How to use copic markers tutorial 5 | rocket printable + shading how-to

by Michelle Houghton

image As promised, here is another step-by-step tutorial for using your Copic markers and shading an image we can all work on together.

This time we are playing with an image made specially for all my friends with little boys.  For those of you with little girls I am sure you can find an excuse to use this cute rocket.  I added mine to a layout of a visit to the Science Center.

First get your image ready by printing out the sheet of multiple rockets or resizing the image and printing it to suit your project.  Download/open pdf with rockets for practice. Remember some of you might have to take the image to a copy center if your ink jet printer is not compatible with your Copics.

The color list that I am using today is; Y00, Y11, Y15, YR04, YR07, YG11, YG13, B00, B02, and B05.  You do not have to have these exact colors–play along with what you can find! image

Step #1 – I started with the flame on the rocket.  This part of the image has the most layers on it.  I actually used 5 different colors on this section.  You can simplify however you like.  I started with Y00 to get my lightest yellow out into the far corners of the flame.  I knew that with all the layers I was going to add that I would have a lot of moisture on the page so I did not add the yellow all the way into to the base of the rocket.


Step #2 – I added Y11 into the flame next.  Right down the center of each piece of the flame and back in a little closer to the base of the rocket.  I blended this layer in with the Y00.


Step #3 – I added Y15 into the flame not going all the way up into the individual bands of the flame but all the way back to the base of the rocket.  I blended with the Y11 to smooth out this layer.


Step #4 – YR04 is next on the list for the flame.  This is a whole different color family so you will see a big difference.  One of the big keys here is working quickly.  If your ink is still wet it will do some of the blending for you.  Go back in with your Y15 in small circles over the edges to blend this layer in further.  Do not worry about the darker color getting on your marker, this is part of the magic of these markers, the darker ink will not stay on the lighter marker.


Step #5 – I finished of the flame with YR07 this is a very dark yellow/red and will really push that flame to the extremes.  I just added this at the base of the rocket.  I blended this layer in with the YR04 and then a little more with the Y15.  The flame is finished.


Step #6 – Next, let’s work on the fins.  I am pretending that the light is coming in from the left side of my image so this will effect where I add my highlights and shadows.  I am going to do both fins at once but you can do one at a time.  I am starting with my YG11 and adding the base color filling the majority of the fins.


Step #7 – Now I am going in with the YG13 to add the shading.  On the left fin, I am adding a wider band of color on the underside, to the lower right, on the fin.  On the right side fin I am doing a wider band of color on the right hand side and another against the body of the rocket where it will cast a shadow.  Check the image on this step, it is complicated to put into words.  Finish up the fins with blending back with YG11.


Step #8 – On to the top of the rocket.  I am starting with the YG11 again and this time just starting with a wide band a little off center to the left side.


Step #9 – I am adding YG15 next on the rocket top.  The darker color will fill both sides with a wider band to the right, further away from the light source.  Going back to blend with YG11 will finish off the top.


Step #10 – Moving on to the body of the rocket we are going to start with B00.  I started with a wide band on this portion off center to the left and working around the windows.


Step #11 – I added my middle tone with B02.  I created bands on both sides out to the edges being careful around the windows then blended with B00.


Step #12 – Last on the body of the rocket is B05 to add the darkest tones.  I added just a touch of color on the edge along the left and did a narrow band of color along the right.  Blending back in with B02 finishes off the body of the rocket.


Step #13 – Last but not least I added Y15 to the windows, no shading here just the bright yellow for the windows.


One rocket ready to add to your layout or card.  Enjoy!

Bio-shot-2011-150Michelle Houghton is a wife, mother and artist living in Iowa. Even before she began scrapbooking, she was a lifelong artist, majoring in Fine Arts at the University of Oregon and then teaching high school art for 7 years. Michelle has been scrapbooking for more than 15 years and she enjoys adding her own art, doodles and handmade elements to her pages for a one-of-a-kind look.

