Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Copic Tutorial: Desaturating Color with Gray

Hi, thanks for stopping in! My name is Colleen Schaan and I'm a Regional Certification instructor over here in North America. I'm honored to be a guest on the Copic Oz blog today and I'm excited to share a new little tip for using your gray Copic markers!

One of the many exciting things about Copic markers is their vibrancy and the range of vivid colors. I LOVE bright and I tend to lean toward the fully saturated colors in the Copic color line.

Aren't sure what fully saturated means? Here's a quick mini-lesson on the Copic color number system. The code contains three parts: a letter and two numbers. The letter stands for the color family, the first number represents the saturation and the third number stands for the value or shade. Saturation basically is the amount of pure color. The lower the number, the more fully saturated (or vibrant) the color is. The higher the number, the less saturated the color is.

Okay... back to the tutorial. I'm one of those designers who doesn't always plan ahead. I color my image first and THEN look for papers to match. LOL Sometimes this causes problems because the colors I used for coloring aren't quite right for the paper that I want to use. That's what happened today.

I colored up this cute little image:

And he was just too bright and vibrant to go with the muted patterned paper I wanted to use.

Don't worry though... here's a tutorial for "altering" your coloring to match a less saturated patterned paper.


This video is also available for viewing HERE on my YouTube channel.

Here are the steps:

1. Color the image as normal. I used B12/B24/B26/B28/R22/R24/R27/R29/Y08/Y23/Y35/E30/E34/E25 to color this image - all very vibrant - saturated colors.

2. Let the image dry completely.

3. Pick your "family" of gray: warm grays have brown tones and cool grays have blue tones. If in doubt as to which gray to use, use the neutral grays.

4. When picking grays, keep the "shade" 2-3 steps below the shade of the color that was used on the original piece. Otherwise the image gets very dark.

5. Use the lightest grays and flick color onto the lightest areas of the image. You do not have to worry about "color" as you can use the gray over any and all of the colors on the image.

6. Slowly work your way darker. Use the darker grays to flick ink onto the image over the darker colors.

7. Continue until all of the areas on the image are "desaturated" with gray.

Tip: If you see your original color lightening up, use a gray that is one or two steps up in shade.

It's really as easy as that to change the whole look and feel of an image!

Here's the original colored image. Just a touch too vibrant.

And the same image "desaturated" with grays.

Of course, I couldn't leave you without a finished project... so here's the final card that I created. A perfect color combination for when I don't want those uber brights!

Thanks again for visiting... and thank you OZ for letting me play with you today!
ColleenPin It


  1. brilliant Colleen ...just brilliant! Thanks for playing with us!!! Love your work! M xxx

  2. Absolutely OUTSTANDING tutorial Colleen!!! Your work is always amazing and inspiring!!! :)

  3. Thanks for the tutorial, great information!

  4. Wonderful tutorial. I am off to practice. Thanks heaps. Jenny B

  5. Great tutorial! I actually started doing this unknowingly the other day and really liked the results. Thanks for the detailed explanation.

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