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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Coloring a Snow Man with Spectrum Noir Pens

I thought I would take you all along on my process of coloring these snowmen. I got an idea for a Christmas card I want to make for a select handful of friends. One of the elements I want to use is a snowman. 

Completed snowman

My first step was to look through all the digital stamps I have collected recently to locate a snowman. I was lucky in that I had already saved one. I have no idea where I got this little guy (in the future I will try to be make sure I keep that info so I can tell you all where to find them)

In case you aren't familiar with digital stamps (or digi stamps as they are also called) these are line images available both online and on CDs that you can purchase. Online there are many digi stamps available some that are free and some that you pay for. Most of the pay for ones are still really inexpensive. All you have to do is print them off and they you can color them just like an image you stamp with a rubber stamp. The big advantage to most digi stamps is you can re-size them to any size you want (limited only by your printer) For my card project I re-sized the snowman to be about 1 ½” wide and 2” tall but I could have printed him out to the fill my sheet of paper too. I do suggest you print your image in your printer's draft mode- less ink means less chance it will smear with the pens.

I was able to fit a dozen of my snowmen on my piece of paper.For paper you want to use a really nice card stock weight paper that is really smooth.

Next I spent sometime figuring out how I wanted to color him. Since snowmen are white it is actually a bit trickier than you might expect. I wanted to make him look round but not dirty. I tried three combinations of my markers to see which one I liked best.

To do the white I do use the Blender pen a bit differently than I normally would. I use it as my lightest color.

Just a thought maybe I should stop and explain what a blender pen is before we go on. The Blender pen is filled with just the alcohol part of the ink and no color. It is most commonly used to correct mistakes when you are coloring. It can also be used to feather out the lighter colors of ink and to do some really cool special effects. I'll talk about some of those in a future post.

For my first snowman I tried the blender pen along with the two lightest colors from the Ice Grey family (IG1 and IG2) This combination gave a nice effect but I wanted to test a couple more ideas before I decided.

On snowman #2 I went to the Blue Grey family (BGR1 and BGR2) this one was okay but I still liked the first one a bit better. 


Really either of these first two would have been fine.

Then I decided to try the True Blue family (TB1 and TB2) since we usually think of blue as being cold. I think it was just a bit too blue though. 


Now that I decided on what colors to use I will show you step by step on a snowman how I colored mine.
pens for the snowman
Blender added

I work on one snowball at a time so I coated the bottom one on this snowman with the Blender pen, this wets the paper and allows the inks to come to blend easier. Next I used my IG2 to just color those areas that I wanted to recede (the rounded edges) and the area just around the scarf (where there would be a shadow).

IG2 added

Next I came in with IG1 and blended the darker color a bit so it would blend with the non-colored area. 


Finally I came back in with the Blender pen and went over the edge of the IG1 to blend it out a bit so that all the colors became seamless. 


Then proceed to the middle of the snowman and finally the head.

white areas all done
I like to let this part dry before I come back to color the scarf and the hat because ink tends to bleed more if it touches wet ink.

greens used 
Next I tackled the scarves on all the snowmen one at a time. Since this is such a tiny area I just used two colors both from the Jade Green family (JG1 and JG2). First I colored the entire scarf in with the lightest color (JG1) and then used the JG2 just in the areas that I wanted a small shadow- the outside edge of the scarf as it goes around to the back and then on each side of the knot. I followed with just a touch of the JG1 to blend the edges.
first green added

finished scarf- Oops I went out of the lines

reds used
By the time I got all the snowmen done the first was dry so I moved onto the hats. I decided to leave the pompom on the top white (you'll see why in a bit). I wanted my hats to be red so I chose the Dark Red family (DR1, DR4 and DR7) I first covered the entire hat (minus that pompom) with the lightest color (DR1) Next I added the darkest DR7 just above the brim and along the back edge of the hat body of the hat. DR4 was used to both blend the dark areas and to add a shadow to the ends of the brim. The last step was to blend this all out with the DR1.

lightest red

dark shadows in

Hat all blended

For carrot nose I had tried to use the pens when I was working out my colors and found the area was just way too small to stay in the lines. I decided to use an orange colored pencil to color the carrot on the rest of the snowmen and I think looks really nice. I just have some plain old generic colored pencils like the kids use in school right now. I am however really wanting to get the full set of Spectrum Noir pencils one of these days. 

Now since these little snowmen are going on Christmas cards there has to be some kind of sparkle so that is going to be on that pompom. A couple of months ago when all the stores were having their back to school sales I picked up a package of Crayola glitter glue in little tubes. I love this stuff for adding just a bit of sparkle. For the hats I used the white one and just filled in the pompom areas with it. Once dry it looks so pretty!

I know I didn't do a perfect job on coloring all of these little guys but I have more than I need and I am going to be cutting them out. I wasn't too worried about the red going outside of the hat since the background will be cut away. The ones where the green from the scarf went over the line I won't be using though.
finished sheet of snowmen

I will try to remember to post when I make the cards too. I am really excited about them.