YouTube superstar cartoonist and illustrator Baylee Jae presents her first-ever art instruction book! It's an easy-to-follow complete cartoon-style course covering everything from basic materials and finding drawing inspiration to creating characters, clothing and settings in her super-cool style. Get her insider tips and tricks for drawing dynamic and unique scenes filled with mermaids and magicians, kids and hipsters. Whether you're using markers, watercolor, colored pencil or even acrylic and gouache, easy demonstrations take you through all the fundamental character and cartoon building blocks.
• 30+ demonstrations show how to achieve awesome effects using different drawing techniques and coloring tools
• Advice for layering flat color, shading and blending to maximize the impact of your character’s skin tone, hair and eye color, poses, clothing and scenery
• Techniques to recreate textures like wood, water, gemstones and more
• Bonus color theory and composition basics to amplify the impact of your drawing
"You have the power to bring anything to life through your art." Baylee Jae
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Read an Excerpt
Tools & Supplies
The most common questions I get are about the art supplies I use. Everyone wants to know what the best markers are, what inking pens work best, or what paints are most suitable for beginners. The answer is not so simple. Everyone has their own preferences, so the tools I like might not be what you prefer to work with.
You will also need to consider the cost of these materials, since top-quality supplies can be extremely expensive. I recommend buying something you can easily afford at your local art supply store. Don't feel pressured to splurge on the most expensive supplies because you might not like that medium as much as you anticipated. Play around with cheaper materials and upgrade once you know what you like.
Many people think that using expensive art supplies will suddenly make their art better. Although good-quality materials can be nice to use, they won't make you a better artist. It's up to you to learn how to use the tools you have. If you're feeling overwhelmed, just remember that all you really need to get started is a pencil, an eraser and a piece of paper.
When it comes to sketching, it's hard to go wrong. As long as you're getting your ideas down on paper, it doesn't really matter what tools you're drawing with. You can even use what you already have lying around the house.
A good sharpener can prevent your lead from breaking too often, but almost any sharpener will get the job done. If you don't have a garbage can nearby, you should use a sharpener that has a receptacle to catch the shavings.
GRAPHITE AND COLORED PENCILS
A regular wooden graphite pencil is all you need, but some people prefer mechanical pencils, especially for fine details. Harder lead is lighter and easier to erase, while softer lead is darker and more difficult to erase. I usually stick with a basic HB pencil. Colored pencils are also an option if you'd like to add a pop of color to your sketches. Keep in mind, they don't erase as easily as graphite pencils.
White erasers usually work better than pink erasers. The skinny erasers that look like mechanical pencils are great for erasing smaller areas. Kneaded erasers can be molded to the size and shape you need.
Inking tools require some thought. Different tools make different kinds of lines, and the ink you use may or may not smudge when you color on top of it. If you're using a water-based medium like watercolors, you need a waterproof ink. If you're using an alcohol-based medium like markers, you need an alcohol-proof ink. This usually isn't specified on the packaging, so you'll need to do some research, or learn by testing it out yourself. Try playing around with colors other than black to give your art a different look.
Fine-line pens are my favorite inking tool. They're easy to handle and come in a variety of sizes. My go-to size is 0.3, but I also use 0.1 and 0.5.
You can create varying line widths with a single brush pen. The harder you press, the thicker the line will be. However, they are a bit harder to control because of the length and flexibility of the nib. Some nibs are made with actual brush hairs while others are felt-tipped, and some brush pens have firmer nibs than others.
DIP PEN OR BRUSH WITH INK
Bottled ink can be used with a paintbrush or dip pen. Some brushes are made specifically for this. Dip-pen nibs come in a variety of sizes and are usually purchased separately from the nib holder. You have to dip the pen or brush repeatedly while inking since there is no ink reservoir inside the tools.
Although ballpoint pens are usually looked down upon, they can actually create very interesting art. The ink is reflective and not pure black, but the pens are still fun to play around with. You can even use them for sketching and shading.
Markers are a fun way to add color to your art without getting messy. They can be layered and blended for professional coloring results. You'll need to opt for an alcohol-based brand because water-based markers don't layer nicely and will chew up your paper. The downside is that alcohol-based markers can be pretty expensive and the ink is not lightfast, which means it will fade over time.
Copic markers are the most popular and well-known alcohol-based markers. Their quality is excellent, and they're available in hundreds of colors. I recommend getting either Copic Ciao or Copic Sketch markers because their brush nibs are the best for layering and blending. They're also refillable, which saves money because you can replace just the ink cartridge when it runs out rather than buying a whole new marker. Their nibs are replaceable in the event they get damaged or worn. The Ciao markers cost a bit less, but they hold less ink than the Sketch markers and color choice is more limited. Copic markers can be purchased in sets or individually.
