Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Flower Flicking

Hello! Today I 'll be sharing with you a technique I use in coloring flowers, I call it the flick technique. Yes folks we are going to flick flowers :) !

I have five video clips in this blog, and if you are patient enough you might actually finish all the way up to the 5th clip and learn something from my feeble attempt to do a video tutorial. I say that for the simple reason that my camera phone, or more accurately my phone, kept bailing out of me in the middle of my demonstrations. It keeps heating up and conking out. So I had to start from where I left off every time in the following clip. Also, towards the end of each clip you will notice that the audio dies out and you will only be left with the video, don't worry, there's nothing wrong with your audio device, it's just the phone's camera getting ready to conk out again.

Anyhow, on the technique part, you should read these before you start:

1. In the video I forgot to mention an essential part for this technique to work its magic, and that is to keep your pencil tips pointy. Sharpen them well. I prefer them sharpened long and slender with a really deadly tip, as you would see in the video. In that way the lines you create with your flicks are distinct and not dull.

2. After finishing with the second petal I realized that I SHOULD NOT HAVE created the troughs and crests sideways but instead I SHOULD HAVE oriented them towards the center of the flower. Boink! Anyway, do you get what I mean? (If not, it's ok, just reread this after watching all five clips and hopefully you'll get what I mean) The folds or wrinkles in the petals should be generating from the flower's ovary or ovule. My bad, sorry. Anyway in my work that can be easily remedied by an eraser. But just so you wouldn't make that simple mistake I thought of calling your attention to that boo boo this early.

3. It would help if you use earphones when listening to the video. The noise outside our window sometimes drowns out my voice. Buying a microphone for my next video tutorial is already in my to-do list, for now though my phone's built-in mic should do.

So, hope you enjoy the videos and learn something for your next coloring project.

Oh, and please do tag me ( or celeste lecaroz in Coloring Book for Adults Facebook page) when you post your completed works should you decide to apply what you learned here. I'd be one happy puppy :)

How to draw bubbles with colored pencils

From the coloring book Atlantis by White Star Publishers
Someone asked me how I did the bubbles and I said I erased the outline with a Koh-I-Noor pencil eraser after I've laid down the base color on the page. Someone made a comment and said one could also use a burnisher to do that prior to coloring on the page. The burnisher prevents the colored pigments from being absorbed by that part of the paper. I knew about that before and was glad I was reminded of that technique.

Anyhow, after doing the second and third layer the background now becomes darker. It's the right time to shade the inside of the bubbles since the color inside should match its surroundings.

The way to color is to move your strokes around following the spherical shape of the object. Also introduce darker shades of blue to add dimension. 

I didn't draw the ones with the black outline, that came with the image. I did the white bubble though.

The interior of the bubble should show the other side.
Finally I erased some lines to show the highlights. Did I already mention that I traced all the white outlines (including the highlights) with a white pencil (Luminance)? Yes I did, to create some opacity.

Here's a time lapse video of me doing three bubbles. Notice I left the outlines white.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Unique Pencil / Pen / Marker Organizer from Le Organize

I'm not part of Le Organize so I was thrilled to have been shown the prototype of this pencil organizer and consulted together with my friend Effie about the functionality of its design during its creative stages.

Now that it's available I can't wait to get one for me and several others for giving away this Christmas.

It's a very chic kit after all. It's versatile, it can be used for any coloring tool you want to lug around, including water brush pens, or hey, maybe even make-up brushes! It's also fun to use, just SLIP, FLIP, and FOLD. First you SLIP the colored pens or pencils in the strap, FLIP the cover to secure them, and FOLD to transform it into a handy kit for carrying around.

I think it being made of nylon is a plus especially since pencil markings can be easily washed off.

In its initial design stages my friend Effie and I, being fans of Colleen dual tip pencils, suggested to Eli, owner of Le Organize, to not use pockets for holding the pencils in place. Instead to have a design that shows both tips of the pencils for accessibility and functionality. 
The velcro snaps help secure the flaps in place which keep the pencils snugly intact when traveling.
Below are other details from its manufacturer Le Organize:

When flaps are closed
Length 25.5 inches
Width 7.5 inches
When flaps are open
Length 25.5 inches
Width 10.5 inches
When Folded:
Height 7.5”
Width 5.25”
Thickness when empty 1 inch
Thickness with pencils 2.5”

Colors available:
1. Black / Green / Khaki Combination
2. Baby Blue / Purple / Khaki Combination
3. Purple / Pink / Khaki Combination
4. Red / Baby Blue / Khaki Combination

For Orders and Shipping Details check this link: Le Organize

Jellyfish in Atlantis: Experimented with Paint Thinner for Blending

Today I chose to color a spread from the book Atlantis by White Sar Publishers. I was attracted to the foreground-background digital layout of the jellyfish illustration and thought I could play around with the larger details up close while leaving the more distant images blurred.

