Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Add a simple background

Airbrushed mist
Today you'll get another quick tutorial from the demo last week. This time, I have a picture of a cheerful red robin, again, drawn from a photo taken by my friend Maaike.
Today I want to just show you a quick sample of the power of a background. Here you have the red robin before I added any color to the background.

I can't remember all the colors I used, but I know I worked heavily with the E40's family: E40, E42, E43, E44, E47, E49, and I warmed up the tones with an overlay of YR30 and Y21. I also used W1, W3, W5 and B91/B93 in the shadows. I also used YR12, YR14, YR18, and E09 in the feathers.

Next I need a background. He looks very sharp without one, but the picture looks incomplete. I also didn't want the background to overpower the foreground. 

So, I chose a very light E70 and W1 and drew in the suggestion of twigs in the background. Further away, I made them lighter.

 Then, I took the same pale yellow I used on his wing and lightly airbrushed the suggestion of a glowing sunrise or mist only along the bottom of the page. Nothing too strong, just a suggestion of color. 

Overall, I really like the feel of this bird, it's very different from what I usually make. 

I hope you have a fabulous Fall! Like this robin, just keep singing, no matter what life brings!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Coloring a kingfisher bird

Layering bird feathers
Last week I had the pleasure of coloring for two days straight at the U of O Bookstore. What fun I had! Any chance to sit and color is a win in my book.

Since I have been working on a new book, Coloring Birds with Copic Markers, you can guess that I have been focused on birds quite a bit recently. One of my dear Facebook friends, Maaike from the Netherlands, shared some beautiful bird photos from the Wildlife Refuge she works at, I knew I had to draw some of them. This kingfisher was my favorite from the whole event.  I drew him with a 0.1mm multiliner, then photocopied the outline onto some of our Art Paper.

(Just so you know, this is a way more complicated bird than the ones going into my next book. It took me a little over 2.5 hrs to draw and color in this vibrant kingfisher, whereas most of the coloring projects in my books are intended to be completed in about 25-40 min.)

I started by lightly blocking in the base tones. (I apologize in advance if I leave out any colors, as I didn't write down all the colors I used, so I'm going by memory). I used BG01, B24, B39, Y11, YR31, YR14, and YR18. Notice the light feathering strokes I used on the wing and chest.

The first spot you touch your marker nib down will be darkest, so pay attention to the affect you are trying to get, planning where your light and dark feathers will be. Sometimes I flick up the wing and other times I flick down on the wing. I try to always flick in the direction the feathers naturally grow though, so that it looks most natural.

Next, I went through section by section and darkened. I didn't have a great range of turquoise colors, so I had to build them by layering G43 and B24, frequently in feathering strokes.

 I darkened the head with thin lines of different blues. Then with the very tip of the brush nib, I added tiny rows of dots to the crown of his head, to simulate the fine striped feathers.

The beak was colored with C3, C7, C9, Y32 and a hint of YR14. I was careful to darken the orange area on the head, while keeping the white areas white.

At this point, I start really popping out the contrast and finishing details.

With B39 I added even more dots to the crest of head feathers. Notice I also punched out the contrast on the wing feathers with the B39 as well. I darkened the wing feathers in front as well with more 24 and a bit more green. BG13, BG18, B95, B9, V99 and many other colors.

This gave the feathers on the wing a bit more punch. At this point I let them dry throughly. Next, I took the finest tip of the colorless blender and carefully dotted in the white dot accents on the wing feathers. If the base color is still wet, then the dots will be soft and blurry, but by letting the base coat dry, then adding many layers of blender, letting it dry between layers, I was able to lighten up the dots.

Finally, I finished the bird by applying faint hints of Copic Opaque White. This popped out the contrast on the wing feathers and on his head-crest.

The branch is colored with layers of E11, E13, E15, E37, and E49. Then, I softly added some YG11 over some spots to suggest a green fuzz.

The moss is colored with YG01, YG03, YG13, YG67, and hints of G99.

 I faintly airbrushed a background using the chisel nib on a B02 marker, then added darker speckles of color with the brush nib on a B24. Then, I used the tip of the B24 and YR14 marker and added teeny-tiny dots carefully around the edges of the illustration, just because I thought it looked cool.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Upcoming Events

Free Demos, Workshops and more!
Fall is a busy time of year for me, and this year, as I've been working hard on my next few books, it has been extra busy. However, I have a lot of great local Copic events coming up in the next few weeks, so come and check out the stuff I've been working on. (After the new year, I'll list my demos around the country).

Nov. 11-12, U of O Bookstore, Eugene, OR 10am to 5pm
Free demos all day. I'll be downstairs at the bookstore, next to the marker rack, drawing all sorts of cool things.

