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Colouring skin and hair with alcohol markers

Hi everyone, today I’m showing you how you can colour skin and hair using the Spectrum Noir Illustrator Alcohol markers. Do keep in mind that this in only my way of colouring with these alcohol markers, take from it what you like and discard the rest! Most important is to practise a lot, I only felt confident colouring with them after practicing for about a year (so, except that there is a learning curve if you want to be able to colour with alcohol markers AND create highlights and shadows with them).

Something else to consider: the Blender (BL) marker is not really a blender, you can not merge two colours together with it, it is good to realize that the Blender is able to make colours slightly lighter (not erase them). I use the Blender marker for creating highlights when I have gone too dark or to create a smooth surface.

Step 1:

Start this card project by printing a digital image by The Paper Shelter called “My Little Dragon Army” onto alcohol marker friendly paper. Then start colouring the skin part of the image: first use FS7 pulling the colour inwards from the shadowed area’s of the image (I always pretend that my light source is in the top left hand corner, unless there is a visible light source in the image, like a candle). You don’t have to add any pressure on the marker and use little swiping motions with you hand. I don’t cover all the skin parts entirely. In fact I went to far inwards around the nose area and between the eyes, I will correct that later on. There is only one marker colour on the paper but already I’m trying to figure out the highlight and shadow area’s!

Next add in the first shadow colour: CR1. Use this colour in the darkest shadow parts (still pretending that my light source in the top left hand corner) and only add a little in one go, skip to the FS7 marker again and work inwards. Where I have gone to far inwards I will use the Blender marker to lighten the colour.

For the darkest shadow now take TN1 and use that in the darkest shadow parts, blend inwards using the FS7 marker again and when necessary the Blender marker. Let your layers dry slightly because only then you will know how it will look (the alcohol in the markers will evaporate and the colour will lighten during the process).

Add layers with these four markers until you’re happy with how the skin looks. Unusually skin is pretty smooth so that is why I use the Blender marker a lot when I feel this is necessary.

I also want to mention that there are many skin tone colour combinations, this is just the one I liked for this particular image!

Step 2:

I wanted to create a reddish blonde hair colour: for this start with the GY1 marker, mapping out the shadow parts and again use feathering motions with your hand not adding pressure to the marker. Unlike the skin (which is smooth) hair is textured, so this time you don’t want to create a smooth look, only use the Blender when you have gone far too dark in a certain area. Don’t cover all the hair with the GY1 marker, already start creating strands of hair.

Then take the GY5 marker and add the shadow parts in. Try not to loose the highlight area’s.

Next use CR11 to create the reddish tint from the shadowed parts inwards and blend a little using the GY5 marker.

Step 3:

This step is optional, I feel it adds a lot to my image: use a white fine tip gel pen (like the white Sakura Gelly Roll pen) and add in some highlights. I feel this brings the image to life. Of course you can do whatever you like! Find your own style!

Step 4:

Because this tutorial is about colouring the skin and hair I will not show you in steps how to colour the rest of the image but I will mention what colours of Illustrator markers I used:

Helmet plus horns and other metal parts: GY1, IG2, IG5 and EB8 (sparingly).

Flames, belt and ribbon: CR7, FS7 and GY1.

Green parts: DG1, CG3 and DG4.

Fur: MB2, TN4, TN6, EB8 and TN8.

Sky: IB1 (this doesn’t have to be neat if you fussy cut the image later on).

As my last step I also add in the white highlights using the white gel pen.

You can find all the Illustrator markers used HERE!

Fussy cut the image leaving a small border.

Step 5:

For the background die cut a square panel two sizes smaller then your card base, I used Crafter’s Companion Watercolour Card. Stamp your sentiment of choice (I picked Clearly Besotted “Simply Quilled”) using Spectrum Noir “Noir Black” ink.

Then place a stencil over the square panel (I choose TCW899s) and adhere temporarily. Apply a little of the Spectrum Noir Water-Reactive Ink in “Ocean Blue” over the stencil using a Spectrum Noir “Blending Tool”.

Step 6:

Die cut a slightly larger square mat from matching green card stock and adhere both panels together using liquid glue. Adhere this combination to a square base card using one millimetre thick foam tape. And to finish the card now you only have to adhere the coloured and fussy cut image on top also using one millimetre thick foam tape.

Detail picture:

And that’s it for today’s fun colouring project!

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