Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Plein Air Marker Sketch

A few weeks ago, our social media team asked me if I could work on a plein air sketch for them. For those of you not familiar with plain air, it is the chance to draw something out in nature, while you are sitting there in front of it.


I've done a few plein air paintings over the years, it's a lot of fun. Here is a plein air painting from 2013 that I made of a church. You can see the resemblance to the church steeple, but it is a lot more expressive than some of my marker illustrations.

It's been a while since I worked on a plein air sketch in Copics. As you probably noticed on this blog, I have a lot of different styles that I draw in. Some are detailed, some are a bit more whimsical. The trick with plein air is to balance detail with  speed while capturing the essence of the thing you are drawing/painting.

So, part of my personal challenge was while I was traveling to nail down some time to work in plein air sketch of a place I was visiting.

One afternoon while I was in New Orleans I actually managed to get a few hours! I wandered around a few neighborhoods and finally saw this striking yellow building with a red car in front. My time was ticking, so I began my sketch.

I was working with a regular old pencil in my Copic Sketchbook. I was sure to keep a clean piece of scratch paper under my work at all times, so it didn't bleed through to the page underneath.

Now, usually, I would suggest to not color over pencil lines, because it can stain your nibs, but I was in a rush, and I was careful about scribbling any pencil residue off my lighter colored nibs.


As a side note, once you color over pencil lines, you cannot erase them.

 I worked with a base of Y21 and threw in YR14, YR18 and some other yellowy colors as I worked on the building itself. I block in large areas first, and work into more details, I'm not too fussed about accuracy of perspective, etc. I really just want to get the vibrancy of the color and the feel of the building.

The roof I made with W1, and W4. I used the chisel end of the W4 to suggest the shingles (there are a lot of strange angles going on in that roof!) I threw in hints of the cool grays as well. Then, I blocked in the windows with a rich, dark B97.


Next, I added a blue sky and a light gray suggestion of other buildings in the background. I added the window boxes with a nice selection of greens.
After I had a light suggestion of a sky and buildings, I added branches and leaves from the tree I was sitting under.

The red car was made with R24, R29, R59 and some grays. I also colored the windows with B95, and B97. I colored the truck in cool grays. I was careful to leave the shiny areas of the truck lighter. The cement was colored in a variety of warm grays and a few lighter cool grays. I also added C7 into the roof.

(By the way, don't tell my mom about this blog post. She'd get really upset about my lack of accurate perspective. She is picky about stuff like that).

I then just worked my way around the rest of the picture filling in details. The siding on the building next door was corrugated, so I colored in streaks, leaving a lot of color variation to suggest the texture.

The bricks on the other building were a lot of fun. I started with my lighter grout color as the base, Cool and warm grays, then added the darker brown/red bricks (E13, E15, E18, E31, E33, E35, E37)over the top.

Again, windows were colored with the B90's family of colors. I added opaque white afterwards to give the panes a shiny highlight.

I used the tip of the chisel nib to draw in the railing on the balcony. You don't want to go back and try to change the wall colors at this point, as it would cause the darker ink to smear, and unlike most of my drawings, I didn't use the multiliners at all.

Eventually my time ran out. It took me about 1.5 hrs to draw this 7" x 10" plein air sketch. Overall, I am pretty happy with how it came out. Does it match the building exactly? No, not really, but it captures the colors and essence, which was really the point. It was also a lot of fun to work on such a tight deadline, forcing me to work outside of my usual style.


Here is another pic of the finished piece. It was nice to get out in the fresh air, instead of being hunched over my desk at home or work, coloring away.

I hope you can also get out and try doing your own plein air sketch. Even if you don't think you're skilled, just get out there and try it! I think you'll be surprised. Just start small and work into the finer details.

Good luck in all your projects!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

We'll miss you Sherrie!


I'm sitting here, in an airport, with a sketchbook pen and pencil. I'm far away from family, my friends, my bed and thinking about an awesome person. Someone who I've had the pleasure of traveling with for many wonderful years.

Way back in 2008, when the papercrafting world was just discovering Copic markers, I watched a neat little video someone made about coloring rubber stamps with Copic markers. It was a sweet little piece about coloring, drinking coffee, and eating grapes. 

Who was she?!?

Well, it was my Northern neighbor, Sherrie Siemens! And that little video (along with her all-around awesomeness) earned her a spot on our first team teaching Copic Certification classes.

Back then, we didn't have manuals yet, our classes were much bigger, and fewer people knew what the heck you could do with these markers.

