FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Marker Brand Comparisons (inc. different types of Copic)


There are many different brands of markers available on the market. This page will go through some of the most common brands that stampers and colourists use. Please note there are many more you may come across in your travels but these are the most widely used and easy to find. We cover a wide range of brands. In our Markers classes we cover Copic, Spectrum Noir, and Promarker. We cover a wider selection in our Monthly Classes including Copic, Spectrum Noir, Promarker, Graph It, and Mepxy. If you don't have these brands, you can still learn from our classes with your favourite blends. Techniques do not change if colours do and I am always available to help with colour selection and alternatives if you don't have a large stash of supplies or prefer different colours. Alcohol Markers To get the smooth blending and vibrant colour tones like the samples here, I use Alcohol Markers. Alcohol Markers have alcohol ink inside which allows them to blend seamlessly between the colours. The most common brands that are used are: Copics
(pronounced Co-pick)
- Most expensive and typically regarded as the top of the range professional art marker
- Widest range of colours available (358)
- Known for being the smoothest and easiest to blend
- Available in a wide range of styles; Original (bullet and chisel nibs), Ciao (super brush and chisel nib), Sketch (super brush and chisel nib), and Broad
- Refillable and nibs can be replaced
- Most colourists use a mixture of Ciao and Sketch. Both have the exact same nibs, however the Sketch holds more ink and is more ergonomically designed hence why it is a higher price. The Sketch is also available in more colours than the Ciao. Spectrum Noir
- More economical than Copics but considered to be a more middle of the range in terms of quality (you can still achieve beautiful results once you learn some techniques :)
- 168 colours available
- Bullet and Chisel Nib - the new markers come with a brush nib available for purchase separately. The brush nibs are typically favoured for colouring for fine details and fine lines (eg. hair)
- Refillable and nibs can be replaced Promarker
- More economical than Copics but considered to be a more middle of the range in terms of quality (you can still achieve beautiful results once you learn some techniques :)
- 150 colours available
- Bullet and Chisel Nib - The brush nibs are typically favoured for colouring for fine details and fine lines (eg. hair)
- Non-refillable
- Nibs can be replaced - ultra fine nib available but no brush nib
- Letraset, the markers of Promarker, also create Flexmarkers that have a brush nib, and Tria Markers which have 3 different nibs Graph It's
- More economical than Copics but considered to be a more middle of the range in terms of quality (you can still achieve beautiful results once you learn some techniques :)
- 176 colours available
- Bullet and Chisel Nib - The brush nibs are typically favoured for colouring for fine details and fine lines (eg. hair)
- Non-refillable
- Nibs can be replaced - brush nib available Watercolour Markers To get a softer look, watercolour markers are also available. These are an alternative to watercolour paints and are used to achieve a similar look. Rather than blending these markers together like alcohol markers, these markers are laid down in small amount on the page and then blending out with water. Distress Ink Markers - The most common brand used for stamping/colouring
- Available in 58 colours
- Brush and bullet nib
- Best stored horizontally

Spectrum Noir Aqua Markers
- Available in 48 colours
- Brush and fine tip nibs
- Purchase in packs rather than single stock




Starting with Alcohol Markers


Here are some common questions asked about starting with Alcohol Markers and my personal opinions :) There are many opinions based on these so please feel free to use these as a guide and still choose what you feel is best. I have used my experience as a crafter and colourist to give the best answers. Should I buy a cheaper brand or go all out? I really recommend when starting to try and test out a few markers at your local store before diving right in. I've seen a lot of people start collecting with one brand only to feel they like a particular brand more and want to switch over. You can get good results with many different brands cheaper or more expensive, but it's important to find one that you like compared to others before diving right in.

