Friday, July 25, 2008

Marker Blending on a Palette

Yesterday I mentioned painting with your markers by applying the ink to plastic and painting it on with a paintbrush filled with blender solution to get watercolor-like effects on watercolor paper. This is a version of our last main blending technique.

Marker Blending on a Palette
This technique can be done without a paintbrush however, and is an old blending technique that people have been using for years with alcohol-based markers onto whatever paper surface they are working on. Professors at art schools have students work in this manner to mix and blend colors, since in the old days other marker brands weren't as easy to blend as Copics.

With this post, we'll have covered the 4 main methods of blending Copic markers:
1. Marker on paper
2. Feather Blending
3. Marker tip-to-tip
4. Blending on a plastic palette

This technique was also featured as a tutorial on Splitcoaststampers last year by one of our demo designers, Kathy Sanders, who has been teaching this technique for years to stampers.

This is very similar to the Marker Tip-to-Tip blending that I showed last month, in that you are using a lighter colored marker or the blender marker to pick up color and apply it to your artwork to create blends.

1. Take a few dark colors and make small dabs on your plastic palette. For my example I'm using an old CD case, though anything glossy plastic would work. Really juice up the spots, since you'll use most of that ink quickly.

2. With the lighter color that you want the dark to blend into, pick up a spot of dark and color onto your image. This is great for small spots of blended colors that would be hard to get a good feather on, or are too small for blending on the paper itself without making a blob. If you want a color to blend to white, use the blender.

See how one stroke is blue fading out? If you need a larger area, then keep picking up color and feathering it into your work in exactly the same direction as the first stroke.

3. Scribble off the darker color onto some scratch paper to keep your light marker tips nice and clean when you're done (this blender marker is really old, so the tip is already stained).

So, why would you use this technique over tip to tip blending?
It's easier to see how much ink you're picking up. You can keep your little palette and use any residue in the future as well. You can mix a tiny "batch" of a special color blend. In the case of my finished work today, I want everything to have an antique tone, so if I have a limited color range I can use a pale gray (in this case a warm gray) to apply my colors and then everything will have undertones of warm gray.

Otherwise, it's about the same. Both techniques are good for small areas, and they work with very different color blends as well. These are also good techniques to use on glossy or coated papers, where you don't want to heavily soak the cardstock to get a blend. It looks very much like watercolor, but it doesn't soak through the paper.

How did I choose my colors?
In this example I want my blues of the water and sky to be nice, clean, and bright. I apply those with the colorless blender. See how pale the sky is? That is B34 mixed with BG49- both very dark colors on the soft paper I'm using. Yet see how subtle and washed out they look? This is thanks to the blender, and adding blender to my drops of color on my palette. If I want to darken any of these areas I can always go in and do final touch-ups directly with the markers.

The second step is with my browns. I want these to be antiqued and muted, so I'm applying them with a pale warm gray, W2, since there is brown in the Warm Grays. The sails on the finished piece are applied with the neutral gray, N1 because I want them to feel antique, yet look different than the browns. Also, I wanted subtle hints of the YG and E colors, and the Neutral tone helped to keep those from getting too brown (W) or blue (C). The markers in the photo give you an idea of how small this picture is.

I am leaving all my highlight areas white, since my paper is a slight off-white (photoshop shows it as more true-white). The whole effect is rather nice and muted for a general antique feel.

You may notice that your marker makes nice spots of color on your plastic. Later I'll talk more about using the markers on clear acrylic pages and projects, I'm just waiting for my supplies to get back from CHA to show some fun things.

Image: Cutter Shark that I drew last year and photocopied onto 100 lb Rag sketch paper by Aquabee


Brenna said...

Those sails really seem to come off the page. Love the shading...inspires me to keep practicing.

Karolyn at Paper Therapy said...

Great tutorial, Marianne! Your drawing is beautiful, and I'm so impressed with how you logically think through how the sails and wood should look antiqued. For the most part, my images are more whimsical and not so true to life, so I just go for it with color. But I guess if I was coloring real people, I'd have to think more like you. Guess I'd better stick to the whimsical people, as you're just too smart for words. Thanks for sharing!

Loreen said...

I gave your blog an award. Please come and pick it up =) Keep up the great work!

Stephenie said...

I have been wanting some Copics since I first heard of them. I went to Hobby Lobby and got a few in my hand and decided I HAD TO HAVE THEM! Sad thing was that I had left my purse in the car and their were other things going on w/ my 2 year old, so!! I am going back tomorrow and I am going to pick up 3 at a time until I have all that I want (not sure how many yet!) but what first ones do you suggest?
Hugs and I so adore your blog!

Nicole said...

I STILL think a fabulous stamp line is in your future!

Thanks for another superior post! I love your tips!

Can you please put on your list of future entries one about shading AGAIN using the TONER and NEUTRAL pens?

I know why/when to use C's for cool colors and W's for warm colors, but I get lost on what the Toner should be used for as well as when to use the Neutral ones. OR possibly, WHAT ELSE you can use the N's and T's for BESIDES shading.

Thanks, Marianne! HUGE HOOSIER HUGS, Nicole