Copic Coloring – Stop trying to Find the Light Source

Copic Coloring - STOP Trying to find the Light Source

Don't think of the direction of the light - focus on where do the shadows make sense!

So you start to color an image and realize you are a coloring it just like you did when you were little.

You’re basically just outlining the image and then coloring the the inside lighter. Then you start to think ok, let me try this again.. where is the light coming from???

Does that sound familiar?

Well, I’m going to tell you right now, you’re not alone. The next thing I’m going to tell you is to STOP trying to find the Light Source!

Unless it’s dark or you have a brighter light on one side of the image and you WANT to challenge yourself with that kind of shading, STOP trying to find the Light Source.

There’s light everywhere! If you are a beginner Copic user — or colorist it just doesn’t make sense to go through all that light source trouble.

Light Source HACKS that will change the way you color!

  • Ask yourself – where do the shadows make sense? Like below you will find a super adorable stamp from Whimsy Stamps – Ellie and Mouse. Now, think take a look at his ears and the size of his head and how it hovers over the entire front of the body. There’s definitely going to be a shadow under the ears and below the head. The legs are directly under his large body so they are going to be shadowed, as well. There will be a slight shadow behind the head blending into the rest of the body.
  • Google! This is my mother’s answer to everything. “Did you google it” Well, what I always do if I’m unsure of a certain color, or shadow I will google whatever type of scene or image I’m coloring and I’ll do a Google Image Search. I will do a few different searches to get some ideas. First, I’ll look at photos — that can still be a little difficult because there are so much detail in photos. So you have to simplify it. So — Elephant Illustrations or Elephant Drawings are less detailed than a photo and you will get tons of ideas from other artists and how and where thy shadow. SUPER EASY – and will help you so much when you shade.

(TIP – sometimes it’s better to put CUTE “Your Scene or Object” pictures so you don’t get graphic ones – lesson learned!)

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Here's my take on coloring Ellie and Mouse Image. I layed down my shadows first using Copics - C7, C6, C4, C3.

Then, I blended through coloring the rest of the elephant using C2, C0, C00.

Then I went back and darkened my shadows with C8 and C10 then, blended out repeating the previous 2 photo coloring steps.

Copic Marker List:

  • Ellie and Mouse – C00, C0, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, C10
  • Grass – YG91, YG93, YG95, YG97, C8
  • Umbrella and Mouse Ear and Flowers – YG91, YG95, R30, R32
  • Sky – B12, B00, B000, BG0000
  • Copic Friendly Paper – Cryogen White Cardstock 
Copic coloring - Stop trying to find the light source

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Ellie

    Beautiful coloring Mindy, the image is so cute!! Great tips on how to color and to quit worrying about light source. Something that can make me stress out sometimes when coloring.
    So happy you played along in my Critters and Creatures Linky party!

  2. Aileen Ryan

    Thanks for the tutorial, and what a fantastic image to show it on. I must admit I’m terrible my light sources vary. I will have it in one direct for one thing then forget and put it from a different direct for another image on the page. I need to learn to keep it a bit more directional.
    I was wondering too, is there a way to tell what cardstock is good for copics and what not. I purchase cardstock recommended for Copics that is available in Australia. We are a bit more limited than overseas as it can be too heavy with postage to get some items.

    Anyway thats not what I want to know. Its just I tend to cut my pieces of A4 into 4 but sometimes I have smaller images and have card left then it accidentally gets mixed with other white card stock. I have lots of white, thin, thicker, thickest, you know different brands, different whites but then I will be looking and think ohhh this is copic…… but how to tell. Is there an easy way to pick if its copic friendly. If you can help with this Mindy it would be totally appreciated.

    1. Mindy Baxter

      Hi Aileen!

      I’ve only used Cryogen, Neenah and Copic Xpress. I know Zoe from Make it Crafty who is in Australia has a Copic Friendly cardstock that I have never tried it but I have heard only great things about it. I would highly recommend checking it out. I know the ideal weight is 80-110 lb and has to be a smooth surface. I hope this helps you a little bit. ♥


  3. Hermine

    What a beautiful card ,the image ist so cute
    Thanks for joining us for the Animal-Friends Challenge.

  4. Monika Reeck

    Mindyyy thanks for the tips
    you are so kind
    I will read each post of you
    so many great tips
    and the elephant so cuuuteee I luv this card and off course your copic coloring wooohooooo

    1. Mindy Baxter

      Hi Monika! I’m so glad you enjoyed the tips. I hope they help you with your Copic Coloring!

      1. Monika Reeck

        So happy too if you look my blog…how I learn from you…see you around sweet lady…♡

  5. Kimberly Hecker

    Thank you Mindy! Found you on Pinterest and I just love your blog. Hugs, happy crafting and God bless!

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