Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Add a simple background

Airbrushed mist
Today you'll get another quick tutorial from the demo last week. This time, I have a picture of a cheerful red robin, again, drawn from a photo taken by my friend Maaike.
Today I want to just show you a quick sample of the power of a background. Here you have the red robin before I added any color to the background.

I can't remember all the colors I used, but I know I worked heavily with the E40's family: E40, E42, E43, E44, E47, E49, and I warmed up the tones with an overlay of YR30 and Y21. I also used W1, W3, W5 and B91/B93 in the shadows. I also used YR12, YR14, YR18, and E09 in the feathers.

Next I need a background. He looks very sharp without one, but the picture looks incomplete. I also didn't want the background to overpower the foreground. 

So, I chose a very light E70 and W1 and drew in the suggestion of twigs in the background. Further away, I made them lighter.

 Then, I took the same pale yellow I used on his wing and lightly airbrushed the suggestion of a glowing sunrise or mist only along the bottom of the page. Nothing too strong, just a suggestion of color. 

Overall, I really like the feel of this bird, it's very different from what I usually make. 

I hope you have a fabulous Fall! Like this robin, just keep singing, no matter what life brings!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Coloring a kingfisher bird

Layering bird feathers
Last week I had the pleasure of coloring for two days straight at the U of O Bookstore. What fun I had! Any chance to sit and color is a win in my book.

Since I have been working on a new book, Coloring Birds with Copic Markers, you can guess that I have been focused on birds quite a bit recently. One of my dear Facebook friends, Maaike from the Netherlands, shared some beautiful bird photos from the Wildlife Refuge she works at, I knew I had to draw some of them. This kingfisher was my favorite from the whole event.  I drew him with a 0.1mm multiliner, then photocopied the outline onto some of our Art Paper.

(Just so you know, this is a way more complicated bird than the ones going into my next book. It took me a little over 2.5 hrs to draw and color in this vibrant kingfisher, whereas most of the coloring projects in my books are intended to be completed in about 25-40 min.)

I started by lightly blocking in the base tones. (I apologize in advance if I leave out any colors, as I didn't write down all the colors I used, so I'm going by memory). I used BG01, B24, B39, Y11, YR31, YR14, and YR18. Notice the light feathering strokes I used on the wing and chest.

The first spot you touch your marker nib down will be darkest, so pay attention to the affect you are trying to get, planning where your light and dark feathers will be. Sometimes I flick up the wing and other times I flick down on the wing. I try to always flick in the direction the feathers naturally grow though, so that it looks most natural.

Next, I went through section by section and darkened. I didn't have a great range of turquoise colors, so I had to build them by layering G43 and B24, frequently in feathering strokes.

 I darkened the head with thin lines of different blues. Then with the very tip of the brush nib, I added tiny rows of dots to the crown of his head, to simulate the fine striped feathers.

The beak was colored with C3, C7, C9, Y32 and a hint of YR14. I was careful to darken the orange area on the head, while keeping the white areas white.

At this point, I start really popping out the contrast and finishing details.

With B39 I added even more dots to the crest of head feathers. Notice I also punched out the contrast on the wing feathers with the B39 as well. I darkened the wing feathers in front as well with more 24 and a bit more green. BG13, BG18, B95, B9, V99 and many other colors.

This gave the feathers on the wing a bit more punch. At this point I let them dry throughly. Next, I took the finest tip of the colorless blender and carefully dotted in the white dot accents on the wing feathers. If the base color is still wet, then the dots will be soft and blurry, but by letting the base coat dry, then adding many layers of blender, letting it dry between layers, I was able to lighten up the dots.

Finally, I finished the bird by applying faint hints of Copic Opaque White. This popped out the contrast on the wing feathers and on his head-crest.

The branch is colored with layers of E11, E13, E15, E37, and E49. Then, I softly added some YG11 over some spots to suggest a green fuzz.

The moss is colored with YG01, YG03, YG13, YG67, and hints of G99.

 I faintly airbrushed a background using the chisel nib on a B02 marker, then added darker speckles of color with the brush nib on a B24. Then, I used the tip of the B24 and YR14 marker and added teeny-tiny dots carefully around the edges of the illustration, just because I thought it looked cool.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Upcoming Events

Free Demos, Workshops and more!
Fall is a busy time of year for me, and this year, as I've been working hard on my next few books, it has been extra busy. However, I have a lot of great local Copic events coming up in the next few weeks, so come and check out the stuff I've been working on. (After the new year, I'll list my demos around the country).

Nov. 11-12, U of O Bookstore, Eugene, OR 10am to 5pm
Free demos all day. I'll be downstairs at the bookstore, next to the marker rack, drawing all sorts of cool things.

Nov. 14-15, Eucon (Eugene Comic Con). Lane County Fairgrounds, Eugene OR
I'll be hosting a couple of workshops each day. For admission times and pricing, please visit the Eucon website. 

Nov. 21st, Demo at Collage  in Portland, OR (3701 SE Division St. location)
Free demo from 2-5pm. Come check out my new books and learn about Copic markers.

Upcoming Books
I think you'll be excited to know about my next two books, available in a few months. Intro to Coloring with Copic Markers and Coloring Cats & Dogs with Copic Markers. Both will be available after the first of the year.

About the dragonfly: I colored this dragonfly this weekend at a training session. I used a lot of very pale colors, E000, YG11, BV00, B91, Y00 but then I made them pop with hints of darker colors. YG13, E21, E25, V99, E31, BV23, Y13, and probably a few more colors I forgot to list. I drew the dragonfly based on a photo sent to me by my friend Maaike. The picture is colored on the Art Paper you can find here.