22 March 2018

Copic Colors - February 2018

Last month, I heard of a cool new monthly art challenge that is right up my alley: #CopicColors!  Obviously, it involves Copic art markers but in particular, it challenges people to create/color a drawing using nothing but the three featured colors of that month.  The colors are posted on Copic's website and they sell a three-pack of those colors for a limited time each month.  I LOVE my Copic markers, so there was no way I wasn't participating once I learned of this!  I even added it to my livestreaming schedule; I now do my monthly Copic Colors drawing every third Monday of the month :D

Pencil sketch and marker test.

Since this was my first time doing the challenge, I had to decide on my personal completion rules.  Turns out, there aren't any official rules at all, just the announcement of the three colors each month.  A lot of people approach the challenge in different ways--some use NOTHING but the markers, some allow the addition of the colorless blender, some only use a couple colors, and I've even seen some people add a contrast color for effect.  Here's what I decided to use as my personal rules:
  • Black and white ink are allowed, as well as graphite and eraser for underdrawing.
  • All three colors must be used.
  • No other colors may be used.
  • Colorless blender is allowed.
And finally, most important for me:
  • Colors can be substituted as necessary.
You see, for my very first Copic Colors challenge, one of the featured colors isn't available in the Classic line of markers, which is the set I own!  There's no way I'm buying markers from a different set just to do this challenge, so I decided that I can choose the next best color from my set when a color isn't available.  (Of course, if the color is available in a Classic marker but I just don't own it, I will happily expand my collection!)

Lineart, on marker paper, made using a brush pen.

Since the colors for February were pink and brown, I decided to draw chocolate-covered strawberries :3 I even found reference images that had pink-tinted white chocolate along with the dark chocolate, so it was too perfect.  I decided to use marker paper, and that was for two reasons: 1) c'mon, marker challenge, marker paper! and 2) the paper is translucent which allows me to trace my sketch.  I used a black brush pen for the main lines.  Even though I was also allowing myself to use white ink, the sheen on the chocolate areas wasn't very strong, so I only used it on the white heart sprinkles.  I tried to use my colorless blender marker, most especially to get a nice variation of tone from the single brown marker, but it totally died midway through the project!  You can see the difference in the final piece: the left-most berry is so much more smooth and blended than the center and right.

You can watch the entire creation of this piece on YouTube!  As I mentioned earlier, I added it to my livestreaming schedule, so my Twitch stream recorded it all in real time :D

Copic Colors Challenge, February 2018, ink & marker

I think, for my very first try and considering that I had to substitute one of the three colors, my February Copic Colors drawing came out nice!  If my colorless blender had survived the project, I would be more happy with the brown application, but I made do with what I had.  It was just an extra challenging challenge, this time!

(P.S. I bought a refill and brought my blender back to life right away, lol.  Should be good to go for a long while, now!)

06 March 2018

Patreon Chibis - Mika and Ranger

In this blog post, I'm going to share a group of chibis that I recently created in January as a way to show supporters, and especially potential supporters, of my Patreon what a "chibi" actually is, since chibis are a big part of the rewards system there. I decided to draw two human chibis, one in physical media and one in digital, and two animal chibis the same way. I hope that the four chibis together will be enough to show the variety of subjects and finished looks that my supporters can choose from when they receive a chibi drawing as a reward.

Ink, marker, and colored pencil on index paper, 4x6", Completed January 2018

So this chibi is the first human, done in physical media. I used a photo of myself from a 5K race that I had run just the weekend before as reference. This drawing is pretty much all in line with the reference photo except that I changed the color of the mug I was holding (it was an awful neon green originally) and added a generous red tint to my hair and eyes. And well, of course I went really strong with the blush on the cheeks, just as I always do with chibi humans X3

View the real time creation of this piece on YouTube: youtu.be/0sRxMCSOt1s
Buy this drawing as a print or art merchandise: http://fav.me/dc4dtb8  

Ink, marker, and colored pencil on index paper, 4x6", Completed January 2018

Next is the first animal, done in physical media. I decided to draw the Studio Mikarts mascot, Ranger, a black and red (as opposed to tan) Shiba Inu. I had only ever drawn her once before and I realized that not only was she a perfect subject for this series of chibis, featuring the artist and the mascot serving as examples of Studio Mikarts, it was a great opportunity to draw her with my current level of skill. I still like the original drawing of Ranger, but this one is definitely much more well done.

