What’s going on everyone? It’s starting to get a little cooler here in the mid-west, and the leaves are very slightly starting to change colors. I have been diligent the past few weeks; I’ve been busy working on new products for my Etsy shop, Soft Peach Designs, and I’ve been doing my best to workout as much as I can, and eat as clean as I’m able. Is anyone else trying their best to be productive right now? It feels like it’s really hard to stay sane in the current political climate. But that’s a whole other story!
In this blog post, I wanted to talk a little more in detail about my mixed media processes. I love to do both traditional and digital art, and I tend to flip back and forth between the two mediums. I do feel more comfortable working traditionally however, and I came up with three different mixed media methods that I like to incorporate into my art. Maybe you can find some new ideas with these methods!
Here we go!
- Bristol board or mixed media sketch pad
- Watercolor or gouache paint
- Colored pencils in a variety of colors
- Ink pens
- White ink, white gel pens, white markers, or white acrylic paint
I start off with a wash of flat colors with the paint. I like to use a water based paint like watercolor or gouache so that the colors are light and can be layered easily. I like to add more saturation to places to add value, and water down the paint for lighter places. With watercolor, your piece can stand out if you keep some spots of your painting blank without water or paint; it makes it the brightest place of your painting and makes an easy highlight. I like to do this with eye whites.
Next is the colored pencils. Once I lay a couple layers of flat paint, I go in with colored pencil and render out the details. This step takes a little longer because I like to use this step to darken the piece and give the piece some texture. I also like to use colors that are similar to the paint to add the texture, but I sometime use adjacent colors to add some variety to the piece.
The third step is to go in with ink to define specific parts of the piece. This step can be optional if you want to, but I like harsh, black lines in my work, so I use this to define things like facial features, clothing, and more. I really like using micron pens for this, and tend to use thinner pens around .2 or even .005 for a very thin line. If my piece has some black areas, sometimes I’ll bust out the india ink and some brushes and paint in those spots, or I’ll use my brush pens, whichever I’m feeling that day. Another thing I like to do is hatching marks. If you’ve ever studied the arts, you might have studied different hatching techniques to use, and my favorite ones to use are quick short lines to place in shadowy areas. In the pieces above you can see where I used them. Inking in general is my favorite step in any art process; there’s something about a harsh, black line that I’ve always loved.
The final step is also optional. If you want some extra shine or sparkle, consider using some white! There are tons of supplies out there, but my favorites are using white ink, or white acrylic paint. I find that the markers I’ve used aren’t strong enough to produce an opaque enough white for me, so I have to use the inks. When I use this, it’s generally for eye shines, sparkles, or shiny spots on clothing. This step can really enhance a piece. Sometimes I like to put white spots on top of my black lines, and it gives it a cute, girly feel. I picked this up from some of my favorite Sailor Moon and CLAMP artworks.
- Bristol board or mixed media sketch pad
- Ink Pens
- Colored Markers (I recommend Koi brush pens and Prismacolor, Copic sketch markers or Posca markers)
- White ink or white acrylic
This technique is a fun one. I like to use this one for faster sketches because I can get a full colored sketch quickly with no mess with getting out paints and brushes. This is very much a more stylized method with not much heavy rendering, so there’s not much back and forth blending. This method is the one I use at conventions when I do commissions!
To start off, I make a pencil sketch to lay everything out. When it’s looking good, I like to go in with the ink pens first. I do this because I like to map out where exactly I want the markers to go. When it comes to paint, it’s alright that I go outside the sketch sometimes, but with markers, I like my colors to be very clean. I think this makes the piece look more professional and makes it look like a lot of time went into it. I spend some time with the inks and depending on the style I’m going for, I’ll thicken some lines or keep them very thin.
Next I go in with the markers. Usually I mix and match all my markers; I have some copic markers in various skin colors that I’ll use, and I use the Koi brush pens for colors too. I love love love the Koi brush pens! They come in a bunch of colors, and are very good for laying out flat colors. If I’m looking to add some value, the Copic markers do a good job at that. I apply more pressure to the marker to darker spots to add that value. I also add value in the previous step with the inks by using hatching techniques as well.
An optional final step is again going in with some white ink, acrylic, or markers. With this method, I’d probably use white markers for my highlights, but I usually skip this step. It’s there if you would like it though!
Materials Needed: Whatever you want! But here’s what I generally use:
- Bristol Board
- Illustration Board
- Acrylic Paint
- Gouache or Watercolor Paint
- Ink Pens
- Colored Pencils
- White Ink, or Markers
- A Creative Mind & Patience!
This technique is very freeform. Anything goes! This is for when an idea pops into my head, or I want to try something new with the materials I have. Instead of going step by step, I will instead explain how I did each piece above:
Goldfish piece– This idea was one of the ones that just popped into my head, and I had to create it. I made this piece on illustration board. After my initial sketch, I laid a wash of light blue gouache over the whole board, then I picked out the areas where I wanted it to be lighter, and laid out the main shapes like the hair, the goldfish, and other details. I then went in with some colored pencils and added some texture to some areas and rendered the goldfish, making them very saturated. A lot of experimenting went in with the hatching. I used paint, markers, and colored pencils with the hatching, layering some parts and lining some parts with ink and others with colored pencil. I just let my creativity take control and didn’t think about it too much. My last step was the white wavy lines. I believe I used a white posca marker. I love this piece, and it’s one of my favorite pieces I’ve made.
Sailor Moon Redraw– This piece dates back to my childhood. I’ve always wanted to recreate the piece created by Naoko Takeuchi with the scouts posed like this, but I could never get it right. Now that I’ve been through art school and a couple years of working on art professionally, it was finally time! I used Bristol board for this, and went in with a very hard pencil, H3 I believe. I drew very lightly, thinking back to Miss Takeuchi’s very soft style where she mostly used pencils for her finished pieces. I actually tried to scan this in and finish it digitally, but it didn’t look good at all, so I decided to go in with watercolor paint. I used tracing paper to redraw the whole thing with my thinnest ink pen to catch any mistakes, which I fixed with my super hard pencil and eraser. Something about this composition made it really hard to get the anatomy correct. The fact that they were holding hands made it harder. Anyways, after I fixed the errors, I went in with a softer pencil to darken the lines. I didn’t use ink on this piece surprisingly; the pencil made the whole thing really soft and pretty. The watercolor step was long and tedious, but I managed to finish, and added finishing touches with white acrylic paint and darker paint with the tiniest brush ever. It was truly the most time-consuming piece of this year, and I’m surprised that I was able to do it.
Magical Girl OC’s– This piece was supposed to be more of a portfolio piece, but I wasn’t a big fan of how it turned out. It is mostly an acrylic piece with ink pens on top. It was done on Bristol board, and inked first. I then laid a wash of acrylic paint over the whole thing, then rendered the whole thing with watered down acrylic. I don’t know if I’m not too good working with acrylic, but the colors look so dull and not saturated enough for my liking, but I layered the paint so that it looked pretty opaque. I then added ink pens on top. While this piece turned out the way it was, I’d like to try out this technique again someday when I get some more colors. Also I’d like to try on a different surface like canvas board or even cardboard!
These are most of my mixed media techniques that I love to do when I work traditionally! Tell me what you think about them, or if you have any ideas or techniques you like to use! Catch you on the next post! <3 -Allison