9.5”x6.8” markers, ink & watercolor illustration on paper.
One of the very few commissions I decided to take on (I usually refuse them). This collage accompanies a short steam-punk story at the Causette French magazine, about Napoleon III, Jules Verne, and UFOs invading Paris.
Duvet covers with my some of my collages on. Check them out here.
9”x12” markers & ink illustration on paper.
Art supplies you’d need to create illustrations like mine (still learning), Yelena Bryksenkova’s, Becca Stadtlander’s, Riikka Sormunen’s, or Laura Callhaghan’s. I believe that knowledge gained should be shared, hence this article. Besides, knowing “how”, doesn’t equate great results.
1. Mechanical pencil (or other pencil) with thin nib, & Eraser, $3
2. Sketchbook, $5
Do your test sketches there first, to test composition.
3. Ruler, $2
This is needed not only to draw straight lines, or to measure, but also to draw all lines based on a predetermined fixed position, so perspective is correct. There are multiple tutorials about this online.
4. Watercolor paper, $10
I suggest the Strathmore HOT press 8”x10”. While Cold press is better for traditional watercolor, the smoother surface of Hot press paper will allow for better ink lining, which is crucial to illustration. Additionally, at 8”x10”, optionally leaving 1” border all around, is wall framing-ready.
5. Artist tape, $10
Only needed if you’re leaving 1” border, so you don’t paint by mistake out of the borders. Recommended.
6. Ink pens, overall $16-$70
After the final pencil sketch is done, you will ink it with the thinnest ink pens on the market. Use a similar color to what you would later paint the object to outline it. Use gray or black for humans or white objects. Not all objects require outlining (e.g. the details don’t). Get the Sakura Micron 005 black and other colors, while Prismacolor’s 005 sizes, and Copic Fineliner 003’s colors are also useful. Some of the detailed designs you see above are done with these ink pens, instead of a brush. After you have inked your sketch on the watercolor paper, erase the pencil marks.
Cheaper ink pens at multiple colors, but with thicker nibs, are the Stabilo 88 (25 colors, $16), and the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens (20 colors, $23). These should be allowed to dry well first before using the eraser, or paint.
7. Watercolors, overall $15-$25
Winsor & Newton’s Cotman series are excellent (best quality for the price). I got myself the 8-color set (and you can create more by mixing them up). The cheapest stuff are from Reeves ($15), which comes with 24 colors, but these have a low pigment load, and so brushstrokes become too visible & ugly on paper in my experience.
Use Neutral colors as much as possible for a more professional look. When for example you want to use a yellow-ish color, mix it with a bit of purple (which is its opposite color on the color wheel) to get a neutral version of it. Same goes for the rest of the colors. Mix with white to get a less saturated version afterwards if desired. Also notice how objects have just a darker or lighter version of the same color almost throughout a given illustration. This is done as I described.
8. Gouache, overall $20
Gouache is not transparent as watercolor is, so it becomes useful if you want to paint on top of existing paint (e.g. a white flower on a green valley or black carpet). Get the Winsor & Newton 6-color set. Don’t go for cheap stuff when it comes to Gouache. Optionally, consider the Holbein Acryla Gouache (12 colors, $28), which is gouache with acrylic binding (when it dries it becomes permanent) and can be useful for some applications of detailed work as seen above.
So basically, all the large surfaces are done with watercolor, the outlines with ink pens, and the fine details are done with ink pens and gouache.
9. Brushes, overall $30
You will need four synthetic brushes. Sable brushes hold too much water for this style of detailed illustration, so they’re not recommended (it’s the opposite of traditional painting where you would go for natural brushes). You will need brushes that “hold a point”, e.g. Da Vinci, Crumbacher, or Winsor & Newton. You need round watercolor brushes #4, #2, #00, and a flat #4.
10. Palette, $1
Any cheap, plastic palette would do.
Other: Kitchen towel (to clean up brushes, or to quickly fix painting mistakes before paint dries, or to create clouds), and a jar with water.
Overall, to work on this specific style, you’ll need to spend a minimum of $150.
This is my favorite kind of collage. Not the abstract/dada/surreal one that you’ve known me for, but the more down to earth, social commentary one. This dramatic style is rather difficult to do with found material (since it requires specific direction), which is why I’m looking into illustration. This one is about the scrutiny people get today when they apply for a new job. The intrusion and invasion of privacy via online searches by bosses says something about the lack of trust we vest on to our fellow human being.
"Fate of a Lonely Remixer" by Eugenia Loli.
Staedtler fineliner markers on paper.
Watercolor, Stabilo 88 markers, on 5”x5” paper.