Nov. 14-15, Eucon (Eugene Comic Con). Lane County Fairgrounds, Eugene OR
I'll be hosting a couple of workshops each day. For admission times and pricing, please visit the Eucon website. 

Nov. 21st, Demo at Collage  in Portland, OR (3701 SE Division St. location)
Free demo from 2-5pm. Come check out my new books and learn about Copic markers.

Upcoming Books
I think you'll be excited to know about my next two books, available in a few months. Intro to Coloring with Copic Markers and Coloring Cats & Dogs with Copic Markers. Both will be available after the first of the year.

About the dragonfly: I colored this dragonfly this weekend at a training session. I used a lot of very pale colors, E000, YG11, BV00, B91, Y00 but then I made them pop with hints of darker colors. YG13, E21, E25, V99, E31, BV23, Y13, and probably a few more colors I forgot to list. I drew the dragonfly based on a photo sent to me by my friend Maaike. The picture is colored on the Art Paper you can find here. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Coloring leaves with extra depth

Working with a limited color range
This weekend I was at an event and I had a chance to color one of the flowers coloring pages I drew this Summer. It really is a relaxing way to pass time, working on a larger project for a few hours.

I drew this image for our Coloring Flowers Line Art Pack. The images in our image packs are printed on the nice Art Paper we use in the Copic Sketchbooks.

Anyways, I was coloring on a folder on my lap, and I had only a limited color set with me. Even with few colors, I was still able to have a lot of fun coloring with depth. I wanted to share the power of having only a few greens and how you can add extra depth to your coloring.

As you can see, these kinda large, goofy flowers have a lot of different foliage in them. But with a limited range of greens, how could I create more color variety?

I had only YG11, YG13, YG17, and G28 for my green families. So, I had to pull out my Y13 to add some additional brightness to the leaves up front.

Base color changes everything
The color you choose as a base makes a huge difference when you are working with layers of light colors. Evenly soak your base color by coloring in circles, using the side of the brush nib on your Sketch or Ciao marker.

If you look at the flower on the bottom left, it had a base of YG11, with yellow added on top. The flower on the right I colored in reverse, with the base of Y13, and the YG11 was added to the top. I shadowed each leaf with YG13 and hints of YG17.

I wanted to make a layered look, with the viewer being able to easily pick out the leaves in front, then the other leaves fading into the background a bit more. However, I still wanted the viewer to feel that the leaves were from different varieties of plants, even though I had limited colors.

Here is the rest of the leaf area, colored with only Y13, YG11, YG13, YG17, and darkest areas colored with G28.

Extra details
If you look closely at the side-by-side comparison, you'll notice some subtle finishing touches that add extra depth and interest to the image. the image on the right has extra layers of color around the edges and veins on the leaves. Basically, on each leaf, I took the color that is one step darker than the base color of that area and accented edges, veins, shadows, etc.

Here is a close up from the finished picture to show you what I mean. Look at how the extra green edges on the yellow leaves really accent them and make them more striking. (For the final area, I did end up needing to make my dark green area darker, but without another green, I ended up adding some faint hints of deep B39 into the shadows. )

I spent way too much time fussing over the leaves, probably 2-3 hrs on the leaves alone...except that I was at an event and constantly being interrupted to answer people's questions, so maybe it only took an hour or so of continuous time.

Then I moved on to coloring the rest of the flowers in the picture. Remember, I had only a few colors, so the pink flowers were colored with R81, R85, and RV69. The centers were colored with Y13.

The two yellow flowers were colored with Y00, Y13, and YR14 and YR18 for the deep shadows (I used more YR14 and 18 on the darker yellow-orange flower).

The purple flower was colored with BV00 and BV04. The center is colored with RV09.

The top, coral-colored flower was colored with a base blend of YR14 and R21. If you look at the bottom image, you can see how the YR14 was flicked out from the center, about half way across the petals. The tips were left white. If they hadn't been left white then the R21 overlay would have been lost in the base orange.

R21 was brought in from the tips and colored back into the darker YR14. To darken the shadows and edges of the petals on the coral flower, I used more layers of YR14 as well as YR18 and hints of RV69.

Overall, I love how different this came out than most of my other work. It was a lot of fun! Now, it will promptly find a happy place in my portfolio.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

New Coloring Faces & Hair Book

Coloring Faces and Hair with Copic Markers
Hurray! I've been waiting a month or two for the main shipment of my new book to arrive. We just got our shipment from the printer and so finally, you can purchase your very own copy of the new Coloring Faces and Hair with Copic Markers book. This book is full color, 52 pages, of great information, and suggested price is only $9.95!

