Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: Copic Coloring Guide: Level 4: Fine Details

Have you ordered your Level 4 Copic Coloring Guide yet?  If you're serious about becoming a good Copic marker artist, and you don't consider yourself an expert already, then you really should buy this new edition! 

Here's why:

Earlier editions of the Copic Coloring Guide, while very good, were geared more toward the mechanics of using Copic markers for specific applications.  Level 1 focused almost entirely on learning the Copic numbering system, how to blend color, and other basic functions. Level 2 looked at coloring nature, and Level 3 was all about people.  All of them offered marvelous tips for improving an artist's coloring techniques. If you're new to Copic markers, they're a good place to start!

For the more advanced crafter, this 4th edition is taking us to a whole new level, with specific tips on how to reach "artist level" with our coloring. In fact, it goes beyond Copic coloring into how to use Multiliner pens and other mediums (Hmmm...should that be media?  Don't know.) to achieve more advanced results.

Here are some examples of what you'll find in this guide:

There's a huge emphasis on light and light sources. The authors, Colleen Schaan and Marianne Walker, begin with basic terminology you'll see throughout, and then provide tips on how to check images for contrast (the difference between light and dark values).  They offer step-by-step instructions on how to conduct a value study on an image - and provide illustrations of three different studies conducted on a single image, with the light source in a different place for each one. This provides a good visual of how the process works. They carry this idea throughout the book.

Once you have a good idea about how light works and affects your images, then you'll go on a visual journey that explains about shadows, undertones (and underpainting techniques), highlights, textures, surfaces, and more. Each page offers exercises for the artist to experiment with, and a bonus CD provides digital files of all the illustrations.

Once you have these basics in your head, you'll find another section of the book devoted to even more specialized topics.  Want to mix your own Copic colors?  The book will show you how. Want to enhance your stamped images with additional graphics, artistic shading or textures?  No problem. Ever wished you could place an image inside a scenic background on your card?  You can learn how here.

Well...I suppose I'm starting to sound like the book's personal salesperson.  Perhaps I am, but I really do like it that much.  If I can offer one bit of critical feedback, I would wish to know more about using the Copic airbrushing system.  There's a page or two devoted to airbrushing, but it doesn't really get into technique very much.

The final bit of good news is that the authors used a lot of familiar artists in the Copic world to create special projects for the book. You'll find projects from great Copic artists like Cindy Lawrence (whose card is on the front cover), Michele Boyer, Lori Craig, Melanie Holtz, Jennifer Dove (who made the card on the back cover), Jane Allen, Kathy Jones, Sharon Harnist, Debbie Olson, and of course, the authors themselves.

Each coloring project features a photo, step-by-step instructions, list of materials, and best of all, the maker and name of each stamped image. That's great, as I am particularly fond of a few of these stamps!

As you can see, I love the new Copic Coloring Guide, Level 4, Fine Details. In fairness, I should tell you that I was a blog hop winner for a free, autographed copy of this guide. One copy was given from each person writing for the hop, and I won the copy from Lori Craig at Split Coast Stampers. Thanks, Lori! Nevertheless, I can also say that I had the book on pre-order before winning a free copy, and my "win" did not affect my review of the book.

You can find this book at online shops like Annie's Attic (the publisher), Amazon, etc. For a quick find, look for ISBN 978-1-59635-575-0. Hope you enjoy it as much as I am!

Thanks for visiting.  Please stop by again soon! 

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