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Inktober Day 7-9

Day 7- Flower

The Dragonslayer is not someone a coward would approach… Without a way to see under the deep shadow of his helm, most of the village people have avoided him as much as he has avoided them. He had planned to leave days ago, but with the minimal resources of the town, he had no sufficient funds to move on. He had been forced to stay, communicating with no one as he took whatever food was offered to him by strangers. Thus, it was quite natural of him to be very surprised at the approach of the two children, arms filled with flowers, shyly holding them out to him. He understood what they wanted him to do, and soon he found himself kneeling in the field they’ve been planting, old ash and dirt soon clinging to his armor. He seemed to care little for the heat of the sun, as his dragon-scale armor kept the heat out. The town’s people thought him a funny sight, an imposing figure, kneeling in the dirt, planting flowers! Had they misjudged him? Or had he simply given in to the whims of the children after constant nagging?

Word Credit: Anike (A nice and colorful word and a great way to show that the Dragonslayer is not as antisocial and solitary as you might think.)

Conveying Behavior: A useful art skill

Conveying behavior is extremely important in any form of art. Whether you are painting or drawing an animal in its natural habitat, comic characters interacting or even a small element like a flower blowing in the wind I believe being able to convey the behavior of your subject can be very important. Pretending that your art exists in its own universe, with laws, physics, habitat and atmosphere can help you understand how to portray certain things in your art. Most artists realize this early on, and beginners often start doing it subconsciously. Focusing on it can further help ground your art. 

Day 8- Fame

Unfortunately, when someone is wearing fiery armor made from dragon scales, it tends to have the affect of wearing a physical manifestation of a wide range of victories on their person at all times. Not only does it tend to come with recognition, but also a sense of fame that follows like a cloud. Most people can accept this fame, recognizing legitimate achievements and be done with the matter. Others remain distrusting, seeing fame as a sort of danger to their own reputations and ideas. The latter is the opinion of the blacksmith, who nearly had a fit when the mayor sent him to retrieve the Dragonslayer from his work in the fields. Not only did his thunderous expression completely crush the Dragonslayer’s satisfaction at his hard work, but the blacksmith’s barbed statements aimed at his fame seemed to only confuse him, rather than upset him. This miscommunication left the blacksmith fuming, glaring at the Dragonslayer with all the fury he could muster. As for the Dragonslayer, he remained expressionless and voiceless beneath the helmet, seeming only confused and surprised at the blacksmith’s outburst.

Word Credit: Ouma Nellie (Another word I was definitely not expecting! This word most certainly helped in creating more depth in how the characters react to the Dragonslayer. Especially in a small town that doesn’t attract many famous people).

Day 9- Discombobulate

If the blacksmith’s outburst served to do anything, it was to confuse the Dragonslayer. After blankly staring at each other for a moment, the Dragonslayer shrugged dramatically. Finally, it was clear to the blacksmith that none of his words were understood by the helmeted man and had only discombobulated him. Defeated, he simply pointed in the direction of the remaining market stalls, put up by the merchant to sell some things to passing travelers and those in the village who could still afford it. These funds were used to slowly help get the town back on its feet. Outside the main stall, the mayor stood, watching out into the field. The Dragonslayer trudged towards the mayor sheepishly, wiping his muddied gloves on the smooth scales of his chest plate.

Word Credit: Zanet (Thank you for the unique word! The Dragonslayer generally finds people discombobulating. Is it because he cannot understand their language? Or perhaps he finds dragons less intimidating than being social…)

What mediums I used where: Answering a question concerning Inktober this year

A fellow artist wanted to know what art supplies I used where during this Inktober. I remained very consistent in my use of the art supplies, even if I did use a lot more than last year. For the characters and most of the foreground elements, such as the characters and the houses in the background I used my Copic Markers. I was focusing on greyscale colors, especially since I very light grey Copics that served to not overwhelm the artwork. I only used my colored Copics for the Dragonslayer’s armor and two other elements added later in the comic. I used white GellyRolls very often this Inktober, mostly for the reflective parts of the illustration, such as the Dragonslayer’s armor and the eyes of the characters. I also used a set of grey GellyRolls, although these were limited to small elements of the characters’ outfits. For the sky, flowers and other small colored elements in the comic, I used my Derwent Inktense pencils. Although each illustration is unique, this is mostly the order in which I used the mediums. I did variate on some panels where it was needed, however, I hope this description will suffice.

