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Jellyfish Tutorial by Peta Hewitt

I recently finished another page from Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford - the Jellyfish. I'd selected that image simply because Peta Hewitt has a series of videos taking viewers through coloring the entire page step by step. The first and second videos in the series focus on coloring the jellyfish with pencils and the third part is an optional video about doing the background. Peta describes a variety of techniques that we can use to create immersive backgrounds and demonstrates one in particular that is both quick and easy to follow.

The one she shows in the video requires the use of soft pastels which aren't that expensive if you want to get a set. There's not much of a difference at what you can achieve with pencils or pastels other than the time and effort required. Pastels are are quick and easy to apply and give a really soft finish that is particularly suitable for backgrounds such as the sky, a grassy meadow or underwater scenes.

After following the first two parts of the video series, I ended up with a particularly striking jellyfish that I love. Even though I had skipped ahead and seen what the final image would look like, I still found it hard to believe the results that I had created! Peta is an excellent teacher and she explains every little thing as she goes along. This means even an absolute beginner can achieve fantastic results with her tutorials, plus you learn a lot about coloring techniques that you can apply in other pictures as well.

Of course, the thing with tutorials is that you're not likely to find one for every image in every book that you want to color in your preferred medium. But by following a few, you can certainly get better at coloring and use advanced techniques to create realistic or vibrant images. Another thing that I like to do helps me with getting better is to save finished pictures by colorists that I find online. They don't necessarily have to be pictures in books that you already own but if you have any of the popular books from Johanna Basford or Hannah Karlzon, you can certainly find plenty of completed pictures. You can get a lot of ideas about new color combinations, background affects, different media and techniques which you can then apply to your own coloring.

As you can see from the picture on the left, I have collected a bunch of images from different artists for inspiration. Even if I don't follow the exact color scheme or technique, I can always apply it in some other picture. I have come across a number of ideas that may not have occurred to me but I intend to use them in the future. For example, you can complete the pictures with a limited color palette - just two or three colors. Or you can color certain parts of the picture with black pens so that the parts which do have color stand out more. You can try playing with rainbow colors, shadows, night scenes, winter or snow scenes and so much more.

Now that I have completed this tutorial, I'm going to start a project that have been meaning to do for quite a while - recording my colors for future reference in a journal. With more than 300 pencils (and counting!), I certainly need one. And what do you know? Peta has a video for that too! I'll put up a post on my results and a short how-to once I'm done. Happy coloring everyone!

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