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Blog Post

PaigeeDraw Coloring Contest Winners

Thank you to everyone who entered our PaigeeDraw Coloring Contest! Below are the winners.

1st place will receive two markers from her Copic Color wish list and an “I <3 Copic” bumper sticker!
2nd and 3rd place will receive “I <3 Copic” bumper stickers.

1st place:

2nd place:

3rd place:

You can view the full album of entries on our Facebook page.

Thanks again to everyone who entered, stay tuned for more contests!

12/30/2011 3:00:42 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Guest Tutorial: Acrylic Skins by Colleen Schaan

Papercrafting designer Colleen Schaan is one of our Design and Education/Instruction team members, and this week she’s sharing a unique project that utilizes Copic Various Ink. Enjoy!

While I like to use my Copic markers to color images in the traditional way, I also like to experiment a bit and see what other fun ways I can use them.  I’m really excited to share one of my favorite “non-traditional” Copic coloring methods with you today.

As a mixed media artist, I’m always trying to… well… mix my media!  I did just that, combining Copic Various Inks and acrylic gel medium to create funky, colored skins which I then used to “color” an image.

You will need:
Non-stick craft sheet
Various ink (2 of each color)
Palette knife
Gel medium (glossy was used here)
Canvas board
White acrylic paint
Paintbrush (flat)
Copic marker(s) (not black)
Scissors or Xacto knife

First, you need to make your acrylic skins.  Typically, thin layers of acrylic paint are used for this.  I wanted a very vibrant yet transparent mix of colors, so I used Copic Various Inks to create the color for each skin.  It’s imperative to use a non-stick craft sheet when making your skins.

Apply 3-6 drops of Various Inks onto the surface of the craft sheet.  This can be all one shade or a mixture of 2 different shades or colors.  Here I am using YR15 and YR18.

Copic Acrylic Skins by Colleen Schaan
Using a thin palette knife, slowly spread the ink across the surface of the craft sheet.  Initially, the ink will condense and reform beads.  As it dries, it will stick to the surface and remain spread out.  Blowing lightly on the ink as you spread it helps to speed up this process.

Copic Acrylic Skins by Colleen Schaan
Once the ink is completely dry (no longer sticky), apply a layer of gel medium over the ink with a palette knife.  Spread the gel medium gently and try not to “mix” the ink into the medium.  The medium should be approximately 1/8 – 1/4 “ thick.  I like to leave stoke marks in the medium for added texture.

Copic Acrylic Skins by Colleen Schaan

Repeat the previous three steps with the additional colors necessary to “color” your image.

Copic Acrylic Skins by Colleen Schaan
While the skins are drying (typically overnight), draw an image onto the canvas board (try this technique first with simple, open images and move onto more complex and detailed images as your experience with skins progresses).  Outline your image with a dark Copic marker (do not use black as the pigment in black sometimes feathers when combined with acrylic mediums).  Apply a thin layer of white acrylic paint over the drawn image.  This gives a nice bright base for your skins and the Copic ink of the drawing will become visible once the paint dries.

Copic Acrylic Skins by Colleen SchaanCopic Acrylic Skins by Colleen Schaan

Once the skins and the drawing are dry, you can move on to the next step in “coloring” your image (if your skins have “cracked” during the drying process, the layer of gel medium was too thin.  You can apply another thin layer over the cracks and let dry before proceeding).  Carefully remove each skin from the craft sheet by sliding a large palette knife under the edge and gently lifting.  The Copic ink will be pulled from the craft sheet and “stick” to the bottom of the skins.   Do not let the skins fold or touch each other as they will stick together.

Copic Acrylic Skins by Colleen Schaan
Place a colored skin over the area of the image that you want “colored” and trace around the outlines of the image.

Copic Acrylic Skins by Colleen Schaan
Using an Xacto knife or scissors, cut along the lines of the image.

Copic Acrylic Skins by Colleen Schaan
Once you have all of the pieces cut, the “coloring” begins!  Apply a thin layer of gel medium to a section of the drawing and then place the corresponding skin over it.  Press down gently to adhere.  Continue gluing skins into place.  Layer individual colors to create more depth and texture.

Copic Acrylic Skins by Colleen SchaanCopic Acrylic Skins by Colleen Schaan




Once the colored image is dry, outline the image and add final details with a dark Copic marker.

Copic Acrylic Skins by Colleen Schaan

While this obviously takes much more time and effort than traditional coloring, it also gives a completely different look.  The mix of texture, translucency and depth create an almost stained-glass effect – perfect for an array of mixed media projects.