Should I start with single markers or sets? Most Alcohol Marker brands sell their markers in both sets and singularly. From my experience with Copics, I would recommend against buying a set if you are beginner. I find that sets come with "incomplete" blend sets, encouraging you to purchase more markers straight away. If you aren't 100% comfortable with mixing and blending your colours it may be a bit overwhelming when starting to learn. Instead, I would recommend choosing a few blend sets that you like from our Colour Blends page and starting knowing that you have good blends that incorporate Highlights, Midtones, and Shadows. Which colours should I start with? One of the most important things to know is that there are no "beginner" colour blends. With our classes at Kit and Clowder, I want you to learn the correct way right from the start to help you improve the quickest. Our colouring here is based on the style of realism and to portray this we use Lightsource (eg. the sun) to show light and shade with our colouring. When we choose the colours to use to create a colour blend, we choose a minimum of three markers to show this; one light marker to show the lightest part of the image, or "Highlight", one medium tone marker to show the "Midtone", and one darker marker to show the "Shadows". So you can see there will be a minimum. of 3 markers to create one colour blend. Sometimes there are more than 3 markers used and that can be to create a different tone in the colour, or to make it easier to blend (more markers may fill large gaps between colours so it blends more seamlessly). Don't worry if this all sounds confusing just now... it will make much more sense when you get started with your colouring :) *View the Copic Numbering System section for more details on how to create blends A great place to start is: - Skin Blend
Copics: E000, E00, E21, E11, E04, R20 (Blush) Spectrum Noir: FS2, FS4, FS9, FS3, TN4, FS8 (Blush) Promarker: Almond, Satin, Sunkissed Pink, Coral, Spice, Pastel Pink (Blush)
- Hair blend (basic brown is a good start)
Copics: E21, E25, E29 Spectrum Noir: TN3, EB3, EB8 Promarkers: Vanilla, Cocoa, Walnut
- One Outfit Blend
Take a look at our Colour Blends section below to pick your favourite! You can do a lot of practice with just these colours and this is all you would need to start one of our technique classes aswell. We once had a lady do the whole technique class in just blue markers so don't feel like you have to have a lot of markers to learn :) Do I need the expensive paper straight away? Yes - the right paper is so important for your colouring. I know it can seem like an expensive outlay especially if you are only just starting, but the wrong paper can cause issues with bleeding outside the lines, blending not working seamlessly (making you feel like you aren't doing it right), and it sucks up your ink very fast as the ink disperses through the paper quickly. Ink is more expensive than paper so make sure you are using right tools to help with your colouring :) Ready to go? Once you have your supplies then you are ready to get started! Check out the companies that we work with for some digital images to colour, and don't forget to check out one of our classes so you can get colouring and learning straight away! :) **A quick reminder - colouring has a perception that it is super easy as it is something we all did as children. The colouring that you see most colourists do is much more advanced and uses art fundamentals. This is going to take time to learn and practice :) Don't be discouraged if it takes you a few goes before you start to feel happy with your results - half the fun is in the learning and we've all experienced the exact same progress as you will during the start. Help is here for you to guide you along the way :)




Pencil Brand Comparisons


There are so many different brands of pencils on the market and it can be hard to know which ones are right for you. All of the techniques that you will learn for pencils are transferrable across all of the brands, however a better quality pencil will be easier to blend and contains higher amounts of pigment so is brighter. When looking at which brand to try, it is best to buy a few singles in some of the brands so you can see how everything blends. It is good to look at a colour chart for each brand aswell and make sure you like the colours. When purchasing, I recommend to buy the biggest set you can afford. Buying singularly is the most expensive, and if you buy a small set and wish to upgrade then you will end up with a lot of doubles. We cover a wide range of brands. In our Pencils classes we cover Prismacolor, Spectrum Noir, and Polychromos. We cover a wider selection in our Monthly Classes including Spectrum Noir, Prismacolor, Polychromos, Derwent Artist, Derwent Colorsoft, Caran D'ache Luminance, and Lyra Rembrandt. If you don't have these brands, you can still learn from our classes with your favourite blends. Techniques do not change if colours do and I am always available to help with colour selection and alternatives if you don't have a large stash of supplies or prefer different colours. Take a look below at some of the most popular brands of coloured pencils used for colouring: Prismacolor - 150 colours available - good range of pastels, earths, and brights
- Available in sets and singularly - Wax based = soft and creamy blend - Don't hold the point as well as oil pencils and need sharpening often for detail work - Need to learn how to sharpen properly as can break inside the core from pressure - My personal favourite as I like the finish and colour range
- Also available as Scholar (cheaper range but lower quality pigment) and Verithin (harder core made more for sketching and detail) Polychromos - 120 colours available - good greens and blues but lacking in pastels/low value earths
​- Available in sets and singularly - Oil based = harder core - Hold the point better if you are colouring and needing detail work, eg. i find them better personally for people and things like hair as the prismas lose their point too quick. - Lay down a strong pigment, typically considered to have the brightest result Spectrum Noir - 120 colours available - good greens and yellows lacking in purples and pastels
​- Available only in packs of 24 and not singularly - Wax and Oil Blend - Harder than the Prismacolor, but not as bright as the Polychromos Derwent Artist and Studio - 120 colours in Artist (4mm round core) and 72 in Studio (3.4mm hexagonal core) - Clay based = considered to be the hardest grade of pencils - Holds a point well for fine detail work - Typically known for good range of greens and browns (landscape work) - Low lightfast quality and typically considered not as bright as Prisma or Polys Derwent Coloursoft - 72 colours available - same range as Studio - Wax Based = Derwent's answer to the Prismacolor, however my experience is these aren't as creamy (good or bad depending on your preference) - Soft pencil for creamy blending - Some colours at risk of fading Derwent has two colourless blender pencils; Hard burnisher and Soft Blender (speculated one from the coloursoft and one from the Studio range).




