Cardmaker's Guide to colouring

Stamping is one of the most popular techniques, but how to colour the images afterwards is a frequent question from cardmakers! Dulcie Jackson tells you all you need to know...



Bringing your images to life with colour can be a lot of fun, but how to do so professionally is one of the most common questions from cardmakers.

It’s true that the simple act of colouring is often forgotten with more glamorous cardmaking techniques hogging the limelight. But those who ask about it are sensible to do so, because colouring is one of the best ways to make your stamping look professional. The difference between a scribbled mess and a polished finish can be learnt with a few handy hints, which are about to be explained here!

There are a wide range of different colouring mediums that you can use, but no matter whether you have pencils or ProMarkers in your stash (or both!), there are simple tips about applying colour in layers and creating light and shade, which are worth learning whatever your chosen medium. Follow our step-by-step guide and you’ll get a fabulous finish in no time!

How to colour images


Start with the main feature of the image and choose your colours. Start the colouring gently to get an even texture and general coverage, using light but even pressure on the pencil.





Add extra colour around the edges of the jumper – this adds definition and shading. Look for areas in shade, like under her arms and in the shadow of her hair. Add deeper colour in these places.





Next start with the face – a flesh coloured pencil is ideal for this. Add deeper colouring around the edges of the face to add shading. Give her rosy cheeks with a red or pink pencil. Colour her hand and lips as well.





For the hair, use curved strokes of the pencil to follow the direction of the hair, as this will give a more realistic texture. Add more strokes to get deeper colouring on some of the lines, to add shading.





Colour in the smaller details on the image like the rose, hairclip and leaves. For each one use a pale, even colouring to start with, then add deeper colouring near the lines for shading and definition.





Finally, start on the background. Use a pale colour gently and evenly all over. Add more colour around the frame edges. Add shading to the bubbles, using more colour on one side to make them look 3D.




Water-based brush markers

These can be used straight from the pen, or you can use them like watercolour paints. Apply the ink to a non-porous surface like a tile or old plate, then use a damp paintbrush to pick up the colour and apply to your image. You can also blend these with a waterbrush.  




Alcohol-based markers

These are not blendable with water – instead you use them straight from the pen, like felt tips. They are popular with graphic artists because they give a very even, professional finish and are available in a huge range of colours including flesh tones. The main brands are Copic and ProMarker pens.


Watercolour paints

Paints are a beautiful and artistic way to add colour. Simply use a damp paintbrush to lift off the colour and apply to your image. You don’t need a lot of water, just a little will do – if your card gets too damp it can warp. There are special watercolour paints available for crafters called Twinkling H2Os – these have shimmery mica pigments in the paints for a glittery finish.





These are one of the most basic and popular ways to colour in images, and they can be used very effectively with the colour techniques as shown in the steps above. You can use them on their own, or if you have watercolour pencils, you can use a waterbrush or a damp paintbrush over the image afterwards to achieve a watercoloured finish.






Hints & Tips for perfect colouring

When blending two colours onto the same area, always start with the palest colour first, then work on top with the darker colour. Use this technique to add shading to your images.
Always add deeper colouring to areas that are most in shade. Also add more colouring next to the outlines, as this will help make your images look bolder but still textured.

It’s a great idea to add rosy cheeks to cute images, as this will help bring them to life.

coloring in stamps with ink

17th October 2011

I have seen in cardmaking magazines that alot of people color in stamps with colored ink. I have found videos on the computer showing techniques for using watercolor pencils, chalks and copic markers but I cannot find any on how to use colored inks to give that bright, vibrant color to stamps. Can anyone help??

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