Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Basic Blending

Rarely do I go back and repeat myself, but I figured it's been a few years since I have done a beginner post on simple blending in a circle. The world around us is not flat, and to make things appear more interesting, we should try to color in dynamic ways that make objects appear rounded. Today I will step you through a few different ways to blend a circle to make it look rounded.

Basic Circle Blending
To make a simple smiley face appear round, we will need two or three colors in the same color family.

In this case, I am working with a Y11, Y15 and Y38 Sketch marker. Sketch markers are our bestselling product, due to a range of 358 colors and the flexible super-brush nib. Ciao Markers also have the super-brush nib, but they only come in 180 colors. The unique brush nibs make it easy to blend colors, so whenever possible, I reach for either a Ciao or Sketch marker.

Begin with the lightest color, the Y11. Color with the side of the brush, in a circular pattern, evenly soaking the paper. When done, your circle should look nice and smooth with a single, flat color.

Next, I use the side of the brush and "flick" in the darker Y15 shadow along one edge. The flicking motion lays more ink where you first touch the pen down and less ink as you lift up. This takes practice, but will help you achieve smoother blends.

Then, with the side of the brush, I come back with the Y11 and again color in a circular motion. I color heaviest where the two colors meet. I try to leave the darkest area alone. Notice the whole smile gets a shade darker? This is from the second layer of Y11.

Last I come in with the Y38 and add another layer of dark. Then, I blend that back with the Y15, and if needed, blend that with the Y11.

In summary, start light, add darker colors, and always blend with the lighter marker. I try to keep a good range of contrast, so you can easily tell which side is light and which side is shadow. If you over-blend then your smile will look flat.

 Compare the 4th face to the third one. The added contrast makes the whole smile seem more dimensional. If you over-blend and lose the contrast, then go back and layer it in again. This makes the picture more interesting.

Do you have to color a smile just like the one above? No. Here are some variations.

Compare the top pair of faces in this image. Both use the same colors, but on the first one, I made the blend much tighter. You might prefer this look.

Contrast makes things look shiny. On this second set of faces, I used hardly any Y11, and a lot more Y15. The main difference is that I left a strong highlight of the white of the paper. The first face has a softer highlight, the second face has a much sharper highlight. Again, you can choose which you prefer. But, compared to the first two faces, these look shiny.

The last one in this set I tried to color like a marble or as if it were slightly transparent. Light goes in through the top highlight area, then passes through the yellow ball, exiting along the bottom edge. I darkened the deepest yellows on this face with a layer of E33, as this makes the yellow less intense.

Try coloring something as simple as a circle and see how you can make it look more rounded or like a ball. If you want it to really look like a ball, it helps if you throw in a simple cast shadow.

On this last sample, I added a circular shadow to match the ball. I blended N1 and N4 into the shadow. Notice the shadow is darker closer to the ball, and lighter as it get farther away. This is because up close to an object more light is blocked in a shadow, so it looks darker.

I hope this gives you a few ideas for coloring rounded objects. I encourage you to experiment with different looks until you find ones you like.

Just a reminder, on Thursday I will be participating in a free demo at the U of O Bookstore from 10am-4pm in Eugene, OR. Come see me color and ask questions. 


Renee V said...

Thank you for this basic post. It is very useful!

Laura Konieczka Smith said...

thank you for the beginning post. I love it and plan to follow to learn more

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