Products Used:
Golden Glossy Gel Medium
Golden Titanium White Fluid Acrylic Paint
Copic Sketch Markers – RV09/RV19/RV69/G17
Copic Various Inks -B12/B18/YG13/YG25/G03/G09/YR15/YR18/Y35/Y17/V04/V05/R43/R46/RV66/RV69

Find Colleen on the web:
Web Site:
Copic Color:

Share your mixed media projects with us on Facebook and Twitter!

12/29/2011 6:51:20 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Line Art Download – #Copic4K

Wow, what a year! Thanks to help from our faithful friends and followers, we finally reached our goal of reaching 4,000 followers on Twitter before 2012!

Remember when we hit the #Copic3K mark and gave away FREE line art to color? Well, we’re doing it again – one for every 1,000 followers. Many thanks to Kaoppe, the very talented professional Japanese Manga artist and dear friend for providing such great art work for our fans!

Just click the pic to download and print a hi-res version – and have fun coloring!

If you haven’t already, join our Twitter community to connect with other Copic lovers, share your #CopicART, check out the free tutorials on #TutuorialTuesday and share your #CopicLove!

If you are already connecting with us on Twitter – thank you, and we’ll see you out there!

12/29/2011 12:04:51 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Blog Post

New Colors!

We’re very excited to announce 12 new Sketch colors!

Copic Sketch 2012 Colors EX-6

G43 Pistachio, G46 Mistletoe, BG57 Jasper, BG90 Gray Sky, E84 Khaki, E89 Pecan,
 Bluebell, V22 Ash Lavender, V28 Eggplant, RV52 Cotton Candy, R56 Currant, YR27 Tuscan Orange

In February 2012 these carefully chosen colors will be available in the Sketch Marker style, as well as Various Ink, bringing us to 358 total Copic colors. 

Copic Sketch 2012 Colors EX-6
Let us know which color you’re most excited about on Facebook and Twitter!

12/27/2011 8:03:41 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Color Spotlight: B66

Welcome to our Color Spotlight feature! Every so often we’ll showcase a different color and give ideas of color combos that will work with it.

Marianne’s Note: When I mention a color combo whatever color I put first is the color I put down as my base color, then I blend in the second color. Also, these colors on the screen are NOT accurate and are for comparison only.

B66, Clematis
Story Behind B66: B66 is a relatively new color. Back about 7 years ago, Too Corporation developed B69, a very bright, deep blue to partner with B60 & B63. I remember when B69 first came into the warehouse. It was a neat color, but it was all by itself. The jump from B63 to B69 was pretty big. Then, in 2007 they introduced B66 as a partner for B69. To go darker than B69, you need to add purple, or jump to B79 and then to BV08.
Available in these styles:
Sketch, Various Ink
Natural Blending Family:
B60, B63, B66, B69
Simple Blend:
B66, B69, B79
Similar intensity, other families:
YG67, R85, BG75
Marianne’s Unusual Combos:
B66 + B99, B66 + BG78, YG17+ B66

Advanced Color Rules for B66*:

Complimentary: B66, Y28
Triad (simple 3 color combo): B66, E08, YG95
Tetrad (simple 4 color combo): B66, RV19, Y28, YG07
Pentagram (simple 5 color combo): B66, RV19, E09, YG95, G09
High Contrast: B66, B99, 110, E79, E29
Compound: B66, FV2, C10, E44, R17, E79

*Advanced color rules are generated by Adobe Illustrator CS3 based on the digital representation of the Copic Color Spectrum set into a special color wheel. I generate these as suggestions for color combos to try when you are looking for a nice change, or you have a paper that matches this particular color and you want help picking other unusual colors to go with it.

The project I made for B66: Barn Swallows

Recently I had to make another project and it incorporated an old Victorian cut out of a barn swallow. I have had that cut out sitting on my desk for a while, and this color seemed perfect for coloring a bright blue barn swallow. You can visit my blog for a step-by-step post of coloring the male barn swallow.
This image is of a female barn swallow, sitting on a mossy twig in the cold. Her feathers are all puffed up to keep her warm. Females have a lighter colored chest than males, so her belly is a paler color range.
Twig colors : E44, E77, YG91, G12, YG67, G09,  Swallow: C3, BV23, C7, B60, B63, B66,B69, YR30, E11, YR12, YR18, 0. Airbrushed Sky: B91, B63, G12

Reference photos for coloring barn swallow courtesy RickCameron



12/20/2011 7:05:56 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Artist Interview with Gigi

Gigi is an illustrator and card designer based in California. Read on to learn more about this talented artist and her unique style:

Tell us about yourself!
I was born in a town called Victoriaville (Québec/Canada) from a Belgian mom and a Canadian dad. My mom is an artist and she initiated my three brothers and I to drawing, pastels, collage, acrylic and oil painting. I also learned piano at an early age and this strong connection with music, especially classical, is an extra filter. It makes me draw and see things with musical sensibility.

