Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Aurora Borealis - Copic Airbrush

This is not quite a tutorial but more of a ...Exploration!
 I wanted to see if I could achieve a northern lights look with some Copic techniques. I tried at first to do it with just the trusty nibs but gosh, going dark to light in a really short area is quite tough to get smooth, especially a really super light to an almost black. Too Laborious! So I cracked out Ye Ol' Copic ABS and this is what I did to get my mini Aurora Borealis Drawings.

Step 1
I drew a little square on my paper. I didn't make these too big. Then I tore a post it note on a jagged sort of angle. (I'm doing the ribbony lights). Keep Both halves of the post it note. you can even used an x-acto and cut out a ribbony line. Just get a good shape. Tape it down but don't worry about getting the whole thing stuck flush. the little bit of ink that sprays under the edge helps the glowing effect.
 Step 2
Start with a light pink, green, blue or red - whatever colour scheme you want. Those are most common in the light effect. stray across the post it note onto the white. I covered it mostly with the pink overall.

Step 3
Take another post it note and lay it vertically on the paper and puff little bits of pink across the edge. this is how you get that vertical striping that happens. Do several lines, don't make them too even or make the puffs at the same spot along the edge. get some randomness.
 Step 4
I puffed some darker pink and violets in the top an bottom corner of those sides to add some contrast and make it trail off the page a bit.
 Step 5
I took the other half of the post it note and covered what I had done. I tried to line it up with the other piece before pulling the first piece off. See how the pinks gone under a little and has that little glow around the edge? thats good. the last thing we want is a white line interrupting the effect.
 Step 6
I fill in this side with Violets and pinks and work my way into some darker blues. until I have the effect I want. I left some variation in darkness around the edges at the bottom.

Step 7
This is the final image created by this example. This is way bigger than actual size, the original is only about 6cm square. but you can see the effect!









Other Attempts
Here is the first attempt I made. I really liked the glow, but didn't have enough of the vertical lines. I added some stars with some colourless blender dots. I also really liked the addition of the black tree silhouette. It really completes it as an illustration.
What NOT to do
and here's a frightful example of what happens when you don't re-mask your first area, and don't line up the edges of the stencils.

Well, I hope this inspires someone to experiment, or play around with Copics, or shows some of the potential of the airbrush.
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