No Line Coloring

by Elaine Hughes

Stamp image with a light colored ink rather than the usual black. As you color your image, the lines start to disappear.


  • Outline Image Stamp (Make it Crafty Sweet Angel used here)

  • Black Ink (Memento Tuxedo Black used here)

  • Light colored Ink (Memento Angel Pink used here)

  • White cardstock (Make it Color Blending cardstock used here)

  • Alcohol Based Markers(ShinHan Touch Twin Markers used here)


  1. Step 1

    Stamp image in a light color and choose the direction of your light source. Stamp another copy of the image on scrap paper, this time in black ink. You will use this to refer to while coloring, it will be invaluable as the lines become difficult to see.

  2. Step 1

    Stamp an outline image in a light colored ink onto watercolor cardstock. Antique Linen Distress Ink was used here.

  3. Step 2

    Start to color the image using your lightest shade, mapping out the areas where you want the shadows to be darkest. It is advisable to break the coloring down into stages, starting with one area and developing that first i.e. skin tones.
    Don’t be tempted to lay down too much color at this stage. Leave lots of white space, and simply map out your coloring.


    During the early stages of coloring the image may look quite strange. Keep going, as you develop the shading it will start to come together.

  4. Step 3

    Working from the base laid down in Step 2, continue building up color, working upwards from the lightest shade to the darkest. Move inward from the outline, blending out into your light areas and add depth to the shadow areas as needed.
    You can also pick out some of the details, such as eyes – this can help you to “see” the image. Things will be starting to take shape, but may still look a little strange. Without black lines, colors may look a little darker than usual. This will change as you progress with the image and color other areas.

  5. Step 4

    Move on to another area i.e. hair, following steps 2 and 3, building up layers of color in much the same way.

    Hair is an area where this technique can be really useful. Often the black outlines of a stamped image can prevent you from creating soft detail in hair. With this technique you have the flexibility to create beautiful detail and texture without feeling too restricted by the outline.

  6. Step 5

    Move on to the next section of the image i.e. clothing and again, follow steps 2 and 3, building layers of color moving from light shades to dark.

    Use grey tones to add depth in your shadow areas for a natural look.

  7. Step 6

    Review the image, and identify any areas where you feel extra shading is needed, or details that still need to be picked out.

    Add any background shading.

  8. Step 7

    Finish your card.


Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for No Line Coloring. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

This is an incredible technique! I want to give this a try...I do not own alcohol based markers. The only markers I own are SU! Is there any way to do this technique with, for instance, blender pens and ink pads? Lovely, just lovely!
Amy  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 3:02 AM
Amy - you could give it a go! You can certainly achieve great results using mediums like pencils, so I don't see why not. You would follow similar steps, like colouring the image in manageable sections, and building up colour and depth gradually. Otherwise, you would colour in the usual way with your chosen medium, and an appropriate light ink for stamping.
Elaine  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 3:11 AM
This looks so much more like real artwork! TFS
Jessica  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 3:59 AM
Brilliant tutorial Elaine. Wow. Gorgeous coloring. I have to try this, though I doubt mine will look as awesome as yours!
Lisa Lara  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 4:03 AM
Great tutorial, I must try this.

Amy, if you search YouTube for 'No Copics No Problem' you'll find a great tutorial by a lady who does watercolouring with SU markers and the aquapainter. Her secret is to use good quality watercolour paper because that allows for blending of water-based ink. So perhaps if you follow Elaine's tutorial but use watercolour paper instead of cardstock with your SU markers, it might work?
Julie  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 4:30 AM
Love this tutorial. TFS
Pam Ramesh  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 4:38 AM
Amy and Julie, We actually have several tutorials on coloring with other mediums, including water-based markers in our resource section. Just type in marker or pencil in the search engine there to find them.

Elaine, you know how much I LOVE your coloring! You are amazing and so is this tutorial. Thanks a million for sharing it with us.

Hugs and smiles
beate  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 4:41 AM
How do you "see" in your mind which colors to use where?
Dawn  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 5:53 AM
Now there's a question, Dawn! smile As far as selecting colours goes, I don't really do anything differently than I would when colouring an image with bold outlines. The key in this technique is to use the colours to build the image by creating depth in shadow areas - without doing this the image would look quite odd.

I keep the image stamped in black next to me while I'm colouring the lightly stamped image, so I can use it as a reference when the lines get too difficult to see.

Generally speaking, before I colour an image I tend to have an idea of which colours I'm going to use. I use my lightest shade as a "base" and map out the areas where I think the shading should be darkest, then I work from there.

Hope that helps!
Elaine  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 6:07 AM
Oh boy! You are so good at that. It looks brilliant and her hair is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing, I'm going to be trying this later without a doubt.
Lorraine  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 6:32 AM
Absolutely stunning Elaine! Your colouring is gorgeous as usual! Thanks for sharing!
Kerry J.  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 8:14 AM
wowsa!!! Your coloring is amazing!!! Thanks for the wonderful tutorial!
Seleise  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 8:36 AM
Love this tutorial. Thank you! The image looks so different without the dark lines. I think I will try it today when I "play" in my craft room.
corysnana1  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 9:00 AM
Beautiful, Elaine! One of my favorite techniques with watercolors and pencils too. smile
Dina K (dini)  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 9:08 AM
Due to the spendiness of the pens you are using I am wondering if with practice you could get about the same end result with regular markers and a water based marker to lighten and darken? Thoughts? I love what you've's beautiful!
Cathy  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 9:12 AM
This is so amazing. I've tried stamping with Memento London Fog so the lines don't stand out so much, but the pink is ideal. Thanks!
Paper Crazy Lady  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 9:16 AM
Cathy - I'd say the basic principles would apply with a variety of mediums - give it a shot! smile As Dina said, she's done it with watercolours and pencils. Touch Twin Markers just happen to be my personal preferred medium.
Elaine  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 9:30 AM
All I can say is, Wow! It's so beautiful. Wish I could color have as good as you. Thanks for sharing.
Veronica G  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 10:05 AM
This looks amazing, and your coloring is fantastic! Thanks for a wonderful tutorial!!
Rose Ann  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 10:16 AM
What is the difference between color blending cardstock and regular cardstock?
Connie  |  Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 1:52 PM

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