I finally got the time to write up the tutorial for the picture I colored last week. Tomorrow, you can see the color spotlight I made this tutorial for. I'm please with this picture because it only took 10 colors to make it look so neat.
I drew this barn swallow after being inspired by seeing a beautiful Victorian cut-out of one last week. I draw my pictures with pretty simple lines, because I like to rely on the markes for giving depth, however, I like my line work to stand alone sometimes, so added a lot of little lines that I knew would get covered up by coloring. I drew it with a 0.03 mm Multiliner SP, then photocopied it a couple times before I colored it. For coloring reference, I found this amazing website by photographer Rick Cameron.
I started with a simple base of grays to define my shadows. I don't have strong shadows in this illustration, because I wanted the top of the bird well lit, but I also wanted to showcase the vibrant belly plumage. I started with C3 and BV23. BV23 is my favorite alternate for C5...it is more purple and adds a little more richness to my cool grays.
Next, I feathered in a light base blue of B91 and B63. I layered B66 over that, (B66 is the color spotlight color that I'll feature tomorrow). I deepened the blue with the BV23 and C7. I did not blend much, rather, I kept my strokes in the direction the feathers grow so it looks more like natural color variation.
I darkened around the eye with C7, and darkened the wings with BV23 and C7. Again, I did not blend, instead I simply layered and feathered colors together . The top of the head is the only area where I blended the colors, as that is a very smooth area of feathers.
Next, I added my YR's. In looking at the photos of barn swallows, I noted that their chests are pale orange to brighter orange, depending on gender. I wanted a base that was not too vibrant, so I went with YR31. Then, I blended in YR12 and YR18. The YR18 was a perfect match for the photos I found online.
At this point, I held my image at arm's length and squinted...was it dark enough in the shadows? Did it look right overall? This is the point of self-critiquing that we discuss in the Intermediate Certification classes. This is also the point when I would clean up any spots where I went outside the lines (look at the gray tail feathers and how I fixed the mistake).
Last I needed to add a background of some sort. Usually I would just add a simple blue fade to suggest sky, but I didn't want to overwhelm someone with that much blue, so I decided to go more stylistic on my sky.
I made a mask from one of my photocopies of the bird and attached it firmly with some weak double-sided tape. Using the chisel end of the B63 I added a faint blue around the bird, getting darker closer to the bird. Then, I added larger speckles with the brush end of the B63 and a G12 marker. By airbrushing very lightly from a brush end, you can get larger speckles than if you airbrush directly with the chisel. After I was content, I added a final touch of Opaque white to the eye and beak.
Here is the final swallow. As I mentioned earlier, be sure to check out the color spotlight later this week on the Copic blog for other color combination suggestions for B66.