Thank you to everyone who was a part of Inktober this year! Thank you to everyone who supported me and joined me on the adventure! I will continue posting on this blog as I finish writing the behind-the-scenes content!

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Inktober Day 4-6

Day 4- Sesquipedalian

The mayor of the town had been among those to lose his house and belongings. Fueled by his anger at the seemingly unjust behavior of the dragon, he gathered everyone together and made a speech. This included the Dragonslayer, who hung near the back of the crowd, silent beneath his helmet, ash and sparks still circling him from the fight. The mayor could certainly be characterized as long-winded, overusing big words and professional jargon. This prompted the blacksmith, a man of much opinion and little intelligence, to cause an argument. The Dragonslayer seemed blissfully oblivious to the bickering men, instead staring out at the mountains where the dragon had come from, his helmet still hiding every hint at an expression.

Word Credit: Melissa (Thank you for teaching me an interesting new word! I had to Google the definition more than once, just to make sure…)

Grey scale on Toned Paper:

 In choosing my limited color pallet for Inktober, I decided to work in grey scale and use only the autumnal colors of red, yellow and orange. Working in grey scale is a great method of learning to separate the tones of a drawing, as well as focusing on shading. Toned paper allows you to be able to use lighter colors, including white, and helps darker tones stand out. I would recommend using toned paper for studies and such, especially if you’d like to improve with shading and separating tones. One thing that is important to keep in mind, is that the toned paper will affect the colors of your art supplies. Always test the colors on an extra sheet of the same toned paper you are planning to use for the illustration, and write down the color names if possible to prevent confusion.

Day 5- Uncomfortable

As the day was coming to a close, the merchant stopped the bickering blacksmith and mayor, drawing attention to the Dragonslayer. With the whole town suddenly directed at him, the Dragonslayer seemed to squirm in his armor, backing away slightly. The mayor called to him, but he made no response. His lack of reaction, largely due to the uncomfortable situation, caused an eruption of a response from the town people. Soon they were shouting and bickering ten-fold, and not just the mayor and the blacksmith, but rather seemingly everyone had an opinion to raise.

The Dragonslayer took this as an opportunity to slip away and make a small camp near the body of the Destroyer. There he stayed, tired and worn out from the battle. His supplies had waned completely, and thus he would be forced to stay in the town for a few days, perhaps a week. He silently resolved to avoid crowds, and people in general…

Word Credit: Bart (There isn’t a better word to explain how people make the Dragonslayer feel. I don’t think there is a social situation in the world that makes the Dragonslayer feel comfortable…)

Line-Art: Background vs. Foreground

This technique definitely won’t apply to all styles, as many forms of art such as realism do not require any outlining. However, I found it to be quite effective for separating elements of the foreground from the background. Keeping in mind that you want to draw the viewer’s eye to the foreground, and that the darkest art supply you are going to use is the pure black pen for outlining, outlining the foreground characters, items or elements immediately pushes everything else into the background. The darker and bolder the outline, the more likely it will draw the eye of the viewer. This is especially effective when the foreground elements are more brightly colored than the background. 

Day 6- Giggle

As the village people slowly worked on rebuilding what they could, everyone seemed at a rather terrible low. The children, soon finding themselves uneasy at the gloom, tried their best to find ways to keep themselves busy. They did not understand what the dragon’s fire had cost the adults yet, and all they knew was the confusion and stress of everyone attempting to rebuild their lives. The gardens, mostly ruined, was no longer a place to play. Two girls then had the bright idea of replanting each and every flower the Destroyer had burnt away. Going into the woods and meadows, they collected every wildflower they could get their hands on. But, for two children, the project seemed too great. They needed someone greater than the magnitude of their project to kneel beside them in the dirt. And who better, they thought, but the expressionless Dragonslayer, perching on the wall of a partially reconstructed house. Giggling, they set their plan into motion, approaching who they considered a silent, helmeted but possible friend.

Word Credit: Karen (What better but the giggling laughter of children to bring the town back to life. Thank you for the very creative word, Mom!)

