Book Review: Copic Coloring Guide

I am doing a series of book reviews on my blog on some of my recent craft book purchases. Today, I’m reviewing the Copic Coloring Guide by Marianne Walker & Colleen Schaan. The book just came out in June 2011 and I just finished reading it – cover to cover – yes, I’m obsessed like that.

Well, let’s just say, I’m glad it came out but I’m mildly disappointed with it. Specifically, I’m glad because there are 16 pages in the book dedicated to coloring techniques (ie. inking and blending techniques, how to use your colors and colorless blender to create specific looks). This was expanded in the project area where I am surprised how frequently the transfer blending was used as opposed to coloring it directly on the paper (on paper blending). No wonder my work is just not looking as refined as these “artists”, even if I have been through the certification program.

I’m disappointed because out of a 63 page book (yes, this one is magazine-sized), there was only 18 pages dedicated to teaching you to color!! (Really, 11 pages – after you take away 7 pages of product introduction.) The rest of the book was all the other different cards from contributing artists – just like every other idea book out there. If I hadn’t read it cover-to-cover and line-to-line, I wouldn’t have discovered how these artists use their markers to create their cards. 63 pages just to make 1 discovery. Couldn’t each artists describe at greater length their coloring techniques?? (instead of step by step instruction of HOW they made the cards)

It’s a nice to have book; not a must-have.

And here is something positive to end the review – I found some nice color family that I could add to my personal Copic color book.

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Lessons from Copic Certification Program.

Good morning!

Wow!! The Copic Certification Designer Program was very intense and rigorous … in a good way. Almost 8 hours of listening, testing papers, ink, blending and airbrushing techniques and loads of information. More than you could ever get off the tutorials and YouTube videos on the internet. There are alot of information on the internet that gives you an overview and basic level of information. This program goes beyond that basic information and really arms you with more in-depth information that you can actually teach someone and I left with the intense curiosity to try out more papers and practice all those techniques I learnt.

Here are my major takeaways. Please watch for future posts of specific tutorials because there is simply too much information to put in 1 post.

1) Product Basics (Marker, Paper & Inks):

- There are 2 ways ink will move on a paper: saturate (or soak through) a paper and feather across the paper (or the image line). Soaking/bleeding through a paper is not necessarily an indication of a good or bad paper. Because a thicker paper will not bleed through as much as a thinner paper.

- You have to learned the properties of the paper you are using. Any paper will give you the results you want as long as you learn where the saturation point of that paper is. While other artist may like 1 paper over another, you have to find the paper that suits your coloring style (e.g. how “heavy-handed” you are with coloring). Before the program, Neenah Solar White paper was the paper that came highly recommended to me by others but I found that no matter how careful I was, my colors keep feathering outside the line and I kept over saturating the paper. I found that the thicker paper like Papertrey Ink Stampers Select and the Copic X-press It Blending card works best for my coloring. You just have to try it and find your own.

2) Coloring, Blending & Color Theory:

- Color values (light tone, mid tone or dark tone) is what makes an object realistic – doesn’t matter what color you choose. A purple apple will look realistic if you use a right value – everyone will know it’s an apple, not a round circle or a purple blob.

For more details of the Copic numbering system, see the Copic website.

- Any color that is too vibrant or intense can be muted with grays, follow the Copic Color Wheel to determine which grays to use.

: Y/YG – use W grays

: G/BG – use T grays

: B/BV – use N grays

: V/RV – use C grays

: YR/R – use T grays

You get more than 346 colors if you add grays to your arsenal.

- 4 different blending techniques for different detail level of image and blending different colors.

3) Mixed Media, Ink & Airbrushing:

- You can do so much more with the colorless blender (and the refill) beyond just correcting your mistakes. There is a whole world of texturing you can do to your colored image using a bit of fabric and blender solution. Imagine your little stamped person with real imprint of jeans textured into your jean color!

- ABS 1 is the kit to get – it’s portable with room to grow into a compressor with just a larger hose; ABS 2 is solely a portable kit with 15 mins of air; ABS 3 is solely an air compressor kit.

4) Shading:

- Just get Marianne Walker’s Shadows & Shading book. It will tell you where to put your light, mid and dark tones & where the shadow should go for different shaped objects.

Did I say this program is intense!! It is well worth the investment and it certainly open my eyes to the world of artistry.

Many thanks to Debbie Olson and Lori Craig for taking the time to share your amazing talents.

And last but not least, here is a picture of my goodie bag.

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