Tahoe, CA. The sun had barely scraped the horizon, scattering myriads of shimmering crystals on the surface of the lake when my mother and I stepped foot on a dusty path by the shores of Lake Tahoe. Since we arrived here, these hikes have become regular occurrences in our household. Every other day the entire family will clatter downstairs in a varied array of clothing (literally ranging from formal blouses and sandals for lack of alternative, clean clothes to full-blown sports gear), ready to spend a couple hours in the sunlight and fresh air, but this morning was different.
Because something – no, someone – was missing. Namely everybody but my mother and myself. Though this may seem rather lonely, it proved to become one of the rare times we both would have complete freedom to draw, and compare our drawings (something we’ve seldom done).
To say that we enjoy art would be an understatement, and ever since my mother started her interior design course, she’s been on the hunt for art supplies of an increasingly high quality (which is great for me, as I get to scrounge off the fringes of her credit card ; ) Copic markers have proven to be one of our favorite mediums.
For those who don’t know, Copics are oil-based markers which come in effectively every possible shade and colour imaginable. Their twin tips – chisel and brush – grant the artist great agility when colouring and shading (for a prime example of their use, see the work of Terryl Whitlatch, a creature illustrator and concept artist who uses Copic markers to transfer her fertile imagination to paper.)
Back to the hike: we sat down in three separate locations along the path to study the beautiful landscape, and both drew our own interpretation of the environment or subject. A selection of the results can be seen below (:
Though our methods (and style) differ somewhat, let me describe here how I embark upon the journey every picture offers. Most watercolour teachers will tell you that, when painting, one should begin with the pale colours lest you make a mistake while shading in the dark areas.
As drawing with Copics lends you much the same experience as painting with watercolours, albeit, the delicate transparency created by watercolours is a victim to the conveniency of drawing with pens. Nonetheless, the same principle holds: pale colours first.
I’ll always sketch in the features of my subject, whether it is a landscape, an animal or some other miscellaneous object, first: This allows me to play around with the composition without having too many hard and fast lines right at the start.
As I prefer cell shading (you know, comic book shading? Where each shade is separated from the others by a line rather than having them blend into each other) to gradients when using Copics (alas, I find that they dry too quickly to make use of their blending facilities), I pretty much cover most of the drawing with the pale marker first: anything that’s not going to be white thus turns light grey.
And so on, with each coat adding another grey-tone to the drawing until I reach black. After that, I generally doodle around with a white pen and a black pen until the amount of detail satisfies me.
So that’s pretty much it – this simple method can be applied to almost anything, whether it be drawing a landscape or rendering an elevation for a client (: ‘Till next time!