The Silent Story

Most comics rely on words as well as character expression to tell a story. However, when there is no room for words, the silent story is born. This form of writing takes the form of an illustrated storybook, without the words and the illustrations being on the same page. The words, by themselves, can effectively convey the story. The illustrations, by themselves, still effectively convey the story. This is a fun way of combining the illustration and writing in a story that both the visual learners and the readers can enjoy. This, however, makes it extremely important to capture behaviors of the characters, keeping them unique. The biggest challenge during this comic, was the Dragonslayer. Despite being a brilliant warrior with almost about twelve years of experience, he is shy, awkward and does have a sense of humor hiding under his helmet. His appearance and nature confuse the other characters. An example of this is his friendliness around children, but refusion to speak to anyone. Capturing this was a challenge, both in drawing and in words. Alongside him, there are about six other unique characters, who need to not only interact with the Dragonslayer and each other, but need a unique set of characteristics and behavior their own. Perhaps the extra words and the story told around the illustrations serves as a crutch, relieving me from capturing every moment in art form. However, it is a good step in the right direction.

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Inktober 2021: Day 1-3

Day 1- Burn

Dragons and humans were once able to co-exist. But when man tamed the earth, taking down forests and carving away mountains to make space for their ever-growing cities, dragons felt they had to protect the grounds upon which they hunt and nest, the land they have inhabited for years.  They became warlike, tearing down cities and towns, taking back the wilderness that were once their territories. Yet man, in his desire to protect, would not be bullied by the dragons.

Humans hunted the dragons, until the few that are left disappeared underground or deep within the waters where they cannot be followed. But those rare few who remained, or returned, were behemoths. One such dragon was titled ‘the Destroyer’. Her tough scales were marred by battles, and she was declared missing for the last forty years. In those years, she had grown and at her awaking she began destroying the small village close to the great mountains where she had been roosting. Her fire blackened earth, crop and house alike. What could one man do against the one determined to burn the world that angered her?

Word Credit: Melindi (The story has begun, from here on it is no longer in my hands…)

First Impressions:

Turns out the Hahnemühle Cappuccino book does not appreciate Copic Marker as much as I thought… It put up a bit of a fight and I was left with some streaks on the page. I managed to easily subdue them with an extra layer of marker. I would definitely recommend that you put a thick sheet or two of scrap paper between the pages! The mediums I used also warped the page, but luckily that sorts itself out if I press the book under something heavy for a bit. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of blending I could do, especially with the Inktense pencils in the background. The other pleasant surprise was the Gelly Roll pens. They stood out from the page amazingly! Overall, Inktober Day 1 went very well and I am extremely impressed with the results I managed to get!

Day 2- Evil

There are those who rise up to defend the human world from dragons. These men and women, titled the Dragonslayers, have been dying out alongside the dragons. For someone to become a Dragonslayer, he or she must be the one to land the last blow upon a dragon. From the moment this title is receive, he or she is bound to a life of hunting dragons until injury forces them to retire, or until death takes them at last. These Dragonslayers were risen up to defeat the evil wrought by the dragons, and usually disappear as soon as they had finished their job, laden in gold, silver and whatever spoils they keep from the dragon itself.

This one man who stands against the Destroyer had been a Dragonslayer for over half his life, and his experience showed it. Armed with axe and shield, he was the sole being that stood between the Destroyer and the village. In hight, he stands no taller than one of the dragon’s claws, which is how large the behemoth had grown. The fight between the two raged for hours… The village people rushed to pour water over their remaining crops, as well as put out as many fires close to the houses as they could. But the Dragonslayer took no notice of them. His only focus, was the Destroyer.

Word Credit: Oupa Ad (I was surprised that my grandfather would choose such an intense word… But this is the best word to describe how humans came to view dragons)

Medium Recommendations:

The Hahnemühle Cappuccino book is unfortunately not made for the mediums I am using in it. The paper is too thin for Copic Markers, although it is still possible to use them if you have enough patience. The Inktense pencils warped the paper, so I had to be very careful with how much water I used. However, I had no trouble with my linework pens and Gelly Rolls, as well as the pencils when I didn’t add water to them. I love the results I am able to achieve with the Gelly Rolls, and would definitely recommend colour pencils and Gelly Rolls to use with this sketchbook. I will continue to use my Copic Markers and Inktense pencils with water in this sketchbook, however I do think I should warn anyone interested that it isn’t the ideal medium combination for the paper in this sketchbook.

