Brianne Drouhard works in the animation industry as a character designer and storyboard artist, and directed the "Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld" DC Nation shorts, which will be premiering on Cartoon Network very soon!
"Billie the Unicorn" is her first children's book. It was entirely colored by hand using Copic markers and colored pencils.
Recently I went to Disneyland with a friend. One of my favorite rides is Space Mountain, and I always joked that they needed a Space Mountain princess for Tomorrowland. So this piece was inspired by an indoor roller coaster!
After the trip, I searched to see if there had been any mascots created specifically for Space Mountain. All that came up was this lovely couple, and I do not know who or where this photo is originally from: I didn't have a whole lot of time before starting this demo, so here are the few sketches I came up with before starting the final piece. The orange hues seemed to be a good nod to keep for nostalgia, but the final piece is quite different. I'd like to try this character again in another month:
Usually when I start a piece, it can take a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the subject and size. I tend to work straight until the image is finished. It helps to work fast while the ink is still wet, blending the colors is much easier. First I rough out a drawing. I use different types of paper, but usually it's Ingram 22lb animation paper. It can be purchased unpunched. Also, since this piece was colored on 22lb animation paper, it isn't as absorbant as Bristol paper. This can cause the ink to pool, and can make blending difficult, so I had to take care to not overwork the paper. Something to think about when choosing paper. The warm hue of the animation paper is a quality I prefer: After the first initial drawing pass, flip the drawing. This is a popular trick to check for anything odd in the drawing, usually for me the eyes get wonky: Flip it back over, and make a clean final line with a #2 pencil: Erase the pencil, leaving a light imprint. The pencil will smear when marker is used on top, so it's better to lightly erase it. I also erase the sketch on the back of the paper. The line will bleed through once color is laid on it. Make sure to lay another piece of paper underneath to protect your desk, and to help the ink absorb into the paper: The first color I lay down is usually light - this time it's Dull Lavender. The color follows the form and where the shadow should be. I also tend to use Copic Sketch. I mostly use the brush end, especially on characters, as that tip is easier for me to control:
Her hair is Pale Cobalt Green:
A little bit of blue Col-Erase pencil is used for texture. This will make your marker nibs dirty, but I haven't found it to affect the markers color later. Just clean it off on another piece of paper by making some brush strokes: Adding some Orange, I started the detail on her costume. I also layed in some Milky White and yellow Col-Erase in her hair. Her eyes are Napoli Yellow: I fill out the rest of her costume with the same Napoli Yellow used for her eyes. Reusing colors in other areas can help tie a character together. Her comet pigtails and tights are Mint Green, and I added a little yellow and red colored pencil in areas. The inside of her cape will be Bougainvillea: Once the main color is filled in, I lay the Dull Lavender back in for the shadows and gradients: Time to start the sky with Agate. I used Sugared Almond pink for her cheeks and make-up: The sky is filled in using the broad end of the marker, and Orange is brought in for background space streaks: Manganese Blue and Bougainvillea is overlaid on top of the Agate. My camera had trouble picking this up. Sky seems to look better when more than one color is used, so don't be afraid to mix them: Once all the main colored is laid in, I start inking her eyes and fine details with multiliners: Now that everything is where it needs to be, Special Black, Warm Gray #10 and Manganese Blue are layed over the background as a gradient. Be careful, as the black can easily leave unwanted streaks and fingerprints: Special Black, colored pencil, white gel pen for the stars, and multiliners are used for finishing touches: The final space princess: