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I told you so!
art tutorial 
22nd-Feb-2006 01:32 am
Owl totem
Ok. I promised a full on tutorial using my latest copic marker piece, so here it is -

loads of pics! dialup beware!!

Great BIG Tutorial...

First things first - the commission. I think it's important to discuss in detail with the author exactly what they want of their art. IMO, the feelings they want the painting to convey are as important as the subject in the painting. I like to read the scene in question (sadly, I don't have time to read entire fics; when would I paint?) then, working with the author, plan out the composition.

In the case of this particular painting, that was more involved because belovedranger wanted a three part painting, so the triptych had to be planned as a whole. The three paintings have to look balanced and cohesive together, yet also work alone.

So, after much back and forth discussion with belovedranger, this was the final sketch and colour rough.

I don't always do a colour rough, but these paintings needed it. Again with the balance. ;~)

belovedranger wanted hard-copy art, rendered using Copic Markers.
I use these a lot. Love them to bits and find them brilliantly versitile. My favourite colour? Colourless Blender! Seriously - it's invaluable.
For this series of paintings I'm also using watercolours, gouache, and some acrylic.
I work on A3 Arches Watercolour paper (smooth) 300gsm, so it's nice and weighty, but not too weighty to put through the post!

I usually work at A4 (roughly 8"x11"), but because of all the faces in this particular painting, I've done it slightly larger- roughly 11"x15". As my printer only works in A4, I had to print off the sketch in two halves and stick them together-

Using my light-table, I lay the paper over the sketch and lightly trace the image onto the stock. Often I just work directly with the markers like this, and avoid the redraw part completely. But because I wanted to use watercolours, I had to transfer the sketch onto the stock. (as you can see, this pic is actually the second in the series, but that's just cos I forgot to take a photo of the first one at this stage! ;~P)

Nicely transferred onto the stock -

It is particularly important not to use an eraser on watercolour paper, as it damages the tooth of the paper and, as a result, the way it takes paint.

After thoroughly wetting the paper (you can avoid dramatic warping by not wetting it to the egde of the paper), washes of watercolour are applied and allowed to bleed into one another. Then sprinkled with rock salt!

Dry, it looks like this-

Markers are transparent (like watercolours), so we apply them light to dark. Here I'm starting with Pale Blue, picking out the trees and figures.

The trees have some definition, and Ron and Hermione have some colour! Originally, I was planning to make the side panels in these paintings black&white - so they wouldn't take away from the important centre panel. It was at this stage that I decided the heads on the side looked like ghosts and, as that was the last impression I wanted to give, started contemplating colouring them.

you might also notice one of my reference pics on the edge there - Arthur from GoF. Reference pictures are extremely important if you're looking for any sort of realism; for lighting as well as body angles and likenesses. I did not try to make Molly and Arthur in this painting look like film!Molly&Athur - I wanted them to look more canon- but I did use them as a stepping off point. Harry and the twins (and Ron&Hermione, though it's less obvious with them) on the other hand look like their film counterparts at belovedranger's request.

Deeper definition and shadow in the trees, and starting to pick in the lines on the faces using the fine tip of a #10 cool grey Tria marker.

The faces on the side looking sepia. I was still tossing up whether to colour them or not, but was happier with them slightly coloured than B&W. At least they didn't look like ghosts any more! ;~)

Committed to colouring them now, and my fears that they would distract from the centre panel were coming true...

Bring in some yellow highlights (from the sunset) and work up Hermione's dress, and still the heads on the side seem to distract from the central pic -

Then the autumn leaves are added and, like magic, they seem to absorb the faces on the side! :~D Not killing them, but returning the focus to the couple in the centre.

Now the changes seem more subtle. Gouache highlights have been added.

And again. Picking in more highlights with gouache, then adding more shadows and touches of colour where appropriate.

Then, using the same colour I used for the midtones in the trees and in Ron's robes, I pick in shadow defintion for the leaves and it finally comes to life! :~)

There are patterns on Ron's robes done with an iridescent acrylic paint. You can just see these in the scan. I did the same with Hermione's dress, but that did not reproduce in the scan. Which makes the original art nice and special for belovedranger!

A closeup of Bill and Fleur, so you can see his scars. I put a beard on Bill because I thought a man that scarred probably would wear a beard plus, if you know me at all... any excuse for beard! ;~D

A closeup of Ginny, so you can see her freckles.

And a closeup of the twins... just because! ;~)

Hope you enjoyed the Show&Tell and feel free to ask me questions! ;~)

PS! I just wanted to add - NEVER spray marker art with fixitive! Never. It will make your work bleed all over the place and you cry.
Unless you are looking for an "interesting effect", of course, but that's different...
21st-Feb-2006 07:29 am (UTC)
Brilliant process, honey, this is art! *excited*

Also, since I can't afford copic markers (just yet!) -- must buy rock salt. I've been meaning to play with salt for a while, but then I get lazy. But I'm so totally inspired by this.

