Thursday, 25 May 2017

Step-by-Step - Black Background Experiment

When you're colouring in a book with drawings on both sides of the page, you have to be careful about the types of pens you use. Alcohol-based pens will bleed and shadow through the page so water-based pens are the way to go. 
Creating a black background, even with water-based pens, can result in some shadowing on the following page so it's good to pick up any tips out there on how to manage this successfully, without shadowing.
I came across this method recently and decided to give it a whirl on my copy of Secret Garden. I intend to colour this entire book in monochrome and inking (maybe the occasional touch of colour!)


The finished title page

Step 1 - 

Firstly I needed to work around the outer edges of the design with a fine water-based black pen. I use a Staedtler Pigment liner, the brilliant 0.05 tip one. This is an arduous process, armed with a magnifying glass in one hand, but it's worthwhile doing to keep the outlines crisp and accurate.

Step 2 - 

This involves laying down a base coat of black watercolour pencil. I used Derwent Inktense pencil but any watercolour pencil should work. You can see below that I have inked around the design on the right hand side of the design.


Steps 1 and 2

Step 3 - 

The background base coat of pencil is now complete and the inking around the edges, done.

Step 3

Step 4 -

Now a layer of a water-based black pen is added over the pencil. The water in the pens activates the pigment or ink in the pencil to smooth things out. I had hoped that just this one coat of brush pen would be enough to give me a mostly streak free look. 
On the left hand side I used a Tombow black brush pen. On the right hand side I used an Artline Stix black brush pen.  In the sample I did, the Artline Stix pen won easily. However, to be honest, there wasn't much difference although I think the Tombow pen performed slightly better.  In both instances there were still plenty of patchy streaks, such as you get with water-based pens over a larger area.

Step 4

Step 5 - 

So I put over another coat with the Tombow brush pen and this time, I was happy with the result. There was zero shadowing or bleeding through to the reverse page.

Step 5

Now the design was ready for further inking.

I think you could try this method with any coloured background as long as you could find a reasonable match between your watercolour pencil colour and brush pen colour.

Products I used:




Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.05

Available at - Amazon US;  Amazon UK;   Mighty Ape NZ









Pack of 6 Pigment Liners of different sizes - really useful

Available at - Amazon US;   Amazon UK;   Mighty Ape NZ







Tombow Brush Pen black - 

Available at - Amazon US;   Amazon UK




Artline Stix Brush Pens - the best red ever! 16 pack




Check out the rest of the Step-by-Step series - here.


Do join me on Facebook here.




Recent Reviews and Posts 



The Ultimate Winnie-the-Pooh Colouring Book - here.











Picture Book Box - They All Saw a Cat - here.







No comments:

Post a Comment