I studied Sciences, French literature and History and graduated with honors from University of Montreal. I did all sorts of jobs: interpreter, journalism, pianist, public relations, fund raising, teaching French and scuba. I had the chance to do this in Montreal and abroad: Brazil, England, Turkey and the Caribbean.

Now, let’s talk about chance, faith and dreams. When I moved to Los Angeles I met my husband. Having a life partner that believes in my art was a drastic turn in my career. I started doing drawings incorporating intricate fabrics. One day, I entered a beautiful stationery store in Coronal del Mar and the owner, Harriet, saw these pieces and suggested me to send them to Constance Kay inc. Tip number one: Always have sample of your art on you, even in micro version! The rest is history as they say. Constance Kay has been an incredible mentor and guide for my art. My greeting cards are now sold in Japan, England, Switzerland and across U.S.A. It is a great joy to see my work transcend languages and cultures around the world. For my illustration work, another great luck struck me. My illustrations were hanging on the walls of my friend Virginia. Tip number two: be surrounded by friends that believe in you and give them your art pieces. A common friend who owns a beautiful agency in Venice California, Nouvelle Vague LA, saw my pieces and took me on board. Tip number three: get an agent. Sandrine gave me great visibility and opportunities.

What is your earliest memory of drawing or making art?
My earliest memory is probably throwing spaghetti on the walls with my brothers. Very modern. Or shall I say: A classic. Every kid draws. I did the same thing but because my mom was an artist I had tutorials, tools and even early critic! I remember drawing a lot of 18th century dresses, princesses and birds. Every year, at an early age, I was making a different Christmas card for each member of my family. I got good at cartooning and using humor to share my love. Humor is my favorite way of communicating.

What are your biggest sources of inspiration?
People. The best designs I did where initially created for someone. It’s easy to make something beautiful and inspiring when it is led by love. My inspiration is deeply shaped by my gratefulness for life, nature, hiking, scuba diving, yoga, colors, fashion, witnessing kindness between people, and finally but not the least, by my family and my friends.

Describe your creative process:
Everything starts with a coffee at 7am every morning. Routine and discipline are my golden keys. It’s all about ideas and concepts. These are the most important things for an illustrator. When I work on a project, I brainstorm and cartoon all my ideas. Illustration on the drawing table is most of my work: Hands on work, old fashion. Then the best ones are turn into final pieces. For the greeting cards, they’re all handmade so there is a craftsmanship part to my work that I really enjoy. I am some sort of art engineer that finds the right material to make the concept look flawless.

Has your illustration process changed over time?

I stick to a routine but how I do my illustrations have changed. Using Copic markers for instance was a drastic change. I first bought few colors to integrate them in my work and two weeks later I had a vast range of colors. It speeds up my work, adding precision and vibrant colors while offering transparency. The requests for my clients make me evolve as an artist because it brings me to work on different topics using broader styles. I have learned to create more elaborate pieces as opposite to my initial minimalist style.

Why do you choose to use Copic markers for your illustrations?
What’s not to love about Copic? We are a lot of fans out there! Copic offers so many transparent and gorgeous colors. They are durable, precise and easy to find. They are easy to work with and integrate to any pieces I work on. They also accelerate my creative process because I can quickly lay colors on my drafts. It does not blurry or mess up the fine details of my illustrations. I love their design, the way they lay in my hands. I use them for touch up on fabrics and papers. I also work with watercolors and ink but I would say that using Copic now covers 60-70% of my illustration work. I have YR00 Pink Powder for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I use this color a lot. It saves me so much time with my skin tones. I am grateful for such a great tool and our Copic community.

What are you working on right now?
I am working on Valentines cards design for Constance Kay inc. It’s all pink, bubbly, kinky, colorful and funny. For Nouvelle Vague LA, I am working on London 2012 Olympics and a series of illustrations filled with words for advertising and tourism projects.

Any words of advice for new artists?
See my tips above! Stick with people that love your work and support you. Maira Kalman gave me a great advice one day, with that same question: “Get deadlines!” That’ll make your work clearer, vibrant and more precise. Be prolific! Be inspired, loved and know that you are doing the right thing just right now, as you are.

