Sunday, January 13, 2013

Technique challenge: Backlighting

Thanks for all your visits and comments throughout the week last week! I have been mostly absent due to a very frustrating internet cable situation that still is not resolved… so sad that I’m missing all the reports and sneak peeks from CHA. But…. I’ve been creating and playing and organizing, and having my own fun in the meantime. Hope to be online again soon, and I’m so thankful for our co-workers who let me borrow their signal!

Sandy Allnock and I occasionally exchange coloring challenges, and this time she chose a backlit photo as our inspiration piece. Backlighting is a fun technique to play with in photography, positioning a light source behind the subject for a glowy halo effect. It was a difficult challenge to duplicate the effect using markers, since I usually imagine my light source as coming from the upper right, or front of an image. I have a couple of practice cards which I’ll share later – I finally settled on this image from Mo Manning, where light could be coming from behind the child in the window. I don’t have a good color map for the image, because in some areas I had to play around with colors for a while to get the right effect, learning as I went.

I also learned a little about using pencil with markers – in the areas that I wanted to remain really white, I put in highlights with a white pencil first. The pencil resists the marker ink to a point… after some time it will begin to break down because of the alcohol ink, but it does help define those sharply lit areas. I also used a Sakura glaze pen to mask the nails in the window frame.

I adjusted the brightness of the digital image in Word to 72% before printing it, so that it would have a light grey outline. For the lighting effect, I didn’t want a bold black outline, especially on the hair. 

These are the Touch Twin Markers that I used:

I hope you’ll pop over to Sandy’s blog to see what she’s done with the backlighting challenge! She also has a little peek at my new stamp designs on display at CHA - that was fun to see!!!
Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I am new to your blog but just wanted to say this picture is amazing! Completely blown away and so happy to see this inspiration.

  2. WOWZERS!! This is super fantastic, SO life-like that it jumps right off the page! Hope your tech issues are fixed very quickly; I can empathize with that and it's miserable!! Nancy/OWH

  3. What an amazing image. The pencil really adds dimension and your background is nothing short of genius.

  4. You did an amazing job with your backlighting! And the coloring is beautiful as well. This made just a gorgeous card!

  5. This is truly amazing! From the wonderful window to the precious child and bird! Your colouring is just stunning and I love the effect of the back lighting!

  6. Phenomenal Dina. Spectactular colouring!

  7. That is SO stinkin' cute!!!! You did an amazing coloring job as ALWAYS Dina!

  8. Love this technique Dina! So many times, I put a little gray shadow around my image. I dig this!! Thank you for sharing!!

    XXOO sending hugs from Midwest/USA.

    Take care and STAY POSITIVE!

  9. WOW! You nailed the backlighting!