View Full Version : [Art] TUTORIAL: How to Color/ Mixed Media

05-26-2014, 09:12 AM
So I asked around in #eoff and some people were interested in learning how I do colored illustrations like this:
Basically I use alcohol based markers to lay down base colors, then I use colored pencils to blend. I also do a lot of prep-work so I don't end up with erased lines, scratches ect. As a disclaimer, I will say...you dont HAVE to use the same brands of supplies that I do! I encourage everyone to find things that work for them (I just happen to have prismacolor markers so that's what i use. They are expensive, and they might be out of some peoples' budget!) So if you're curious about my methods, then read on!



The first thing I do is sketch out what I want to draw on graph paper, though any kind of scrap parer will do. I'm literally using it because it's been sitting around doing nothing since I dropped out of college 9 or 10 years ago.

Now I just outline the lines I want to show up through tracing paper!

Next I tape down my tracing/marker paper so it doesn't move all over the place while I'm drawing. I use masking tape because it'll peel off easily when I'm finished. I also VERY LIGHTLY trace over the dark lines I made earlier. I have a very nasty habit of drawing with too much pressure and then I end up with dents in my paper. That's why i actually started doing all of this prep work. It seems like a lot but it's worth it (to me anyway!).


So, like I mentioned earlier, I use Prismacolor art markers. They're meant for professional use so they can be kind of pricey. I'm not sure if there's a cheaper alternative out there or not. I can say that an alcohol-based marker will work best and you'll want a wide variety of colors because almost everything gets colored in with at least 2 colors; a base and a shade. That's what will give objects and things more dimension. Let me show you what I mean!

First, I like to lay down my shade color/shadows. It might be helpful to either look at something, whether it's another drawing (that's what I was doing here, because fan art) or objects in reality to help you figure out where exactly shadows are going to fall.

There we go! Now that that's done we'll be laying down the base color!

When laying down the base color, I usually color over the shade color too. That's what helps things blend together seamlessly. If you stop coloring where the shadows start you'll end up with lines, and unless that's the look you're going for, you don't want that!

Here's what you should end up with. Also, if you make mistakes while coloring in marker, don't worry about it! I accidentally colored over Crono's eyebrow with a skin-color shade here. I was able to fix it with colored pencils!

Here's what everything looks like after I'm done with markers. I almost could have left it at this for something a bit more stylized if I would have been a bit neater with marker. I also usually only use 2 colors (shade and base) but you can use 3 to 4, or even more than that for a more 3D effect.

And now, my personal favorite part, I'll be putting down line work. The pen I'm using is a pigment liner; it uses archival ink and wont fade or smudge. I like to do thicker lines around the outline of my characters...no particular reason why, i just like how it looks. You could stop here if you wanted for a more "anime" look. If you want to render and smooth things out more, that read on!



I will once again be using 2 colors, a shadow and a base.

First, I color in the main color. Be sure to leave some areas untouched for highlights! Just like with shadows I recommend having something to look at for reference on where shadows and highlights should go.

Now I'm adding in shadows.

(SORRY FOR THE CRAP PHOTO, COLORING AND TAKING A PICTURE AT THE SAME TIME IS HARD, K?) Then I add in highlights with white. At this point i just keep coloring and layering until I get the desired blended effect. A lot of the blending is done with your main color. I also use quite a bit of pressure with colored pencils. I want those colors to be really saturated and bold!


Things are starting to really come together now! I can't even explain how excited i was by now, and if I would have smurfed up at this point I probably would have just quit life.

Here I'm using a white gel pen to add in more harsh highlights (anything that's shiny!) and correcting anything that needs to be corrected, like marker bleeding into an area that's supposed to be white, cleaning up any inking, ect. This gel pen doesn't work all that great over colored pencil though and you can use just about anything white to go over it (White-out, white acrylic paint, ect). This is also a good time to do any final blending and any other final touches that need to be made.

And with that all said, we're done! I know this is a really long and picture heavy tutorial, but I really hope someone learns something from it! Should I make more? Do you have any questions? Any feedback is welcome, since I've never written out anything like this before. It's very late now, so I think I'll take my leave. Happy artinating fellow EOFF'ers!

05-26-2014, 09:51 AM
That looks awesome! I need to try that someday, though my resources are pretty limited for now. Any tips on coloring with just pencils?

Ace Protorney
05-26-2014, 03:11 PM
Here are some tips which I find useful when using coloring pencils.

1. Build up your colors gradually as you go. start off with a light layer of one color, and repeat layering until you are satisfied.
2. Color in layers.
3. Mix your colors for best effect. Let's say you want to use the color green, you could just use a green coloring pencil, but on the other hand, you can also mix blue and yellow together, and top it off with a green color.
4. Outline last.
5. Stock up on white, and other light colors. They will be used up the most for blending and smoothing out your coloring job.

Also, Prismacolors coloring pencils ARE expensive, but also give the best quality coloring. For starters, you can do well with cheaper brands, but don't expect great quality with them (Especially from Crayola).

There are other and more useful tips that starlet (sporklet) can provide!

05-26-2014, 03:21 PM

05-26-2014, 05:14 PM
Flynn, you could probably just do exactly what I'm doing here without the marker. Proto has a lot of good tips too. If you really do want to try to start using markers but you're on a tight budget you could try one of two things; either try working with classic school markers and lay down base colors only, then use colored pencils over that to add dimension (That way you'll still end up with really saturated color without having to color things in like that I FUCKING LOVE COLORING kid meme). OR, you can slowly start to build up a pro art marker collection. I have my set from all the way back in highschool and if you take care of them they do last a long time. But I have had to replace some over the years. Most art supply stores (at least here in america) sell these markers individually as well as in sets.

05-26-2014, 08:24 PM
Wonderful tutorial! :jess: Thanks for sharing.

Pete for President
05-27-2014, 10:20 AM
That's an awesome tutorial!

06-04-2014, 12:41 AM
Congrats Pete on your Ciddie btw! I don't think i said anything. And thank you guys who liked this! What else should I do a Tutorial on?

06-15-2014, 03:37 PM
Yay! I found the tutorial, its very similar to what I have already been doing, but a little more guidance is definitely welcome :3

I have been trying to practice digital art recently - I had an episode the other day of "rage saving".....

I was working with a tutorial with only pics and no words.... LOL the results were frustrating and I learnt my lesson that I need a lot more guidance than that for digital at this stage hehe

07-23-2014, 10:02 PM
I really enjoyed this tutorial! hope to see more from you!