Color Theory Building Shadows and three freebies

There is a little trick some alcohol artists use to help define their colored images.  It's called a blue halo.  I am not sure where this started or why.  When I look at Manga coloring, I don't see it there, When I Look at water coloring, I don't see it there.   So Where did this come from?  The only history I can find on the origin is that this is something unique to card artists and it is a technique that belongs to them.    I am not sure how I feel about that blue halo on my art.  my coloring style really doesn't seem to work with it because I don't do cute  -  that is where I seem to see it the most- I can't seem to make it translate into a more classic looking image.

Just in case you aren't sure what I am talking about I will show you a cute image I've done with the blue halo - this is the only cute stamp I own,  This cute little girl was modified to have a skirt on, she's not a freebie, she is actually a real stamp - one not packed away!

Here she is colored with the blue halo shadow, it is a little hard to see

What do you think?  I think it looks odd.  Maybe I don't do this technique correctly but I look at it and say why?

I Included that for the sole purpose of demonstrating something I am trying to avoid.  Now for the part that I am trying to achieve - a more realistic shadowing.

I am pretty new at alcohol marker coloring, I am still getting "used" to my markers and this style coloring in general. 

Here is my image and you are welcome to save this image, it is public domain art:

I love this!

For this project, I used Hammermill 100# color copy digital cover.  It is a great paper for alcohol coloring and it works in my printer!

This is my basic coloring selection.  I generally pull colors as I need them, I don't pay any attention to the numbering system, I just keep my color swatch chart next to me to help select the colors

I've laid the basic colors down and started to build the shadows

Here is a tip:
To get this watercolory effect, I lay down a layer of blender pen and then add   color on top of that blender ink layer by layer.  Doing this allows the ink to move more easily on the surface of the paper.  Practice this you will find it is super helpful for a painterly look.   If you look to the left over the bird in this image you will see what looks like a water ring, don't panic, let the paper dry and then just blend it out with a light marker in your palette!

I always have a sample image to work on while I am making the "real" card.  Next time I won't need a test image, but I have found it is the best way to work an image I am not familiar with.

If you look closely I have added tiny dots of turquoise around the birds (my nod to popular teaching for AMC?), while the gray shadow ink was still wet.  This did give the image a little pop but you can't see it when it is dry.
This is an interesting bit of color - you don't need to see or have the color register in your visual perception for your brain to see it. Our brain can distinguish 258 million colors! Our perception responds to shades and tones , we say "Wow what a beautiful shade of red, it is so vibrant:!  But that is the imagery response to our brain registering thousands of bits of color shades and tones,  we think we see  candy apple red!  

This part of color theory I try to keep in mind as I am coloring.  I don't have a gift for this, I have to work at it.  I have to say really love that 'working at it' part, I feel like my coloring is getting better all the time. That is an important part of crafting - satisfaction!
To the left of the water vase, I added gray shadow, trying to imitate where the shadow would naturally fall.  I worked this in little by little, using the lightest gray shades first and then building depth by adding a darker tone of the gray.  I could give you the color numbers, but that really won't help you  "know" how to work your coloring- that takes understanding your medium and then using it.  
My cards aren't textbook examples of how this is supposed to be done. But I am not looking to recreate another artist's style, I am looking to express what is in my heart and soul.

Here I have built up the shadow a little more.

I added a bit of distress ink to the edges to "frame" the image in color

Selected background papers
This lovely silver paper is a roll of Jewelry shop wrapping paper. $10.00 on eBay.  I've had it for about 4 years and use it all the time!

I created this for the sentiment

Here is my finished card:

And I thought I would make a card and send it to the person that gave me the little girl stamp:

here is another freebie for you to use!

I hope you found this blog post / tutorial helpful.  I hope it helps you to relax and express your inner artist and have joy in doing it!

Thanks for spending your time here,
Ginny M


Wonderful bird card, Ginny, i love the image make me long to colour again but too flat strap with other tasks to have time at the mo!! Thanks for sharing.
Shaz in Oz.x
Ps thanks so much for freebies too, cute card second one!
Absolutely gorgeous Ginny. Angela x
Love your work Ginny - I don't have alcohol markers (too expensive on a very limited budget) but I am sure the same principles apply to any medium.
Thanks for the freebies

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