Day 3- Aurora

When the battle eventually ended, it was night. The dragons’ fire still effected the world around the village, leaving a fiery aurora across the sky. The aftermath was worse than most dragon fights. Usually, Dragonslayers could lead the dragon out of the populated area before too many of the houses and crops are affected. Dragon blood has the consistency of thick oil, and taints the earth so that it may never grow crops again. Unfortunately, the Destroyer had been so set on the elimination of the town, the Dragonslayer had no opportunity to lead her away.  Those who had lost their houses and belongings gathered together around the behemoth, staring at the creature who had cost them over four seasons of work in the field, as well as over a third of the houses in the town.

Word Credit: Natanjah (Thank you for the beautiful word! It brought a nice peaceful setting to end the battle of the dragon)

Fun Technique to Try:

The Inktense pencils brighten the more you layer them, especially after blending the previous layers with water and adding a layer on top while the paper is still damp. This makes the pencils look vibrant and is very reminiscent of using actual ink, in which the layering works the same. The pencils tend to not blend out completely, but the texture worked well enough for what I was trying to achieve. This layering technique is very fun and I’d recommend it to anyone who uses  Inktense pencils.

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Inktober Project of 2021- Introduction

Inktober Project of 2021

Welcome to the Introduction of my comic project for this October. In this post I will be discussing what this project is, what art mediums I will be using and show some of the planning that I have done for the comic. This will be my first official attempt at drawing a cohesive story in the form of a comic book, and I will be documenting the experience for anyone curios about the journey.

Inktober 2020 was a great experience, once again reinforcing my habit of drawing every day as well as practicing to work with ink as a medium. This year, instead of the traditional Inktober challenge, I have decided to create my own prompt list and to rearrange the prompts to form a story. Each word in my prompt list was given to me by a different person, meaning that most of the story was out of my hands and was inspired by the those I asked to participate. This story became my art project for October 2021, a comic in which I only have control of the first word. The rest was in the hands of the people I asked for words.

Instead of the traditional ink that is used by most artists, I decided to use different ink-based mediums. This includes Copic Markers, Copic MultiLiners, Gelly Roll pens and lastly, Inktense pencils. They may not be traditional ink, but all include a variety of different inks and methods of use. They added a unique aspect to my October project for this year. I hope you enjoy the story and the journey as much as I will!

The complete word list for my project, as well as some of the mediums and colors I am planning on using.

Here are some behind the scenes sketches I made while planning the characters. These are made with regular 3H Graphite Pencils, Schneider Edge Pens, Copic Markers, Copic MultiLiners and Gelly Roll Pens. These materials worked wonderfully in my Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook, and was a great platform from which to plan and storyboard the comic.

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Product Tips

Scratch-Board:

Learning how to work with a new and different medium

As a kid, I remember spending all my pocket money on small scratch-board images. They came with a plastic tool and a piece of black board, the faint grey outlines of an animal printed on it. The plastic tool, which resembled a small spear with a slightly sharpened tip, could be used to scrape away the grey outlines, revealing the silver or gold below. I would spend hours scratching away at the board, slowly revealing the animal in shades of bright gold or shimmering silver. In time, I left the school and soon forgot all about the little scratch-board images I had loves so much. Recently, to my delight, I discovered that scratch board is much more than just a children’s’ art project, but much like drawing and coloring, can be mastered and enjoyed into adulthood. I bought blank scratch-board and a single tool which resembled a small knife. Even with the familiar memories of my childhood, I still had no idea how to approach the scratch-board…

I had to adjust my style, knowing full well that comic art and character design may be the wrong approach, given the dark black surface I’d be working on. In my sketchbook I began planning a patterned dragon, one I could use to experiment with the scratch-board. At first, I was nervous about using pencil to sketch on the board, as the sharp tip may scratch away the layer of black and thus deceive the purpose of planning the drawing. I bought a pencil with a softer and darker lead and took care not to press into the scratch-board. This worked well, as I could use my kneaded eraser to erase the pencil when needed and see the outlines of the drawing taking shape. I still remained cautious though, if I pressed too hard with the pencil, I could leave scratches by mistake. I would recommend working in a well-lit area, as this makes the graphite much easier to see.