What brands do you cover in class?


We cover a wide range of brands in our classes! In our Markers classes we cover Copic, Spectrum Noir, and Promark, and in our Pencils classes we cover Prismacolor, Spectrum Noir, and Polychromos. We cover a wider selection in our Monthly Classes including Copic, Spectrum Noir, Promarker, Graph It, Mepxy, Prismacolor, Polychromos, Derwent Artist, Derwent Colorsoft, Caran D'ache Luminance, and Lyra Rembrandt. If you don't have these brands, you can still learn from our classes with your favourite colour blends. We have a very large number of members successfully doing this :) Techniques do not change if colours do and I am always available to help with colour selection and alternatives if you don't have a large stash of supplies or prefer different colours. Please contact me via Facebook Messenger (Alyce Keegan) or email alyce@kitandclowder.com for colour selection help.




Paper for Markers and Pencils


Alcohol Markers

When using Alcohol Markers it is important to use a Bleedproof cardstock for blending, otherwise the ink disperses through the fibers of the paper very quickly making it not only hard to blend but it uses up your ink very quickly (and ink is more expensive than paper!). It is important to note that there is blending cardstock and blending paper - typically for this style of colouring and layering of the ink we use the cardstock, whereas the paper is more for washes of colour like for graphic/industrial design.
There are many different ranges available on the market and it is important to try a few as it can greatly impact on your colouring result.

Here are a few of the most popular
- Xpress It Blending Card - my favourite as I find it holds the most layers of ink
- Cryogen Iridescent
- Neenah Solar White 110lb
- Heavenly White 80#
- Heavenly White 100# - Heavenly White 120#
- Ultimate Graphic 160gsm (available here)

A great place to purchase your papers is Paper Temptress in the USA. They ship worldwide and even sell a Copic Sampler Pack which includes a few different shades of different blending cards for you to try and choose your favourite. Use code Alyce20 to receive 20% off your purchase!

Watercolour Mediums

For watercolour mediums it is best to use a watercolour paper so that the paper doesn't "pill". A few common types are:
- Canson XL Watercolor (economical and good quality)
- Fabriano Artistico 140lb Hot Press Extra White
- Langton 140lb Extra Smooth (Hot pressed) Water Colour Paper

​Pencils
There are two different types of paper that you should consider when colouring with pencils and it depends on your blending method. For typical pencil to pencil blend (or using a colourless blender pencil), it is recommended to use a paper with a "tooth" (texture). This is because when you layer up multiple colours to create a blend, the pigment sits in the texture of the page and the eye reads the two colours as blending together. If you are blending using a solvent (eg. Gamsol or Odourless Mineral Spirits), it is best to use a smooth cardstock as you are breaking down the pigment into a paint-link surface. In this case we could just use our standard marker paper.