Yeeee! *keeps in memories* Thank you for showing us your techniques! You are so much with the skilled. <3
21st-Feb-2006 07:36 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it! :~D
The same effect could be achieved using watercolours all the way. I just like using Copics because they're permanent. (a reaction to working in the Printing trade for many yrs and seeing how original art was treated! O.o)
21st-Feb-2006 07:43 am (UTC)
This is excellent! Thanks for the insight on the process.
24th-Feb-2006 02:55 pm (UTC)
Great to hear that you enjoyed it! :~)
21st-Feb-2006 07:44 am (UTC)
Fantastic :)
21st-Feb-2006 07:47 am (UTC)
interesting, very interesting. Of course, it was worth it just to see the roughs for the next two in the series... *grin*
24th-Feb-2006 10:09 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it! The 'beach' pic is well underway and I'll be posting that soon,assuming all goes well. ;~)
21st-Feb-2006 08:09 am (UTC)
wow!!! that is too cool!!! u are too lucky!!! lol u gifted artist you!

thanx for sharing!!! :)
24th-Feb-2006 10:09 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it. :~)
21st-Feb-2006 08:29 am (UTC)
This was so interesting - thank you! I draw and I'm working on developing painting skills (oils and acrylics), but have never tried the Copic markers - I really admire what you can do with them. This makes me want to get some to play with (which I'll try to force myself not to do, as buying art supplies is like crax :).
21st-Feb-2006 02:07 pm (UTC)
If you're planning to focus working in oils and acrylic, then you're probably better off not investing in the Copics. (although they are brilliant for doing colour roughs!) Each marker is $8(AUS) and the refills are $11 each.
The main reason I reccommend not is that the markers are a transparent medium, like watercolour, and have to be applied lightest colour to darkest. Whereas oils and acrylics are opaque mediums, and are generally applied dark to light. So the application method is quite opposite. ;~)
(Deleted comment)
21st-Feb-2006 02:19 pm (UTC)
Yes, I do. A 2B mechanical pencil. (soft but with a nice sharp point) Glad you found it informative. :~)
21st-Feb-2006 08:33 am (UTC)
I love to see the step-by-step stuff, though I honestly have no idea what a Copic marker is! What neat information about rock salt.
21st-Feb-2006 02:21 pm (UTC)

They're expensive markers! ;~D
21st-Feb-2006 08:45 am (UTC)
I'm so happy you did this. I've never taken any art lessons, so reading such thorough tutorials like this are like Christmas for me :). Were you schooled in Art and if so where did you go?
24th-Feb-2006 02:15 pm (UTC)
I did a 2yr Illustration course in 2002/2003, which was invaluable. I could certainly draw before I did the course, and I did come out of it feeling like they could have taught us more of somethings and less of others (like web design over bloody printmaking! grrr!), but on the whole it was brilliant. It taught me some tricks of the trade and gave me the confidence to sell myself. ;~D

That said, I have to admit I have learned far more about digital painting (something my course barely touched on) from the art community online. This may have just been the competitive nature of the group I went through with, but I've also found the online art community far more willing to share ideas and skills.
21st-Feb-2006 08:46 am (UTC)
thanks for showing your process in your work. it is fascinating to me and not something i would see anywhere else. these are really lovely. i know the person who commissioned them will be thrilled!!
24th-Feb-2006 03:01 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it and hope you found it helpful! :~)
21st-Feb-2006 08:54 am (UTC)
This was very interesting, thank you!

I meant to try out that salt thing for ages now, but I always forget to get the right salt when I go shopping!
24th-Feb-2006 03:00 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you found it interesting. :~D The rock salt is great for silk painting too.
21st-Feb-2006 09:26 am (UTC)
Brilliant!Thank you for posting this!:)
24th-Feb-2006 10:12 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it; hope it was a help. :~)
21st-Feb-2006 09:54 am (UTC)
Gosh, these are really great. I must put this in my memories, those Copic markers sound like something I'd love to try.
24th-Feb-2006 03:03 pm (UTC)
Glad you found it interesting, and I find the Copics really nice to use.
21st-Feb-2006 10:04 am (UTC)
This piece is so incredibly gorgeous. Wonderful tutorial, thanks for sharing! I learnt a lot.

Question: Ron's robes, did you colour them with copic markers as well? I absolutely love the effect & colour. (And what is gouache? :D)

I need to look for copic markers the next time I go to the city...
21st-Feb-2006 02:40 pm (UTC)
Yes, Ron's robes were coloured with the markers.

Gouache is opaque watercolour - http://www.productionpost.com/gouache-article-1.htm

Glad you enjoyed the tutorial! :~)
21st-Feb-2006 10:23 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for this amazing tutorial! I love it when artist share how they do things. The sheer amount of detail in you works has me amazed, but how it comes about even more so. I had no idea about rock salt! And copic markers? (I shall be hunting up some of these!)

How did you colour in the people? Was that pencil or marker? And since you don't mind questions...here's one I'm trying to solve so I'm looking for advice. How do you keep the hair from looking flat? I've tried adding lighter shades of the colour or even a bit of white, but it still looks flat (or like they're going prematurely grey). Advice please!

Also...the light table...is that table sized or can one get one smaller?

I'm sure I have loads more questions...but shall cease clogging your lj with them. :D
21st-Feb-2006 01:33 pm (UTC)
The light-table is the size of a small table in my case, because it was a hand-me-down from my old employer. You can buy portable desk-top light boxes from art stores.
Before I had the light-table I would use the window! Seriously. I'd tape the sketch to the glass, then tape the paper to the glass and use the outside light. The only problem with this method was my arm sometimes got a bit tired working 'up', and I was restricted on the hours of the day that I could do it. Couldn't do it at night! ;~P

The figures in this painting were mostly coloured with markers.

Questions are not a problem. :~) That was the purpose of this.
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