Friday, March 13, 2009

Coloring Lilacs, part 2

This is a continuation of my 9th part on shadows, though this time I'm just going to step you through the colors I chose and the rest of my coloring process. This is actually straight forward from here. I hope you find it useful!

Coloring Lilac Blooms
We already talked about the hardest part of this composition, choosing our lighting and picking our greens. Now for the rest of the process.

The lilac blooms were colored with a base of V12. I chose this color because it's called "Pale Lilac" and I wanted to see how accurate it really was. Sure enough, I like it for a pale base color to my blooms.

Notice that I left white between the buds on the blossom. This is because I will be filling in that background area with a more grayed purple base so it doesn't compete with the buds which will get full lighting and are more important.

I darkened the center of each individual bud with V04 because that color is"lilac". Again, I liked it. Way to go Copic! Two colors that look exactly like what the name says they are.

Next I filled in the white between blooms with V91, a very light but gray purple. This gave a base purple tone to the back, over which I added C3 to darken up the shadow areas. On the underside of the whole bloom I shadowed with the C3 then to deepen up the purples under there I used hints of V17.

Finishing up Lilac Leaves
I know it is hard to believe, but I only used 4 colors and a blender on these leaves.

Look at the bottom bright green leaf. I colored first with YG03, added G21 and YG09. the middle vein is darkened with a little G28. Once I've got the whole leaf shaded, then I add the shadow from the leaf above it with G28 for that deepest green.

If you look at the top curled leaf you'll see that I started with my shadows too soft. I kept softly mixing G21 and G28 and hints of YG09 and layering it until I liked the shadow. Each time I darkened the bottom leaf I added more darkness to the top leaf until finally I darkened it to the point of being straight G28. That's when I added the shadow to the bottom leaf.

Look at the leaf in the background. I started with the leaf and stem flatly colored with G21. Then I gradually darkened it with G28. Notice how I kept the stem lighter than the back leaf. Also, I didn't just darken the back leaf all the way to pure G28 like I did the shadows in front, nor did I give it much more than flat coloring. Why? Contrast is visually interesting and it pulls your eye in. If I had a background leaf that had too much contrast or too much shading then it would detract from the front. By keeping those leaves more flat and dull your eye naturally floats over them and back into the more interesting parts of the flowers.

When adding shadows it helps to step back every now and then and hold your artwork at arm's length and squint at it. I know I've said it before, but it helps you to see if your picture is too flat or if you are really seeing the shadows. It will look bad if the shadows are fake and too dark, but it will also look flat if you don't have deep enough shadows.

If you compare the original value study to the final artwork you will see that I was pretty accurate to my plan. In fact, I overlaid the two in photoshop, and there was so little difference that I didn't save it because there really wasn't anything to see.

This shows the value of a good value study :). If you've done it correctly then you don't ahve to think as much about your shadow placement in the final piece.

Finally, here is the finished Lilac branch. Notice that I added BG000 to my sky. This helps give my blossoms a sense of place. If you leave it white the blossoms have no foundation or reference points- they're just sitting there. By adding a subtle blue sky we assume that the blossoms are outside, the sun is shining, and it's a lovely spring day. Blue is also a natural background color that feels far away. By keeping the blue pale and subtle it doesn't detract from the whole (also, by adding a background color it helps cover up any mistakes you couldn't erase completely).


freida said...

TOTALLY AMAZING! These blossoms and leaves look so life-like! What an AWESOME tutorial!

Susan said...

This is so stunning!!
You have me starving for, yet, another topic, as you're an expert on coloring/blending & describing. THX....from a blogger friend....

Sandy Knecht said...

Amazing tutorial. Your coloring is exquisite. What knowledge you have in that brain of yours. Such a gift you were given. Thank you for sharing all these tutorials.

Broni said...

Oh my! I think my brain is going to melt from trying to absorb all this excellence! Thanks, Marianne.

Nicole said...

Amazing tutorial AND PICS!!!!! Thanks, Marianne!