Find Gigi on the web:

For greeting cards:
Constance Kay

For illustrations:
Nouvelle Vague LA
Directory of Illustration

12/16/2011 5:49:50 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Guest Tutorial: New Year’s Project by Sharon Harnist

Papercrafting designer Sharon Harnist is one of our Design and Education/Instruction team members, and she’s back with us again this month to share a New Year’s project that utilizes several Copic products and a great background/custom paper technique.

Copic New Year's Project by Sharon Harnist
Hello, I’m excited to be back again and to share this fun background/custom paper technique!  A new year for me means a new calendar, so I hope you will enjoy this project, too.

To create the custom background my calendar is printed on, I started with an acrylic stamping block and scribbled several Copic marker colors onto it:

Copic New Year's Project by Sharon Harnist
(Note: I ended up using a larger block than is shown in the photo above, so it would cover the entire surface I would need for my background).

Next, place Copic Colorless Blender Solution in a mister bottle and generously spray the scribbled marker color.  Working quickly, before the Blender Solution dries, stamp onto X-Press It Blending Card.  I love the speckled, snowy (or rainy!) effect:

Copic New Year's Project by Sharon Harnist
Then I used the background paper to print my calendar, trimmed it down to approximately 4.50′” x 5.25”, and backed it with black cardstock.  Alternately, you could use one of those tear-off calendars companies send you through the mail as their annual marketing this time of year, and place it on this prettier background!

The Lockhart Stamp Company Snowman With Checkered Hat was stamped onto X-Press It Blending Card with Memento Tuxedo Black ink and colored with these Copic Sketch markers:

Copic New Year's Project by Sharon Harnist
To bridge the gap between two shades of colors, I used the Tip-to-Tip technique:  Use lighter marker to pick up color off the darker color marker tip and then use lighter marker to color with.  Color will start out darker and then gradually fade to the lighter color as the darker color comes off the lighter marker tip, automatically creating a mid-tone of the two shades:

Copic New Year's Project by Sharon Harnist
To make the snowman’s face appear cold and icy, I used B0000 around the edges of his face.  I used C1 to shade underneath his hat and around the edges of his face to make it appear more rounded, and for shadows underneath his eyes, nose and mouth:

Copic New Year's Project by Sharon Harnist
The snowman was cut out and adhered with foam tape to an Inchie Arts Black Twinchie (2”) Square, for stability and contrast.  The final snowman image has Pitch Black Atyou Spica Glitter Pen accenting the snowman’s coal mouth pieces, Melon accenting the holly and stripes in his scarf, and Clear accenting his ear muffs and eyes:

Copic New Year's Project by Sharon Harnist
The die cut snowflake pieces were accented with icy B0000 by coloring the raised/embossed areas of the X-Press It Card while it was still in the die:

Copic New Year's Project by Sharon Harnist
The snowflake pieces were layered together with foam tape and accented with glitter glue.  The calendar page is sized to fit into a clear plastic CD holder, with the lid bent back and used as an easel:

Copic New Year's Project by Sharon Harnist
I hope you’ll have fun using this background/coloring technique!

You can find more Copic papercrafting inspiration from Sharon here:
Copic Color Gallery:

Calendar Supplies:
Copic Sketch Markers:
  B0000, B21, BG000, BG01, BG02, BV02, BV13, BV17, C1, C2, RV63, RV66 YG03, YG63, YR12
Copic Atyou Spica Glitter Pens:  Clear, Melon, and Pitch Black
Paper: Copic X-Press It Blending Card;
Gina K Designs Pure Luxury Heavy Base Weight Black Onyx cardstock
Lockhart Stamp Company Snowman With Checkered Hat (#6004)
Ink: Tsukineko Memento Tuxedo Black
Spellbinders Create A Flake One dies and Grand Calibur die cutting machine
Inchie Arts Black Twinchie Square; Ranger Star Dust Stickles; foam tape, 2012 Grid 2-Page Calendar download, Clear plastic CD holder

12/13/2011 5:14:00 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Sketchbooks in Italy Workshop

Sketchbooks in Italy
Ken O’Connell
will teach “Sketchbooks in Italy” for the 5th time in Italy, September 2-16, 2012.

This year Copic Design Team member, Debbie Olson, will assist Ken (President of Imagination international, Inc., importer of Copic Markers.)

The plan is to spend two weeks at a tiny art school in Umbria (1 1/2 hours North of Rome), each day traveling to a nearby hill town to sketch, and returning to our base in LaRomita School Of Art. We are taken care of by two Italian cooks, and we stay there in apartments remodeled in a 15th Century Monastery.

