Gray Matter

Introduction to grisaille underpainting for realism

Join illustrator and art instructor Amy Shulke of Vanilla Arts Company as she gently guides students through a process called underpainting, a technique that will not only help you increase the realism in your colored images but will also save you money as you build your marker collection.

Amy has a unique teaching style- blending simple art techniques, art history, color theory, and wry humor into an entertaining package that will change the way you approach your coloring projects.

"Very Cherry" is the stamp image used in this workshop. While the image itself is very simplistic, it has the potential to be colored with photo realism.

This class contains challenges for confident colorers

Skill Level: intermediate to advanced


Mini-Tutorials included along with the primary lesson:

Realism Level: Moderate but with the potential for hyper realism

Course includes:

  • almost 2 hours of fully narrated and informative video lessons broken into 6 easy to digest segments
  • .PNG digital stamp (also PDF and JPG alternate formats)
  • printable syllabus, full color samples, multiple instructional handouts


  • X-Press It Blending Card or similar high-quality marker cardstock
  • a red, green, and gray palette of Copic Markers- C00, C1, C3, C5, E33, G29, R24, R29, R39, YG03, YG17
  • artist quality colored pencils- white, yellow, indigo blue, sap green, bubblegum pink, burnt red/sienna

From Amy's students:

"It's the OMG moments. That's why Amy's classes rock. She explains things that you've maybe noticed before but never thought much about. I love it!"

"At 62 years of age I have no illusions about becoming a great artist but. I am so appreciative of the change in my perception since taking classes with Amy at Vanilla Arts Co. Now I see the play of colors, the motion and the grace... It's a great way to view the world around me."

"Thank you, Amy for your generous nature. There are many gifted people in the world but you share your gifts so freely. Your classes are wonderful and I sincerely hope that the new online project allows more and more students to fall in love with your classes."

"I warn people when they sign up for your classes-- it's not just Copic, it's so much more."

"I can't get Sir Isaac Newton out of my head! Now I'm always thinking about him and color experiments and how to get all that with my markers. It's all so new and really cool."

"Much of what I learn in Amy's Copic classes carry over into other mediums that I enjoy. If it isn't a technique itself, it is how I look at things. The world is full of color and texture that we take for granted in a rush to get through our day. When you stop and really look at things, the detail is amazing."

"Another great class! Not that I'm surprised by that. They're all great; I've learned so much."

Your Instructor

Amy Shulke
Amy Shulke

Amy is a professional freelance technical illustrator with 25 years of experience in graphic arts. Amy began using colored pencils in 1985 and she started with DeSign markers in 1989. Colored pencils with a base of either marker or watercolor is her preferred process for portraiture and scientific illustration. She has a special passion for teaching crafters and shy artists to stretch their boundaries by adding established fine art techniques to their coloring projects.

Join Amy for fun and highly informative lessons which will not only change the way you color but the way you see color in the world around you.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.
What if I'm missing a few markers or pencils from the supply list?
In general, I'm very liberal about supply substitutions. Let's face it, there are a lot of very similar marker colors that can work equally well. As a rule, one marker substitution (if the color is close) may not be noticeable. BEWARE: the more substitutions you make, the more your results will differ from mine. That's not always a bad thing, just be prepared that many subs may make blending harder and you'll definitely notice a color difference in our final project results. Want help choosing alternative colors? Email me at [email protected]
What skill level does this class require?
This class is suitable for intermediate to advanced colorers meaning that you should be very comfortable with marker blending using the flick or feather technique. As I demonstrate, an intermediate colorer will naturally understand each step and be able to anticipate the next step. Want more info? Email me at [email protected]

Get started now!