As a student continuously learning about color theory, I've learned that what I was taught in elementary school about color, in some cases, contradicts what I have been taught as an artist. As children, we learned "ROY G BIV," which is the abbreviation for the color categories taught to be in the rainbow. True, those colors are in the rainbow as well as millions of others.
But I remember arguing with my elementary school art teacher for a good five minutes about indigo. Why indigo? Well, isn't indigo just a mix between blue (what is taught to be a primary color) and violet (what is taught to be a secondary color)? Why does it get its own color category? If that's so, why doesn't yellow-green or red orange get its own slot?
College professor and artist Russell Merritt is the person who told me why indigo was included. When people discovered these different colors and went to the church to validate them, they came with only ROY, G, and BV, excluding indigo.
The church rejected these colors because there were only six of them, a number which is not sacred to the church in the least. To compensate for the church's desire for a heavenly number of colors, the scientists added indigo, and thus BIV was born, allowing seven colors! In tribute to this, I decided to create a piece with a celestial mood using indigo!
I started this piece consulting my color wheel and choosing to use analogous colors. I felt that they would represent the monochromatic mood best.
I chose reds, pinks, and oranges to be my "pop" colors or the colors that would provide the most contrast, while blues and violets would dominate most of the piece.
Because this tutorial is color focused, I'll start off with when I started coloring. Starting with an image inked with Copic multiliners, I began to color what I was most sure about.
I usually color with the brush end. I colored the skin using E000, E00, E50, YR00, and E11, shading accordingly.
On eyes I used BV31, V01, BV04, V17, and Special Black. On her bottom eyelashes, I used B32.
In her hair I used BV31, BV00, BV02, B01, B32, E00, R11.
I darkening things up with BV04, BV08, B26, V06, V09. I made sure to add the darkest blacks on the locks behind her head, to draw attention to her face and eyes.
I also started coloring the flowers using B01, BV00, B14, B26, and B29. I started coloring the sleeve of her kimono B29 and B69.
Lastly, I outlined the outer contours of her hair and body with a light blue to give it a softer finish. I also inked some of the lineart in a light gray to achieve the same effect.
In order to begin working with the mood, I start experimenting with color on the jellyfish. As long as you stay within your color range, there is no harm in experimenting directly onto the final piece.
It gives it a fun look and you can always cover up some ugly spots with a darker color or some white gel pen.
The way to create this mystical and celestial mood is through the Colorless Blender Various Ink. It is extremely helpful and saves a lot of money. Rather than painting with separate Various Ink colors, topically applying the raw ink as a tool for texture can really help to achieve a lot of great effects. I call this technique "blotching."
I not only use blotching for textures, but also to help the paper soak in excess color if something is not blending properly or the paper gets too strained. It's an extremely helpful tool and a very cheap alternative to buying a lot of different colored inks if you already have a lot of Copics!
Also, using a nice watercolor brush with alcohol based ink will ruin the brush, so make sure you're using the cheap stuff!
It's really a trade-off with the Various ink. After it dries, you can always go in with more marker to add more realistic detail with marker to a gorgeously textured part. This makes it look more three dimensional, while highlighting your line work!
Then, I tried to achieve more painterly effects with V01 and B32, adding a bit of BV04 around the jellyfish for contrast. Use quick strokes that look as if they could fade to white quite easily before going in with the Various Ink. Then, dab the various ink with a larger watercolor brush, trying to keep the amounts controlled.
Tip: don't ever squirt the ink directly from the bottle if you're trying to control the ink. It's very unpredictable and small doses should work just as well. I wait for each dab to dry and then go in and add more ink to make it more interesting.
Here it is once the jellyfish is finished. I started coloring the kimono with B29 and B69, gradating darker toward the bottom laying BV08 over top of the blues.
Started coloring the another jellyfish, this time using lighter colors like BV01, V01, B01, and B32.
Adding darker tones with BV04.
I fill in the rest of the kimono and dab some more ink to keep the mood repeating.
I push the dark color outward using the Various Ink to make it look like the jellyfish is almost forming out of the kimono. This gives the whole piece a more liquid and unified look.
I added some color to the jellyfish with E00, R11, BV01, BV08, RV11, BV08, BV04, V09, B29, and B69. I blotched a little bit behind the jellyfish as well so the background colors would fade to E00, adding more contrast.
Next, I started on the top, which I planned on having fade to white toward the top left corner. All of the lighter colors used were BV01, BG000, B01, V01, RV11, B32, R11, E00 and were blotched a bit as well.
Tip: I also played with a new technique! I created my own color by adding a mixture of B69 and BV08 on a separate sheet of paper. By painting over it with Various Ink, the brush picks up a more washed out version of the color and is easily applied to the piece.
Instead of adding the Various Ink afterwards, I decided to apply the ink by splattering it by tapping the brush lightly with my finger. This made the color more concentrated in some areas and gave it a very interesting look. I not only splattered, but painted with the new color directly as well.
I then experimented and felt my way through. I made the kimono sweep up into the jellyfish as well, which was an effect I liked. I continued to blotch as I applied color. It's a real free-for-all at this point. The darks used on top of the initial colors were BV08, V09, B29, B69, R43, and BV04.
This is how it looks after some experimentation.
I started coloring the kimono pattern afterwards. I mainly gradated flower petals with BV01, V01, and RV11. I also used B32, YR65, RV11, and R43 sporadically. As you can see, I'm repeating colors frequently to unify the piece.
The sash is where I decided to incorporate the pop color. I didn't want to make things too intense so I just used a red liner and blended out with it using the flesh toned R11. It gives it a warmer look but also relates it to its surroundings.
I continue to work on the kimono, referring to my color wheel at times for guidance.
Added some more color near the top and defined some nicely shaped splatters from earlier.
I modified the edge of the kimono with BV04 and Various Ink in order to relate it with the piece.
And then added some nice white dots with the gel pen to enhance the mood.
Voila! It's finished! I really hope this helps people to better understand how you can really get your hands dirty and experiment with Copic products! I hope you're thinking about creating great textures—and I hope you try this out!