“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”
(John Allen Paulos)
As promised, I’m back today with my redone “Love Letter to New York” illustration along with some tips on Copic rendering techniques.
For comparison purposes, here’s the old illustration…
And the new!
You’ll notice that I not only broke up the blocks of grey with the shading (more on that below), but I also created some architectural interest and added a few chinks of sky (along with some stars!) Josephine’s costume is more elegant and her features are softer, too.
Besides learning a thing or two about composition, my journey with this illustration has also taught me some successful ways to work with Copic Markers.
#1. If you’re creating an illustration for print purposes (in this case, this design is for a new business card for MOI), you don’t need to render the original at a large size. As you can see, I actually shrunk down my original line drawing so that I would have less area to color in…not to mention that it saved me on ink. Woo hoo!
#2. For the actual rendering techniques, I did a refresher art school course (oh wait, I didn’t go to art school!) by watching this helpful YouTube video on laying down initial color and blending with Copic Markers :
And, although I used grey from the same family of Cool Grey Copic markers as in the first illustration, I broadened the range of grey so that there would be more visual depth.
#3. I added light touches of white pencil (I used a Conté a Paris pencil since I don’t have a white gel pen) to bring out the highlights in Jo’s dress:
#4. I did the final details (i.e. adding the shadow underneath the ledge and adding the text) in my Corel Paint Shop Pro X5 photo editing program…
And that’s a
wrap business card!
Thomas Edison said…
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
I’m not sure I am at the 10,000 flops mark, but I feel like I came close earlier this week. And here’s why.
When I created this illustration…
I was pretty excited with the overall concept. Upon review from my editor-in-chief (a.k.a my husband) though, I realized that Josephine’s expression did need some tweaking.
And my husband also wasn’t convinced by the background. He said…
So I decided to start over, and am happy to share with you my list of…
WAYS THAT WON’T WORK
#1. Begin by retracing the illustration onto a fresh sheet of marker paper.
Technically, retracing does work, but by versions 6, 7 and 8 (see below), I felt pretty foolish when I realized that scanning the line drawing into my computer and then printing it out onto art paper was a lot less time-consuming.
#2. Use Q-tips with Copic Various Ink Refills to create a background ink wash.
That was my intention at least when I made the trip to Dick Blick’s art store in lower Manhattan to purchase the Copic Various Ink refills. I found the refills, but also attracted the attention of a security guard who followed me around every aisle convinced I was his childhood French art teacher. But I digress. More to the point was that I learned that the Q-tip wash technique is best suited for small background areas. On my illustration, the result was messy and streaky looking…not to mention that my hands got stained with the inks.
#3. Cleaning up Copic ink spills is easy.
Guess what? This is permanent ink. Soap and water won’t remove it and neither will nail polish remover. However, Copic Colorless Blender solution does! Which is something to keep in mind when you try and use the “Blender” to blend different colored inks on your marker paper. The blender should be renamed “Color-Lifter-Offer” or “Color-Smearer.” Here’s an example of the blender used incorrectly…
#4. Dilute Copic ink with water for a softer background “wash.”
My attempts at a water-diluted ink wash resulted in this (mess). Note the buckled and wrinkled paper.
#5. You can smooth out any buckles or wrinkles on your Borden & Riley #125 Bleedproof marker paper with a household iron.
Although I have ironed other paper before, this paper is definitely not suited for this kind of treatment. In fact, if you iron the shiny back side of the paper, the paper will glue itself to your iron. How neat is that?!
After gaining all of this hard-earned wisdom, some people might have done this…
But not me (or Thomas Edison.) So I hope you’ll come back tomorrow to see the redone illustration along with some tips on WAYS THAT WORK!
(I had the Adagio chocolate torte with Passion Fruit Preserves…it was decadent and delicious!)
And I’m already looking forward to what I’ll have next time…
If you’re like me, you may be passionate about your craft – creating art – but a lot less passionate about proclaiming your genius from the rooftops. A few years ago when I was working at my jewelry design and manufacturing business, I purchased a guide for do-it-yourselfers called The Empire Building Kit by author – not to mention the force behind The Art of Non-Conformity - Chris Guillebeau. I diligently worked through the 365 dedicated, task-a-day emails and just as I was finishing…
moved to New York City.
Exciting as that move was, it meant that I had to completely reevaluate my jewelry business. Soldering tanks – which were essential to the creation of my jewelry – are not allowed in residential apartments. And I wasn’t about to seek an outside studio space rental when the rent on our 1-bedroom New York apartment was roughly the same as the mortgage we payed on a 5-bedroom house in the Midwest! So I went back to the drawing board.
(I mean that literally!)
As my illustration business is gaining traction, I decided this past fall to revisit the Empire Building Kit. I knew that there were quite a few tasks the first time around that I wasn’t able to do because my business (or I) wasn’t in the right place. Furthermore, although the Empire Building Kit has great stuff in it, since it’s not specifically targeted to artists, applying some of the lessons can take, well…creative thinking.
Imagine my surprise and joy when I recently learned that Chris Guillebeau is launching a new guide dedicated, this time, to creative types like ME!
The guide is called Designed to Sell and it’s launching today! As one of Chris’ affiliates, I’ve been given the opportunity to take a sneak peak at the guide and I’m excited by what I’ve read so far. Specifically, if Jen and Omar at These Are Things can make a 6-figure income selling their maps, greeting cards, and images, then I figure there’s got to be a (lucrative) place for my art in this world, too!
(P.s. I understand from Chris that there are some fun bonuses for people who purchase the guide in the first week of the launch. These include an invitation to an hour-long Q&A session with Jen, Omar and Chris; and, if you’re one of the first 100 buyers, a custom, handcrafted notebook.)
I have a confession to make.
I’m scared of big dogs.
It’s one thing if they are on a leash politely minding their business. However, if they happen to be on the loose, I’m lost. Maybe I exude fear, or I’m carrying around a sign – readable only to dogs – that says “Jump On Me.” In any case, since most people are dog people and I’m not, I’ve decided that it must be just another of my great failings.
So I’ve decided to take charge of my fear, look it in the eye and see if I can overcome it.
(I can feel how impressed you are with my courage!)
Here’s what I’ve done so far…
Two weeks ago I did a Google Image Search for “big black dogs” and discovered that some were actually quite pretty. This artwork was the result…
(Now available at my shop at Etsy)
And, today I looked up more “big black dogs” and read about the personality traits of Doberman Pinschers. Channeling what I learned, I created a new sketch. Here’s the illustration shortly after I started work on the coloring-in part…
And, after I finished it…
(Now available in my shop at Etsy)
I hope you noticed that the dog got BIGGER in the 2nd illustration. Two small steps for this fearful fashionista…more to come!