Hello MIC readers… Colleen here with another quick coloring tutorial for you! Today, I want to share the way I create gradients… mixing 3 or more colors together. There are many different approaches to this technique – this is just one of the many ways to create successful blends.
I’m using the new Enchanted Unicorn image from Make It Crafty. The beautiful tail and flowing mane give me the perfect opportunity to create gradient blends – with soft whimsical colors.
Step 1. Pick the colors you want to use. I want to blend from blue-green to blue to purple to pink. I am going to pick a light version of these 4 colors (BG000/B0000/BV0000/V0000) and then a darker version of the same colors (BG01/B41/BV00/V12) You will be adding multiple layers of each color, so the final result will be slightly darker than the darker version of each color. A tip – colors near each other on the color wheel will blend more easily and look more natural.
Step 2. Begin base coating your paper with the lightest colors. This wets the paper fibers which will help the blending process. This is a vital step in the process. I start at one end of the gradient and work my way towards the other end. Here I’m flicking BG000 from the base of the tail towards the tip of the tail. Notice it is a short flick, only less than half way. (The flick is also VERY important to the process, creating a soft “dark to light” gradient in a single stroke.)
Step 3. Continue adding flicks of the light base colors. For the middle two colors (blue and purple), I use a sort of swinging flick motion… flicking out to both sides, creating a “light-dark-light” effect.. this will help blend at both ends of the color. Here I’m adding B0000.
Step 6. Now we move onto the actual “blending” and darkening. Again starting with the blue-green (because it’s one of the end colors), I will flick from the base of the tail towards the tip – only making short flicks. Here I am darkening the color with BG01. Make sure to use the side of the nib to create smooth flicks and to help blend the ends of the strokes.
Step 7. Moving to the second color, again use the swinging flick to darken. I use B41 as my dark blue and I start in the middle of the stroke and swing my flicks both ways. This will create a smooth blend from the blue-green to the blue.
Step 8. Add the third color with swing flicks. I am using BV00 for the purple as I don’t want a really dark purple tone. I flick the edges into the blue creating a soft blend from the blue to the purple and flick towards the tip of the tail to help soften the edge of the stroke for easier blending of the last color.
Step 10. If any of the colors is too “overpowering” or doesn’t have smooth blends at the edges, you can go back in with the light version of the color and just do a short swinging flick where they meet to wet and blend. Do NOT use more than one or two flicks of the lighter color or you will end up lightening the area and causing the blends to get wonky.
This is a technique that does take some practice to get soft smooth gradients, but it’s such a neat effect – it’s totally worth the time and effort! Here I’ve completed the mane and tail using the gradient blending technique and then adding shading to the white body using BG70.
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial today… go out and color your world!
Image - Enchanted Unicorn (Make It Crafty)
Paper – Make It Color Blending Card (Make It Crafty)
Markers – BG000/BG01/BG70/B0000/B41/BV0000/BV00/V0000/V12 (Copic)