Artistic Expression with Jane Allen – Happy Bear-thday

It’s time for our monthly Artistic Expression with Jane Allen feature. Have you implemented any of the techniques Jane has shared over the past few months? We’d love to see your projects! Be sure to tag #mftstamps on social media so we can appreciate *your* artistry as well.

Well hello there — it’s time for another Artistic Expression feature and this month I thought I would share with you all how I coloured the balloon on this card.

So, before I start with the balloon tutorial, allow me to quickly give you all the details regarding the overall card just in case you’d like to try this layout for yourself.

Firstly, I trimmed a 10cm x 20cm card base from Smooth White Card Stock, scoring it at 10cm and folding it in half with the aid of a Teflon bone folder. I then cut out a frame, again from Smooth White Card Stock, using a Stitched Circle Scallop Edge Frame.

Having inked up a piece of card stock with Dried Marigold, Fired Brick, Candied Apple, and Aged Mahogany Distress Inks, I had a little fun with some white paint and a splatter brush to create a speckled background. Once dry, I used a die from Circle Stax Set 2, slightly larger than the inside of the frame, and adhered both pieces together with Multi Medium Matte Glue before mounting them to the card base.

The sentiment, from Beary Special Birthday, was stamped with Cranberry Cocktail Hybrid Ink on Smooth White Card Stock. Then with the aid of a MISTI, I re-stamped the sentiment with Versamark and heat embossed it with Clear Detail Embossing Powder. When fully dry, I die cut it using a Stitched Sentiment Strip and adhered it to the card base just below the frame.

As for the little bear from the Beary Special Birthday Set, I stamped him using Cement Gray Hybrid Ink on Copic-suitable card and coloured him with Copic markers. I then cut him out carefully with detail scissors and adhered him to the card with foam pads, creating some added dimension on my card.

Now, let’s look at a particular element of this card in more detail:


Firstly, if you’ve ever been to one of my Copic classes you will undoubtedly have heard me say “Google, Don’t Guess!

What do I mean by this? Well, in this instance,  I recommend you search online for images of balloons. That way you will have a realistic picture to refer to when you start colouring.

As you can see, a real balloon has more than one point of shine and dark areas that we may well have missed had we simply guessed.  This image is for reference only, you will not be replicating it exactly — merely using it as a guide to enhance the realism of the object in your project.

I started by mapping out the shine areas…ultimately these will be the lightest parts of the completed balloon. I coloured the remaining area with my palest Copic colour — in this instance, R22.

Then I built up the colour by adding some R24, carefully leaving areas that I wanted to stay lighter.

As you can see, I then layered the darker R29, marking out the areas that would be shadows on the finished balloon.

Before I started to blend the whole piece, I added touches of R39 and R37 to the top and bottom of the balloon, constantly referring to the Googled image to ensure that I was adding the darker shades to the correct areas. It was only after I added all the shading that I went back with R22 and started blending the colours together.

Being quite pale, R22 can act like colourless blender taking away colour as you blend. That is exactly what happened whilst colouring this piece so I just added additional R24 and R29 to maintain the depth of colour. As the card stock was quite wet at this stage the colours blended readily, so adding extra colour was not an issue.

Should you find that you’ve been a little heavy handed with the blending and the top shine is not as light as you would have liked, merely use your Colourless Blender pen to take away some of the colour. I would recommend a dotting action as this allows you to gently take away colour with more control than the usual circular motion.

Copic coloring a balloon image from Jane Allen — featuring products from My Favorite Things #mftstamps

So finally, here is the process in stages from the initial colour mapping, all the way through to the finished balloon.

Learning to observe and researching unfamiliar elements in my projects has really helped improve the standard of my Copic colouring and I hope that it helps you too!


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Comments (9)

  • Sandra


    Thank you so much. I will try this. It looks great!


  • Kara Lynne


    Thanks for this wonderful tutorial, Jane! The step-by-step was very helpful. Your little bear and his balloon are darling!


  • Deborah Kaye


    Great tutorial on coloring the balloon and adorable card! I will try this. 🙂


  • creatingincolors


    That is so cute! Thank you for all of the helpful details on how you created this.


  • Margaret


    Thanks so much for showing us in such detail how to color and blend! It’s really helpful, and not just with balloons!


  • Cindy Beach


    This tutorial was really helpful! Loved seeing each detail and a balloon is something we use often so it seems attainable. Will give it a try!


  • Karthikha Uday


    Beautiful creation and awesome coloring! Thanks for sharing the steps with us 🙂


  • Monika Gulyas


    Thank you for sharing! Great colouring and great ideas!