Note how the graphite is easier to see in the well lit area of the photo above.

Next, after I was happy with my initial pencil sketch, I began the process of scraping away the black. The black coating on scratch-board is either a type of ink, or a black clay. The Essdee Scraper-board I used for this project is coated in black ink. The ink is relatively easy to remove, but it takes time and patience. The under layer of the scratch-board can differ depending on the personal tastes of the artist. Some are plain white, and is the type of scratch-board used in most artworks you’d see online. Other scratch-board can have a rainbow under layer, or holographic like the board I used. The tool I bought had a diamond shaped blade at the end, and is relatively sharp. It could easily take off the layer of ink to reveal the colorful holographic under layer. I was able to get a variety of different line-widths and styles, all with just the one tool.

When working with scratch-board, I found that the trick is to work slowly. Precision is important, as once you’ve scratched the layer of black ink, the marks are permanent.  Protecting the artwork is very important, and between drawing sessions it is important to place the artwork safely out of the way.

Scraper-board (or scratch-board) art is a fun medium to try and I would recommend it to artists of all ages.

The final artwork!
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Artist’s Process

Inspiration and Learning in Art

There are many important aspects to doing art, but there are two I’ve been focusing on these last few weeks. One is my personal skill, the other how I find inspiration. In my time of doing art, I’ve found both these topics are generally difficult to discuss for both are deeply personal to the artists’ themselves.

‘Skill’ is very subjective, and especially for the audience who looks at your art. One person may easily agree with the statement: “Pablo Picasso was a skilful artist and a great influencer in the world of art.” Others, however, may be of the view that Picasso’s art was gloomy, too abstract or a jumbled mess. Both, so to speak, are critics. All the different opinions and suggestions, from friends and family and all those you share your art with, can get overwhelming. But, in this blog, when I am referring to ‘skill’, I actually mean your own personal view of your art. Are there things you want to improve? Can you spot the things you can improve upon in your previous drawings and think of positive ways to better yourself the next time you draw or paint? What do you really like and enjoy about the way you approach art? These are all questions you can ask yourself to find out what your personal view of your art ‘skill’ is. However, I encourage you to answer the questions as positively as possible. Negativity is known for killing the will to learn, as well as our second important topic for this blog, inspiration.

Progress of my newest project, creating a customized deck of playing cards inspired by my current favorite computer game, Sea of Thieves. This is my favorite character, Captain Briggsy. Or how I imagine she’d have looked like when she was alive.

‘Inspiration’ and how to find it is possibly one of the biggest topics in art to discuss. It goes hand in hand with learning and building upon your current skills, and is often viewed as the core motivator in the life of an artist. I’ve recently learnt two new skills, namely polystyrene-carving and sewing on a whim simply because I got inspired to start costume making. Without inspiration, art seems dead and even pointless. I think it is important for artists to know what inspires them. Do you really enjoy a specific style of art? Is there a T.V show, video game or book that inspires you to be creative? Do specific art mediums or supplies inspire you to draw, paint and create more? The answers to these questions can further help you find out what inspires you, and help you to keep inspired while you create.

The king of spades should naturally be the Gold Hoarder, main villain of the game. He’d is known for being a dangerous character whose greed is slowly eating at him and turning him to gold…

Inspiration creates motivation. Understanding this can help you learn more, create more and set the course for your journey as an artist. The joy I’ve gained in what I fondly think of as my ‘art voyage’ is something I love to share with others. Recently I’ve decided to further share what inspires me and what I’ve learnt with others by hosting monthly art courses. The purpose of these courses is to create a place where people can be inspired, share their art journey with others and where artists can learn from one another. Each month deals with a new and exciting medium. February, being the month of my birthday, I’ve decided to do a course about Copic Markers. This will be a good way for beginners to learn new things about the medium, as well as serve as an overview about Copic Markers and how to use them for people who have never used markers. The topic for the course, as to encourage out-of-the-box thinking, will be ‘Eye Spy’. Keep in mind that for the optional included art supply package for the course there will only be two markers included, so try keeping the idea simplistic enough to do with only two markers.