I chose to use Polychromos pencils of Faber-Castell so I could go easy and soft, especially with the background. None of the wax bloom from wax pencils for now.
I bought Atlantis in Fully Booked for PhP 519.00
I started as usual with a faint background color as base, Light Cobalt Turquoise 9201-154**. For the parts of the jellyfish that I wished to leave white for highlights I shaded them with Luminance white colored pencil. The Koh-I-Noor eraser always came in handy from the start not only whenever I'd go beyond the lines but also when I decided to incorporate bubbles in my work. I didn't want them pencil drawn so I waited until I was able to color the entire background with the light blue to erase the outlines and create bubble shapes.

Koh-I-Noor pencil eraser, Polychromos Light Cobalt Turquoise, Luminance white

Add caption
Towards the afternoon I already was putting in the second, darker layer of the background. For the first time ever I tried using as a blender a paintbrush cleaner fluid (that's what it says on the bottle, Cleaner), it's actually a paint thinner which is a solvent. Its odor is quite strong so I kept it away when I wasn't using it. Interestingly the wet parts also on the reverse side of the page dried out fast and more importantly without any trace. The parts where I brushed over the thinner seemed to come together ok but not as dramatically as I had expected. I now realize why, in the past tutorial videos I'd seen, the artists would layer almost 20 times on an image with pencils and thinner, it's because the quality of the blended image cannot yet be achieved with just one coating of thinner.
I bought this from National Bookstore Megamall, the only stock left. It cost PhP100.00

Php 100.00 for this 75 ml bottle
Tomorrow I'll be picking up from here.
For the bubble shapes I erased the outline using Koh-I-Noor pencil eraser and colored it with Caran d'Ache Luminance white.

One of my photo references is this image from

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Lost Ocean Cave

This cave from Johanna Basford's Lost Ocean is among my more recent works. It was featured in Faber-Castell Philippines' Instagram and Facebook pages, also since I used Polychromos in coloring the entire spread. I'm the type who sticks to only one brand of pencil as much as possible when coloring a project.

With this project I wanted to try a different water image, something that shows a different perspective, from the bottom of the ocean looking up. For this I first picked three shades of blue (light, medium, and dark but not too dark), and white for the base of the water's surface.

On top of the white base I drew small waves with the lightest pressure I could apply. I didn't blend anything with a blender. I just left the lines raw. If you can see the white base on this first picture you should be able to distinguish faint lines that should appear as waves.

The second shade of blue I applied on the middle part, as usual using very light strokes.

For the lower part I used the darkest (but not too dark) blue, but also drew the ripples using some shades of phthalo greens this time. From beneath the ocean the ripples should appear to have shadows from under hence the darker shades. The outlines of the ripples were supposed to reflect the bright light so I erased those parts using Koh-I-Noor pencil eraser, really handy to have.

For the inside of the cave I had determined that the light source I wanted was the tiny Atlantis dome. I also wanted its light effect to fill the entire cave with an orange-y hue so I really didn't hold back on that color if you noticed.
Faber-Castell Philippines featured the work in their Instagram account, and I was just thrilled

Thought I'd show a close up of a part of cave from the left side

To date this has earned 490 Likes in the international page of 'coloring books for adults'.
I'm one happy puppy.

Trip to Ayala Museum

The first Sunday in November I was able to convince my husband to take a trip with me to Ayala Museum, out of curiosity because I wanted to take a look at a coloring book they released entitled "Kulayala". The museum opens at 9:00 am, but before entering my husband invited me for some light snacks at the Museum Cafe.
I had guinumis, a drink which is quite filling.

We enjoyed our 1-hour tour of the first and second floors. If you want to visit all the floors you have to get the pricier ticket. The Juan Luna paintings were exhibited in the third floor and that was enough for us, we just adore this master's works. We couldn't take photos as it was prohibited so I have nothing to post here. Marvin made me take note of how Luna never signed his paintings, which led him to doubt the authenticity of a recently auctioned purported work of the artist.

At the Museum Shop at the third floow I finally got hold of the book Kulayala which is not strictly a book but instead is a pack of 10 coloring sheets printed on vellum board. They are illustrations of woven fabrics displayed in the Museum.

I bought it for PhP250.00. My work before at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts under the Sub-Committee on Cultural Communities influenced my love and appreciation for our country's ethnic designs. I wonder when I can get started on these patterns.

Mindfully Coloring Those Enchanting Mushrooms

I noticed that I start a page by coloring the most interesting object in it. I need to see something come alive in the otherwise flat image to get me going up to the end.

