In this tutorial I'm going to cover the steps for coloring an iron helmet. Iron is a generally a non-reflective metal with a bit of texture. I'll show you how incredibly simple it is to achieve this look. My sketches are done in my sketchbook and then I scan them and print them to the size I want. I use a light pad (or light-box) and put a clean piece of paper on top of my sketch and ink that way.
Then I never have to erase pencil marks afterwards. I find that sometimes the pencil marks create dents in the paper that makes the ink pool. Copic Multiliners are the perfect pens for the soft Xpress it blending card I use. Here is the finished inked image. It's going to be a simple portrait with no background. I use all Sketch markers as the brush nib makes blending really quick and smooth. I start all my images off with a *rough* indication of where my shadows will go in a cool color that is the opposite color of the light.
Since this is just a simple portrait with no background I'm just going to my default, BV31. I don't do this really clean or precise because the layers on top will blend well, and you'll barely notice it except that it achieves a slight coolness to the shadow area. I then did a base colour of all the main areas of the image. Skin was E00; cape, metal helmet and gorget: R14. Her bits of hair were G24. I shaded her skin with E11 and E13. The helmet has a layer of W1.
I've done three other Skin tutorials so I won't go into the details here, but feel free to back and see how I do that, too. Lets color the cape first! I did the cape in just 3 layers: the original R14 layer, then used V95 for the shadows. I think V93, V95 and V99 are *excellent* colours for shading red! The violet color in them makes them slightly cooler and helps you get depth to the red color without having too many layers. I only did one quick layer of the V93. The final layer of the cape was a quick even layer of R17. I simply did one even coat. Don't go too crazy saturating the paper or else you'll disturb the colors beneath. This is a simple 'wash' of color over top. I'm going to call that cape done. Keep it simple! Now the lips...I used E04 as her lip color and left a couple areas to get a touch of highlight. I used the brush nib to get really precise. You can get a lot of detail with varying the pressure on your brush nib. Using R20, I did a quick swipe of color over top of the bottom lipto add a bit of pinkness to the highlighted areas. Again, just a quick swipe so I don't disturb the color below and cause it to blend.
Okay--let's get back to the helmet.I started darkening in the back of the helmet (shadowy side) with W4. I used a quick feathering stroke. That's where you pick up the stroke at the end so it has a soft edge. I went around the details on the eye of the bird design on the helmet, the beak and other areas that might cast a shadow or areas that would look good being a little darker. (Taking my artistic license!)
Next I did the same thing with W3 but I extended out a little bit from the previous color. This blends the 2 colors together. Next I take W1 and blend everything together.It doesn't have to be perfectly smooth. Keeping some of the strokes adds to the texture of the metal.
I wanted to have a bit of the colors of the cape in the helmetso it unified the picture a little. Even though it's not a very reflective surface it will still pick up a little bit of surrounding colors. I chose R02 because it gave a good impression of the red without being too harsh.
I didn't think it was dark enough to be ironso I attacked it with W6! I started in the dark side with feathering strokes, same steps as before.
W5 is next. Using feathering strokes, I extended out from the area where I used W6.
Blending time!W1 helped smooth out all those strokes without blocking out some of the lighter areas of the metal. I did a good couple of layers to make sure I got it blended well and evened out.
I went back with W3 and added a little bit more of a transition from dark to light and blended a little with W1.
I added in the R02 reflected colorand used YR14 to add a bit of a rusty look to the back and front of it as well. I wanted to give it a bit of a used look and give the impression it had some age to it.
Next I'm going to add a little bit of texture to the metal. I took a piece of fluffy cloth, in this case the belt from my terry cloth robe, and added some clear blender to a small piece of it. Then I tap it over the metal of the helmet.
Just keep tapping—but be warned! Let it dry once in a while and see what it looks like. It looks very different when it's wet. Take your time and build up the texture you want. Don't make the cloth too wet or you'll start pushing your color around too much and it'll bleed.
A close up of the texture once it's dry.
The finished Image. I've added some final touches with Copic Opaque white with the brush. The thin, fine brush lets me go crazy with details in her eyes, lips and the edges of the trim on the helmet.
I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial!
Please leave your comments and questions for Jayleen below—join the discussion!