Coloring Faces & Hair book
Autographed Faces & Hair Book

I tried to fill this book with useful tips and tricks for anyone who is trying to color faces, skin tones, and a wide variety of hair styles. The back of the book has blank images and assorted color charts you can photocopy and practice right along with the tutorials.  Even if you've been using Copic markers for a while, I think you'll find some great stuff in here.

Book and Art Packs
Don't want to make photocopies of the artwork? Don't have the right paper to print on? You can also order kits which include pre-printed images and color charts. These kits are available for both he Faces and Hair book as well as the Coloring Flowers book.

Coloring Faces and Hair Book Kit
Coloring Flowers Book kit

The whole Coloring Foundations book series is intended for new users, as well as people who have some experience. Either way, once you finish the tutorial images in the books, you might be looking for more fun things to color with your Copic markers. Never fear! We have the perfect partner product:

Coloring Pages to match the books
Along with the books, there are matching Line Art packs, images that go along with the books but are full pages printed on high-quality marker paper. I drew these images in styles that match the art and tutorials found in the books. So, you get a wide variety of fun images, all 8.5" x 11" printed on high-quality marker paper, ready to be colored in.

Coloring People Line Art Pack
Coloring Flowers Line Art Pack

I'm so excited to see all these great products now available for purchase! (I nearly got a blister on my drawing finger from drawing all the artwork for these projects...there is a LOT of art for you to color. )

 Right now I am deep in the process of writing the next two books in the series, Intro to Coloring with Copic Markers and Coloring Cats and Dogs with Copic Markers. Look for those titles coming out in a couple months.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Watercolor look

This morning I was working on a piece of art for a poster, and I was experimenting with the sky. I thought you might enjoy seeing a bit of the process.

Different papers give different looks
I wanted to get a very wet, watercolor look with my markers, so I decided to color a printout on inexpensive copier paper. (you can also color much faster on this paper as it uses so little ink). When you work with many layers of subtle colors on thin, soft paper it is much easier to move around.

I used C0, C1, C3, B41, BV000 and BV23 on the sky, along with colorless blender. (I lightly drew the cloud shapes in pencil so the lines ween't very dark). I added final highlights with Y00, then I used a LOT of blender. I used the chisel nib, as it was a great way to push and mush subtle colors together on large areas.

On thin paper, you need to be extra careful, as the color will want to keep spreading long after you are done, so around the edges of an area, you might find yourself going back with many light, careful layers of blender.

To show you how much blender I used, here is the backside of the paper. See how soft and washed together the colors are? That is due to the colorless blender.

The backside has a very different look, once you remove the dark black lines. (I really like it!!) However, for this project, I need a black and white version as well as the colored version, so I needed to run with the outlines.

For the rest of the ship, I streaked in colors like W1, E42, C1, C3, BV23, E44, E57 and E29. I used accent colors of R32 and R59. For the water I used B00, B34, B41, G24, BV23, BV000, and Y00.

Here is the final version, with all the yellow highlights and extra color added into the shadows. I think my client will really like this for the poster they need.

If you get a chance, experiment with soft, watery coloring and using colorless blender on a thin paper to see if you like the results. If you want your own antique sailing vessel to download and color, you can download one from our website here.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Coloring a stylized butterfly

A few months ago I had a chance to draw this really awesome butterfly. Drawing things like this is very meditative for me- I'm sure many of you can relate. It took many hours to draw, and I drew it with a 0.03mm multiliner on the Copic Art Paper (sketchbook paper).  If you would also like to color this exact butterfly, it is now available for download here on the Copic website, along with a few other doodles in a similar style. Check out our whole range of illustrations for download, since they're only $0.99 each.

Anyways, I was at a demo recently and I had a chance to color the butterfly. Although there are many many details, when you color it, you can choose to ignore most of those details, and have them just become part of the patterning.

I printed the butterfly on the Copic Art Paper  so it wouldn't bleed when I colored it in.

The technique I used for this entire image is feathering colors. I started with a light V12, feathered up, then I took a B66 and feathered down into the V12, and I went back and blended with the V12.

Then I feathered the B66 up, feathered a B04 down, then blended with the B04. I feathered the B04 up into B02, and that up into B00.

I repeated the process up along the top edge of the wings. Then, I went into each of the inner segments and repeated the same color scheme.

Once I'd finished those sections, I colored the main background of each wing with a feathered gradient from Y11 into YR65, and finally into R37.

Although the finished piece is a full sheet of paper, it was surprisingly quick and easy to color (I think it took about an hour, and I was demoing for customers as well). I love how vibrant the colors appear! the finished piece looks a lot more complicated than it really was.

The store that I was demoing at liked it so much, they asked if they could keep my colored piece. I was happy to share it with them, since it was so easy to color.

If you are looking for something a little different to work on, I encourage you to check out our full collection of downloadable coloring sheets and make your own fun artwork.

Have a relaxing week coloring!