View the real time creation of this piece on YouTube: youtu.be/mny-zrfUc6I
Buy this drawing as a print or art merchandise: http://fav.me/dc4gcb4

Manga Studio and Lazy Nezumi Pro, 4x6", Completed January 2018

This chibi is the second human, done in digital media. I used a reference photo of myself again but this time chose a completely different look. Instead of a sporty, post-race runner, now chibi Mika is a glamorous newlywed! Indeed, I used a photo from my wedding reception as reference for this chibi :3 My chibi dress turned out super cute, lol. I was able to use a lot of techniques here that really show what's different about what I produce in digital media.

View the real time creation of this piece on YouTube:
youtu.be/B1vspQgBQro (Part 1) youtu.be/t8NDJt185fI (Part 2)
Buy this drawing as a print or art merchandise: http://fav.me/dc4nelz

Manga Studio and Lazy Nezumi Pro, 4x6", Completed January 2018

And finally, this chibi is the second animal, done in digital media. It's the Studio Mikarts mascot again, Ranger the black and red Shiba Inu! The two previous drawings I've done of her were both stationary positions so this time I searched for a really active, dynamic reference image. I think Ranger looks even better leaping! Shows off her pretty markings. In fact, I had to decide on her fur pattern in some areas while drawing this because the other positions never showed those areas of her body. The biggest thing I gave her in that respect was the cute skunk stripe on her tail :3

View the real time creation of this piece on YouTube:
youtu.be/nWHKWd8thEc (Part 1) youtu.be/gSxe-CcFIKw (Part 2)
Buy this drawing as a print or art merchandise: http://fav.me/dc4reop

As I said at the top of this post, I created these chibis as reward examples for my Patreon supporters.  That could easily include you!  Every backer at the $5 level and above gets entered into a monthly contest for a free chibi character.  Some higher support levels include discounts on art commissions (which obviously could be used toward chibis) and the top level includes a free chibi each and every month, on top of the chance to win the monthly contest!  You can check it all out and become a member of Studio Mikarts here:  https://www.patreon.com/studiomikarts

23 February 2018

Lucky Dip III

Although I haven't yet shared my second lucky dip drawing, I'm going to go ahead with sharing my third one.  This is because the second drawing is currently packed away!  When I packed up my art studio to move, I figured I wouldn't need that piece before I got all unpacked.  Clearly, I was wrong XD  I don't want to get behind on posting my art, so that's why I'm sharing my third Lucky Dip today.  I'll catch up on number two once I'm unpacked and set up in my new studio.

These are the art supplies I had to use this time.

As with all my lucky dips, I use a spreadsheet that lists all my art subscription box supplies and RANDOM.ORG to decide which items I'll use.  I always pull five different numbers, no more or less, though a single item on my spreadsheet might actually contain more than one thing.  That's what happened this time when I drew number 48, the PanPastel set.  This set alone contains five different pastel colors and four different smudging tools, all in one compact unit.  I consider it one item, which is why, even if I had drawn its number first rather than last, I still would have chosen four more numbers.

For reference, here are the other rules I set myself for these challenges:
  • A pencil for underdrawing is allowed, but all marks must eventually be covered/erased.
  • Extra tools such as paintbrushes, blenders, and erasers are allowed.
  • Substrate can be selected freely, based on appropriate use of the Lucky Dip items.
  • Final piece must clearly show use of all Lucky Dip items.

My tools and selected paper.

Since the pastel set had so many different colors to use (and my rules require me to use them all) I decided to go with pastel paper as my surface.  Pastel paper isn't great for markers, but it works fine with all the other tools I needed to use.  It turned out that the marker would have done poorly regardless of what it was used on...but more on that later.  I have various colors of pastel paper I could have used, but since I had so much color to work with anyway, I chose a white sheet.

Lucky dip plans! This was a good idea; donno why I didn't do it sooner XD

This lucky dip is kind of unique in that I pulled the numbers and sketched out my ideas a year or two before I actually started creating the piece.  This is another one of my many projects where I felt overwhelmed by all the little things I needed to do in order to follow through properly.  I was already two blogs behind, I didn't really enjoy creating my second lucky dip piece, and even though I sought to make things easier on myself by planning ahead instead of deciding on-the-fly how to use each of the materials, I just sort of dropped it after the sketching stage.

