Posted on Leave a comment

My First Ever 3D Illustration: Mixing Copic and Cricut

Creating a full illustration with my newest character design

Not all parrots are as lucky as Malice, the Ghost Captain’s trusty parrot… Not all parrots belong to a loving owner willing to put in the necessary care. Many are hurt by people, neglected, or even left behind by their owners. These parrots, who can be as intelligent and emotional as four-year-old humans, can experience loss and heartbreak. Abused parrots don’t really enjoy life, but some, if found by the Ghost Captain, will always be welcome on his ship. More company for him and Malice. The Captain often finds himself surrounded by these birds, happy as can be, for what they could not find in life, he may grant them now.

As part of a family who now cares for an ex-abused parrot, it can sometimes be difficult. These parrots who were hurt by humans in the past can sometimes bite or scream at those they don’t trust. It’s taken us a while to realize what it meant to have Ruby stay with us, and it has taken more than a few months for her to look healthy and happy again. This drawing is part of a mini-project of mine to raise awareness about the environment. I believe this awareness starts at home, by us looking after the pets we chose to be a part of our family. Be aware of the responsibility you have and never forsake your duty.

This artwork was done using Copic Markers, a white GellyRoll pen for highlights, and scrap paper I used in my Cricut for the borders and leaves to make the artwork more 3D. Can you spot all nine birds?

I’ve had the idea to make an artwork that had a paper craft overlay for a while now… Finally I have decided to sit down and try something. This project ended up being very different compared to what I usually do, but I loved making it and I’m very happy with the end results. The borders and leaves add a whole new dimension. I would definitely recommend this sort of project for crafty people who also enjoy art.

Paper craft is an art form that I had fun learning about. I will try making more creative 3D frames for my artwork, as it adds an extra level of detail and helps everything look more finished.

Posted on Leave a comment

Designing Characters Using Copic Markers

The Ghostly Captain and His Parrot: My Character Design Process

“Out on the sea with a crew planning mutiny, no pirate captain is complete without at least one faithful companion. Meet Malice, the Ghost Captain’s feathered friend. Ever since the Captain found him when he fell from a nest on a tropical island as a young parrot, the two have been on many adventures. Malice is all too fond of catching the rats on the ship, as well as chasing after the crew to bite their ankles. He was a source of amusement for the captain, a companion on the lonely seas.”

Character design has always been a very important aspect of my art. I prioritize storytelling in my drawings, so that those who look at my pictures see not just the characters, but their personalities, their relationships with one another and see them as they are in a moment of time.

The Ghost Captain and his companion, Malice, are a duo who were well known on the seas during their lifetime. Malice was known for being chaotic and humorous, while the Captain was more stern and serious. Although this is easy to depict in writing, it is not so easy to convey in a drawing.

For this specific illustration I decided to use a purple pencil for sketching. Using colored pencil for the base of your artwork can often drastically alter the final results, especially when coloring skin-tones. The Captain needed a more ghostly skin tone. Thus I opted for using purple erasable coloring pencils. Pink, orange and peach pencils tend to give your characters more lively skin tones when using markers. Purple, blue, grey and green pencils give your character more pale, undead looking skin. That was exactly what I had in mind for the ghostly duo.

After I started adding in the marker, I could slowly work more and more details into the illustration. I easily used over thirty different markers in this drawing, however, if you are just starting your Copic Marker collection, you can use colored pencils and pastels for shading instead.

Finally I added the white details to the eyes and background with a white Posca Paint Pen.

This is definitely my favorite illustration at the moment. I have gotten more ideas for their story and this won’t be the last we see of them…

Posted on Leave a comment

Copic Markers: My Newest Illustration and Some Helpful Beginner Tips

“Meet the Ghost Captain… No one knows much about him, where he is from, why his ghost is clinging to the wrecks of old ships. But you’d do well to sit and listen to him, if you’d meet him wandering the lonely shores at night. Sometimes he’d be alone, but some nights you may notice a spectral parrot at home upon his shoulder or arm. He could tell you tales of sirens, sea serpents and ships that long since became homes to such creatures below the waves. But, when morning comes, he will disappear and once more leave you wondering if what you had seen and heard was a dream, or a wild reality of life on the sea.”

I’ve been getting a few requests to help teach artists new to markers how to use Copic Markers. Copic Markers are usually a big investment, so I thought I’d give some beginner tips on how to start with these markers.

  1. Always store your markers on their side as to stop the ink from running to one end of the marker and drying the other. It is also best to keep them out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Purchasing a Copic Carry Bag or a clear tub to keep them in is usually your best bet when storing your markers.
  2. Never use watercolor paper, or sketching paper with a rough texture. This will damage the brush tip on your marker and you will have to purchase replacements to fix the marker. Watercolor paper will also absorb the ink, drying out your markers much quicker than smooth, thick paper will. The best I can recommend is card-stock or Bristol Board.
  3. Start by coloring small areas. Start on smaller illustrations for blending, smooth layering and flat washes of colors. Not only will this help build your confidence, but you are less likely to get streaky results.
  4. If possible, watch lots of videos about Copic Markers and the different methods of using them. Another good tip might be to talk to an artist who has experience with this medium. These tips will help give you realistic expectations on what to expect when you start with your Markers. Although Copic is one of the best brands of alcohol-based markers available, the markers themselves aren’t without flaw. Unfortunately, many artists, including myself, find themselves disillusioned when they realize that Copic Markers will not turn them into a professional, nor will it improve your art without practice. But don’t let this discourage you from trying! Just remember to be patient and not to panic if you do struggle.
I am very proud of how this character design turned out! I’m a big fan of using pastel colour pallets, and the mixture of light cool grays, purples, teals and blues really helped bring this ghostly Captain to life. For the background I used Copic Inks, rubbing alcohol and a brush to paint in the transparent ships and clouds. The rest of the drawing was done in Copic Markers over the purple sketch-layer.