The cost for this two week workshop is $3,600 plus airfare. It includes food, room, instruction, and all local transportation as we travel each day out to new hill towns. Other costs may include a few lunches, snacks and gifts.

If this adventure is of interest to you, please write to for more information and a list of FAQ.

Sketchbooks in Italy

12/9/2011 5:21:07 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Guest Tutorial: Marbleizing

In this week’s guest tutorial, mixed media artist Bianca Mandity shares some tips for creating marbleized paper with Copic Various Ink. Enjoy!

When I was in school I learned how to marbleize paper traditionally using a chemical bath. I loved the look of the papers, but was concerned about the chemicals needed to produce the marbleizing effect. Ever since, I’ve been searching for a way to marbleize without the chemicals. I tried doing the shaving cream process, but found it expensive since you can’t reuse the shaving cream and the results didn’t really look like the real thing. One day when cleaning up my craft mat, I noticed my Copic ink was floating in some hand sanitizer that I’d spilled while cleaning my hands. A light bulb went on over my head. This process creates beautiful results without the chemicals of traditional marbleizing or the expense of using shaving cream.

For this tutorial you will need: Copic Various Ink, antibacterial hand santizer, palate knife, non-stick craft sheet, comb and X-Press It blending card or marker paper.

Marbleizing with Copic by Bianca Mandity

Step One: On your non-stick surface place a large amount of hand santizer and spread out with the palate knife. Don’t spread it too thin, as this will mess up the surface tension when it comes time to marbleize. You want it be no thinner than the thickness of heavy card stock.

Marbleizing with Copic by Bianca Mandity

Step Two: Drop a single drop of each of your colors onto your hand sanitizer.

Marbleizing with Copic by Bianca Mandity
Step Three: Take your comb and drag it through the ink and the hand sanitizer. You want to make sure and mix it well or it will transfer as one giant blob of color.

Marbleizing with Copic by Bianca Mandity
Step Four: Gently lay your paper down onto the gel. Let it set for a minute, don’t push or move it, just let it set. You’ll start to see the patterns showing up. If there are any spots where the colors don’t show up, gently press it down into the mixture.

Marbleizing with Copic by Bianca Mandity
Step Five: Grab your paper by the corners and lift straight off. Flip over and take a look at your beautiful marbleized paper.

Marbleizing with Copic by Bianca Mandity
Hint: If you have extra sanitizer setting on the top, you can hit the bottom with a heat gun to help set the colors and then lay a paper towel on top to soak up the extra sanitizer. Be careful not to drag or rub it. Just let it set and soak for a while and then lift off. You can also leave the extra sanitizer. It will eventually dry and might crackle slightly, but won’t destroy the marbleizing.

Marbleizing with Copic by Bianca Mandity

You can reuse your sanitizer by scraping it together the the palate knife and adding more color. But eventually it will turn brown and no longer marbleize cleanly. How long this takes depends on how much ink you use each time. When the sanitizer becomes dirty, simply wipe up with a paper towel and begin again.

Find Bianca on the web:
Copic Color

Share your mixed media and Various Ink projects with us on Facebook and Twitter!

12/6/2011 5:22:38 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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10 Days of Copic

10 Days of Copic
Thank you to our 10,000+ Facebook fans!

To celebrate this landmark, we’re giving away 100 markers over 10 days. That’s 1 marker per winner, 10 winners per day!

To enter, visit our Facebook page and click the “10 Days of Copic” tab on the left. You can enter once per day through December 14th, but you may only win once.

Good luck, and thanks for being a part of the Copic community!

12/6/2011 12:03:06 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Artist Interview with Kate Sikorski

Kate Sikorski is a California-based artist whose next project, Burkini Surf Series, is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. Read on to learn more about Kate and her latest project:

Tell us a bit about yourself!
I grew up in Orange County. My teachers were always very supportive growing up – in 8th grade, my teacher let me paint a mural in the library. After getting twice rejected from the private art college on the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara, I went on to study international politics, gaining a unique perspective that continues to feed my art today. After graduating from UCSB, I made props for Greenpeace. I’ll be receiving my MFA from California State University, Long Beach this December!

Describe the Burkini Surf Series project:

I’m embarking on a new series that will continue a theme I’ve been interested in for some time now: the freedom to play beyond childhood, everyday women in sports. I have a handful of local Muslim women who are interesting in participating in a one day free surf camp. My sketches of this event will be done in and developed with Copic markers and multiliner pens. This visual research will be later used in composing the designs for large scale mixed media drawings on recycled wood and commercial fabric.

What inspired you to do this project?

