Friday 2 July 2010

Colouring with Distress Inks

I use a mixture of re-inkers and pads. Personally I prefer the re-inkers but it's only a matter of personal preference. I use three brushes, size 6 for larger areas, size2 for medium and size0 for finely detailed work
My palette is a smooth kitchen tile.  I use an egg cup for water and change if often - I was taught, ages ago, to use mineral water as tap water has chemicals in that can affect the paint. Now we're painting images for cards, not masterpieces to I hardly think this matters but I still do it from force of habit.

I printed the image on Fabriano Classico 5 paper which is 300g/ms (140lb) on a draft/quick print setting.

Firstly I start by deciding where your light is coming from, with this image I've decided it's coming from the front right.
I started by lightly colouring the skin areas with Tattered Rose.

Mixed with a tiny amount of Antique linen for the shaded areas.

Clean the brush wipe, remove most of the water and gently blend the two areas of colour.

I use a little Victorian Velvet mixed with the Tattered Rose to add 'roses' to cheeks.

Here I start to colour the hair using Weathered Wood. I hardly ever use Black Soot as I find it harsh and unforgiving, but do use a minute amount mixed to deepen colours. I mixed colours with water at different strengths - see above. Start with the lightest and slowly build up the colour constantly blending.

Here I used a tiny brush point of Black soot mixed with Weathered Wood on the darkest parts.

I decided to do a green scarf this time using Peeled paint - again mixing little pools of varying strengths.

I started by laying down a layer of the weaker mix where the shadows would be, using a brush with quite a bit of water I quickly blended the green over the whole of the scarf.

Slowly, little by little I built up the depth of colour, constantly blend in between each layer of ink.

Next I started to build up the colour on the jacket using Vintage photo.

I put a light wash with my size 6 brush

Again I built up my darker shaded areas slowly and constantly blending.

With larger areas I use the wet in wet technique. I wet the area I wanted to add the shadow to, picked up a fair bit of dark ink on my brush and dropped it into the wet area. You can see how it spreads itself out, making it easier to blend.

You will also see water marks where I've wet the paper, these will blend easily.

I decided to use yellow Mustard Seed for the earphones and Tshirt.

I finally added colour (Weathered wood plus a touch of Black Soot) to the sunglasses.

At this point I looked and decided some areas needed more shade and depth. I added these and blended any part that need extra blending.

Here we have the finished image. There are parts where I've gone over the lines, I found the inks were drying very quickly in the heat, plus stopping to take photographs didn't help but these will not show on the card.

I would suggest you use decent quality watercolour paper and brushes. A good brush will return to a point making it easier to use.

Colours I find the most useful   Tattered Rose  -  flesh coloured
                                          Antique Linen   -  slightly greeny brown, good for darker skin tones
                                          Vintage Photo - a nice warm brown
                                          Peeled paint  -  green
                                          Faded Jeans - blue
                                          Dusky concord  or Milled lavender  -  Mauve/ lavender/Purple
                                          Dried Marigold - orange
                                          Mustard seed  -  yellow
                                          Weathered wood - bluey grey

I hope your find this tutorial use and if anyone is interested I have in my file colour wheels that show you the results of mixing colour etc. I could either do a tutorial or email you the colour wheels.

Any questions please feel free to ask, either in a comment or email me.



Rosette said...

You are simply awesome Heather!!!! :)

Only By His Grace said...

Dear Heather!
What a fabulous tutorial. I am new with distress inks and find this very helpful. you have done an awesome job of your colouring. I was just speaking to my friend in America this morning telling her about your tutorial on coloring digi images with the distress inks and sent her your link. I said I now want to learn how to mix colours. I would very much love a colour wheel on mixing colours. My email is

Hugs Marion

Sue said...

Hi Hun bout time to!!!!! hehehe
Brilliant tutorial thank you so much, will have another go with mine, have great weekend hun, THANK YOU MUCH sue,xx

Danielle said...

Wow Heather, your colouring tutorial is superb! So beautifully presented and easy to follow - and of course your colouring is breathtaking! Thanks so much for sharing this!
Hugs, Danielle

France Ringuette said...

Heather this is just a FABULOUS tutorial, and your coloring is just breathtaking. I'll have to give this a try for sure !!!!

Thanks for sharing !

Christine said...

Hi Heather many thanks for taking the time to make this the idea now to put it to practise..LOL breath taking image & colouring...

Hugs Christine xx

Moni said...

Hi hun, thanks for the tutorial, it is great. Love your colouring you have presented very well. Have a fab weekend! Hugs,Moni

Danielle Daws said...

This is phenomenal! I'm utterly embarrassed by my comparatively mediocre work!!

Riet said...

Ohhh Heather,so beautiful colouring.

Hugs Riet.xx

Georgia said...

