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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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Book Review: Tropical Wonderland

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Book - Tropical Wonderland
Author - Millie Marotta
Artists like Johanna Basford and Hanna Karlzon have special editions of their popular books. These books have better paper – often card stock, are printed on one side and can be removed from the book for putting up on your walls. My only issue with these books is that they have only a handful of pages from the original book.

Millie Marotta's deluxe editions are very different. So far there have been three deluxe editions of her early books and they are exquisite. They are printed on …

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Last week we talked about color harmonies and I promised to show you a couple of tools that I use regularly for coloring. Even knowing about the color harmonies doesn't mean it's easy to pick out colors for a page. Given the many colors in our pencils and pens, it's not hard to get stuck before you even begin. 

For all those times when you are starting a page and don't quite know which colors to pick, you need inspiration. You can get inspiration by just looking around your home or out the window.  Open your closet and  look at your clothes, see a pattern that you like? Use the same colors on your page.  You can also check out photos on the internet to get some ideas about color palettes and combinations. 

Still having trouble? Check out my 2 favorite tools below and see if you like those instead.

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Color Harmonies

Last week we talked about the basics of color theory and warm vs. cool colors. Today let's take a look at some color combinations from the color wheel. These are classic rules of thumb you can use to select colors for a page. There are two-color combos, three-color combos and four-color combos. When you select a group of colors from these palates, you're almost guaranteed a good-looking finished product. That's because these colors tend to work well together on the page.

Two Color Schemes
When you want to select just two colors for page, complementary and counterpoint colors are a good place to start. Complementary colors are those that are the opposite ends of the color wheel. Since we have 12 colors in the color wheel, we get 6 pairs of complementary colors.

The counterpoint color is the one to the right of the complementary color. So green is the complementary color for red but the counterpoint would be blue-green which is one step to the right.

You can get vibrant look…