Monday, September 01, 2014

Starting a Marker Collection from Scratch

Links to this post
Two years ago, I set about trying to produce a list of 25 essential Copic colors for artists to start their collection with.  I wanted a list that could cover the basics that most young illustrators would encounter- figures, landscapes, home interiors.  Although I've struggled to compile this list, I eventually had to admit defeat- there was no way a list of 25 that worked for me would always work for others.  As artists, we have individual preferences and aesthetic choices.

Heidi and I are preparing a panel on the basics of alcohol marker rendering for Mechacon this year, and while preparing the presentation, I wanted to include a list of guidelines for artists looking to start a collection.  Rather than list specific colors, I tried to provide guidelines for artists to keep in mind while purchasing markers.   The slide itself is a much abridged list of the original list I'm sharing today.

Basic Guidelines for Starting an Alcohol Based Marker Collection

  • When starting your collection, consider it as an investment that can last several years.  More expensive marker brands offer features like replaceable nibs, a selection of nibs, and refillability.  This extends the life of each marker significantly.  If you're considering sinking a significant amount of money on markers at one time, do your research first.
  • Warm greys W0-W5 (in the Copic color system) are really versatile for adding shading to everything from skin to landscapes until you have a larger collection.
  • All colors can be layered multiple times to build up color. Darker colors can be lightened with the application of a very light color from the same color family (something in the 00 or 01 range, if you're using Copics)
  • Depending on what you're rendering (I mostly render figures), you won't necessarily need a lot of super saturated colors. Maybe a couple saturated colors in each color family until you have a better idea of what you'll need.  The majority of markers in my collection are lighter colors.
  • Light blue violets are useful for shading skin and doing cooler shadows (BV000-BV01)
  • My collection is mostly focused around skintones in the E ranges, which are useful for not only rendering skin, but hair and many natural objects.
  • Make sure you buy a Blender and refills for it. That's going to be really useful in the beginning, and remains useful for as long as you use alcohol based markers.
  • If you presaturate the area you're coloring with colorless blender first, it'll make your color markers stretch further/permeate the paper more evenly. For large areas of color, consider investing in a few Copic Wide markers (or the blanks, and purchase refills of the color you want to fill at home).
  • Alcohol based markers and watercolors can be used together, so feel free to augment your alcohol based marker color selection with applied watercolor either before or after marker rendering.
  • Color pencil can be layered on top of alcohol based markers for better color blends or to add small details.
  • To add spot areas of white, apply color pencil, gouache, white gel pen, on Copic's Opaque white after marker has dried.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

New Sidebar Feature!

Links to this post
Hey guys, I did a little renovating.  I removed the Popular Posts sidebar feature (it was the same marker reviews over and over again for the past year) and finally added a Recommended Reading feature.  Right now, it's mostly educational and focused mainly on comic craft, although one, Kakukaku Shikajika is an autobiographical comic about mangaka Akiko Higurashima's (the artist of Kuragehime) journey into manga creation.  I'll continue to add books as I remember them, find them in my collection, or read them, so please feel free to recommend favorites!  At some point, I'd like to do a Great Comics You Haven't Heard of (Yet) series of mini comic reviews and recommendations, possibly next year when I clear out my convention schedule.

Friday, August 29, 2014

7" Kara Chapter 5 Progress Shots

Links to this post
It's been awhile since I've shared comic process, but since I'm working on Chapter 5, I thought I'd share the thumbnails, the roughs, and even the revisions.  Right now, I'm currently working on the tight pencils, which I'll watercolor on top of.

Chapter five is my longest chapter so far, at 25 pages, and I work in batches- all the thumbnails, all the roughs, all the revisions, all the pencils, all the painting, all the lettering and corrections.   Although it's the most time consuming, painting is my favorite part, and the part I'm most likely to share progress on.  Since that's the case, I thought I'd change things up a bit and share the meat and potatoes of this comic.


These scanned thumbs were physically noted by myself and Joseph, and I have digital notes from my friends Alex, Heidi, and Chris.  This has become, for the most part, my core group for critique, and I try to get their feedback at each step, including the Chapter Synopsis (just a brief outline of what happens in the chapter, my starting point) and the script.

Uncorrected Roughs:

As with the thumbnails, these have some written corrections on them, but haven't been fixed yet.  

Corrected Roughs:

This is the first time I did all my corrections digitally.  Usually when redrawing entire panels, I'll draw it on another piece of paper and Photoshop that in.  It's a lot easier to make corrections digitally, so I ended up fixing panels I wouldn't've otherwise have bothered to fix.  Generally, if fixes are minor, I'll just adjust it while pencilling the bluelines for the watercolor, but working this way will allow for a tighter finished product.

I used a similar palette for corrections (an aqua blue and a blueish grey as graphite) so I could be sure that everything printed properly, which means some corrections may be hard to spot at a glance.