There are so many different types of drawing papers that will work well for pencils. Keep in mind that a watercolour paper, even though it has a tooth, is considered a bit rough for pencil work and will take longer to blend. Below are a few common paper types:
- Canson Mi Teintes in Pastel White
My personal favourite. It is a double sided paper so suits a large variety of pencil types. The smoother side for pencils and rougher for pastels and hard pencils.
- Canson Drawing 220 (or Canson C A Grain in some countries)
More economical but a bit rougher. Make sure you get Drawing 220 (220gsm) as there is a thinner one available. - Strathmore Color Pencil Good economical paper easy to get around the world
- Stonehenge
100% cotton - good quality but more economical than some of the other cotton blends
- Illustration Board
More rigid and durable for heavy layering and burnishing
- Artagain by Strathmore
Good smooth surface but may not hold as many layers as other brands
- Arches Hot Press 140#
- Bristol Vellum
More expensive but well regarded smooth paper. Personally I don't recommend a Bristol Vellum for our layering techniques as they are not textured enough to hold the pigment. Would be better suited for use with solvents.




Printers + Troubleshooting Tips


Alcohol Markers If you are using digital stamps or images to colour you may run into problems where your printer ink is not compatible with the ink of alcohol markers. - Canon Pixma - typically the most used and compatible. Very cheap printer. I've had mine for about 5 years now.
- Any Laser printer as it heat sets the ink itself - Epson workforce (prints up to 180gsm well but struggles with over 200gsm) - HP Photosmart If your printer ink bleeds, you can try the following tips below to see if it will help. If none of the below work for your printer, it may be good to invest in a compatible one :) - Leave overnight to dry
- Try heat-setting the ink with a hair dryer or heat gun
- Print in draft or fast mode to use less ink on the printout

Watercolours Epson makes the only waterproof ink on the market on a selection of their printers. If you are using a different printer, take a peek at our tips below to stop your ink from bleeding:
- Print in Fast Draft / Fast Grey Scale (lays down the least amount of ink to the paper) - Change the opacity, (this will give a fainter line and less ink) - Leave to dry overnight
- Use an eraser over the dried image to remove excess ink - Heat set it using a Heat Gun, if you don’t have a heat gun you can iron or use a hairdryer. - Create a sandwich using two sheets of cardstock and add the digi sheet in between as your filling - Heat set and leave overnight to dry - Try a different water colour paper - Try using a fixative spray - Tracy's tip: For my HP Printer, I buy a compatible BLACK ink and only use this to print the digi’s. There is something in the pigment of the original ink that makes it run when water is applied.

Pencils

Any printer should be fine for standard pencil blending. if using solvent you may need to try the above troubleshooting methods to make sure your ink doesn't run.




Inks for Rubber Stamping and Colouring


Alcohol Markers It is important to make sure you are using the right brand of stamping ink so it doesn't react with the ink in your markers. You will know if they are incompatible as the stamping ink will start to "bleed", that is it will smudge over your page and can ruin your markers.
Some of the inks that work best with alcohol markers are: - Tsukineko Memento or Brilliance Ink
(a personal favourite of most is the Memento Tuxedo Black) - Ranger Distress Inks - A Muse Dye - Stewart Superior Palette Noir. If your ink is bleeding, try the following tips before colouring: - Try heat-setting your image before coloring. - Add clear embossing powder to protect inks from bleeding. Avoid colored powders since they react with the markers. Alcohol Markers are not compatible with solvent inks like StazOn, or Stampin' Up! inks Watercolour Markers - StazOn
- Stampin' Up!
- Ranger Archival Ink
(ink must be permanent and water-proof) Pencils If you are using dry blending techniques with your pencils you can use any ink. For solvent based blending use any of the inks that are compatible with alcohol markers above.




Marker Colour Blend Charts


Check out our new colour blend sheets over on our Colour Blends web page via the tab above or click here.




Pencil Colour Blend Charts


Check out our new colour blend sheets over on our Colour Blends web page via the tab above or click here.




Marker to Pencil Comparison Charts (+ vice versa)


Check out our new marker to pencil and pencil to marker comparison sheets over on our Colour Blends web page via the tab above or click here.




How to pick the next closest colour to one you are missing


Check out our new conversion charts for Markers and Pencils over on our Colour Blends web page via the tab above or click here. These charts will help to show you the closest colour to another in the same brand, or different brands. Please watch the video on the Colour Blends page for further information on how to do this.




Blank Colour Charts for Swatching


Grab blank colour charts for markers and pencils over on the new Colour Blends web page via the tab above or click here.