With this page in Johanna Basfor'd book Enchanted Forest, it has always been the three mushrooms in the middle that caught my attention. They were in fact the first one I colored using a three colors from my Polychromos colored pencil set. I forget which colors they were exactly but I would assume there's a red, a brown, and yellow somewhere, with Payne's Gray for the shadows.
I didn't stop layering until the mushrooms seemed real and popping out of the page.
This other mushroom, the one I colored pink below, was maybe more dramatic because I slowly found myself introducing creases as I colored it, rather lightly at first. By the way, to those I have coached before I always tell them that I've developed a technique where I color lightly and purposely at the start. This, I found out, gives my mind time to adjust to the shape of the image, to see it as a three-dimensional object, and for it to be able to reveal its shape and texture to me as I color on it. I don't believe the images communicate quickly to my mind how it wants to be colored. More often than not it is when my pencil is shading it that I understand with my mind how it wants to appear, which parts need to be highlighted, which parts need to be recessed. That's coloring mindfully for me.

Someone noticed before that my leaves are not just green, there are different layers in each that reveal different colors. That's quite true. More often than not my leaves in Basford's books are colored with three, even four layers. Life is more exciting that way.

The finished product has a very light background in which I also attempted (and failed) to make the light appear to be coming from behind, from the farthest part of the forest. Oh well, at least I tried I told myself. The final product didn't look so bad after all.

The geometric shaped leaves looked rather strange to me so I decided to put lighter shades on them so that it won't be emphasized that much. The lightly shaded plants also were supposed to signify distance, the darker ones proximity to the observer.

Fishie, Fishie, Blob, Blob

I started with the background as usual
I brought my Phthalo Blues and Greens out while preparing to work on Johanna Basford's Lost Ocean. I chose a spread from the book where there was a row of sea weeds and fishes were just playfully swimming around the underwater scape.
Joyce Tolero, a fellow colorist friend, was the one who made the very funny "fishy-fishies, blob! blob!" remark on my Facebook post that made me laugh.
The water background was blue and green. But instead of shading the entire thing I "drew" the ripples. There were some colorists from my Coloring Books for Adults-Philippines Facebook group  who got curious with how I did it so I replied by describing to them how, step by step:

1. Using color white or ivory pencil I applied the base color on an oval area at the top of the page, it should serve as the source of light in the entire image. It doesn't mean I shouldn't color over this base. It should still blend in eventually with the rest of the blues and greens. What it needs to achieve is weaken the additional color on top so that I can still achieve the desired effect, that is a bright area coming from the surface of the sea.
Payne's Gray of Polychromos is one of my favorites in making shadows. That detail made the leaves of this seaweed appear to be dancing with the sea current.
2. The overall look I'm after is this (please see reference photo below). Notice the ripples are white or ivory. The next thing is to find atleast two shade of blue, and two shades of green that are closest to the colors you see in this underwater image. If you can't find those pencil colors try to blend to come up with them though it's going to be quite challenging. But then again you can always look for a different image with colors that may be closer to what you have.
For those using Faber-Castell's Polychormos pencils I used ivory, helio turquoise, cobalt gree, the three phthalo greens, and earth green for the water background.
3. Color the dark area that represents the horizon heavily. I chose dark blue to achieve depth.

4. For the area closer to the sea floor I used the greens. Other images that I studied of the ocean floor helped me determine the colors of the water. I finally decided that it should be predominantly green when nearing the ocean floor, and predominantly blue when nearing the surface. Notice in my WIP that I continued to mix green and blue, that's because water in the ocean, like the sky, is dynamic, always moving, so it's best to attempt to draw or color it not as static but a dynamic picture, constantly moving, where the colors are perpetually weaving into each other.

5. For the ripples I mimicked the shapes I saw in my photo reference using the darker shades. Remember that we're still tyring to creat a 3D image so shading hte shape and leaving some highlights is key. Also, vary the pressure of your pencil against the paper to achieve varying values of your lines.
Ripples cropped from same image,
6. Finally, remember the white/ivory oval? Draw ripples on the side, making sure nothing is even, just dynamic moving waves and ripples to frame it. Slowly move in with some ripples to the center of the white oval, but sparingly this time. Take note that the ripples are not perfect, some are rounder, some are wavy lines, just as we see them in the water.
The finished work

Flowers at Midnight

This one has a personal story behind it. 

The time I began with this project I thought of using colors that lifted the image from the page as well as those colors that made other images recede. I chose wild colors like purple, orange, red, gold. I had my Prismacolor set beside me and that was all I needed to get started on this page from Midnight Garden.
I used M&G Festival glitter pens on the small details which was so much fun to apply. The black background is already printed on each page of this book which I and everyone else who knows of this book simply adore! 
Both were of the M&G Brand, the top one is a glitter pen, the lower one is metallic.
I noticed that not all reds in my set are warm, this red (which I believe is crimson) turns out to be cool. It receded into the background which seemed to make the purple and orange flowers on top of them come forward.

