29 June, 2012

Copic Tutorial: Colouring Straight Hair

 This here is my first tutorial. If you have any comments or suggestions please don't hesitate to let me know. I hope this is in some way helpful for you! Don't forget, you can click on all the pictures for a closer view.
 Okay, so here's what you'll need.
1. A pretty image (this one is Ariel from Simply B Stamps) with nice straight hair.
2. A bit of scratch paper so you can test your colours.
3. And three Copics. A dark, a medium, and a light. We're looking for a LOT of contrast here so that the hair doesn't blend too much, which is why I've selected Bs with vastly different numbers.Today we are using B18 for the dark, B6 for the medium, and B2 for the light.
I start with the darkest colour. I use a light flicking motion to make smooth, thin lines. Her hair is straight so it's very simple to make just straight lines that follow the way her hair will fall.
(Now, this is the way that *I* do it. I cannot stress that enough. There's a billion different ways to do hair, and this is actually counter what they teach in the Copic certification classes. I'm going to say that up front. There's no right or wrong way to do this.)
It's much easier to keep the lines thin and straight when you're using a downward motion, so rotating the paper to do the bottom will help. Strands of hair are darker from the top and bottom, and the shine tends to be in the middle so we'll be mimicking that on the image.
 Here we are with all the dark completed. The hair behind her body is going to be darker because her body is blocking the light. It's still shiny, but just not as much. Right now I'm working with the premise that the light is more coming from the left of the image. Where her hair is parted (in the centre) will be darker, as well as where it is tucked behind her ear.
 Next we come in with the medium colour. We start from just about the center of the dark blue that we coloured previously. As you can see on the left I'm just coming about midway down into the white space I had created. We want to leave room for the light blue as well.
 Here it is with all the medium blue. Again, the part her body is blocking I've just used the dark and medium blue. It won't be getting much light so it won't have much of a chance to shine.
 Then we come in with the lightest blue. You're going to want to leave a bit of white, as well, so be careful. At this stage you want to use the lightest flicking motion you can, and keep your strokes very thin. What I try to do is start almost all the way up into the very dark blue and then bring the light just barely down into the white space that we've left. That way there's no temptation to fully cover it over with colour. It also helps to blend the colours a bit.
 Here is what we have with all of the light blue brought into it.
 Lastly I come back in with the dark, just to reinforce the lines of the darkest colour. You still want to be able to see the implication of individual hair strands so this step will allow the places that have blended a bit to stand out.
Ta-Da! You're done! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and are excited to try this out yourself!


  1. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I see some many wonderfully colored images and always wonder how it's being done.

  2. Congratulations for winning your place on the TGF design team. I know they set very high standards so you must be very proud! Thank you for your tutorial which I found to be very useful. I hadn't though of turning my work upside down for hair colouring and it makes a lot of sense. I'm going to try that technique and see if it works for me too. No-one would think it was the first tutorial you had written. It is very clear and easy to follow - I do hope you write some more very soon!
    Enjoy your TGF time, I'm sure you'll have great fun.
    All the best!

    1. Thank you so VERY much Judy, for everything you said. I'm glad I could inspire you to try something different with your colouring and I hope it works great for you.

  3. Wonderful explanations of your process ... Thank you!


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