Colouring Pages: Digital Stamps, Rubber Stamps, + Colouring Books


So now you have all of your supplies, it's time to find something to colour! There are so many options available of things you can colour and you might not have heard of them before. Here's a breakdown of what most people are colouring these days: Rubber/Clear Stamps Rubber stamping and card making go hand in hand and have been a popular choice of crafters for a long time. - Many different brands available on the market and many that are rubber stamp only - Fixed size but generally suitable for cardmaking or journalling/mixed media projects - Versatile in application; can be stamped over different surfaces for effects - Can use with embossing powder for interesting results and raised surfaces - Can also come as a Clear Stamp - plastic

Digital Stamps
​See below for how to resize digital stamps - Versatile in terms of size - can make any size you are able to print - A huge amount of variety available; you can generally find anything that you have in mind
- More economical than rubber stamps
- Special effects are limited to what you can print on - Can merge images together in a computer program to create scenes Colouring Books Colouring books have had a huge revival over the past year. - Large variety of styles emerging
- Limited to the paper that the colouring book is printed on; eg. typically not suitable with alcohol markers as the cardstock isn't bleedproof
- If the permissions for the book allows, you may be able to copy onto your favourite blending card for your personal use
- Typically based on a more Art Therapy approach; basic patterns, shapes, mandelas which don't require much thought in terms of technique. Good for relaxing and mindfulness

*please note - all stamps and colouring books that you purchase should always be for your own personal use. Never share these with anyone as you typically purchase a personal license for you only to use them. With digital stamps you should never take from google or pinterest without checking if the image is actually free before colouring - many artists have their work stolen on these sites which makes it hard for them to continue creating images.




Resizing Digital Stamps


Download our instruction booklets on using digital stamps: Microsoft Word version Pages (MAC) version Iphone




Stamp Companies


Looking for stamp companies? We have a big list of companies that you can purchase stamps/colouring pages from over in our Facebook community. Here is the direct link which includes links to each company on Facebook and their store.




Watermarking your Photos


Why should you watermark Watermarking protects our art from being stolen and reused. Unfortunately, there have been instances where people print out someone's project, cut out the coloured image, and stick it on a card. They use this to get published and enter competitions. If you are colouring up a half coloured image and the watermark is poor it can also be stolen and erased for someone to get the image for free. (Some companies have very strong policies about uploading half coloured images so make sure you peek at their terms of use :) This is just a little bump in the road to posting online and can happen for every type of image you put online as they can be taken very easily and reused without your permission. It is however manageable nice and easily with a watermark :) Most stamp companies require you to watermark your work when uploading online, so even if you don't like to watermark, if you are using a stamp from a particular company it is good to see whether they require you to use one when posting online. What is a watermark Put simply, a watermark is something over your image that is easily recognisable as your name, brand, or logo to identify where your image has come from. It is generally placed over some part of the image that you don't want to be copied (Eg. your colouring) so that people can't print out and cut out easily as then they would see the watermark. How to add a watermark You can get snazzy watermarks made by companies that you add to your photo using whatever photo editing software you use. Software editing programs include: paint, photoshop, picmonkey, gimp, etc. Places you can get snazzy watermarks: Nikki Adshead (via pm), Whimsy Stamps, just to name a few. You can also make a watermark yourself if you have some basic graphic skills. Here is a tutorial using picmonkey which is my favourite free editing program: http://www.picmonkey.com/blog/claim-your-artistry-by-adding-a-watermark/ Here is Amanda's video if you want some tips aswell :http://www.lollilulucrafts.co.uk/2014/05/video-watermark-craft-photos/ On your phone or ipad there are apps you can use aswell. Make sure you position your watermark somewhere over your coloured image :) If you feel like using watermarks is a bit complex, even a pencil or piece of card with your name on straight over a portion of the image will be an adequate solution.




Badge for Blog


Please find below a Kit and Clowder badge to add to your blogs or wherever you'd like to spread the word about Kit and Clowder. There are two formats - one square and one rectangle depending on the size you'd like. Our web address to link back to is www.kitandclowder.com and if you ever want to direct people to certain areas, our free classes are just found on the homepage, colour blend charts are found under the Colour Blends tab, and important colour questions are found under the FAQs tab.
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Thank you so much for your support everyone - I'm so grateful that you enjoy learning together and hope we can continue to for many years to come :)




Copic Numbering System + Making Blends


Have you ever wondered how Copic colour blends are created or how the numbering system works? There are so many differing explanations out there that it can be really overwhelming to know what is right or where to start. One thing I get asked about a lot are "beginner" blends - but what you may not know is that fewer markers do not always equal easier to colour or achieve the results you want.

