Monday, January 2, 2012

Copic Coloring 101 Part 3...

Let's look some more and are colors. Whether you are just beginning to choose your Copic markers, or adding to an extensive collection, understanding the Copic Color System will help you make better color choices. Let's take a look at the Copic Color wheel.. You can download a full size version HERE.

Look at the Copic Color Wheel now. Yellow is on the bottom, red on the lower right and blue on the upper left. Your three primary colors. If you look between these colors, you will see most of the secondary and tertiary colors. This is a Copic Color Wheel so it only uses Copic colors.

The letter or letters, show color Hue. If we start at Yellow and go counter clockwise around  around the color wheel we have:

  • Y for Yellow
  • YR for Yellow Red
  • R for Red
  • RV for Red Violet
  • V for Violet
  • BV for Blue Violet
  • B for Blue
  • BG for Blue Green
  • G for Green
  • YG for Yellow Green
After you see how the color part of the Copic Color Wheel works, you aren't quite finished; you still need to understand both intensity and value. Intensity refers to the color's clarity/vibrancy or grayness. Value refers to the lightness or darkness of the color. 

Look at the cap of your Copic marker: the first number following the color type is the color number, and it denotes the color's intensity. A 0 immediately following the color letter or letters indicates a pure, clear, intense color, while a 9 in that position indicates a very muted, grayed color. (The earthtones do not follow this same logic, so apply it only to the primary, secondary and tertiary colors)

Looking at that marker cap again, the final number or numbers indicates the value of the color. A pale value may have a 0000, 000, 00, or 0 in this position, while a very dark value of a color may have an 8 or 9 in this position.

Going back to the Copic Color Wheel, notice that the more intense, clear colors are all toward the outside of the color wheel, and the grayed, muted colors are closer to the center - closer to the grays.

Let's try what we've learned:
  1. Let's say you have a true red marker that you love, mine is R29, Lipstick Red. How do you know what other markers would work well with this marker to get lighter or darker tones? First, this is already a dark tone, so you are probably looking for lighter versions of the same color. Anything in the R20's would blend well with R29 - R20, R21, R22, R24 and R27. You'll also notice these are on the same line on the Copic Color Wheel, going around the circle. Generally you can skip about two or three values and still achieve a nice gradation. It's a matter of personal taste, but I generally grab R24, R27 and R29. If I happen to need a deeper shadow for R29, then I would leave my R20's family and choose  R59 or R89. You'll notice these are on the same line going towards the center of the Copic Color Wheel.
  2. If you're looking for olive green hues, you know that you need to look in the Yellow-Green family, YG. Olive tones are generally muted, so you would look for a higher number following the letter(s), YG9-'s. What value of olive are you looking for? A light olive? Then start with a lower final number, YG91 or YG93. A mid-olive? Try YG95. Are you looking for a deep olive? Then choose a higher number for your final number, YG97 or YG99.  You'll also notice these are on the same line on the Copic Color Wheel, going around the circle.
  3. What if you don't have the exact color that you need? Let's assume that you are trying to coordinate Copic colors with a piece of pattern paper you've picked out with warm aqua tones. A quick look at the BG's in the Copic Color Chart would show you that the pale aquas are all relatively bright/clear/intense. What can you do to tone their intensity without altering their value? Try pairing a pale aqua such as BG11 or BG13 with a toner gray (You'll notice it's the gray below the BG's on the Copic Color Wheel) of the SAME value -- a T1 with BG11, and a T3 with the BG13. See how the last numbers match in both choices.. T1 and BG11 or T3 and BG13. Need to tone down a Red-Violet color? try a cool gray of the same value as the color that you need to mute. How about RV55 with C5 or RV06 with C6.
A basic knowledge of the Copic Color System can improve your color choices. I find the Copic Color Wheel a valuable coloring tool! I would print one out and keep it handy... See you next week!

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