Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fishie, Fishie, Blob, Blob

I started with the background as usual
I brought my Phthalo Blues and Greens out while preparing to work on Johanna Basford's Lost Ocean. I chose a spread from the book where there was a row of sea weeds and fishes were just playfully swimming around the underwater scape.
Joyce Tolero, a fellow colorist friend, was the one who made the very funny "fishy-fishies, blob! blob!" remark on my Facebook post that made me laugh.
The water background was blue and green. But instead of shading the entire thing I "drew" the ripples. There were some colorists from my Coloring Books for Adults-Philippines Facebook group  who got curious with how I did it so I replied by describing to them how, step by step:

1. Using color white or ivory pencil I applied the base color on an oval area at the top of the page, it should serve as the source of light in the entire image. It doesn't mean I shouldn't color over this base. It should still blend in eventually with the rest of the blues and greens. What it needs to achieve is weaken the additional color on top so that I can still achieve the desired effect, that is a bright area coming from the surface of the sea.
Payne's Gray of Polychromos is one of my favorites in making shadows. That detail made the leaves of this seaweed appear to be dancing with the sea current.
2. The overall look I'm after is this (please see reference photo below). Notice the ripples are white or ivory. The next thing is to find atleast two shade of blue, and two shades of green that are closest to the colors you see in this underwater image. If you can't find those pencil colors try to blend to come up with them though it's going to be quite challenging. But then again you can always look for a different image with colors that may be closer to what you have.
For those using Faber-Castell's Polychormos pencils I used ivory, helio turquoise, cobalt gree, the three phthalo greens, and earth green for the water background.
3. Color the dark area that represents the horizon heavily. I chose dark blue to achieve depth.

4. For the area closer to the sea floor I used the greens. Other images that I studied of the ocean floor helped me determine the colors of the water. I finally decided that it should be predominantly green when nearing the ocean floor, and predominantly blue when nearing the surface. Notice in my WIP that I continued to mix green and blue, that's because water in the ocean, like the sky, is dynamic, always moving, so it's best to attempt to draw or color it not as static but a dynamic picture, constantly moving, where the colors are perpetually weaving into each other.

5. For the ripples I mimicked the shapes I saw in my photo reference using the darker shades. Remember that we're still tyring to creat a 3D image so shading hte shape and leaving some highlights is key. Also, vary the pressure of your pencil against the paper to achieve varying values of your lines.
Ripples cropped from same image,
6. Finally, remember the white/ivory oval? Draw ripples on the side, making sure nothing is even, just dynamic moving waves and ripples to frame it. Slowly move in with some ripples to the center of the white oval, but sparingly this time. Take note that the ripples are not perfect, some are rounder, some are wavy lines, just as we see them in the water.
The finished work