Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Guest Post: Heidi Black: Working With Markers

Heidi's collection of skintones and reds.

I find that there is a way to layer markers that allows one to use a variety of colors and get more lifelike and vibrant shades.  I start with my lightest colors, using the brush tip of my Copics to work into the areas I want to leave hi-lighted (I use a flicking motion).  I'll block in with progressively darker colors, leaning towards violets and blues to shade, then work backwards through those same colors to blend each darker color into the lighter ones. 

Heidi's currently working on an illustrated Ask Blog for the Genderswapped Avengers.  Check it out and leave her some questions!

This post focuses on Heidi's shading technique that utilizes complementary colors to create neutral shadows when rendering with Copic and Prismacolor Markers.  Markers are a fantastic choice for rendering an illustration, as higher end brands (Prismacolor, Tria, Copic) are light fast and alcohol based.  Markers share many fantastic properties with watercolors- they are translucent, light appears to glow from within, and are extremely portable, making them an excellent choice for a mid-level to professional level artist.  

For skin tones, especially for girls, I try to avoid using greys (unless the mood of a piece calls for greys).  For women, you want a very vibrant skin tone, and so layering in some light pinks into the cheeks, nose, knuckles, elbows, and knees is a great way to add life.  Even when using a 'duller' skin tone (I used e41 on miss America here), I pull in more vibrant colors with e00 and e21.  I use violets and blue-violets to shade (v01, v12, bv13), then go back in with the warmer skin tones to brighten up the violets.  Because markers are translucent, you can use a differing color to shade with – in fact, I recommend it!  Using a contrasting color adds a depth to shadows that greys and blacks do not give, and using similar hues for all your shadows can really help unite the piece.

For this one in particular, some of the shadow colors I used:
skin tones: e21, 41, 00, r21 and rv42, shaded with v01, v12, bv13
reds: r14, 24, and 46 shaded with rv69, v17, and b99
blues: b97 and b99 shaded with rv99
golds: y28 and y32 shaded with e33, e44, v01, v12, v15, and v17

If a marker looks like this (overly shiny/wet) get it away from your paper!  Sometimes when refilling the markers, you can get too much ink in them and they will consequently drip.  While drips ARE fixable, it can be annoying to do.

Markers are great because you can color over them with a lot of different opaque/translucent media: colored pencils, acrylics, goache, and gel pen all work great for adding hilights and cleaning up mistakes, as well as just adding in some texture.