Many other brands of markers cost less than Copics. This saves you money up front, but can end up being more expensive in the long term. Most other brands are not refillable, so when a marker runs out of ink, you have to buy a new one. That can really add up over time. However, if you're just starting out and you're not sure yet if you'll like using markers, a cheaper brand can be a great stepping-stone. Winsor & Newton BrushMarkers, Prismacolor Premier brush markers, Spectrum Noir markers and Blick Studio brush markers are all good brands. The Spectrum Noir markers don't come with brush nibs, but they're very affordable. You can buy brush nibs separately, but they are quite expensive. Other than Copic, my favorite brands of brush markers are Blick Studio and Winsor & Newton.
Colored pencils are an easy way to get into coloring. They are great for layering, and color can be built up slowly for easy blending. Top-quality pencils are quite expensive, but cheaper brands are a good, affordable starting point. At the bare minimum, avoid student-grade colored pencils. They have extremely low amounts of pigment, which is not good to work with. Aim for scholastic-grade pencils if possible. Eventually you can upgrade to artist-grade pencils for maximum blendability and colors that are less prone to fading.
TYPES OF COLORED PENCILS AND BLENDABILITY
Some pencils have softer lead, and others are harder. Some are oil-based, and others use wax. Do some research and experiment to find out what type of colored pencils you'll like using best.
Regular colored pencils can be blended by gradually layering colors together. Using a white pencil to blend is a common trick, but you should do that only if blending light colors. White pencil alters the look of the colors beneath it, making them look less vibrant. Instead, use a colorless blender or the same colors you already used. You can also use a solvent, such as an odorless paint thinner, along with a paintbrush to smooth out colors and create a paint-like effect.
Watercolor pencils can be smoothed out by adding water. They're a great way to achieve the look of watercolor paints with the precision of pencils.
Make sure you don't drop your pencils! The lead can break inside the wood, which makes them harder to sharpen in addition to wasting lead.
Watercolor paints are quite popular with beginners and experienced artists alike. Watercolors are transparent, allowing for a lot of creative blending effects. The paint can even be lifted after drying, so mistakes are easily fixed. As with most paints, the expensive brands are better quality and have higher levels of pigment. Mixing colors is easy with watercolors, however, so you don't need to purchase tons of colors — especially if you're just starting out. That makes it more affordable if you're looking to invest in good-quality brands.
TUBES VS. PANS
Watercolors come in two formats: tubes and pans. Pans are small square cakes of concentrated dry paint, while tubes are larger and contain wet paint. Tubes make it easier to cover large areas since you can squeeze out a lot of paint at once. Pans are compact and convenient for travel or small workspaces. Many companies use the same formula for both, so results should be the same. You can even buy tubes and let the paint dry in your palette, which makes the experience more like using pans.
More Paints & Brushes
These paints are less commonly used for the type of illustration covered in this book, but they're still an option. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Gouache is similar to watercolor, but it's opaque. It can be used straight out of the tube or diluted with water. If it's diluted enough, it behaves similar to watercolor. If it's not diluted, colors are vibrant but can be difficult to blend. Gouache can be re-wet after it has dried, so less paint is wasted and mistakes are easy to fix.
Acrylic is an opaque, fast-drying paint that is relatively easy to work with. It can be thinned out using water or acrylic mediums. Avoid using too much water, or the paint can crack or peel. It's recommended your mixture be no more than 50 percent water. Once the paint dries, it cannot be re-wet, so you must work quickly if you want a lot of blending.
Oil paints are smooth and creamy. They dry very slowly, allowing for a lot of blending. The slow drying time becomes a setback when waiting for layers to dry. Once dry, the paint cannot be re-wet. Oil paints must be used with solvents, which are often toxic, so your room must be well ventilated. An alternative is water-mixable oils, which don't require a solvent.
Each type of paint requires its own brush type. In stores, brushes are normally sorted by medium type — watercolor, acrylics and oils. If you don't know what type of brushes you have, it doesn't really matter. As long as you're controlling the paint the way you want, you're using the right brush.
Paper is often overlooked by beginner artists. When sketching, any old piece of paper will do, whether it's in a sketchbook or simply a piece of printer paper. If you plan on coloring, you need to upgrade to better paper. Coloring on cheap paper is like buying expensive gourmet food and eating it off the ground because you're too cheap to buy a plate. Don't waste your good supplies on bad paper — they deserve better than that!
Smooth bristol is thick and durable, and can handle a lot of mediums. Markers aren't as vibrant as on cardstock, and they're a bit tougher to blend, but bristol is a good all-around paper for multiple mediums.
Cardstock is my go-to paper when using markers. It's ultra smooth, and colors look vibrant. I recommend using 80-100lb. (170–210gsm) cover paper if you plan on layering and blending. Cardstock is inexpensive compared to other art papers. However, it's not good for mixed-media art because it's too smooth for layering colored pencil and not absorbent enough for watercolor.
Mixed-media paper is also thick and durable. As the name states, it's meant for a variety of mediums. Markers blend really well on this paper but don't look as vibrant as on cardstock. It generally handles watercolor better than bristol board. It also has more texture than smooth bristol, which is good for layering colored pencil.
This paper works best for watercolors and colored pencils due to its texture and absorbency. The texture and amount of tooth, or roughness, varies by paper type and brand. Avoid using too much marker on this paper since it easily soaks up a lot of ink.
