Valentine’s Girl

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! And in Japan, things are done differently from the West. It is the day when the girls give boys a chocolate or any gift of some sort. A month later is White Day for the boys to reciprocate. That was something that was conjured up in the late 80s I believe, all for commercial means of course. So Little One decided to dress up in a cute little knitted violet frock to wish all a Valentine’s Day! And this of course is when I took the opportunity to use my Copic Markers again. This time, I wanted to test it in a mixed media setting, having read that watercolor and markers would be a good combi. Another was that it was great way to experiment using my new sketchbook: Strathmore’s Visual Journal which now comes in a Bristol Paper form!

Start Sketching!

One of the disadvantages of using alcohol-based markers like Copic is that they tend to mark the surfaces below. Using thicker paper is also a bad idea especially with watercolor or mixed media paper which are untreated and thus absorb a lot of the ink unnecessarily, and as you know Copic markers are not cheap! And although special paper for this kind of markers are available, they are not thick enough for my liking. So enter Bristol Paper! They are treated so you get a smooth surface which prevents the pigments from penetrating. Even better, Bristol Paper is nice and thick and in this case, is 270 gsm which is great. And here is my kawaii sketch. Copic Sketch was used again this time. And for fun, I combined (not mixed together!) this with some India Ink. We love the Dr Ph. Martins Bombay Ink range which comes in 36 or so different shades, including the iridescent lot. For example, I did a little experiment with the dress; first some iridescent purple India Ink, then once dry, I added some streaks on top of it with some Copic markers. Works fine!

Start Sketching!

Watercolor Background

I would normally paint the background first before the subject, but when I finished the marker/ink drawing, I decided later to add the background. Now when I was following a You Tube tutorial, I was informed that using Copics on top of acrylic is a bad idea. The reason is that the chemicals from the polymer binding from the paint would eventually damage the marker nib. Who would have known! But watercolor and india ink are fine. Ummm ok. So I thought I’d put it to the test. First I briskly filled the background with some Hansa Yellow Light watercolor using Dr. Ph Martin’s Hydrus Liquid Watercolor. Then once dry, I added a few hearts using both Copic Markers. I see that the colors did not bleed together which was a good thing and that the nib was not soiled as I would have thought that would be the case. Nevertheless, I might just do that sparingly. Better to use both mediums separately when combining in a painting.

Watercolor Background

Adding Details

And now for some details including her big pretty eyes! After adding more hearts with the marker and doing her hair up more with both Copic markers and India Ink, I went to color the eyes. I outlined them carefully with some aquarelle pencil, as I seem to recall that using graphite pencil gets smudged with the alcohol from the Copics (not that it would matter in this case of course as the colours are dark). I blended the light brown and the lavender from her dress to bring the painting together. As for the whites of the eyes, I experimented with the Copic Opaque White on the left (from the viewers side) and Dr Ph Martin’s Bleed Proof White on the right. Although both give a thick chalky consistency, I think the latter wins hands down as it didn’t clog up and gave a less lumpy appearance. The eyelashes were then coated with some Nuvo Glittter Marker in Urban Graphite. This time, I decided to limit the glitters and focus more on how the Copic sketch turned out So here we are!

The experiment turned out rather well, and I’m pleased to know that Copic markers can indeed be used in a mixed media setting. Here I went for watercolor and India Ink. I should like to take a step further next time and add coloured pencils, but perhaps on top of Copics as I am afraid the alcohol from the inks could react with the pencils if the other way around. Meanwhile, Little One looks adorable in her Valentine’s mood, and tomorrow we will see how happy her boyfriend reacts!

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