Thursday, April 24, 2014

Coloring a Whimsical Pirate

Coloring a Pirate Ship
A week or so ago I posted a pirate picture that I had drawn and colored while at a demo in Canada. This week I figured before I left town again, I'd better share some of the photos I snapped of it in process, and talk about my techniques a bit. I did not write down colors, but I used about 50 colors in total.

I started with a rough pencil sketch, and traced it with a Comic Master LED Light table onto nice, smooth piece of Copic Illustration paper, Natural White (both are available on the Copic website or can be special ordered through your local Copic dealer). I didn't have access to the right paper for copying onto, so I actually printed my outlines onto regular copier paper.

I started with a base, light brown on the boat. Probably an E11, but I don't remember. Notice that I colored lighter on the parts of the mermaid closer to the light, but, otherwise, it is just one base color.

Someone commented about the soft, watery look in the sky and sails. This look is much easier to achieve on copier paper, as the paper is so soft, ink flows easier. I started with a light blue and feathered out from the ship, then I came back with a colorless blender and pushed the blue back towards the boat. You can see an older blog post on this technique here. Then, using a darker blue, I added the blue shadows and dots in the air.

Here is a closeup on the mermaid. I added depth using a range of darker browns, and a pale blue/gray overlay to make the wood look weathered. This is the same treatment that I will use on the rest of the wood. I was careful to keep the highlights light.

This next photo shows the wood finished. Look at how different it looks having grays, blues, and darker browns streaked in. All browns I layered on in the direction of the woodgrain. I tried to make the wood look grayer/bluer closer to the water, where it would be more weathered by the elements. I was tempted to add barnacles and stuff, but I got sidetracked, so it stayed plain wood. I added a hint of pale yellow to the sunny side to warm up the mermaid face. On her tail, I dabbed my brush tip from the colorless blender to make the texture.

Look close at the sky under the sails, along the bottom right side. Do you see the rope ladder I drew in with a light gray marker? As this is not an important part of the picture, I didn't want black lines to draw attention to it, so I left it soft and subtle.

Next I worked on the closer sail. I wanted it to also have that weathered, faded canvas look. So, with a pale yellow, pale warm gray, pale earth tone, and pale cool gray, I streaked in colors, leaving the middle of the canvas open. I took a colorless blender, and started in the middle of the white area, pushing all the color back towards the seams and edges.

Again, the strong weathered look has a lot to do with how soft the paper is. Sometimes I purposefully choose a soft paper if I know I want my final result to be very soft. Because I layered a lot of colors, the blender will pick up each tone unevenly, also accenting the mottled, natural faded look.

I colored his coat with Boo, B26, B39 and C9. I was careful to not overblend, as I didn't want to lose the highlights, but I wanted the deep, rich blue to stand out. Then, I colored his pants in cool grays, with hints of the blue from his coat thrown into the shadows for good measure. The sword is also cool grays, with a pale yellow overlay to warm up the highlights. His beard is BV20 and pale yellows. Skin is E00, E11, E13, E15, E17, and pale blues and light yellow highlights.

On his feather, I started with a yellow base, to warm up the sunny side of the reds. Then, I pulled a dark brown into the red shadows. The parrot I also colored with yellow first, then layered on my darker greens. Notice I did not blend the brass looking glass, but kept those color streaky as I wanted it to appear more shiny. I colored the cannon and anchor in grays a couple different gray families.

Here is the final picture, scanned in for better color representation. That's the trouble with phone photos I take while coloring during a demo...if I even remember to take step-by-step photos. The colors are never accurate because demo lighting is always funky.

Notice my treatment of the waves. I used BG01, BG13, and the same blues from his coat. I left a lot of areas white, then hit them with a pale yellow to pull out the sunlight.  I used our new opaque white to add  the final highlight/streaks into the waves and on his sword/cannon.

Coloring this took about 4-5hrs. Drawing and inking it took just over an hour. I really love how it came out!


Debbie Olson said...

Marianne, this is fabulous--you rock!

Robin said...

Thanks you so much for the step-by-step photos. You really did a super job of drawing the photo and coloring it. You're amazing!