A progression shot of how "Worry Portraits - Malo" came to be.
Original deviation here: [link]
This is under creative commons but the original is not. You may share but do not alter this progression piece in any way. It is for educational purposes only.
Step by step notes:
Beginning Notes: I'm not going to claim the way I paint is the way anyone should paint. In fact if you're doing a real painting this is very much NOT how you paint. But I'm figuring stuff out as I go, so this is how I did this one.
I don't use any fancy brushes because I don't understand them. This was all done in Photoshop with a Wacom Intuos3 with those standard circle brushes at varying levels of opacity and hardness because I am lame and I don't know anything else.
If you've ever used vine charcoal, I feel like my method of painting is a lot like that.
1) I've filled my background color orange before doing anything, because my background is going to be orange. Deciding your background is always something you need to do First. Then on a new layer I roughly sketch out my character in a pretty gesturally way. Notice that I also take care to pay attention to volumes and plains so I understand the form, which will be important when I move on to my values.
2) Add another layer. drop the opacity of my sketch waaaay down and do cleaner lines on top. Because I'll eventually be painting into these lines they don't need to be perfectly weighted, but it should be close enough.
3) Add another layer (we now have 4) between the rough sketch and the lines to do my flat colors under my lines. I fill in the major midtones. The sketch layer goes hidden and pretty much stays that way now.
4) Lotsa stuff happened at stage 4! Another layer for flats. Normally thats not necessary, but when I do things like stripes its easier to me to keep it a bit separate. I've also added another layer for the shading of the background but not ON the background, and one to begin my values. If you haven't noticed, I like layers.
Our layers currently are: Background, background values, flats, additional flats, lines, and LIGHT SOURCE!
That funny blue circle is my light source. It's vital you decide the direction your light is coming from and how hard that light is. Also important is deciding on a warm or cool light. I've chosen cool so my circle is blue! This effects color in value a lot, but thats a whole lotta color theory I don't feel like writing and you can learn about somewhere else. :b
Now that I have a light source I've rouged in my values as well. Mmmm time to get really started.
5) So remember all those layers? Yeah a lot of them just got merged. flats, additional flats and lines all just became the same layer so I can paint. I prefer to work this way because I feel like its more like real painting, also I can soften my lines nicely. Our light source is still visible because it's time to do the bulk of the value work. I use the brushes at varying levels of hardness and opacity on the same layer to blend, and then go back with short, thinner strokes to emulate fur. I've also nearly finished the background. Its important to work on the painting as a whole and stop yourself from focusing on single areas. This keeps your rendering level even and your painting unified.
6) I've added a layer again for some of this shading so I could lower and raise the opacity to change how much the fur stand out. Also finally rendered those horns. I pushed my darker values a lot more here and softened my lines a bit more. Lines are a huge crutch for me.
7) Done! Its really hard to see, but I decided to add yet another layer and softly go over my shadows with a very low opacity, mid-dark red. I wanted my shadows to be a bit warmer and help the cooler highlights pop a bit. Doing this felt like really soft airbrushing. You'll hardly notice it really unless I could flip the layer on and off.
8) This is the image at it's full size. It's 8in by 11in at 300dpi. I never actually work on it zoomed in all this way, the closest I get is 66% for some of the fur, horns, and nitpicky erasing. But it's important to work this way so you can get a high level of detail and a really high print quality. Seriously. Do your stuff big. Always.
And this concludes my long winded painting notes. Hope some of that made sense. Feel free to ask me questions and I'll try to answer.