Michelle teaches doodling, Copics, handlettering and more at workshops throughout the country. She writes tutorials at Get It Scrapped and is an instructor for Imagination International Inc., the US distributor of Copic products. The best way to learn more about Michelle is at her website,

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16 Responses to How to use copic markers tutorial 5 | rocket printable + shading how-to

  1. Kathryn May 19, 2010 at 1:51 am #

    Debbie thank you for these tutorials and guides, very informative and you have answered my questions that I was searching for answers.

  2. Brenda May 19, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    Another great one Michelle! Thanks!

  3. Linda May 19, 2010 at 2:21 pm #

    It is so amazing how you explain these steps and they are easy to follow. I would have never figured out how to use the markers properly. Thank you Michelle.

  4. Michelle Houghton May 19, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    Yeah! Glad everyone is still enjoying! I am still learning too, new tricks to try all the time!

    Kathryn, I am glad these were helpful. Let me know if you end up with any specific questions, I would sure love to try and help!

  5. Norma May 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    Thanks Debbie and Michelle. Great series and so helpful! However, am I the only one having a problem opening the pdf file for the practice rocket??? It keeps asking for a password-am I doing something wrong? Thanks again!

    • Debbie Hodge May 19, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

      Hi, Norma! thanks for letting me know that the link wasn’t working. I’m so sorry. It’s all fixed now. Please let me know if you have any more questions. Debbie

  6. Corinna November 3, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    I have just finished reading all your tutorials on the Copics and just wanted to say thanks! You’re a fabulous teacher. I wish I could afford to take the Copics Craze class coming up so I could learn more from you, but maybe next time. :)


    • Michelle November 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

      Thanks Corinna, I’ll keep these going after class so there will be more tutorials as well. Sorry the class is not a fit right now.

  7. Marion Swartz March 4, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    This one is super. I’m doing a mini book for a little boy and I’m going to use the rocket in it. You are great for sharing all this. Thanks.

  8. Michelle March 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Yeah Marion! So glad you can put it to use!

  9. Mary October 19, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    Hi Michelle! When I saw your site in the library computer after purchasing two copic sketch markers, I knew I would love you. I love the tutorials and your advices on starting with copics. Though I must say I bought these two copic markers impulsively and I did not consider knowing the family colors etc, but I think I got them from the same family color. I wonder if you can do a simple tutorial of coloring with two markers? That would be RV13 and RV34 :D That’s too far though lol

    • Michelle October 19, 2012 at 10:24 am #

      Hi Mary,
      I have RV14 and RV34 I could give it a try :-) I am so glad you are liking the tutorials!

      • Mary October 21, 2012 at 2:16 am #

        Thank you so much! I am looking forward to that :> I guess I could learn a thing or two on actually using these markers. I have papers, but not the ones others use like Bristol, X-Press It, Manga Paper etc. They are not locally available and there’s only ONE shop in my country (though they have branches) where I can buy copics. Not to mention they only import copic sketch. I like Worx brand (out of the many papers I tried) even though the bleed is too vivid at the back. Otherwise I have no more options for papers.

        I was wondering, too, about the blender. If it is used to blend two colors or to “push” colors back the line, then wouldn’t it get dirty or adapt the colors it was used to?

        • Michelle October 22, 2012 at 11:01 am #

          The bleed through on the back of your paper is pretty normal and even on the high end papers that are designed for Copic or the favorites of Copic users you see that color through the back. A lot of people use it to determine if they are coloring evenly. So not an unusual paper trait.
          The blender is used for pushing the colors. You will sometimes see it used as a base coat when people are doing light feathered techniques and/or fading to white. The best part is it will not get contaminated or pick up your other Copic colors. If you get a little color on the tip just scribble it on a piece of scratch paper and it will come off. You can also purposefully pick up color with the blender marker and use it like a paint brush but that is a whole different lesson ;-)


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