Copic actually have their own method for creating blends using their numbering system. This is widely considered to be the most effective and easiest way to get started with your markers, and to help you show depth in your colouring. It uses the theories of Lightsource, and helps us show where light is hitting an object (lightest colour), vs. where the shadows are (darkest colour). So let's take a look below to help you feel more confident creating blends!

Find you learn best doing rather than reading? I have some blending exercise sheets for you to fill in over in our free Markers 101 class here.
👉 What is the numbering system? Copic created their numbering system to help us communicate Lightsource (light vs. shade) easily in our colouring. Lightsource is what gives objects depth - it shows where light comes down from a source (such as the sun or lights in a ceiling), and his the object, creating a highlight (light colour). We then have the midtone (the true colour of an object, neither affected by light or shade), and then the shadow (furthest from the light and represented by dark colours). 👉 Second Number - MOST IMPORTANT To help us communicate Lightsource, the most important number when looking at a marker is the SECOND number. The official Copic method for their markers is:
Markers ending between 0-3 are highlight colours, Markers ending between 4-6 = midtone, Markers ending between 7-9 = shadow.
When creating a blend, we want to try to have a minimum of 3 markers, each representing the highlight, midtone, or shadow. 👉 First Number/Letter The letter is the Colour Family, which is broken down like a colour wheel - eg. B for Blue, BG = Blue Green, G = Green, YG = Yellow Green, Y = Yellow, YR = Yellow Red, R = Red, RV = Red Violet, V = Violet, BV = Blue Violet, E = Earth.

The first number is the tone of the colour - naturally, markers that are all the same tone go best together, so an example blend using the method we just discussed, would be b91, b95, b99 - all b90s so we know the tone will all be the same, and one highlight (b91), midtone (b95), and shadow (b99).

However! The more colours that are available in a run, the less gaps there are on your blending so the easier it is to get smooth. It's actually easier to blend with more markers. So Copic actually make b91, b93, b95, b97, b99. Less gaps between colours = easier to blend (see graphic below from my official Copic mat, showing their explanation of using more colours to achieve smoother blends). When you go up in the first number, it doesn't necessarily mean that the marker is darker, but just that the tone is a little different. Eg. E21 is actually lighter than E11 - but it is slightly more yellow based. So we don't use this first number to determine what is darker or lighter than other markers.
👉 You can mix and match the first number
So you can see, what is most important is that second number - the first number can be mixed and matched to create colour blends, so long as you are following the rule of highlight, midtone, and shadow. For example, g21, g94, g99 is one of my favourite olive green combos. There is no low g90 colour made though, but the g21 is quite a light olive pastel green. Coupled with the deeper grey green in the g90s it looks lovely. Sometimes I even like to add a little YG11 - this is a light yellow green and can really brighten the highlights. And notice we've got a highlight, midtone, and shadow colour with that second number - YG11, G21, G94, G99.

Sometimes some markers ending in the same number as others may be a little lighter or darker. It's a good idea to always test your blends first on a scrap sheet of blending card, or to fill in a blank colour chart so you can easily see which markers or lighter or darker straight away.

👉 What if I want a light colour?
Sometimes I see people say they don't want to work with "contrast" though as they want a light colour blend. It's important to note that there is a difference between contrast to show shadows vs. a dark blend. Keep in mind a white piece of paper - if you hold something above it, it leaves a dark shadow across to show the distance between these two objects, however the paper is still white. Learning about lightsource and how to convery this is how we help our colouring look realistic. If we want a lighter blend, we still use lightsource, but keep the darker colours to the shadows only and increase the amount of the lighter colours used. There's a lot of information here and a lot of this may be new to you. It's totally normal to feel overwhelmed when taking in new theories. Revisit, practice, and it will get easier every time you go over it. Ready to start colouring? Check out our FREE Markers 101 Class at www.kitandclowder.com - select Class Rooms, then Markers 101. This free class has video tutorials and exercise sheets covering lightsource, blending, shading, skin, hair, and more and is available to everyone.




