Monday, 12 April 2010

Reference Book

Every Marker blog I've looked at or follow says you should keep a swatch book or something along that vein.  I never bothered but the more I read about it the more I think, that's a brilliant idea! no wonder so many people are doing it. But most of the blogs I follow are for stampers which has a different set of needs than the illustrator.

So I've started keeping a Reference book. I bought an inexpensive portfolio that can have pages added to it, since I really don't know the extent of what I'll be doing here, I wanted to make sure I'd always have room to expand with my needs. Now... where do you start? Well, I'll show how mine builds up over time, then we can learn this together.

So far my book starts like this:

  • Page 1 is my printed out Copic Colour chart. ( PDF ). You can find this on the Copic Website Library. Print it out on the paper you will be working on. If you use multiple types of paper you might want to have multiple colour charts. I buy the 8.5x11 Aquabee Marker Paper just so I can put it through the printer easily without cutting, and I use the 11x17 sheets to cut to my desired sizes for art work. 
  • Page 2 I printed out the Copic Colour wheel (pdf). I find it fun to look at, but also it's a good reference to see where colours fall in the colour world. I just like it, okay?!

After this I haven't got beyond printing a couple pages of things but I've got plans for pages.

  • Skin tones: I have several characters with different skin tones and I'd like to duplicate that skin tone easily from drawing to drawing without too much thought. I'm going to be making a swatch sheet for making up a skin tone guide for each character (anytime I make a swatch sheet I'll share it here on my blog)
  • Colour Themes: My characters also have specific colour themes to them as well, I'd like to make a swatch page for their colour themes so I remain consistent. 
  • Lighting techniques: Different colour combinations to create different lighting. (This is where I wish I'd have the time to get some stamps made up for images to do the same image over and over! HA!)
  • Colour groups: Interesting groups of colours that go well together that I've liked
  • Blending groups: Groups of colours that blend well together
  • Feather blending groups:  this is trickier to explain. If you want to gradient from one colour to another the colours have to go well. I'd like to keep track of successful (and unsuccessful) attempts at this. What works, and what doesn't in other words.
  • Paper types: I'd like to have swatches of different paper types, and what techniques work best on them.
  • Brand Comparisons: Making sure I have swatches of my other brands to compare colours and see if they go well. Though I'm focused on Copics now because of the refillable quality and availability, i still have 300 markers in other brands I'd like to make good use of.

Okay, so I'll make charts, and make them available to you here, and we'll get building!
remember these few things:

  • Markers are not light fast. Protect your swatches from light so they don't fade. my book is black and stowed away until I need it.
  • Keep it organized. IT wont be any good to you if you cant find what you need in there.
  • Print or draw your swatches on the paper you want to use, and mark what type of paper it is. Markers look different depending on the type of paper you use. 
Okay, I'm going to work on this, and a Copic Airbrush walkthrough! Whoo!


  1. I hope you do take time to post updates as I'd love to see it grow from concepts to reality!!


    p.s. It was fun to sit with you at the Copic Certification class today!!

  2. Thanks Edith! I enjoyed meeting you! It was much more fun that I imagined!
    I'll definitely flesh this out soon :D


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