I’ve had this project in my head for 6 years. I believe that art has a sociopolitical responsibility. In France, controversy over women wearing burkinis to public pools has led to racism and widespread news coverage. What most people do not realize is that wearing the headscarf is an act of non-western feminism. By using cheerful colors, non-competitive sport, and women (perhaps less threatening than men can be) I want to expose the public to the Muslim world within our own communities, normalizing images that seem strange and threatening to a public who associates Islam almost exclusively with violence, terror, and war.

Copic Sketch by Kate Sikorski

Sketch with Copics - Visual research for the pictorial environments Kate will create for her Burkini Surf pieces.

How do you incorporate Copic products into your process, and what do you like about them?
I find drawing with Copic markers is sort of gutsy and fresh – you can’t erase! – and I want to be more brave with my drawings. When I look at other artists’ work, I admire drawings that are good, yet have human flaws. These drawings hold my attention unlike perfect mechanical-looking photo drawings. I use Copic markers not to add local color to objects, but as colored line delineating forms in space.  For a long time, I’ve known that I am more of a drawer than a painter and I have observed that painting is socially perceived as a higher form of art. Drawing in color adds more complexity to compositions–temperature and saturation, as well as value, line, and shape. More than a paint brush, markers give a sharp edge and the ability to be precise. Copic markers are louder than ballpoint pen and colored pencil, too, which is really good for me since I am most interested in my initial lines, not finished value renderings. Most of all I love Copic markers because when you draw with them you don’t have to spray them with nasty, toxic fixative like you have to do for charcoal, pastel, and graphite drawings.

Copic Sketch by Kate SikorskiCopic Sketch by Kate Sikorski

Favorite holiday tradition?
Every Christmas I look forward to decorating Christmas cookies loaded up with red hots (spicy candy) with my family and friends.

Any upcoming events or announcements?
If you are in Long Beach, you are invited to my thesis exhibition Sunday, December 11th, from 5-7pm on the campus of California State University, Long Beach. It will be at Max L. Gatov Gallery, on East Campus Drive, which is off of 7th street (the end of the 22 freeway). More info can be found on my artist Facebook page.

Copic Sketch by Kate Sikorski

Sketch with Copics - Visual research for the pictorial environments Kate will create for her Burkini Surf pieces.

Find Kate on the web:

12/5/2011 11:18:47 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Interview with Artist Mahmud Asrar, Comics Artist

Many thanks to CopicBrasil for kindly sharing this interview with talented DC Comics artist Mahmud Asrar- enjoy!

Hi Mahmud, how are you? Tell us a bit about yourself. Who is Mahmud Asrar?

Mahmud Asrar- Thanks! I’m doing great lately. I’m a half Austrian, half Pakistani artist based in Turkey. I am a professional comic book artist and I’m currently drawing Supergirl for DC Comics. I’ve always wanted to draw comics ever since I was small and started out with creating fanzines along with some friends. In time I started getting some paying work and got to do work for almost all of the bigger comic companies. Some of the work I’m more recognized for are Dynamo 5 with Jay Faerber for Image Comics, a bunch of Marvel Comics work including Shadowland: Power Man, and Star Wars Jedi – The Dark Side for Dark Horse Comics, among others.mahmud asrar dc comics artist supergirl comic book cover with copic markers

What does your studio look like? How is it organized?

MA – My studio is currently a room in the house. Usually my studio is pretty organized. I’m not one of those messy artists. I like to find my pens where I put them so I try to be tidy. Right now it’s a little out of order as we’re on the verge of moving. I’ve got the drawing table, the computer and everything else I need with my work all set up in my room. Of course I have a TV in there for background noise when I’m not listening to music. Then there’s the light box, scanner, printer, reference books, art materials, framed artwork and of course some toys and figures.

mahmud asrar comic artist studio with copics
How is your day divided? Tell us about your daily routine…

– I really don’t have a standard routine thanks to the nature of being a freelance artist. I work every day and I’m usually very busy but I don’t have any preferred hours. Depending on the day, I might start working early in the morning or sometimes I go out and start working late in the day. As long as I get the job done in time I don’t have any problems. When I work however, I usually sit down until the page, cover or whatever I’m working on is done. I do take some breaks now and then of course.

When did you know you wanted to become an illustrator and which steps have you taken to make that happen?