With the white outline which I decided to remove later

The white outline separating the huge flowers from the rest of the tiny ones didn't excite me at all so I decided to color over them with a black marker to remove its effect.

Now here's the touching part of this story, two days later, within a few minutes after enjoying my finished work, I received a text message from my mother who told me she smelled the scent of flowers while she was coming down her staircase, at her home. For us that sometimes indicated that our departed loved ones wanted to be remembered through prayers. It was then that she remembered that my mother-in-law's birthday was that day.

I was surprised that it slipped my mind even though we all remembered to celebrate it the weekend before. It suddenly occurred to me that the colors in my artwork were all of her favorite colors: red, violet, and gold. I went to offer mass especially for that intention that day.
Normally I wouldn't choose these bright colors, it must've been for a reason.

My Dreamy Secret Garden

Light and purposeful strokes for the background
This was my first ever project using Polychromos oil-based pencils. The image is from Johanna Basford's Secret Garden book. I was very careful in applying the lines lightly on the background at first. I wanted to achieve a soft, purple night sky look.
After making some headway into the page I realized that that wasn't the only color I wanted to put as the background after remembering a comment on someone's work which pointed out that it's ok to use different colors especially because the image we desire should be enchanting and not practical. For Basford's works, at least. So I introduced pale orange which smudged the middle of the page.

The good thing about working by yourself is that others barely notice your smudges unless you declare it outright, which I did haha! One artist friend appreciated the mottling effect (I swear I didn't know about that word until then). 

gerund or present participle: mottling 
  1. mark with spots or smears of color.

    "the cow's coat was light red mottled with white"

    synonyms:blotchy, blotched, spotted, spotty, speckled, streaked, streaky, marbled, flecked, freckled, dappled, stippled; More

    "mottled horses"
  1. 1.
    an irregular arrangement of spots or patches of color.

    "the ship was a mottle of khaki and black"
    • a spot or patch forming part of a mottled arrangement.
      adjective: mottling

      "the mottles on a trout"

      late 18th century: probably a back-formation from motley.
Translate mottling toUse over time for: mottling
For the finishing touches I used Wink of Stella brush, clear. I learned that to be able to freely squeeze the ink out of the pen tube you have to remove the black ring in the middle which works as a cap of some sort. For proper storage you have to replace the ring.

Night Owls

I had seen this spread several times and was always amazed at how other colorists did their thing on them beautifully from their own inspirations. I had another idea for attacking it and thought I'd execute it best with the help of photos from the net. So I googled "digital night owls blue" and came up with images from and I thought I'd keep them as photo references as I got started with this page from Kerby Rosane's Animorphia.

I used Prismacolor wax based pencils on this project. I used Violet Blue and Ultramarine interchangeably. For forming the moon I used a small dish from our cupboard, I'm not a fan of compasses haha!

The background was what I did first. It was my first attempt in using solely pencil for background. Prior to this I was into using oil and soft pastels but developed allergy and rashes and so I kept them at bay for awhile.
Day three, I was finally working on the owl with spread wings.
Obviously it would now take longer to finish the background. When normally it only takes a few hours this one took two days since each page had three layers of color. When I finally got to the owl on the fifth day I think I was ready to shelve the project because the monotony was getting to me. I could see all the beautiful splashes of colors from other colorists on my news feed and all I had with me were blues and blacks. Ugh!

Good thing I posted my work-in-progress after two days of not touching it and received much needed prompts to finish it from colorist friends. After I got started on my second wind on this and didn't almost want to stop until I was done. Two days later I encountered this, a badly broken pencil. It happened as I was sharpening it on my stand-up pencil sharpener when the entire thing toppled on the floor with the pencil as the lone casualty. I thought it was the Ultramarine color, turned out to be Violet Blue.

This made me decide to get a new set of Prismas. Someone even offered to give me her Ultramarine which she hasn't used from her set. Anyway, it's a good thing I only had exactly four leaves left to complete this image. I finally finished it using only the tinier half with the coloring tip on hand.
Broken pencil, broken heart.

The finished work! Many thanks to my online colorist friends from Coloring Books for Adults-Philippines whom I had yet to meet then. We always helped each other go on with our works whenever we lose the inspiration or energy to complete them.
The monochromatic color scheme made me appreciate doing each critter all the more since my mind's eye was focused on the color values this time rather than splashing them with colors.

I couldn't seem to bring out the colors I wanted on the owl's feet. I don't know if it was the paper or the pencils that produced the greyish tone. I meant some parts to be black, others blue, but it kept coming out as grey.
I enjoyed having introduced the moon as the source of light of this picture.