry pencil as overpaint, decorating the edges
Together this four color blending combination will make your holly very festive!

Want to color Merriest Berries with me?

As I mentioned, I colored this image quite a while ago. I don't even have a recorded class version to share with you.

But I didn't want to leave you hanging without some help!

I've put together a super-helpful Merriest Berries coloring guide for Copic Marker at a beginner to intermediate level range. This booklet has an easy to follow recipe guide, a color map, the original photo references, plus lots of step by step info.

It's everything but the stamp... which you can instant download here.

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone and Happy Holidays too. 

I know it's standard and almost trite to wish each other peace and joy during this season... but this year? Boy, we really need it. I hope you have the best celebrations possible.

And I'll see you back here on the Power Poppy blog in January for another Garden Dirt color tip!


Henri√ętte said...

Awesome colouring Amy, I always love to read your posts.
Although I don't have Copic markers, I learn a lot from you.
Thank you so much for all the inspiration and educational posts, stay safe and Happy Holidays.

Camille Short said...