- I’ve enjoyed drawing ever since I could hold something that would leave a mark. People around me encouraged me in that too which helped as well. I was never told to do “something serious” instead of drawing so I was lucky in that sense. For a while in my youth I didn’t know what direction to take in my life but ended up deciding to get a university education on arts. I’ve studied graphic arts for two years then moved on to animation as I thought it’d be closer to what I want to do. At this point I was pretty certain I wanted to be a comic book artist. Didn’t know it would happen of course but I dedicated myself to it and in time it became a reality..
mahmud asrar supergirl 2 cover with copic markers

Where do you draw inspiration from? Do you have any favorite source? What are your favorite artists for the moment?

MA- Inspiration comes to me from a very broad range of things. Of course I’m inspired by the work of many masters and contemporary artists of the comics field. I enjoy art in all it’s forms so I can be inspired by a renaissance painting, an exceptional photograph, a movie I enjoy or even how a book makes me feel. It’s not only limited to these. Inspiration can come from just about anything in real life which is the source of everything we do.It’s difficult to name them all as there are so many but some artists who’ve inspired me the most are; John Byrne, John Buscema, Adam Hughes, Stuart Immonen, Bill Sienkiewicz, Olivier Coipel, Art Adams, Chris Sprouse, Mike Mignola, Egon Schiele, Alphonse Mucha.
mahmud asrar supergirl 1 page 4 by anjum with copics
When have you decided to work entirely on markers? Why did you choose Copics? What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with markers instead of 100% digital?

– I’ve used markers on my sketch work for years. A few years back I got introduced to Copic markers in the work of some of my favourite artists. The vibrancy and quality of their colours looked really great. So I thought I’d give them a shot with the original sketch card art I was doing at the time. I’ve really liked how they turned out and I’ve started to use them more widely. I’ve tried some other brands over the years and truthfully I didn’t get the same results. That was the first time I used them professionally after which I used them on my personal work and commissioned sketches. Especially the warm and cool greys which complemented each other nicely. Occasionally I’d do some full colour pieces which among which some are still my favourite pieces to date.
I used to work in the traditional manner for comics throughout my career, but I was asked to use my marker style on Supergirl, so this is the biggest project I’ve worked on with markers. I use them on the covers and interiors and fully render my pages with Copic markers now. Honestly, I couldn’t be happier. I am in so much control of my work now and the finished product is more like what I intend it to be.

Digital drawing/painting has it’s advantages, that is for sure. I have dabbled in it for a bit but never got really comfortable with it.  I do use digital drawing for my sketches or layout work sometimes. It can be very helpful to my process in that sense. Working in traditional media is what comes more natural to me. The physical aspect of it and the probability of mistakes is what makes it more tangible and real to me. I feel working on paper encourages me to be a better artist.

mahmud asrar Supergirl Cover with copic markers
What was your most challenging project so far? 

MA - Every project has it’s own challenges. Recently Star Wars Jedi – The Dark Sidewas by far the most difficult project I’ve worked on. Despite Star Wars being something I love the fact that it’s so familiar yet it’s got so much undiscovered territory that comes with it made it a real challenge. I’ve had to create or design something in almost every page. They had to be new but also belong to the Star Wars world too. So it was pretty tough.That said working in markers on Supergirl is a different challenge on it’s own. More on the technique and art side though as it challenges me to solve problems and work out issues about my work in different ways. It makes it so much more fun!

What advice would you give to the young who want to follow your steps?

– There’s a lot I can say but what I’m certain that will help the most is; Work hard, draw all the time and be diligent. This line of work is not something you should do for the money or maybe fame but because you love to do it. So it requires a lot of self-sacrifice and dedication. An illustrator or comic artist needs to know how to draw anything and everything. So drawing from life becomes essential as much as it is important to draw from imagination. Learn from the masters but don’t copy them. Also it pays to be open minded. Don’t get stuck with doing the same thing over and over again. Try different mediums, methods and subjects.

mahmud asrar decaying bloom iii by anjum with copics

What are your plans for the future? What sort of things would you be interested in doing?

- Currently it looks like I’ll be sticking with drawing Supergirl and I’m dedicated to it long term. However, I’m very slowly planting seeds for a creator owned project that I want to do entirely by myself. Too early to talk about it as there’s not much going on with it right now.To connect with Mahmud Asrar, visit:

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Artist Interview with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Julie Fei-Fen Balzer is a Julie Fei-Fan Blazer - Mixed Media with Copicsmixed media artist based in New York City. Julie is currently the co-host of Scrapbook Soup TV (PBS) and has been featured in numerous magazines and TV segments. Read on to learn more about this talented artist:

Do you have formal art training or are you self-taught?
I am self-taught.

What is your earliest memory of drawing or creating art?
My Mom used to give me a bag of mini marshmallows and a box of toothpicks and I would spend hours making sculptures, using the marshmallows to connect the toothpicks to each other.

