a couple of people expressed interest in seeing some of my steps for that strawberry shortcake illustration i posted last week. so this is for them i guess. just click below to see a simple tutorial on how i went about it.
(you can click on any of the images for larger views)
as always, these are the basic tools i look to whenever i start creating a new illustration. starting from the left and clockwise down: WINSER & NEWTON BLACK INDIAN INK, WACOM INTUOS 3 STYLUS, STAEDTLER PUSH PLASTIC ERASER. KOH-I-NOOR RAPIDOMATIC® PENCIL w/ 0.5 PENTEL BLUE LEAD, KOH-I-NOOR RAPIDOMATIC® PENCIL w/ 0.7 PENTEL BLUE LEAD, MICRON 02, PENTEL POCKET BRUSH, PRINCETON ROUND 2 BRUSH, LARGE STAEDTLER ERASER.
i decided to forgo any inking this time around, so for this illustration i’m using just the above.
i start of with a basic line drawing using my my 0.5 lead, which tends to give me a pretty light drawing. i then “ink” over it using my 0.7 lead. this is where i iron out all my details and give my drawing a nice crisp look that drowns out many of the sketchier 0.5 lines when scanning. the image shown above is this but i’ve colorized the linework in photoshop (IMAGE > ADJUSTMENTS > HUE/SATURATION > COLORIZE).
before scanning though (with the exception of this tutorial), i’ll go back to my 0.5 pencil and shade my drawing. i’m not worried about being too incredibly precise with my shading. my coloring in ps will take care of that. but this does give me some nice texture once i get to that step. however, the more precise my shading, the less thought process i have to put into the lighting. usually.
here i’ve once again colorized my linework and created three layers: my LINEWORK layer on top set to MULTIPLY, a COLOR layer below that, and a BG layer at the bottom. depending on what overall tone i want my illustration to have, i’ll select a light neutral color to make my BG. because of the strawberry theme, i decided to make this one pink. usually, this is when i’ll go back to my linework layer and colorize my linework layer again with my BG color set as my foreground color. when multiply is applied, this blends the linework into the BG very nicely. in this case however, i kept the default crimson it colorizes to when black is set as the foreground color. i just liked it better this time around.
alright, tedious parts are done (most of those last few steps are created through actions i’ve set up and only take me a couple of seconds. i recommend setting up some actions the first time you go though this so you never have to deal with them again). now it’s time to go into color. YAY!
i’ll LOCK my LINEWORK and BG layers so i don’t accidentally work on them and, using a hard brush tool i’ll begin blocking in my colors on my COLOR layer underneath my linework layer (like coloring in a coloring book). i use the pink from my BG to choose what colors i’m going to use using the eyedropper tool, but more often than not, i’ll mess with those colors using HUE/SATURATION when i’m done.
after getting all of my colors blocked in, i have something like the above underneath my linework. i’ll use the wand tool (with the tolerance set to 10 and anti-alias and contiguous checked OFF) and select each color. i then save each selection (SELECT > SAVE SELECTION) so i can go back to them. it’s important to select all of your colors first before beginning to shade, otherwise you might run into problems selecting them later on (after rendering).
i usually start painting my figures first and work on the background (in this case- the strawberries) later. i load each selection and, using the burn tool (set to midtones and a 20-30% exposure), begin shading each section. after which i’ll go into the variety of brushes i’ve created and just sorta paint my shadows and highlights and whatever else i feel like. the nice thing about saving my selections is i can go back and forth to, let’s say, strawberry shortcake’s hat whenever i feel like it without ever have to worry about affecting the sections around it.
after i get strawberry shortcake pretty much rendered in, i go into the background. this is still done on the same color layer. i never touch my BG layer. i might add additional shadows and highlights to the figure depending on what i discover during this stage.
in the end i have something that looks like the above underneath my linework.
now it’s just a matter of tying everything together. using the radial gradient tool and a low opacity custom airbrush i’ve saved, i’ll add color highlights to certain objects and maybe bring in a second color for light. i wanted this illustration to have an early morning, slightly foggy feel to it, so i used a warm yellow this time.
my final step is to create a new layer above my linework and radial gradient (using the same yellow) some of the areas i felt light would be hitting. this lightens up the linework a bit in those areas. i’ll use the ERASER tool set to airbrush with 50% opacity to erase large chunks of these “light flares” so they aren’t overwhelming. this is subtle stuff, but gives a finished quality to the illustration. lastly i go back in to to my COLOR layer and touch up any gaps in colors or crisp lines from the result of saving selections. then it’s formatted for the web and ready to create a tutorial about.
and that’s it! i hope some of you find it interesting and/or useful.