Tuesday, September 15, 2009

take a seat and relax

Occasionally I'll receive questions about the various techniques I use in adding color to my drawings. With this in mind I thought I'd try something a little different and give a "virtual" demonstration of one of my favorite tools --markers--based off an actual demo from one of my classes last week.

As I tell my students, there are many ways to approach rendering with markers. What I'm presenting here is the way I normally work...but there are many other ways to do it. It's all about experimentation.

I begin by "outlining" the area in which I'm intend to add color. I'm careful to come in about a 1/4" from the boundaries of the drawing with this outline in order to prevent the marker from bleeding outside the lines. This boundary also forms a wall of sorts that prevents the wash of color I'm to apply next from going too far.

Next, I begin filling in the background color. In order to disguise my strokes (think crayola) I work in a "swirly" motion. You may also note that I've left areas at the top of the chair's arms and back white. It is very important to choose a direction of light and leave areas like this free of ink in order to convey highlights.

Rather than keeping the chair a solid color (boring!), I add a stripe pattern using a slightly another color marker. I'm careful to follow the contours of the chair in order to make it appear as though it is covered in a patterned fabric.

As I tell students, one could stop here. The chair is "colored in" after all. But, only when you add shadows and highlights does the magic start to happen. Paying attention to my imaginary light source, I begin to add shadow to areas of the chair with a light gray marker (in this case, Warm Grey #2).

To increase the drama, I go back with a darker grey (Warm Gray #5) to add more shadow to the areas underneath the armrests and around the seat cushions.

The marker creates a smooth surface. In order to add some texture and further emphasize shadows, I add an additional layer of dark colored pencil to the shadows. In many instances, it pays to do this in a color other than black...like dark brown or a color that contrasts, and thus subdues, the original background color.

At this point I'm almost done, but add a little more emphasis to the highlighted areas with a white colored pencil. If you have a white pen, this can also help to add sparkle to areas of your drawing. This works especially well when conveying hard interior surfaces like polished concrete or aluminum.

To make this a more finished rendering, I would need to cast shadows onto the floor and other surroundings...but that's another day...

When it comes to markers, I prefer Chartpak AD markers. They last a long time and blend very, very well. With this blending, comes some bleeding, but that can be avoided with practice and the right paper.
For this exercise I was working on a copy of a drawing from Michael Doyle's Color Drawing. I highly recommend this book as a source of inspiration.

Could you get past my need for a manicure to find this helpful? If so, please leave a comment! This way I'll know whether to try this sort of thing again.

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