One of the more classic-looking pirates, Ramsey Singh, ever helpful in teaching new pirates to sail the seas and, of course, to eat bananas when injured.
Some close ups on the cards. These were colored with Copic Markers. I also used Copic Multi-Liners, white GellyRoll pens and Bristol Board for these illustrations. These characters and the exciting game plot is something that inspires me, especially since a big part of my childhood was spent making treasure hunts, skulking around the garden with a plastic cutlass and, of course, being called ‘Captain’ by my friends. So, me’ hearties, I suggest you get to creating your own inspiration filled art.
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Artist’s Process: Copic Marker Illustration (Embracing the colors!)

One characteristic of Copic Marker Illustrations is the flat, blended and layered look which closely mimics digital art. I find that Copic Markers achieve the digital look much better than most other traditional mediums. During this illustration, I decided to embrace the digital look and see how far I can push the bright colors of Copic Markers. This meant that I decided not to use skin tones. The inner character-design artist screamed quite loudly at this concept, especially since ‘alien’ and ‘Smurf’ weren’t on my list of accomplishments for this piece. However, being booted out of your comfort zone is part of the artist’s process, and is beneficial in learning and growing as an artist.

I started out by sketching my general concept in my sketchbook. I wanted the finished result to look like a sticker, so my first few concepts focused on a more ‘distant’ view of the character, who in this case is Atlas. I found that many of the details would be lost with a “far off” view, so my next sketch was a more zoomed in version. This one lost most of the emotion I wanted to achieve, which I felt I had captured much better in the first sketch. My final concept sketch included both the emotion of the first sketch, but with the layout of the second. I ended the planning phase by typing the words that would accompany the illustration into Word. I selected a font that complemented the illustration, and then mimicked the font in my sketchbook. Using Word fonts is a fun way to learn hand-lettering styles and techniques.

Here is the line-art of my final illustration on the sketchbook page dedicated to planning the concept.

I then redrew my final sketch into my Copic Marker booklet, and lined it with Copic Multi Liners. Multi Liners are alcohol proof, and are used alongside the Markers for line art that the alcohol ink won’t smudge. I did the lettering and lining, then left the ink to dry for an hour or so. The ink doesn’t need that long to dry however, and can usually be left for only five to ten minutes. Then I rummaged around my Copic collection for the right colors. For better results in blending, and for a more cohesive color selection, I decided to use Violets, Blue- Violets and Blues. After picking out my markers and testing them together on a separate piece of paper, I was ready to start coloring.

The fully colored illustration!

I knew that inevitably; the characters’ skin would end up being blue… Not being able to bring myself to do it I started on the hair, the clothes, anything to avoid doing the skin. But soon the time had come. The character himself was almost complete, but his skin was still paper white. I just swallowed my nerves, and got started on the skin. To conform my fears, on the first pass, he did look remarkably like a Smurf. Luckily, when I started to add shading with a very light Blue-Violet, it helped the illustration move away from the unwanted ‘alien’ appearance. I then finished the background.

The last step (and also the most fun), was to add white highlights and stars. After I had done this, I decided to add a white outline to the character and the planet. This will cause them to stand out from the dark colors of the background, and keep all the colors more separated.

The process from start to finish, from the messy sketchbook, to the color key, to the final, completed illustration.

The lesson learnt during this illustration was:

Never be afraid to try. Even if you are nervous you may end up with an accidental Smurf, it’s better to try and learn something, than to never try at all and live with the regret.

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Artist Process- Using Pens in Artwork

It can be very fun to add some flair to your artwork with colorful pens. Pens are a great way to add variation and color to sketchbooks, metallic shimmer to watercolor art and of course, add lettering and line work.

Using Pigma Microns in your sketchbook can make your favorite sketches stand out from the page. The bold line work draws the eye much faster than the pencil sketches around it.

Dark colored outlines can help separate your artwork from the background and add more definition to the drawing or illustration. Fine liners are perfect for this, however, be careful. Most fine liners smudge when in contact with wet alcohol ink or watercolors, with the exception of Pigma Micron Pens. Always test the pens with the medium you plan on using, that way you know what to expect while you work on your final piece.  

The Sakura Pigma Microns are waterproof, and can be used with water-based mediums such as watercolor. Give your lines ample time to dry (between 5 and 10 minutes). These pens come in a variety of thicknesses, and the brush pen set comes with many colors. Both sets are ideal to use with watercolor.