Here are a few other things you might need as you're following the lessons in this book.
A lightbox is a flat surface with a light underneath that allows you to trace your art. It's handy for creating clean line art without having to ink directly onto your sketch. You can make your own lightbox if you don't want to purchase one.
MASKING FLUID AND MASKING FILM
Masking fluid and masking film (also known as frisket) can be used to protect areas of your paper where you don't want color. Masking fluid must be applied with a brush. Masking film comes in sheets that must be cut out with a craft knife.
Scrap paper can be used to make sure ink is flowing, to test out what colors look like together, to learn whether they blend well together, etc. I always have some lying around.
WHITE GEL PEN
A white gel pen is extremely useful for fixing mistake and adding highlights. It can also be used for adding details like polka dots or stripes to clothing, or for creating stars in the sky.
Rubbing alcohol can create interesting textures when used with alcohol-based markers. It's equivalent to using a colorless blender solution. It can be applied with a cotton swab, paintbrush or eye-dropper.
Rulers are extremely handy for drawing straight lines, such as for buildings and geometric objects. A right-angle ruler is useful for perpendicular lines, like when drawing comic book panels.
Stretching & Inking
Once you've assembled some supplies, it's time to sit down and create! You have a blank piece of paper in front of you, but what do you draw? The lessons in this chapter will help inspire you to come up with some cool character designs. You'll also learn tips and tricks for inking your sketches to prepare them for coloring.
Keep in mind that these tutorials focus on a specific art style, so feel free to tweak the way things look to make the designs your own. Part of the beauty of art is the freedom to take whatever ideas you have and bring them to life on paper. So let your creativity flow!
Setting Up Your Workspace
Before you can start sketching away, you need to figure out where to set up your workspace. You could curl up on the couch with a sketchbook or annoy your mom by taking over the kitchen table. Any space can work, but eventually you'll get tired of being interrupted by family members or get sick of having to stow away all your supplies each day. If you'd like to set up your own personal space, here are some things to consider.
DRAWING SURFACE AND LOCATION
The main things you need are a flat surface to draw on and a chair. It doesn't have to be fancy, but having your own desk is a plus. It's wise to invest in a comfortable chair if you plan to be drawing for long periods of time. You'll also want a bright lamp to light up your space. It's ideal to have your art space somewhere private, away from the distraction of family members. This could mean having a desk in your bedroom or a quiet corner of the house.
GETTING ORGANIZED OR NOT
If you have a lot of supplies, you'll want to keep them somewhat organized. I like to keep the materials I use the most — pencils, erasers, ink pens and markers — on top of my desk so they're easily accessible. Everything else gets shelved or tucked away in drawers or cupboards when not in use.
It can be tough to keep the area clean, and I will admit my desk is usually pretty messy. If I just finished drawing something, it looks like a tornado ripped across my desk, throwing art supplies everywhere. As long as the clutter is art-related. I'm fine with it!
Instead of a plain workspace, try dressing it up with inspirational decorations. Hang art prints from your favorite artists or posters from your favorite movies, or display dolls and figures from shows you like. Have art books and magazines nearby in case you need a dash of inspiration. Being surrounded by creativity can motivate you and get you in the mood to draw.
Even if you're tucked away in your own little space away from other people, distractions can easily arise. Your phone and computer give you instant access to the Internet, an endless black hole of entertainment that is difficult to climb out of. Get in the habit of taking designated breaks to check e-mails, social media or anything else that might tempt you.
However, what one person considers a distraction, another might see as a useful drawing aid. For example, I like watching movies or listening to audiobooks while I draw. If it's something visual like a TV show or movie, I make sure to watch something I've already seen, or something not overly interesting so it doesn't take my attention off my art. Some people prefer listening to music as they work, and others need to have complete silence.
What to Draw
A common struggle all artists face at some point (or all the time) is not knowing what to draw. From your perspective, it might seem like artists around you have an endless supply of ideas and creativity, but many of us do struggle behind the scenes. It's important to push past this and not let it prevent you from creating.
You're sitting in front of a blank piece of paper, and nothing is coming to mind. Here are a few things you can do to give your brain that extra kick it needs to come up with an idea:
Keep a folder on your computer containing art by your favorite artists. Flip through the pictures— maybe something will ignite an idea.
Go outside and take photos. Then try drawing some of what you captured.
Make random scribbles; maybe they will start to resemble something.
Pick out three different objects in your room and combine them into a character.
Open a big book like a dictionary or a novel and draw one of the first words you see.
Draw something related to current events or holidays.
Use a website or an app that will give you drawing prompts.
Create an art challenge for yourself, such as drawing blindfolded, upside down or with your foot. This will get your brain to think differently.
Excerpted from "Draw and Color the Baylee Jae Way"
Copyright © 2017 Baylee Neubeker.
Excerpted by permission of Impact Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 TOOLS & SUPPLIES, 8,
2 SKETCHING & INKING, 18,
3 COLORING TECHNIQUES, 52,
4 PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER, 92,
About the Author and Dedication, 126,