Brand new to colouring and deciding between markers and pencils?


If you are brand new to colouring, the first thing you need to do is decide what you want to learn to colour with. Everyone is going to have their own personal favourites and they may not necessarily be your personal favourite :) So make sure when listening to advice that you ultimately choose what is best for you.

BOTH mediums require patience, lots of practice, and lots of learning for you to master. So for a beginner - EITHER is really perfect, so long as you remember you won't learn instantly. It's going to take time whatever you end up deciding you want to learn.

The best thing to do, is to think about which look you prefer out of the two mediums that you want to achieve. Then choose based on what you most want to learn. I recommend this rather than trying before buying because you can truly learn whatever you put your mind to with dedication and practice.

Here are some pros and cons:

Markers
- generally more expensive upfront than pencils, but a lot cheaper in the long term if you get a refillable brand
- lends toward brighter and stronger colours
- Much much quicker to use than pencils
- less control than pencils - you can't erase and restart if you make a mistake so they are a little less forgiving
- you do not need a full set of markers from a brand to learn so please don't ever be deterred by this

Pencils
- Cheaper upfront, but more expensive long term
- sets are cheaper to buy than singles - try to get the biggest set you can afford
- takes a lot longer than markers to blend but you get so much more control over detail and can really take your time to focus on areas
- Much more control over colour blends and colour creation

Personally I first learned with markers and this will also be my first favourite. But that's just me :)




Colouring Accessories


There are many accessories that you can use to go with your markers and pencils to enhance your outcomes. Here is a list of the commonly used ones. White gel/paint pen These are commonly used for adding white detail and highlights over your projects. Also great for adding stars and high shine. Cheaper gel pens can skip as you colour though, especially over pencil, so it's good to invest in a quality pen. The Uniball Signo is my personal favourite gel pen, or a paint pen will give you better coverage. My personal favourite paint pen is the Molotow Marker (1mm nib). Alternatively, you can use an opaque white paint and a fine brush for detail work for the most coverage. Sharpeners When using coloured pencils, hand held sharpeners can often lead to breakage, especially with softer wax-core pencils such as Prismacolor. If using a hand-held sharpener, try to turn the sharpener, not the pencil to place less stress on the core. Alternativelly, a battery operated or mechanical hand crank will reduce core significantly to eliminate breakage in most cases. Recommended options: - Ipoint Orbit (battery or electric) - Kent (battery - has two different size holes for varying pencil brands) - The Carl (hand crank) Blending Tools Colourless Blender Pencils and Pencil Stumps can help aid the blending process for larger bodies of work. We don't tend to use these on areas that we want very smooth as they are made to essentially push the pigment that's already on the page around to flatten the tooth of the paper. They are good tools to have in your stash though to speed up the process on larger areas or create textures. A Colourless Blender pencil is essentially the core of the pencil without pigment. As pencils can come in oil, wax, or combinations, you want to make sure you use the right type to match the pencils you are using. Most brands will have their own version. I recommend to purchase one of these if taking our classes as I will teach you techniques for using these (although it will always be optional to have this). Paper Stumps are rolled up pieces of paper, compacted to look like a pencil so you can use in a similar fashion to the blender. These can be sanded to achieve the sharper point on the end for detail work. Odourless Mineral Spirits (aka Gamsol) can be used with the paper stumps to assist in blending. This is traditionally used by artists to colour large areas, such as backgrounds, and not for detail work as it breaks down the pigment to mimic a paint or marker like material. This will mean less control and vibrancy of colour if using over the entire project, so we tend to use this in areas where we don't need as much precision. Crafters have jumped on this recently to aid in their blending and make it easier to remove lines between colours, but if using the right papers and blending methods you shouldn't need to use spirits (however, it's absolutely your choice if this is the look you like!). You can even use Baby Oil as a cost effective alternative. We don't use solvents in our classes for the above reasons and teach just using the pencils themselves so you don't need these to do any lessons. Cotton Tips / Q Tips will work in a similar way to Paper Stumps in that you can push the pigment around, but as they don't have a sharp point may be harder to use for detail work.





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