Lucky for the project (the lucky Lucky Dip project XD) I decided to try livestreaming my art on Twitch this year.  I'd never livestreamed anything before, or even posted videos of my art, but I knew I wanted to go in with a schedule and a plan.  I had first learned of lucky dips thanks to YouTube videos, so it quickly came to mind and I actually ended up scheduling it as my very first livestream.  You can watch it on YouTube now, to see the entire creation of Lucky Dip III from start to finish:

All done! This dragon looks glorious! Table's a wreck XD

It felt really good to do this lucky dip.  I had enjoyed my time working on the first one, but the second one felt like I was fighting with it the entire time, so I was a little worried about that happening again this time, especially since it was going to be broadcast live.  I did some deep breathing before I hit the start button on my streaming software XD  Once I got started though, none of my worries came to pass.  Everything went smoothly and the final piece turned out even better than I imagined!  This piece restored my confidence in the Lucky Dip project.

RIP Touch Twin Marker in Marigold

The one real hitch in this lucky dip was the Touch Twin Marker.  It was an item I received in my second ArtSnacks box, back in April 2014, nearly four years ago.  I only used it a few times before this lucky dip, but despite being properly capped and stored, it was almost completely dry when I used it here.  It had enough left to do what I originally intended--give the dragon its undertone--but I knew I would have to retire it after this.  I took one last photo before tossing it XD

Ink, marker, pastel, and white charcoal, 9x12", completed January 2018

I'm really glad I came back to this project, even though it took me so long.  The lucky dip idea--randomly drawing a limited selection of tools and then using them all together in one piece--is a great way to force myself to think outside the box, to use tools that I've spent money on but generally don't consider, and to liven up my video channels and blog with interesting content that you all can come to expect from me on a regular basis.  I hope you enjoyed this lucky dip and that you'll continue to look forward to them in the future!

22 February 2018

Chibi Sean - Black Bear

A lot of, "Wow, finally!" with this drawing!  For one, this was the first piece I completed this year, in the very first week of January, and yet I'm only posting it now, in the last week of February XD  For two, and much more impressive, this is the second in a series of chibis that I started way the heck back in 2008!  It's been practically a decade between my first entry and my second entry (⊙_⊙)  Hopefully, I'll be able to complete more before another ten years goes by!

I sketched the rough lines on paper, drawing the bear, staff, and Sean separately.
I then combined the sketches in Photoshop.

I'm actually quite sure I will have more to add to this series before the end of 2018.  I've decided to follow up the "birthday person's favorite animal ACEO" theme that I did in December 2017 with a new theme for the entire year: fantasy chibi birthday person!  The most basic idea for this series of chibis was thought up by my friend Trent ("draw your friends as chibis") and I decided back then to draw everyone as a sort of fantasy RPG-type character riding on the chibi animal that I felt fit them.  So the first chibi I did, way back in 2008, featured Trent riding a black horse.  I truly intended to make more, even thought of a couple more friends' outfits and animal mounts, but at the time, the first chibi had been one of the hardest projects I'd ever done (and I think that's why the drawing still holds up quite well today).  I think I burned myself out and that's why it took me so long to come back to this project.

Final lines completed in Photoshop. It was my first use of Lazy Nezumi Pro.
I left the areas under the visors intentionally light or blank.

So here we have my husband, Sean, whose birthday is the first one of the year on my list.  He really likes tabletop gaming and one of his favorites is Shadowrun, a sort of cyberpunk magical world based in Seattle, WA (or at least, that's how his explanations make it seem to me).  Using that as the basis for what kind of fantasy character he should be, I designed all the armor and the background to match.  I decided on a black bear as his mount because Sean is like a big, cuddly bear in real life.  I considered other bears--brown bear, polar bear--but the black bear's general reputation (or really, its lack thereof--grizzlies are known as ferocious, polar bears make people think of the environment) fit Sean the best.

Photoshop and Lazy Nezumi Pro, 6x8", Completed January 2018
Available for purchase as a print or art merchandise here!

I really surprised myself with how quickly I was able to complete this piece.  I didn't time myself when I created the first chibi in the series but I'm sure I didn't get it done as quickly as this one.  I finished with enough time to print, dry, trim, and frame it before Sean's birthday!  It's probably for the best that it took me so long to try making more fantasy chibis; there's no way I'll burn out now with my current level of skill and experience (^^)  Here's hoping the rest of the chibis I intend to draw for birthday people this year are just as quick and easy so that busy birthday months aren't tough to manage!