Thursday, June 15, 2017

A tree house – and different colouring techniques for foliage

Hello everyone, it’s Sandra from Portugal.

Today I am bringing you a lovely tree house postcard, and some alternative techniques to colour foliage.

The image is a digistamp from Just Ink lined called “Tree House”.

I am a super messy colourist, jumping from one section to another before completing the first, but I will try to show you how I coloured this image.

I started by drawing and colouring the ground with YG01/03/23 and then colouring the sky with BG000.

I had to go over the sky a few times to make it evenly covered.

Then I had to decide how to colour the foliage. There are several techniques we can use but the most common are stippling, scribbling, and smooth colouring. 

Let me elaborate a little bit on each:

Smooth Colouring

Smooth colouring is a well known technique. It is quick and easy to colour the bush and gives you a perfect finished look. You might want to choose carefully your markers so you can easily achieve a nice blended gradient. Also you’ll get smoother results if you colour quickly between layers, not allowing the ink to dry in between layers.


Stippling is a nice and quick way to build dimension just by layering random dots, or tiny tiny flicks, on your image.  In order to avoid a blended result, don’t choose markers too closed together in colour tone. I like to layer the base first (that's completely optional) and then start stippling from light to  dark. But you can try yourself and find out what works best for you. In the picture above I used YG01/03/05/23/17. I just added random tiny flicks, darker and closer together where it's further away from the light, and lighter and more spaced where I wanted the highlight. 


Scribbling is another technique that adds dimension. It is a bit messier, in my opinion, and requires that you control well your copic nib in order to get a very fine line and an harmonious finished work (try grabbing the marker closer to the nib).  As with stippling, don’t choose markers too close together in colour tone, to avoid a blended outcome. You’ll get better results/thinner scribbles if you scribble faster and holding your pen straight vertically, but you may find it harder to control the outcome. In the picture above I used YG01/03/05/23/17. I just scribbled randomly, darker and closer together where it's further away from the light, and lighter and more spaced where I wanted the highlight.

Both stippling and scribbling are very common and useful techniques to colour also curly hair, scales and even fur, please try it! πŸ˜Š To get crispier results, allow the ink to dry between layers, otherwise you’ll end up with a blended result, and will lose dimension. If this happens, jut repeat all scribbling or stippling again, only this time, allowing for drying time. Also know that different base layers will get you different results for the same combos (see further bellow).

Eventually, I chose to colour the foliage by stippling because I thought it would better match the loose leaves on the lower branches.

To add some dimension and the illusion of distance I coloured several “tree bushes” in different combos: brighter and lighter for the foliage upfront and duller and darker for the foliage that, in my perspective, would lay a little bit behind or further away from the light source.   
I set the tone with the base layer. So, if we label the bushes 1, 2 , 3 , 4 and 5, the base layers used were YG61 for bushes 1, 2 and 3, YG01 for bush 4 and YG00 for bush 5 (this last one was a huge mistake if you ask me, because it toned the bush too yellow, and I had to spend extra time to disguise it with the remaining combo).

The other markers I used for stippling, (yes, I know, as always I overdo it) were:

Bush 1 and 3:
YG21/23/25/63/67, FGY02, and G46/99 

Bush 2 and 4:
YG21/23/25/17,  FGY02,  and G07/29

Bush 5:
Same  as above but with less YG07 and with no G29

I immediately coloured the tree branches with E53/55/57 and the lower leaves (G46 on the left and YG07 on the right) to  get an idea of the finished “ensemble” and this is what it looked like:

Notice how you can get different results just by changing the base layer colour. Bushes 2 (YG61) and 4 (YG01) are an example of it.  Tweaking the colour combos just a little bit also results differently, see Bushes 1 and 2, for example.
Isn’t this fun? πŸ˜

I then finished colouring the tree with the same combo, and the house foundations with E33/35/37.  I added a cast shadow behind the tree using YG17 (closer to the tree) and YG23, and coloured the ladder steps with E33/35.  

It took me some time to decide on how to colour the house. I took some inspiration from Pinterest – girl tree houses.
After drooling over a bunch of them (and dreaming with some of them just for myself), I finally decided to colour this house in lavender tones, so elegant!

So, I picked BV25 and BV29 for the roof, and V20/22/25 for the walls.  I coloured some details in E33 and E35 to make a connection with all the brown in the remaining drawing.

And finally decided on E40/41 for the door, window frame and shades. I coloured the door knob with BV25/29, the glass with B000, and the plant on the vase with YG03/05.

As a last minute detail, I also tried to add a cast shadow to the ladder, but I missed it so much, that I disguised  it behind some grass I coloured with YG17/23, FGY2 and G19. I also toned down the fence on the left using W0 and then going over with E41 again. I think it looks better now. And, that flower vase was missing some flowers!! So I added some tiny pink dots with a gel pen.
I am pretty happy with how it all turned out! :)

What do you think?

Copics used:
Sky: BG000
Ground: YG01/03/23
Grass: YG17/23, FGY2 and G19
Tree trunk: E51/53/55
Tree foliage: YG00/01/07/17/21/23/25/61/63/67, FGY02, and G07/29/46/99
Ladder: E33/35
House foundations: E33/35/37
House roof and door knob: B25/29
House walls: V20/22/25
Glass windows: B000
Brown details on house: E33/35
Fence and house door: E40/41 and W0

I hope you like it.

Thanks for visiting and bearing with me, in such a long post. πŸ˜‰

Hugs from warm and sunny Portugal,


1 comment:

Sue said...

Sandra, this is a brilliant tutorial, thank you so much. The foliage techniques are really helpful and your colouring is beautiful.