How long have you been working with mixed media?
Mixed media is basically instinctual. When you think about it, most people have mixed their media in way or another. Usually they stop mixing when they’re told the “right” way to do it. I’m lucky. No one every said, “You’re doing it wrong.” So when I didn’t have sheer fabric on hand, I started stitching transparent gel into my quilt. Or when I didn’t like the color of a piece of patterned paper, I painted it. I think necessity is the mother of mixed media. If you don’t have what you need, you reach for what’s there and you make it work! I was definitely doing mixed media before I even knew what it was!

Describe a typical day in your art studio:

A few months ago I wrote a blog post called “Forty-Eight Hours.” For forty-eight hours I kept track of everything I did. And it is a pretty accurate picture of what daily life is like. I’m a workaholic. I wake up and walk into the studio and I spend most of the day in there. I walk out and it’s time for bed. The activities vary wildly from day to day and I’m a little bit sad to say that there’s more computer work (editing videos, editing vectors in Illustrator, photoshopping project photos, answering e-mails, writing articles, etc.) than I’d like. But some days are just about making art and those are the best days on earth!

Your website states that you “believe that mistakes are creative opportunities.” We love this. Could you elaborate a bit on your thought behind this, for the readers out there who may see mistakes as failures?
If you never fail, you never succeed. Every amazing piece of art I’ve ever made has been built on the ashes of a failure. We are truly creative when faced with a mistake, and instead of aborting the project, we embrace the mistake and take the road less traveled. And knowing that you can come back from a mistake — that you can make an even better project after a mistake — well, that’s the most artistically empowering thing that can happen. Because then you no longer have fear. And fear is the most crippling thing that can happen to an artist. So, go ahead! Jump off that metaphorical cliff.

How long have you been using Copic markers? Why did you decide to
start using them in your work?
I’ve been using Copics for about a year — maybe a bit more than that. I started using them because I wanted to airbrush. But I live in NYC, and something that requires a lot of space/ventilation just wasn’t an option. Copic’s airbrush system seemed like the perfect fit for apartment living!

How do you use Copics in your mixed media work?
They’re just another awesome tool to have at my fingertips.  I like that they (a) go onto slick surfaces of all kinds (b) are transparent (great for layering) (c) have virtually no drying time! And I particularly like how they mimic the look of spray paint, though in an transparent way, when used with stencils!

Any tips for Copic beginners?
I think Copics can be intimidating because you hear so much about the right way to use them and the wrong way, but I say jump right in! I encourage everyone to try the airbrush system. It’s intuitive and just totally addictive! So go ahead and buy the big box of markers and a compressor, because you’re going to love it!

Julie Fei-Fan Blazer - Mixed Media with CopicsWhat are your biggest sources of inspiration?
I love a lot of the usual sources: museums, window shopping, internet surfing…but the number one thing that gets me going is the question, “What if…(fill in the blank)?”  I love a challenge! And my most favorite moments have all come from one crazy thought colliding with a wildly impractical idea!

Who are some of your favorite artists?
Famous artists? Can’t get enough of Matisse. His economy of line, use of color, all just extraordinary. Robert Rauschenberg blows me away every time. The way he combines disparate elements and seemingly messy things into heavenly compositions is mind boggling. I stand in front of Klimt’s work for hours on end just sketching and absorbing
every tiny, shiny, lovely detail. I am lucky enough to live a few blocks from MoMA and I like to go and visit as often as possible because it is just so amazing!

What do you love about living in New York City? Do you feel that the
city influences your work?
New York is the greatest city in the world! And anyone who says otherwise doesn’t live in New York! LOL!  In all seriousness, I love New York. The rhythm of the city, the buildings lit up at night, the way energy pulses through every street, the food is amazing, the entertainment options are endless — there’s so much to love! And I think it influences my work in that I work very small.  Space is my constant enemy and my dreams of working large will have to be put off for now. I think I also over-detail things (I have a more-is-more art philosophy) because I’m so close up to it. And this is one of those chicken-egg things, but I find I’m not very inspired by the ocean or nature the way a lot of other artists are. Give me a building or some grungy graffiti and I’m much more at home. So am I not inspired by nature because I live in New York, or do I live in New York because I’m not inspired by nature?

Favorite holiday tradition?
The annual fight over whether or not to have a Christmas tree. It’s an epic battle every single year.

Learn more about mixed media in Julie’s self-paced online class, “30 Days in Your Journal.”

Also look for Julie’s column “Adventures in Arting” in the January/February 2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine!

Find Julie on the web:

12/1/2011 5:54:36 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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