Chinese Zodiac Dog Warrior – Coloring with Copic Markers

This is one of the vintage illustrations for a backer’s reward of Curator Prime’s Mystery Art Envelope Kickstarter project. The backer has graciously given permission to share this custom art and the process that enabled it to be, as adventurous as that was.

To begin, as the backer did not specify an illustration, Curator Prime chose the close-up of the Chinese Zodiac Dog Warrior in honor of 2018 being the Year of the Dog. Then she brought forth her stash of Copic markers. Using C3, Curator Prime laid in a base layer for the fur on the head and hand, leaving a strip under each eye for dramatic effect.

Fur texture was added using C3 again and by layering in C5 and C6. C1 was tried out under the eye, but not to Curator Prime’s satisfaction, therefore the area around the eye became all C7 with additional C7 for fur texture.

The gum line is R00 and the tongue R21.

For the sash, Curator Prime used YR23 for the base, with another layer of YR23 stroked in for shadows. The center area is YR27 with YR27 again used for lines of shadow.

“Shadow” for this piece includes areas that would be darker then others due to the folds of clothing based on the direction of the light, and in many cases, what Curator Prime though would look good artistically. Given this is a dog anthropomorphized to be an oriental warrior, she did not employ an entirely realistic approach to her coloring.

The sleeve is B39 with B99 for shadow.

For what Curator Prime referred to as the undershirt, V22 was used as the base, with lines of V25 for shadow.

Curator Prime felt the shadows on the undershirt to be too harsh, and thus used V22 to blend them out just a touch.

While there is undoubtedly a more proper name, Curator Prime refers to the areas enclosed by the sash as the hip flaps, and colored them, twice, with BV08.

She initially tried B99 for shadow lines, but found there was not enough contrast with the base color of BV08. Thus she used v09 for the shadows and the small cross marks which created a nice texture for the area.

The area on the legs under the hip flaps used the same colors as the sleeve of B39 and B99.

For the main shirt, first there is a layer of B37, which was then lightened by adding a layer of B45. Shadow lines were created with B37. This same color combination was used near the base of the illustration, on either side of the sash, as you will see in a moment.

The bracelet started out with Y08, was toned back with YR23, and had YR24 added to the edges to create a bit of curvature.

Curator Prime uses a technique when coloring eyes which involves laying in colors, erasing part of them with the Colorless Blender (0), and then laying in more colors. Specifically which colors is often a mystery until she achieves something she is pleased with … and then tries to remember what they were so she can record them for posterity and the possibility of a Curator Coloring blog post.

For the dog warrior, the first layer on the eyes was YR27. Which was too bright. The second layer was E59. Which was too dark.

The Colorless Blender was then used to pull out the color around the pupil. And YR23 was added to fill in that void.

B41 was added as an experiment … which was considered a failure. Again with the Colorless Blender around the pupils and a final addition of Y08 to get the effect that was desired all along, despite the scenic route it took to get there.

Curator Prime was quite certain she wanted the staff to be E59. Until she actually colored the staff E59. Too light. Then she added W6. Then she added W9. And was quite certain it was the appropriate color it should have been all along.

Curator Prime is not a fan of large white backgrounds. Thus she tried a column of E42.

More columns of E42 were attempted, as well as some blending and adding additional hues until the whole background appeared to be such a disaster that Curator Prime considered chucking the whole thing and starting over.

What she did instead was save the coloring of the dog warrior by cutting it away from the hideous background.

The white edges of the paper were made black where needed with the use of a thick Sharpie marker.

Amidst her trove of papers, Curator Prime had a lovely piece of speckled cardstock. She traced out the dimensions of the frame that originally surrounded the close-up of the dog warrior as that boundary will be important in just a moment.

To age and add interest to the cardstock, a few slashes of watered ink from a Tim Holtz Vintage Photo Distress Ink pad was used. A side effect of this was a slight warping of the cardstock which would be taken care of at the end of the creation process.

The dog warrior coloring was glued in place. Then, along the previously mentioned pencil lines of the original frame, Curator Prime added a new border using washi paper.

Now completely satisfied with her work, Curator Prime added her artist mark and the year, and placed the entire thing under the two hefty hardcover volumes of The Complete Far Side: 1980-1994 to flatten the cardstock in preparation for mailing to its new home.

For your convenience, here is a list of all Copic marker colors used in this Curator Coloring:

C1, C3, C5, C6, C7.    W6, W9

R00, R21.     E59.       0.

Y09.     YR23, YR24, YR27.

B37, B39, B41, B45, B99.     BV08.     V09, V22, V25.

Available Again in 2021!


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