The drawing posted last Thursday, “Wing”, went through many stages before reaching a satisfactory state. Here’s a little look into what went into building that picture.
Note: you can click on any of the images below for a much larger view.
The first for me is always the line drawing. This is the stage that makes or breaks a piece. If the composition is off, or the idea is uninteresting, or the character’s anatomy/construction is wrong, then no amount of Photoshop trickery or flash coloring will make up for it. Against my better judgment, I proceeded on to the color stage before the central character was ‘right’ in “Myths” from the preceding week (click here for a reminder). The finished work especially suffers from the poor foreshortening (perspective) on the middle boy’s arms.
I was determined to get the drawing right this time around. I spent all the time I needed to get the contortions of the figure right. Usually, I will twist my own body to get a feel for the pose. As usual, a good deal of the underlying sketch is left in the finished linework, instead of erasing it. Here, it’s especially visible on the back and in the face.
From there I started to get the lights and darks (values) which are ‘painted’ on a separate layer, under the drawing, in differing values of gray. The second image above is the grayscale layer on its own.
The first image below is what the lines and grays look like put together. The next one shows the same drawing with some deeper shadows and a much different relationship between the flowers in the foreground to the elfin figure.
The result is a greater emphasis on the parts of the picture where the action is and less homogeneity as well as an increased sense of depth. It’s more like you’re looking “into” the picture. The darker values were added on a new layer so the work underneath would be preserved.
Color was added using yet another layer. In Photoshop, the color layer was set up underneath the grayscale layer which was set to “multiply”. This causes the grays to interact with the colors underneath; resulting in a blend of the two layers showing through. The color layer (and lines) without the grays are shown below, as well.
Finally, the finishing touches were added. First, the intensity of the color in the line drawing was manipulated using the “Burn” tool. Using the Hue/Saturation window, I increased the intensity of the color overall, and then used the “Sponge” tool to increase it even more in some areas. With a few miscellaneous tweaks of the Dodge and Burn tools, an adequate balance of light and dark was achieved.
Below is the finished piece along with a copy of the earlier stage (also pictured above) so you can compare the effects of the Saturation, Dodge and Burn tools.
At this point, all that was left was to sign it, and get ready to begin work on the next piece. The new one is off to a great start. I hope you’ll check back to see how it turns out.