Here I used the Pigma Micron Brush Pen, as well as some of the fine liners, for lettering and line work.

White gel pens are especially useful for highlights, or transparency effects. Gelly Rolls can be used for lettering, metallic details and highlights. These pens have unique ink that is smooth, but might take a moment to dry. They can also be used to draw and write on black paper. They are pleasant to use for arts, crafts, writing and even scrapbooking. The white Gelly Roll Pens are opaque over most mediums and are ideal for highlights.

The ‘Moonlight & White’ set have ten beautiful bright colors, as well as two white pens. The ‘Metallic’ set has bold glitter pens that add a nice flourish to any art piece you are working on. The ‘Stardust’ set has finer glitter, adding a shimmer to the ink. The ‘Glaze’ Set has a smooth, glossy ink, and are less fluorescent than the ‘Moonlight & White’ set.

Here is a recent watercolor illustration in which I used both the Pigma Microns and Gelly Roll Pens. The Gelly Rolls were used for the character’s eyes.

With all these Gelly Roll set options, it can be a challenge to know which to buy. This will depend on which style and approach you take to your art. ‘Moonlight and White’ are a wonderful set for hand lettering, writing and drawing on black paper, as well as adding bright highlights to artworks. The ‘Metallic’ and ‘Stardust’ sets are for adding glittering and shimmering touches to artworks or hand lettering. The ‘Metallic’ pens look good on black paper, but the ‘Stardust’ pens don’t stand out a lot on the black surface, but can be layered over other mediums for the shimmering details. 

Using pens alongside other mediums is a fun way to experiment with things such as line work, metallic detailing, highlights and drawing on black paper. Using brush pens for calligraphy and lettering is another way to add a new dimension to artwork.

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Artist’s Process: Learning a new medium

Sometimes that new set of paint tubes or markers can be intimidating. I often found myself staring at a new set of paint on my desk, making no move to open it for a few days. There are times when transitioning from one medium to the next, you may feel uncomfortable and weary.

This isn’t true for all artists. Some people are naturally spontaneous and love jumping into new, unfamiliar mediums. I have become more daring as time went on, but even now my art drastically changes depending on the medium I use, and there are even mediums I tend to avoid because of that. I thought that sharing some of the methods I’ve learnt when dealing with new mediums can help other ‘cautiously-inclined’ artists start their journey with a new, unfamiliar art supply.

Firstly, research is your friend. Research the medium before you buy it, because that will give you a quick overview of what other mediums are similar, whether or not the medium needs special paper, canvas or brush cleaner and what mediums can be used with it. This helped me a lot when starting out with Gouache.

Gouache and Acrylic Mixed Media- I used the now familiar Gouache to progress into a medium I have less experience with, Acrylics.

 I found Gouache to be similar to Watercolor, which is a medium I am very familiar with. It can be used alongside both Acrylic paint and Watercolor, and it doesn’t require any particular canvas or paint board.This really helped me get started, since I could use Watercolor and Gouache together in a piece and find out what makes Gouache unique from the mediums I already used in the past. After learning to enjoy and properly use Gouache, I began to use it alongside Acrylic, a medium that I still find a challenge.

Secondly, experience is the only way to learn. Research can only bring you so far, and knowing all the ins and outs of the medium before you start is helpful. But it can never replace actually using the medium, making mistakes and learning to correct them. Copic Markers are not similar to any medium I have attempted prior to using them. It needs special paper, which I couldn’t find at the time. I didn’t see any other mediums used with Copics in artworks. Watercolor paper ruins the nibs and the alcohol ink doesn’t work very well when layered on paint.

Recent Copic Marker Illustration.

This posed a dilemma, since I have seen a lot of Copic art and absolutely loved the look of the medium. That led to the spontaneous purchase of my first four markers. I had no experience with the markers, and by the end of the first two months of using them, one already had a ruined nib. I had also stored them wrong at some point, so one end of the marker always had more ink than the other. This was the hard way of learning how to use the medium, and soon I got the idea of using chalk pastels alongside the Copics to make up for my limitations in color. I bought a new set of six markers as soon as I could, and set to work using Copics along the chalk pastels. That was when the art began to progress, and soon I stopped using the chalk pastels along with the Copics.

