Christmas Cake

Introduction to Touchable Realism

Marker Painting Livestream Broadcast:

Saturday December 4, 2021 at 11:00 am EST

Real time coloring, recorded live

Live Workshops are unscripted demonstrations which provide students with a real look into the authentic coloring process. You’ll see mistakes being made and corrected. It’s just like visiting Amy in her home studio.

Can't make the live broadcast?

Don't worry! Recording available immediately after broadcast, work at your own pace and available anytime.

Click below to use the timezone converter to find your local time:

Join Amy Shulke, a professional illustrator and marker enthusiast for a fun and informative coloring lesson, Vanilla Arts style!

Marker Painting is a completely different approach to coloring with markers.

Amy teaches students basic techniques and color theory based on the way artists use paint. Instead of focusing on "how" to color a selected stamp image, Amy shows you the "why" behind color selection, shade, layering, depth, and form. This provides students with the necessary knowledge to color any stamp image in their collection and every stamp they might purchase in the future.

Take your coloring to the next level-- coloring with independence, creativity, and your own unique voice.


So you want to color with realism? Your greatest hurdle will be you!

Far too often, we let our brains talk us out of using the colors we should. White frosting should be white, right? It feels wrong to use several coats of something as dark and dirty as W3. So we chicken-out and use a paler, cooler gray-- something prettier like B60 or almost invisible like C00.

Then we wonder why our coloring lacks depth and dimension.

Join Amy for part three in our Steps to Realism series of classes, Christmas Cake. A challenging class where we push ourselves to go dark enough, deep enough, and strong enough to create touchable realism.

It'll feel wrong but man, it looks so right.

Christmas Cake is an intermediate level demonstration

We welcome colorers of many levels at Vanilla Arts, but basic marker painting techniques are not covered in this class.

Challenge classes assume you’ve mastered basic techniques and are ready for independent work using artistic skills. Read more about Vanilla skill levels here.

Skill Level: Intermediate

We do not recommend this course for first time Vanilla students.

Techniques Used:

  • Flicking
  • Underpainting
  • Pointillism
  • Overpainting with colored pencils
  • Color correction
  • Technical pen details
  • Using photo references
  • Color fading

Course Includes:

  • Over 2 hours of video demonstration with Q&A timeouts (for the live audience). Work at your own pace.
  • Recipe guide
  • Christmas Cake digital stamp in three handy formats (PNG, JPG, or quick print PDF)
  • Printable photo reference, underpainting guide, detailed color map, and full color sample


Basic computer skills are required to access class materials.

If you struggle with websites, video players, downloads, printing digital files, and communicating in discussion forums, this course may not be right for you.

We recommend that you try our FREE More Than Luck course to get a feel for how our site works and the type of computer skills you'll need to make the most of your learning experience here.


Required Supplies: complete printable supply list included in class package

  • High-quality Copic friendly marker cardstock (X-Press It Blending Cardstock was used for this project)
  • Tim Holtz Distress Waterbrush, detail tip (filled with colorless blender, never had water in it previously)
  • Copic markers
  • Technical pen - Staedtler Triplus Fineliner (0.3)
  • Artist quality colored pencils (Prismacolor Premier colored pencils were used for this project)
  • Glassine paper
  • Mod Podge brush or Hake dusting brush
  • Clipboard or hard surface (glass mat is recommended)
  • Drafting tape
  • Pencil, pencil sharpener
  • Erasers - black and white polymer, white sticky tack, Tombow Mono Zero (round)


After finishing Christmas Cake, challenge yourself with our Steps to Realism Series:

(this class is a beginner challenge skill class)

(*click image for more information + enroll)

(*click image for more information + enroll)

(*click image for more information + enroll)

(this class is an intermediate skills class)

(*click image for more information + enroll)

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.

"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."

"I just love the things I'm learning and can't wait to start the next project. Your images are challenging for me and I like that. I'll never look at another image and how to color it the same again!"

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
Immediately! As soon as you're through the registration and payment processes, the class material will be automatically opened for you.
How much of the course will I have access to? Do you stagger the release of information?
This course is 100% FULL ACCESS from the moment you join. Work at your own pace and take as much time as you want to complete the lesson.
How long do I have access to the course?
Anytime access! You have unlimited access to the content - across any and all devices you own.
Is the digital stamp included or do I have to purchase it elsewhere?
The digital stamp is included in the class materials. No new purchase necessary.
What if I'm missing markers or supplies from the required list?
I'm very liberal about supply substitutions BUT please understand that not all markers and pencils behave the same way, even if the colors are very similar. Every substitution you make will change the look of your finished project and the more substitutions you make, the harder your project will be to complete. If you are missing a color and want advice on alternatives, email [email protected].
What if I use a different brand of marker?
I'll be honest, I use Copic because of their brush nib. I've yet to find another maker brand with nibs as springy and juicy. I would suggest that some of my techniques are unlikely to work well without a brush nib... but if you've got other markers and are willing to match my colors to your brand, GO FOR IT. Sorry, but I won't be much help troubleshooting any problems you encounter because I won't be able to test your blends myself.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
I would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact me in the first 30 days and I will give you a full refund.