Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Coloring Air Bubbles

Hopefully you've never had to be keelhauled, but if you've ever had to walk the plank then you know you'll be leaving a trail of air bubbles as you swim with the sharks. To go along with our Pirate theme this week, today's trick is an easy way to make perfect bubbles as you sink thorugh the depths of the ocean.

Making Bubbles
This is a fun, simple way to add little air bubbles to your artwork. This technique works best on paper that gives you very clean, crisp edges to your special effects. I particularly like the Copic Sketchbook paper for this, or my favorite scratch paper, color laser copier paper (a lot of you wonder where to get this paper- it can be found at any office supply store, about 24 to 28#, with a brightness of 108-117, depending on the brand. This is thin paper for stampers, but good for illustrators or beginners practicing). Keep clean scratch paper under your work, since this trick doesn't work if you try to do it over a smooth table-top, and dirty scratch paper will pick up colors into your bubble.

Start by making a row of little dots. Make some a little larger and some smaller. As you practice you'll find a size that is too small to work and too large to look right for your finished piece. Don't make any of these dots larger than the size of a pencil for now.

My bubbles are in water, so they're a nice blue green. You can make your bubbles whatever color you want (rainbow bubbles floating around a fairy, a little girl blowing bubbles, bubbles in your soda...).

Next, take your colorless blender and carefully add color to the middle of each dot, soaking almost to the edge, but not over. This will push the inner color out to the edge of the dot, leaving the middle lighter and looking more like a bubble. Not enough contrast? Let it dry completely and repeat. The more you add blender to the middle the stronger the contrast will be, but it won't be crisp if it's not dry each time. Remember, the blender is pushing color from the middle, out. this makes the edges darker than your original color, but also has a smooth blend to the middle of your dot.

Larger bubbles
The above steps are fine when you're working with little tiny bubbles, but for anything larger than a centimeter or so it can be annoying to push that much dye out of the middle.

For larger bubbles, just draw a little circle with your marker leaving the middle open. Let it dry, then push the color out to the edges, same as before. You'll have to do this a couple times to make the inner edge completely fade to white, but it looks good when it's done.

On this little example you can see what I start with, then the second circle shows one push out from the middle. The bottom circle I've pushed a couple times to make sure it is nice and smooth.

Lunch with Sharks
For my finished piece today someone just got sent to Davey Jone's locker, and now the sharks are circling for a snack. I made the water first, since this This is a rather large area of water to color, so I airbrushed my water with a BG15 and darkened it with G29. Usually I would mask off the sharks before I airbrush, but I was being lazy and I knew that they would be blue anyways, so I was just careful and colored them after I airbrushed (I'm not going to get into airbrush setup today, so for more details about airbrushing visit the Copic Library). Last, I added my air bubbles in the same way I described above. Image: Sharks I drew then photocopied onto color laser copier paper Extras: Copic Airbrush System.


Unknown said...

LOVE the sharks!

Mrs. Nancy G said...

Very fun!!!! I have a project I can use it on now! Thanks!!!


TanyaMac said...

Thanx again for the great info! ;)*

Nicole said...

SUPAH SCARY SHARKS, Love the bubble post!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a good tutorial! I hope one day , you make one on copic airbrush sistem!