Thirdly, when it comes to buying the best, most expensive brand, versus buying a cheaper version of the product, try to buy the cheaper product. This will help the situation feel less risky, and help you feel more relaxed when using the medium. Some products don’t have this option, but for those that do I highly recommend it. I started Watercolors with a cheap, chalky, kid’s art set. I followed tutorials done with higher, artist quality paints, and at first, I was not limited too much by the cheap Watercolors. When I found myself enjoying and progressing in the medium, I invested in a more expensive set. That was almost three years ago. Recently I even bought a professional level metallic Watercolor set, knowing that I will enjoy and often use the medium.

Watercolor Illustration using FineTec Metallic Watercolors and Van Gogh Watercolor Travel Set.

In the end, the best way to learn a new medium is to do research, and then to actually experience the medium. Patience is key, because like most things in art, it is a growing process. Stick to things you are comfortable drawing and painting, as to not push yourself too far into unfamiliar territory. When using a new medium, I usually draw or paint my favorite original character, which helps familiarize the experience.

Keep in mind that learning a new medium is just that, learning. Don’t be afraid to fail, because it will grow you for next time you tackle that medium.

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Artist’s Process: Gouache and Acrylic Mixed Media

Although most artists would recognize and have experienced using Acrylic paint, Gouache can be somewhat of a novelty. Gouache (pronounced “gwash”) is a water-based paint that combines the best worlds of both Acrylic and Watercolor paints. Like Acrylic, it can be used to be opaque, and lighter colors can be layered over darker colors. Like Watercolor, it can be thinned with water to be transparent. It acts like a Watercolor, with the layering abilities of an Acrylic.

This painting I did with Gouache and Acrylic was done on a A2 Painting Pad. Being a fairly large piece, I felt comfortable to work in a more realistic style. This post is mostly going to describe my personal process of using the mediums, and not everyone’s’ process will be the same.

After rendering the sketch, I set to work on the paint.

Since the paints I used are opaque, I wouldn’t be able to see my sketch very well after a base layer of paint, and details had to be added slowly while looking at the thumbnail in my sketchbook. Things to keep in mind when painting with an opaque medium like Gouache and Acrylic are lighting, deepest shadows and color pallets.

In progress. Here you can see the way the paints completely cover the sketch in the areas I was painting.

Lighting is important, because you need to keep in mind where to start building up darker tones, as well as highlights. Since you can’t see your base sketch after the first layer, it usually helps to layer white on the highlighted areas as soon as possible. That way the painting won’t get too dark too quickly. Although you can layer lighter colors on darker tones with both Gouache and Acrylic, it makes the process take longer and you easily lose details as you layer.

The deepest shadows in the piece are also important to keep in mind. Too many similar tones can cause the main elements of the piece to get lost. Sometimes taking a photo of your painting or drawing and putting it into grey-scale can help with this. If most of your painting is black or dark grey, your main elements should be light grey or white. If most of your painting is light grey or white, your main elements should be black or dark grey. This helps balance the composition of the piece a bit, as well as helping you find the deepest shadows of the painting.

Grey-scale of the final painting, as well as the paints used. Note how the skin-tone and lettering appears almost white, and the inside of the cloak, chest-plate and background all seem to blend together because of the similar color tones.

Lastly, color pallets are important. Like with most paints, Gouache and Acrylic are made to layer and blend. Shading requires a lot of colors from a similar hue, but different tone, like shading a light blue with a dark blue. With so much canvas to cover and so many colors to use (as well as the fact that you can only see the base layer of paint and none of your sketch) it is important to keep your main colors in mind. What colors do you want to stand out? What colors are you going to use for shading? Are there any light reflections or colored lighting you need to keep in mind? What about the background?

A closeup of the effect that gouache gives. Like Acrylic, you can see the brushstrokes of shading, and in places you can see the more watercolor characteristics, such as the canvas texture coming through on the cloak.

As an artist who tends to dabble more in transparent mediums such as Watercolor, Gouache is an interesting transition to more opaque mediums. It was definitely a challenge to get use to, but the Acrylic and Gouache work very well together. I recommend trying out both mediums, especially Gouache for transitioning from an opaque medium to a watercolor, or from a watercolor to an opaque medium.