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Tutorial: Monochromatic Coloring

Hi everybody.

Some of these upcoming tutorials will serve a double purpose. I'm going to start delving into some super basic color tricks and techniques. At the same time, these techniques are being applied to coloring rubber stamps specifically, but can also be applied to anything drawn.

One of the things that i struggled the most with when I first started painting was trying to get colors to work together. There's an easy solution to that.

Create a monochromatic underpainting.

Here's what we'll need...

Supplies: The Derby Guy stamp from Time Travelers CMS157, Black archival ink, Water Brushes, Canson Montval cold press watercolor paper, Distress Stains and Distress Markers.

First thing is to stamp out the Derby Guy with archival ink so it won't bleed when adding water.

Using a slightly damp water brush flat tip, I do a wash of 3 different Distress Stains...Weathered Wood, Rusty Hinge and Pumice Stone. Basically, a desaturated blue, orange and a warm gray. Distress Stains are a ready-to-go water media. No need to add water. It's already mixed in.

Once that's dry, I paint on a coat of Frayed Burlap, a light brown, on the coat and hat of all three. I'm using this color as the clothings "local" color. Basically, the color that things are...i.e. green grass, blue jeans etc. Now it's important that the underpainting is dry when doing this or the colors will mix instead of being transparent layers on top of one another.

This is what it looks like done. Notice how the base color effects the brown differently.

To add a layer of shading, I used Vintage Photo Distress Stain. It's a darker, warmer brown. Notice how I left areas around the hat and shoulders without Vintage Photo creating a highlight. I also applied most of the Vintage Photo around the chest area creating a gradient fade back into the Frayed Burlap layer down at the coat bottom. With water media, you want to go light to dark when layering. 

Taking a Walnut Stain Distress Marker, I fill in the moustache and give him pinstripes on his vest. I also add some Rusty Hinge into the skin shadows. I'll do a whole tutorial on skin tones using Distress, but this is enough for now.

Once we add the original color as a backdrop, you can see how color works to set the tone of all the colors in the image.  

Next week, We check out how simple color compliments take this concept to the next level! 


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Reader Comments (17)

Wow... awesome tutorial! I am waiting for my stamp set to come; but once it here I will be sure to give your tutorial a try! Thank You so much for sharing it with me! You Rock... I love your work!!!

February 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSara Ament

Great tutorial, Brett. Looking forward to getting my stamp set soon after March 1 when Stampers Anonymous will ship my pre-order.

February 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSue W

Seriously super! I was a little unsure of how best to use my distress stains, but can't wait to try this out. I love your stamps, and I've just ordered a set, (naughty naughty). Thank you so much for sharing this technique.

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterZoe Hillman

Congratulations on getting your work endorsed by Tim Holtz. I love your Steampunk artwork. Blessings!

April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArnoldo L. Romero

This is so FAB, Brett! I love, love, love this! Can't wait to try it out! xoxo

April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSara Carns

Brett, I've just got your stamp set and adore it already. This is a brilliant tutorial - gonna go see the next one and then play! Love your work, hugs Jenny x

April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterButtons

Fabulous tutorial, thankyou :)

April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCathy R

Great tutorial! Love your website.

April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathyJH

Wow... makes me want to try this !

April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRosann

Thanks for showing this; it's really awesome, and I love your stamp.

April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Greve

Loved this post! Thank you so much for all the info! The stamps you designed are awesome! Congrats and keep them coming!!!

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVicky

Thank you so much for all this instructional info as well as sharing your talents. I have spent quite some time this evening watching your videos and looking at all your amazing work. I have all these products, and want to use them more effectively. Just awesome!

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWinnie

Just love the way you use color. Many thanks!!

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarb

Brett my mom is a portrait artist and has spoken of 'underpainting'...and I honestly never got it - but when you use materials that I am very familiar with - well, I got it! Thanks Brett!!

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

This colouring is stunning, Brett.

April 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia Howarth

Thank you so much! I just had the joy of purchasing your art and I love your work! Kudo's to you and may your artist's pen stay in perpetual motion. :)

August 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterA.T.

So I just discovered your fantastic blog, although I'm sure you're quite famous judging by the fact that you have your own Stampers Anonymous line (congrats, by the way). Your work is incredible and thank you for this tutorial - it's really interesting to think about undertones and how they will affect the final colors. I'll have to go play around now.

June 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBecca Cruger

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