Over the years, I can't tell you how many classes Sherrie has taught for us, how many lives she has touched, but I can tell you that if you've ever had a chance to take a class from her, you were in for a wonderful time.

Sadly, it's now 2015. Sherrie is moving on to a new chapter in her life. We sure will miss her on our teaching team! The laughs, the stresses of travel and problems in random cities, the fun times, the lame Canadian jokes I tell her...sigh...I know there will be a big hole in my heart that can only be filled by Sherrie.
 
 As I sit here wiping tears from my eyes and keeping them from dropping on the doodles in my sketchbook, there is a silver lining.

I know that one thing Sherrie loves almost as much as markers, coffee, and grapes is Disneyland. Luckily, Copic headquarters is right on her path to Disneyland! So, I'll still get to see my beloved Sherrie, as she and her family pass through on her way to sunny So Cal each year.

Sherrie, all of us on the Copic team will miss you so much! We are proud of your new opportunities, and we wish you the best as you go back to college. Your new career will be lucky to have you, as you're one of the best!

So, although sadly I'm not in an airport on my way to see you, I'm thinking of you and our many great times. I'm sending you virtual hugs from all your coloring family! If you would also like to share digital hugs with Sherrie, please visit the rest of our team's blogs to wish Sherrie a wonderful future.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Coloring a detailed butterfly

Last week I had the pleasure to color a series of bugs at a fun local demo. I was sent a beautiful photo by a new friend (Thank you Maaike!!) and promptly drew it as an outline for coloring.

I started with a pencil sketch, and I traced the pencil lines with a 0.03mm Multiliner. Then I photocopied my outlines onto some of our Copic sketchbook paper.

The whole coloring process took about 3-4 hrs, so I won't step you through the whole thing, just the second half of coloring.

I started coloring the wing with a base of YR21 to achieve that bright golden look. Then I added Y28 and E25 near the base of the wing. Notice how I feathered the color out into the white. This is so that when I begin adding the reds, they will blend nicely into each other and not have a harsh edge to each color.

I then began adding R02 as a very faint layer to the yellow near the base of the wing. I didn't want to overpower the yellow, just tone it slightly.

Next I added R05 to the darkest red/orange areas. Notice that I was careful to avoid the subtle highlights on the veins. It isn't in my pen outline, it is just barely visible in the photograph. This is part of why I like to keep a reference photo handy when coloring something detailed like this. (Though, I did take some artistic liberties and made the vein highlights stronger than they were in the photo.)

I continued adding the R05, fading it into the golden undertones. I darkened the red with R08 and light touches of R59 blended in.

I started adding the black spots in, which really makes the red jump off the page. The black was added with a base coat of N5, then adding N7, N9 and hints of 110 black.

You can also see the E31, E25, and Y28 that I began adding to the bottom of the wing. I am trying to not cover up too much of the beautiful gold color, so I am constantly blending and washing with the YR21.

I finished coloring in the rest of the wing with those same colors, trying to keep a balance with the other side of the butterfly. This is tricky. In the photograph, the butterfly wings had an iridescent sheen to them, which conflicts the actual base colors, so I just had to fake the color in some places.

I was careful to leave the white spots as clean as I could. I used the colorless blender to lighten a few of the yellow areas that had gone a little too brown. I also streaked in some faint lines of E25 along the bottom wing edge to simulate the extra veins.

I finished up the coloring portion by adding some faint B000 highlights to offset all the yellow. I added stripes to the antennae with the E25 and N7.

Notice the tiny brown and gray dots I made at the base of each wing. This is done with the very tip of the brush. Same with the delicate fuzzy look to the body, again made with tiny little brush strokes. I also decided to increase the contrast on his body a bit more to make it more dynamic.

Once all the coloring was complete, I used the Copic Opaque White with fine brush to brighten up the white spots and add faint highlights into the veins.

I am thrilled with how this project came out! I am proudly hanging a print in my living room. (if you also want to purchase an autographed print, just email me for pricing).

Workshops & classes
Just a reminder, if you are in the New Orleans area, I am teaching a class there in a few weeks! If you want information on any of our upcoming classes, please visit the beautiful, new Copic website.






Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Orleans Classes

I was busy booking my events this Spring, and due to flights, I came up with a hiccup in one of my schedules. It meant I had to spend an extra day in New Orleans. This is good news for you, because it means that next month I will be offering a couple of classes that were not on our schedule!

