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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. ;~)

tools/media.
belovedranger wanted hard-copy art, rendered using Copic Markers.
http://www.copicmarker.com/
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...
Comments 
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.
21st-Feb-2006 08:53 pm (UTC)
The important thing to remember when painting/drawing hair is that, even if the figure has very fair hair, you will still need dark shadows to give it depth.
In any painting or drawing it's important to keep your shadows consistant otherwise the figure or their hair will look pasted on.
The darkest part on a figure is usually the pupils in their eyes or their eyelashes. You need to include some of that colour in their hair too.
For the highlights in hair, don't use white. Depending on the colours in your picture, pale yellow is a good highlight. Intermingling it with strands of pale blue will give it even more depth because the blue tones receed while the yellow come forward.
Hope that helps. :~)
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