• Kathy

How to Make White . . . Bright!

Updated: Oct 9

It's still winter, which means some of you are looking out the window and seeing snow, while others of us are looking out the window and seeing snowbells starting to bloom.


What's up with all this white I am day dreaming about? Well, I have this coloring project of snowbells sitting here on my desk and I keep looking at the white blossoms and thinking how will color them so that they remain the focal point of my project. It would be sad to finish my project to find that the blossoms fade into the paper instead of popping out and grabbing your attention.


There is one thing you can do immediately to ensure your white objects don't fade into the paper.

Stop coloring your white projects on white paper!


That's right, if the subject of your coloring project has a lot of white in it, then color it on a toned paper. When I am coloring a project with a lot of white in it I avoid white paper all together. Why you ask? Because coloring with white on top of white paper isn't going to show. I've tried many times to do just that and as a result I've learned that white colored pencil on white paper is about as helpful as a chef showing up to cook my dinner after I just finished eating.


Instead, I now reach for a piece of toned paper. I like to use either a warm tan or cool grey toned paper for my projects. Both of these papers allow me to get a wider range of values (light to dark). It's easier for me to push a project darker when I start with toned paper. And white colored pencil on toned paper looks complete compared to the same project done on white paper when the paper is left bare where the white appears. An added benefit of toned paper is that it can speed up the time it takes you to complete a colored pencil project as you don't have to build up so many layers of colored pencil to get to the darkness or lightness you are heading for.


You might be wondering if you can use toned paper with your Copic markers. Yes, and I have done it without any issues. The Copic ink colors are muted on toned paper, but that lends it nicely for a vintage image. With a little playing around I am sure there are other uses waiting to be discovered.


If you have some toned paper in your supply stash, pull it out during your next practice session and just play with it. Compare the same white and light colored pencils put down on both toned and white paper. I am sure you will like the results! Then do the same type of comparison with your Copic markers. Use a variety of Copic colors so that you can start to understand how the Copic ink interacts with the toned paper. Happy experimenting!






You can find more of Kathy's coloring projects and follow her on Instagram.





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