Get ready for SILLY! I’ve been in a mode of late, and today’s no different…so brace yourself. I don’t want anyone coming at me for causing you to snort orange juice out of your nose! 🙂

But this isn’t ALL silly – I’ve been chatting with Lorie on Instagram DMs, and wanted to explain some things for her as a new artist. I figured there are others who could also benefit – so let’s get to it, shall we?

Administrative note: I’m testing something with ads on this blog – so if you’re suddenly seeing them pop up, there’s nothing wrong! You needn’t click on the ads for them to do me a little good; but if you see something to shop for, have at it. I have no idea what products will be here, I’m checking to see what Google does on its own. LMK if it’s anything offensive! I think I can block particular ones. Thanks!

My “Fishenstein Monster” aka Frankenfish – he’s a little dude who made it to my social media this week to show just what I did with the GINORMOUS list of ideas generated by my followers. Big thanks for all the contributions! See the video for how I ended up picking from them all.

Tutorial: Feeling out of control about color? (ft Poppies, Imaginary Creatures)

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

The source of some color challenges

This is by no means an exhaustive list but let’s capture them here; they’re discussed in the video above in more detail:

  1. Brand quality – the manufacturer themselves. Not all are equal!
  2. Line quality – Artist grade are better than student grade, so beware substituting.
  3. No global standards – we can’t rely on Scarlet Red always being the same Scarlet Red regardless of medium or grade. Bummer!
  4. Swatches = good, use = bad – there are some companies whose swatches may photograph beautifully but colors become mud upon use on a project.
  5. Fading – long term this is called “lightfastness,” and some mediums (alcohol marker particularly) are simply not lightfast. Then there’s mediums like watercolor and alcohol marker that also fade a bit when the paper dries.
  6. Techniques – slow, overlapping strokes leave more ink on the paper than light, sketchy, quick markes with a pen
  7. Statues of markers – Juicy? Dry? It can make a difference!
  8. Flow – different brands release pigment at different rates.
  9. Amount of color – the pecentage covered by the shadow, midtone, or light colors. If not the same, the image can change a lot.
  10. Colored pencil – techniques for burnishing and blending can change the color a lot!

What’s more important: Value or hue?

If you get the value correct (light, dark, midtone) then even if the hue (color) is off by a bit, it”ll still have dimension and form!

In the conversion charts I make, I try to find a match for both value AND hue, but it’s not always possible. If you find a mismatch, ask yourself which is off – and figure out what to do to that color to adjust it!

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Adapt color by layering

I can’t say enough that learning to layer colors – and to find out what happens when you do – is one of the best things you can do as a colorist! Each medium performs differently; alcohol markers lift colors underneath them. Pencils don’t. Each has its benefit!

Imaginary Creatures courses!

The colored pencil version has been around since 2021 – but I’ve had the Alcohol Marker version on my to-do list since then!

The alcohol marker class needs to be finished up, but the preclass lesson as well as lesson 1 are ready to roll. I’ll be working the holiday weekend to get ‘er done – I figure wanting some time off might get me to work extra hard Saturday so I get some time off for part of Sunday and Monday!


Imaginary Creatures (Alcohol Marker)

This Level 2 Alcohol Marker class teaches basics of coloring and line work in alcohol markers! Students will create imaginary creatures while learning coloring techniques, shading, and color mixing. Taught in Olo markers but all alcohol markers are welcome!

Imaginary Creatures (Colored Pencil)

This Level 2 Colored Pencil class focuses on shading, specifically in a “no-line” or “implied” line technique. Students will learn to create imaginary creatures with dimension, texture, and moving parts of an image forward or backward by the way shading is applied1

Got questions?

I love answering YOUR questions in emails, DMs, and yes in videos! If it’s a question I think visuals will help with, and that others might also like to know, I’m happy to add it to my list. Drop a note if you’ve got wonderings!


Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art


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