Copic Tutorial – Creating Gradients

ColleenS July 2, 2012 14
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.

Here’s how…

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 4. Repeat step 3 with the third color.  Here I’m adding the base layer of BV0000.  Remember to swing flick both ways.


Step 5.  Finish base coating the image with the last color.  I’m using V0000 as the light pink color and I’m flicking from the end of the tail towards my other colors.


Don’t worry at this point about smooth blends – although each color should be starting to “flow” into the next.


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 9.  Add the last color.  I use V12 here and flick from the tip of the tail towards my purple ink.  Just a few flicks should create a soft, smooth blend.


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!




Supplies Used
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)

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  1. Kathi R July 2, 2012 at 9:18 am - Reply

    Wow. Gorgeous result. Thanks for the tutorial and step-out photos!

  2. Suzi July 2, 2012 at 10:42 am - Reply

    Fantastic tutorial, thank you so much, I’m new to copics so this is amazing.

  3. Zoe - Make it Crafty July 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Absolutely fantastic Colleen!!! xo

  4. Melissa July 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    Another fabulous tutorial!! Great one Colleen! Love it!

  5. Tammy Louise July 2, 2012 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Colleen this is stunning! Wonderful inspiration! Thanks
    Tammy Louise

  6. Lora July 3, 2012 at 1:05 am - Reply

    Love the color combo!

  7. Sue July 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the step by step tutorial! Can’t wait to try this 🙂

  8. ForgottenScraps July 6, 2012 at 8:26 am - Reply

    This is fabulous! I was just looking at this unicorn to color myself and I think you gave me some ideas – I love the blue and purple! great way to handle the horses body too! 😀

  9. Sharman July 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Colleen, this is so awesome. I love this. Going to take some time to figure this out and be able to do it but worth the effort. Thank you.

  10. Debbie Pamment July 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    This is AWESOME Colleen – I love the way it’s turned out – truly magical! xXx

  11. Ruby July 7, 2012 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    OH INDEED MAGICAL! Thanks C for the best tips evar 🙂 really nice and gorgeous colours btw 🙂

  12. franz July 10, 2012 at 8:12 am - Reply

    Fab work Colleen! Love the way you coloured this fab image! Thanks for the tutorial 🙂

    Hugs, Franz.

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