Saturday, January 31, 2009

Christmas Trees!

Hi guys!
Here's a step-by-step of the trees I coloured. If I go into too much detail, please don't be offended. Or if I left something out that you want to know, just let me know. I'm a little rusty at teaching!
First, here's the finished product, just so you know what we're aiming for:

First thing I did was stamp the trees in Craft black ink, then emboss with detail embossing powder. (And let me apologize now for the quality of these pictures - I took them all with my phone. But you're smart - you'll get the idea.)

I have a strange and wonderful collection of watercolour pencils - for these I used some FaberCastell, some Prismacolor, and some Stabilo.

For the tree on the left, I started by shading in the left side with the prisma olive, and then added a little prisma spanish orange on the right. The nicer you shade it while it's dry, the easier it is to blend it when you use your aquapainter or brush.

I left some blank space in the middle. There is a ton of pigment in these pencils and the colour moves around very easily. One thing to remember when you pick up your aquapainter is to always start with the lightest colour and shade toward the dark. I know it seems counterintuitive, but if you go dark to light, the whole thing will end up dark since the colour moves so easily.

I started by picking up a little of the green from around the blank spot and moving it into the blank spot. That creates your highlight and keeps it nice and light.

Then I kept on blending into the darker areas, ending up against the left side.

On the second tree, I used the FaberCastell grass green and copper pencils. I didn't bother trying to blend the two colours too much while they were dry - it's a very small area. Thank you for not looking at my cuticles.

Here I've blended the two light colours together and started putting in the dark ones: Prismacolor olive and the FaberCastell olive. I always like to start off dark on the shady side and then ease off the pencil so that it's easier to get the shading once adding water.

Voila! Two trees done, and we've hardly broken a sweat.

For the third tree I used a bit of a darker colour on the shady side: FaberCastell hooker green, with the Prisma olive for the lighter side. Careful with the really dark colours - the water really brings out the pigment and makes everything much more vibrant so you don't want to get too carried away adding the darker colours.

Again I blended from light to dark. This tree is in 3 sections; I cleaned my aquapainter on scrap paper in between each section to get the dark colour off before I started in on a new light section - otherwise you'll carry the dark colour over and end up with dark everywhere.

I've blended the rest of the green and started on the red. I coloured in all the red areas with the Prisma crimson red, and then on the balls, I added a bit of FaberCastell Indian Red on the left side. You can hardly see it when it's dry but once you blend it, it adds a really nice dark shade. Don't forget to clean your brush after each ball, or you'll lose your highlights.
I also did the tree trunks: the top and bottom of each one in FaberCastell burnt sienna and the Stabilo 655 in the middles, then just blended from the right side over to the left.

For those tiny circles of red, it was pretty near impossible to get the coloured pencil in there - so once I was done shading a bigger ball, I just used the colour that was already on my aquapainter to fill them in.

For the stars, I coloured the left third with Stabilo 215, the middle part with Prisma sunburst orange, and the right side with Stabilo 205; then blended all together from right to left.
Then I lightly outlined the trees with Stabilo 505, and blended it outward. You want to use a light touch here - it turns out stronger than you think it will, and you're only going for a subtle shadow, not a radioactive glow effect.

Same thing with the snow at the bottom; I used Stabilo 455, a pale blue.

If any of your colours are too light, you can wait for it to dry, then go back and add another layer of colour and re-blend.
After I was all done, I used Icicle Stickles on the stars. I would have used gold but I didn't have any - but the Icicle ones have a bit of a yellow undertone and turned out fine.

Dave says you did a good job!

Love Shelley!