Learn How to Colour with Claire

Hi everyone! My name is Claire and for the last five years I have run Colour with Claire, a channel all about adult colouring. I create videos for anything and everything to do with the hobby including colouring book and art supply reviews, colouring tutorials, ‘colour alongs’ (real-time videos of me colouring so you can colour along with me), giveaways and lots more. I use colouring to aid my mental health as I suffer from anxiety and depression. I find that colouring gives me something to focus on when I’m feeling panicky and low, keeping my mind distracted and calming me down.

I recently completed a Steampunk colour along on my channel which I’m going to share with you today. I’ll include the link to each of the five parts so you can watch exactly what I’m doing in real time. I am using Caran D’Ache Luminance pencils and Arteza Grey Toned Paper. The illustration I am colouring is by Color’N’Chics on Etsy.

Part 1: Skin

SteampunkIn this part I colour the face and features. I begin by laying down Burnt Ochre in the areas I want to define such as the cheekbones and the sides of the nose, then add highlights with Burnt Ochre 10% and Buff Titanium to blend. I go over this 2-3 times to build depth and create a smooth look. I then apply Violet Grey over all the shadow areas as lavender is the counterpart to red, so if you find your skin colouring looking a little too orangey just add some light purple over the top and it will tone down any redness. I then blended the whole thing with the Caran D’Ache Full Blender to completely burnish all the pencil layers. A top tip would be to sharpen the blender stick so you can really get into the tooth of the paper for a smooth blend. You can add a little white to the highlighted areas if you wish, just to boost the contrast a little more. Anthraquinoid Pink is a great blush colour when added lightly over the apples of the cheeks. For her lips I used a blend of Crimzon Alizarin Hue, Permanent Red and Cornelian, going darkest in the corners of her lips and lightest in the middle. I then used a white gel pen to add a couple of glossy highlights. I coloured her eyes in Ice Blue, Grey Blue and Light Malachite Green (darkest at the top, fading to light at the centre bottom of the iris). I also used White to colour the whites of her eyes but this is unnecessary if you are colouring on white paper. A great tip for eyes is to use a light grey just under where the eyelashes sit. This creates a shadow on the eyeball and adds to the realism. To finish, I went over the eyelashes in Black and used a graphite pencil to lightly redefine some of the facial features which were lost under the layers of coloured pencil.

Part 2: Hair

SteampunkI started off by colouring the neck in the same skin tones we used in part one. I wanted a glossy chestnut brown colour for her hair so I selected Sepia, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Sienna 50% and Burnt Sienna 10%. When colouring hair I always keep my pencils super sharp throughout, and use a flicking motion to emulate individual strands of hair. As you can see on the video, I colour the hair in sections; the top and bottom of each section is darkest, graduating to lightest in the middle. This is what gives a shiny look to each curl and creates form and dimension. It’s time consuming, but the results are definitely worth it!

Part 3: The Clock

SteampunkI wanted the clock to be vintage style in keeping with the Victorian steampunk theme of the illustration. I took guidance from Helen Elliston’s Colourist’s Special Effects Book 2 and adapted her colour palette to my Luminance pencils. Using Brown Ochre 10% I coloured around the outer and inner edges of the clock, then deepened them with Light Umber from my Prismacolor pencils. I lightly shaded some black over the very edges of the Light Umber and blended them together. I layered all the colours up again to make them bolder and more blended, then filled all the central area in Brown Ochre 10%. With a very sharp Sepia pencil I drew in some random cracks all over the surface of the clock to give it an aged look. A good tip for getting each crack to be unique is to slowly turn the pencil as you draw the line. This twisting motion, paired with the movement of your hand, allows you to create random lines that aren’t uniform or follow a pattern. Thicken some of the cracks in places and keep other lines thin- this variation adds to the look. I then drew in the numerals and clock hands which had disappeared under the layers of pigment, and added silver and Slate Grey to create a metallic setting around the clock.

Part 4: The Hat

SteampunkFor the black parts of the hat I blended Black, Slate Grey and Payne’s Grey 30%, following the artist’s linework and placing the Black shadow accordingly. I used the same combination of Crimson Alizarin Hue/Permanent Red/Cornelian that I used on the lips to colour the stripes of the hat. Another of my top tips is to try and use as limited a palette as you can. It makes the finished piece look cohesive and is more pleasing to the eye than using every colour of the rainbow, the eye not knowing where to land! Using the same colours on different areas of the page keeps it all tied together. For the cogs and goggles I used Burnt Sienna, Burnt Ochre, Yellow Ochre and Bismuth Yellow to create a yellow gold blend, and added white gel pen highlights over the top to accentuate the shine of the metal. I forgot to outline the cogs in black though, so they look a bit lost against the hat.

Part 5: Everything Else!

SteampunkIn the final part I began by using the same three red colours I used on the lips and hat to colour the costume. I coloured each section individually going from dark to light, and added more white gel pen highlights to give it a shiny, PVC look. I coloured the cog in the same colours as the ones on the hat (remember what I said about everything tying in?) and decided the blues I used on her eyes would be a great background colour to contrast with all the red. So I layered Ice Blue, Grey Blue and Light Malachite Green around her hat and hair which the illustrator had already put in a rope-style border. I then filled the middle in White, an unnecessary step if you’re colouring on white paper but fantastic on toned paper as it really ‘pops’. I had a bit of trouble with some crooked stars I drew in and had to paint over them with white paint, but it blended nicely so I’m not too worried about that. The final step was adding some navy blue dots with a Fineliner pen, just in the darkest areas of blue around the edge. Overall I’m really happy with how this page turned out and I loved using the wonderful Luminance pencils- they make it effortless! I hope you’ve enjoyed watching/reading my colour along and will consider subscribing to my YouTube channel if you are interested in colouring and art in general!

20 April 2020


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