Wednesday, August 20, 2008

FAQ-How long can I re-work Copics?

Yesterday somebody brought up a good point. I mentioned that I can go back and re-work my drawing, making it darker, blending colors around etc. after I'm done. But how long can I do this?

Q. I was working on a picture last week and I want to come back and finish it. Is it too late to blend the colors I've already put down?

A. NO Problem! On almost any paper, on plastic, on fabric, on most things that I've experimented with you can come in at ANY TIME and keep blending, working colors together, and getting more effects. (note: Alcohol marker papers are less forgiving even when you're working right away, so don't expect too much out of them.)

Anything with alcohol will react with the markers no matter how long it's been.

I went looking for the oldest piece of Copic colored artwork I could find that I was willing to re-color. I found these parts of a cut-paper animation I did for a class back in 2001. Looking at them now I see how I want to change or blend the colors a bit more. I have no idea what paper I used or what my original colors were, I just know that I inked these with a multiliner onto some kind of cardstock (probably index cards from the animation studio). So 7 years this artwork has been sitting, untouched.

Smooth Blends on old artwork
For smooth blends, the trick to coming back and coloring an area that you were working on earlier is to re-wet it cleanly and evenly. Remember, any time you have a dry edge you will get a line or streak.

Here I want to change the colors of the rocks. I can make them lighter with the colorless blender or I can darken them up. The rocks are pretty light to start, so I'll mostly be darkening them up. These are smooth, underwater rocks so whatever I do, I don't want to add streaks back in.

I can tell these are warm gray, maybe with a hint of E31. I want the front rock's highlights lighter, the shadows darker, and the blends smoother. First, I feathered in E43 to darken my shadows. Next I'm going back with the blender from the middle of the rock and evenly pushing that color out to the edges by throughly soaking it. This is moving old and new particles of marker dye. In this case, I'm leaving ridges of color to define edges on the rock Now it's smooth and has more contrast.

Rocks: E43, 0, W5

Here is the final rock formation. look at how much more exciting it is because I added more contrast, and you can tell easier which rocks are in front and which ones are in back.

The biggest trick is to color in small circles, really soaking your paper, but follow the natural lumps of the shape. That way, if you do make streaky mistakes on a large area like this people won't notice as much (Actually, I didn't do anything different in my techniques for coloring these old rocks than I usually would when starting from scratch).

Touching Up Old Artwork
I'm sure each of you has looked at artwork from the first time you colored with copics and compared it to things you've colored more recently and wished you could go back and get rid of streaks, bad blends, etc.

You can't see it too well, but the original fish was not colored very evenly. This was before I had figured out how much to soak the paper, how to color in circles, and how to smoothly blend, so if you look close you can see streaks in the main body, and the back side of the paper is still mostly white. I want to get rid of those streaks and make the whole fish look more exciting.

Trouble is, I don't know what colors I used originally, and if I go back over the fish with my blender it will smooth those lines together, but it will also fade it to white. This is where I guess. The fish is a pale but bright pinkish/purple, maybe an RV11 layered with a V04 (I'm guessing). I'm going to find another pale purple, in this case I have V01 and I'm going to slowly and evenly go over the whole body of the fish. Look at how my colors smoothed together on a 7 year old drawing. This darkened it, softened all details, and got rid of the streaks. The backside also look much smoother now.

For the finished fish I added more shadows, highlights and details back in. I don't know if you can see or not, but I also had accidentally gone into the eye on the original work. A little blender cleaned that right up and I also added lighter scales with the blender.

Notice the hints of yellow in the original fins? I wanted the new fins to fade from the pink/purple to yellow. For the yellow to show up I need to push all that pink/purple dye out of the way. Here I used my blender to push away the darker color, then I added back the bright yellow. Now my fish is much more exciting and much better colored.

Fish: Y02, V01, V06, R85, 0

The final verdict is, old or new, you can always move the ink around that's on your paper. I treated the base color as if I'd colored it a few minutes earlier and it reacted exactly how I expected it would fresh, not seven years old. (to see a badly dubbed copy of the original animation I made from this artwork you can visit it here. Look close for the pink fish and the rocks).

Classes, etc.
For those of you who are trying to get into my Kansas City and Charleston classes I am now accepting applications. These classes are open until full, so first come, first serve on spaces. Also, If you haven't yet, post a comment on last Thursday's post for your chance to win. Thanks for your feedback!


Nicole said...

THANKS for the additional info! And I LOVVVVVVVVE your fish-anew and rocks, too! YUMMY PICS!

Becky said...

I love your tutorials, and even though I only have a few Copic's, I'm learning a great deal. Thanks for the information you provide to help us get the most out of our markers.

Sandy Knecht said...

Fabulous explanation. You did a great job of changing the rocks and the fish. The fish blew me away as to how you got the yellow to show up after it was purple. Great work! Thanks!!!

Teresa said...

OK- that's soooo great! Fixing even years later- what a terrific thing!

Laura said...

I sent in my application for Charleston, and I am so excited! Thanks so much for the wonderful blog and all the inspiration.

stampingcarol1 said...

Inspiration on the fishy side. Wow!
Fintastic! Who would have believed seven years and a new tailfin color?!
Tutorial central, I'm there! Thanks for the colorful brochure.