Brandi York shows us how to render a water droplet with Copic markers:
Playing with light can be fun but also challenging. Playing with light refracting through water certainly gets even more challenging, and sometimes aggravating to the point we don’t want to tackle it. For this tutorial, I chose a dewdrop on a leaf, to help demonstrate how light and color through water are affected.
I start with a very general sketch and start laying in G20 as a base and G12 as an initial shadow. You’ll note that where the shadow is doesn’t seem to make much sense to the light in the drop itself. Seems backward, right? Well, that’s the fun of the way the light is refracted through the water. The light appears at the bottom of the drop, despite it actually hitting the top. I’m conscious of this as I lay in my first tones, keeping the top darker. I will add the point of light back in at the end.
Next we bring some YG21 to the party, adding some more depth and tone to the leaf and the drop, blending it out with the G20. Things are rather rough at this point, but we’ll start to smooth them over as we progress.
Next I add some B000 and G85. The B000 is added to the top of the drop, reflecting a bit of the sky color, also bits of it through the drop itself. Then the G85 deepens up our shadows, starting to create a little reflection on the surface of the drop itself. (Hence the sharp line on the dewdrop.) Again, I’m keeping the shadows rough, partly to create texture in the leaf and partly because we’ll continue working it and smoothing it over the next few color passes.
Then comes the YG67. A warmer shadow, into the shadow of the drop and in the drop itself. I break out the Colorless Blender now, and start softening some edges in the drop and the shadow. I also add some more B000 and some BG02 into the reflection on the drop. Going back to the G12, I refine some of the edges inside the drop and on the leaf.
I start pushing a little more detail in the leaf itself and in the dewdrop, bringing in the G28. This is a nice, dark tone that’s a little more saturated in color than the G85. Remember, with the exception of the Es in Copics, the higher the number, the more grey is in the color. So G28 is going to have more color saturation than G85. Using the Colorless Blender with this, I create more depth in the leaves and in the dewdrop, softening the edges with the Blender and letting some of it bleed a little. Note the dark line around the top edge of the dewdrop. It’s a reflection that I didn’t want to take too much focus, so I heavily saturated the paper with Colorless Blender to soften the color and let it bleed out a bit.
I pull out G02 for a heavily saturated hit of green, just to punch up the leaf a little. A lot of it will be covered by other colors, but having that layered underneath, even if not at full potency in the end, will bring a nice depth into the shadows on the leaf. Admittedly, I feel like the shadows on the leaf itself are a bit harsh, so I use the Colorless Blender to try to knock them down a bit, as well as using the lighter colors (YG21, G12, etc.) to soften and deepen the tone of the leaf.
Once I’m reasonably satisfied with the leaf and dewdrop, I break out my Sakura Gelly Roll in white to add the finishing touches to the dewdrop – a distinct highlight at the top then some speckles of light throughout. This pen takes a moment to dry, so you can smear the gel around a bit if you’d like. I did this along the top edge and a bit at the bottom, where I didn’t want as hard a line, or as bright a white spot. I also added a couple hits of dark colors with a little Colorless Blender to create a couple little spots of dark texture in the bottom of the dewdrop.
I hope you find this helpful, and won’t be afraid to tackle something that might seem a little more difficult at first glance. The key to anything of this nature is to look very closely at your subject, study it to get a good feel of how the lights play across the object and how they cast shadows, and of course, play. Sometimes, we might be surprised at what we find in even the most every day things!
See more of Brandi’s fantastic illustrations on Copic Color, and add your own work while you’re there!