Oh WOW! This is absolutely fabulous Heather, you are so talented at colouring with these distress inks, I love the effect! :) Love, Georgia xx

Sandra1968 said...

Thanks, Heather, for this great tutorial.
And the colouring of this image is beautiful!

Sarah said...

Fantastic tutorial - it is great to see how it all builds up bit by bit - now I know where I have been going wrong! Thanks. Sarah x

Gail said...

Great detailed tutorial :) Thanx!

auntie lisa said...

You make this look so do a remarkable job. I have never used this technique...I only have a few pad and reinkers....may have to invest in more and try this. Thanks so much for doing this for are so sweet and very talented.

theneon said...

All I can say is WOW! A wonderful journey into your distressed inks! Give us more of such a good thing!

Leigh said...

Absolutely fantastic tutorial. Thanks Heather.

Tracy said...

Hi Heather such a fantastic tutorial, and very informative, I will certainly be using it as a guide in the future and I would love your colour wheels, You really do some awesome colouring and so life like, i'm still learning.
Happy crafting
Tracy x

Barbara said...

Heather, this is a sensational tutorial! Thanks for sharing your awesome talent.


Eija said...

Thank you Heather for this tutorial!
It helps many of us helplesses :)


Powerful Search Engine said...

Hi Rica a fantastic tutorial and great colourwork Hugs Pascale x

COCO said...

Gorgeous I love it your coloring is very fabulous !!!
hugs coco

Unknown said...

Fantastic tutorial thankyou so much

mycardz said...

Wow Heather! Awesome. This is so helpful, I'm definitely going to bookmark this and come back often! You really are such a talented artist! I'm so glad to be able to say I'm on DTs with you! Thank you for this!

Wilma said...

Gee, wow, fan-bloody-tastic, amazing colouring, not an ooooopsie in sight either, blimey i wish i could to that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PS i want to know what printer you use - i dont think mine would take 300gms.

Serene Designs said...

Hi again Heather, This Tutorial on colouring with distress inks is amazing. I am only learning (and I am slow) all about ways to colour and also the different techniques to create cards. I would really appreciate it if you could please send me a email with the colour wheel on mixing colours. My email is Thankyou again so much for sharing your great talents. Have a great weekend. Bye for now Maria

Heidi said...

Heather- Wow! I am going to have to try this technique! Simply Gorgeous.

Tara Godfrey said...

WOW! WOW! WOW! Heather, this is an absolutely fabulous tutorial!!! I started out colouring with Distress inks until I found my beloved Copics, smile! But honestly, I was never very good at it but always love the look that others achieve with Distress inks. Your colouring is always sooooo stunning and I was just blown away when I saw this fab image coloured flawlessly. I feel so inspired to try colouring with my Distress inks after seeing this tut. Thanks so much, hun!

Fern said...

Thank you so much for sharing this technique!! I am very new to coloring and I haven't decided if I like the copics or the distress ink technique!!! This is absolutely beautiful!!! The problem I have is that when I print the digi off and then start to paint, the ink outline ink smears!!! :o( Thanks again!!

Lynne Forsythe said...

Absolutely STUNNING....Thanks for Sharing!!!

Unknown said...

This was great ddn't think of using my inks for this kind of drawing he look amazing

love Dawn xx

Andrea - Wales, UK said...

I am totally in awe of your talent. Your use of DI's is amazing. Thanks for sharing this tutorial.


Julie said...

Just been looking at this again Rica and it is truly stunning!! You are a true artist!! Thanks for sharing! Juliex

G Peplow said...

Hi there Thank you what a lovely detailed tutorial so full of inspiration, brilliant:) xx

Shazza said...

this is amazing Heather, I can never get it right with my DI's. Must try out your tips x

Beate said...

Fantastic coloring!

Curt in Indy said...

I had never noticed this on your blog and when I came here to see the tutorial, I was blown away! Wow! You are so talented and the coloring of this image is remarkable! Super job! Best, Curt

Cardmaking Galore said...

This was really useful. Very well explained and depicted - thanks!

America said...

ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? No way! You make this look so darn easy!!! But I know its not. Its terribly complicated for me. LOL! Seriously, it takes talent. I mean serious Coloring talent!!! The kind that YOU have my dear friend! :) :)

Suzi Mac said...

This was utterly amazing. Thank you so much, I've never used distressed inks for colouring before, you have converted me, I now need to go buy some. Thank you again.
Suzi x

Sande said...

I just stumbled upon your blog while looking for tutorials for coloring with Distress Inks. My daughter and I have decided to venture into this media and your tutorial is fantastic.

If you still the the color wheel available I would love to have a copy and thank you for sharing.

chrissy xx said...

Cooee! I've just found this Heather and I intend to call back for another look. I've lots of unused ink pads and will now buy some 'good' paper to give it a shot!
Thank you.

Judy said...

Hi, I too would love to receive a copy of your Color wheel.


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