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Creating Colorful Details: Metal Surfaces with Realistic Effects

Posted On: 11/05/14

Jayleen weaver chicken and metal bucket image with metal surfaces copic tutorial

Join Jayleen Weaver on her third tutorial in her series on coloring metal surfaces with Copic markers. In this final installment she goes into detail on adding textures that give your work a professional finishing touch.

Jayleen's "chicken with a rusty bucket" image.

Adding a little extra texture to artwork done with Copic markers is pretty simple to do—but can enhance your work a great deal. It's important to remember when looking at my examples that these are greatly enlarged texture details that are normally very small on a non-focal area of an image. 


Rust is probably the most complicated texture to replicate, and I'll go through this one step-by-step to help you see the whole process that creates the effect. It's important to look up some reference photos or take a closer look at some rust details in real life to see where and how rust occurs, and what it looks like. Most metal exposed to the elements will have some paint or coating to protect it from water. Rust will occur where this coating is removed or damaged. Referencing life is always important.

Jayleen Weaver copic tutorial how to color metal surfaces and rust

For the sake of simplicity, I'm using only five colors. You can feel free to grab a ton of colors and capture every nuance of a surface and make it as hyper-realistic as you like, or just add colors that give your picture some color unity. It's up to you how far you want to go. My Chosen colors are C3, C5, E93, E08 and E30.     1-rs

To start I've used a base layer of C3.

Normally my base layers are a little streaky and sloppy knowing that my subsequent layers will smooth them out, but this time it's best to have a nice clean base to work on. I did a little shading with C5 to give the bucket some shape. 2-rs Next I use E93 and just poke at where I want some start of rust coming out on the surface. Creating random chunky areas works best. I also use a flicking, feathering stroke down from the top and make it look like rust forming from water running down the joint where the handle is. This is where rust has started to happen on the surface, but hasn't fully degraded the metal just yet. 3-rs Then I put some Colorles Blender in a little dish. I use a regular Bamboo brush (something not too expensive as the alcohol is hard on natural bristles), dip it in the blender and then quickly tap the brush to let some of the blender blob onto the surface. You can see it starts to make the colors merge and spread out. PHOTO3-rsAfter drying it off a little bit you can work on further texture by tapping the brush vertically.  Using the blender in this way keeps your patterns random. Rotate the brush around to vary the texture. This gives that subtle, flecked look that looks like galvanized metal.

Then I use E93 again to start working on areas I want to get really rusty. I find it helpful to work off of some of the blobs that the blender creates (circled in white) and use them as my rusty spots. I just color around the inside of these blob shapes to mark out my rust.


5-rsThen I go in with E08, starting from the outside of the blob shape, coloring a little bit loose and blobby. I leave little areas of E93 showing through. I also tap in little rusty areas under the spot where the handle is, along the bottom and the metal seam of the pail. Just be very sparing with this, and keep it random.

Copic tutroial by Jayleen weaver showing how to color rusty metal surfaceI blend the areas I left showing through with E93 just by tapping the color into the middle. It's not supposed to be perfect. Textures can be very forgiving. Copic tutroial by Jayleen weaver showing how to color rusty metal surfaceAs a side note, I was looking at some references and noticed a lot of buckets had warm tones in some areas so I used E30 in a downward, feathering stroke (areas marked by white brackets). It's a very subtle shift in color but I think it looks good. Copic tutroial by Jayleen weaver showing how to color rusty metal surface- adding Copic Opaque white highlightingBack to the rust blobs: here I use the Opaque White with the brush and add a few little highlights to the edges of the rust, and then add some other little "flecks" to the metal texture. 
 Rust details in Copic tutorial by Jayleen weaver showing how to color rusty metal bucketAbove are some details of the highlighted rust spots. And below is a look at the final image of the bucket (scanned so the color is proper). I added a few nicks to the surface too! Copic tutroial by Jayleen weaver showing how to color rusty metal surface

Nicks and Surfaces

The most variety in your textures come from the additional surface effects you create. Things like little nicks and cuts can be added into a surface by simply using a Multiliner in the same color as the surface.

In this example I colored with cool gray markers, so I used a cool gray Multiliner to add nicks and cuts.I just draw a little line or a dot with the Multiliner to indicate the cut. After that, using the Opaque White with the brush, I parallel the pen line with a line of Opaque White to add a little highlight to one side. It's important to keep the white on the same side of each nick to keep it consistent.

Here's a look at a final image of the bucket nicks on the surfaceYou can make a smooth metal surface by using just the markers.

Cool gray galvanized nicks illustrated with Copic markersHere is galvanized metal, as was done for the rust sample, adding Colorless Blender.

Cool gray brushed metal effect using marker and colorless copic blender by Jayleen weaverYou can also create a brushed chrome look by using the Colorless Blender and the brush; this time swipe the bristles in one direction across your surface to give a streaky, brushed chrome look. Bonus tip: this makes a nice, light summer rain effect for landscapes.

Cool gray shiny metal effect with Copic markers and Opaque White by Jayleen WaaverYou can also make a shiny surface, and the nicks are created the same way. It all comes down to an interruption in the surface creating a highlight (white) and a shadow (Multiliner) area. 

You want to change it up? Go for it! Warm gray nicks on a metal surface with Copic multiliners and markersThe same techniques work in a warm grey, as well now—thanks to Copic's Warm Grey Multiliners! Here's a smooth surface with some little raised bumps WG-GALVENIZEDNICKSThe same techniques were used here to create a galvanized texture on this warm metal. PHOTO2-rs

With just a few simple tools you can create a variety of lovely subtle textures to enhance your background elements. Markers, Multiliners, and Opaque White. Then you're all set!

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 We hope you've enjoyed this tutorial series on metal surfaces by Jayleen Weaver. Please leave your questions and comments for her below!

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