Coloring Flowers with Copics
Sunday, March 29th, New Orleans, LA
9 am to 1pm, $99  Taught by Marianne Walker

Learn basic Copic techniques as well as some advanced tips for making your flowers look more dimensional and authentic.


This special workshop is an introduction to the the beautiful projects found in the upcoming Coloring Flowers book. The book will be released in Spring 2015 as part of a new series of introductory Copic Coloring Books. Attendees will color a few projects straight from the book. All images and supplies provided. 
Coloring Flowers: CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW
Tracing Memories: Coloring Photo Line Art
Sunday, March 29th, New Orleans, LA
2 pm to 6pm, $99  Taught by Marianne Walker

Learn how to convert digital photographs into stunning personal works of art using Copic Markers. This fun and relaxing class is different from other Copic classesSuitable for everyone—from new beginners to advanced Copic users.
You’ll be coloring frameable 5 x 7” artwork, created from photographs, while learning coloring tips and techniques along the way. Learn how to easily match colors and quickly color larger areas. All supplies provided.
Coloring Photo Line Art: CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW

Friday, February 13, 2015

Inchie Maze

As many of you know, I really like mazes. I like to draw them, and have loved drawing mazes since middle school. So, when we were asked to do a fun project for the Inchie Blog Hop, I knew I should make a Valentine maze.

I started with a 2" Inchie Arts Matboard square in a light cream color. I grabbed my fine little 0.03mm Multiliner and started drawing my Valentine maze.

Just so you know, there is a solution to this maze, I don't know what it is, but there IS a solution! It took me a couple minutes to finish drawing the maze. Now for color.



Mat board is a bit softer fibered than the papers I usually work on, so I wanted to do as little blending as possible in order to prevent bleeding. I've played with Inchies a lot over the last few years, so I knew that I could get away with starting dark and adding my light back in, and that would prevent bleeding more.

I started with a dark purple "glow" to the background with V17. I kept the edges rough so they will be easier to blend. Just so you know, the color dries lighter than you think on this surface, so I added another coat of color after the base coat had dried. This helps me get the darkness I want.


Next I came in with my lighter, BV13 to blend the V17. I was careful to avoid over-soaking the paper, as I wanted the other hearts to be lighter.

Then I proceeded to color and blend the smaller hearts as I usually would, starting light and adding dark.

I used RV02, R43, V12, V04, B41, BV00, and RV10

I finished my cute little Valentine by coloring a piece of ribbon with my V17 marker and glued it on the back using the X Press It Gel Glue.

I know that my secret Valentine at work today would love it! (I had to wait to post this in case she saw it online before she made it to work today). She is an aMAZEing person, so she totally deserves a cute little maze valentine.

Remember, if you are local, stop by the Oregon Asian Celebration this weekend to see the Copic demos in the Youth Art Room.

I hope you have a very happy Valentine's Day. Be sure to give something handmade to someone this weekend!


Be My Inchie!

Welcome to the Colorful Copic & ART SQUARES blog hop!  
You are in for treat today as Copic pairs up with the ever popular Art Squares by Inchie Arts.  There are so many things to love about this pairing! 

Did you know: 
  • Art Squares are the perfect canvas for creating small-format art!
  • They come in 6 sizes (1 inch, 1.5 inch, 2 inch, 3 inch, 4 inch, and ATC).
  • Art Squares come in 7 colors (black, dark gray, light gray, kraft, dark cream, light cream and white).
  • They are perfect for wet or dry mediums.  
  • Copic markers and inks look amazingly vibrant and deliciously rich on Art Squares!
  • Copic multiliners glide smoothly across the surface.
  • Work on the “top” or toothy side for the best results. 
  • You can mix and match your mediums! No warping, bending or curling.  

You can find more information about both Copic products and Inchie Art Squares at the links below. 


Our teaching and design teams have been challenged to put marker (or ink) to these precision-cut matboard surfaces and see what happens!  (You are not going to BELIEVE these samples… trust me - they rock!)


Hop along with these talented designers as they show you some more interesting and exciting ways to pair up two great products!  

Monday, February 9, 2015

Blog Winner!

It was so nice to read all the comments welcoming Jennifer!  Here is the winner randomly chosen on Sunday:

Maria said...
Huge congrats to Jennifer! She is a fabulous artist! My favorite copic colors are any of the reds and blues B00, BG15, R24, R29...etc!:-)And, thanks for the chance to win!:-)

Congrats Maria!! And, thank you all again for participating.