strawberry process

title.jpg

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)

tools01.jpg

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.

tools02.jpg

i decided to forgo any inking this time around, so for this illustration i’m using just the above.

01.jpg

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.

02.jpg

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!

03.jpg

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.

04.jpg

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).

05.jpg

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.

06.jpg

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.

07.jpg

in the end i have something that looks like the above underneath my linework.

08.jpg

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.

09.jpg

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.

  1. PaulHD’s avatar

    Excellent tutorial (and excellent artwork too of course!), I’ve just been experimenting with not inking, wish I’d seen this before hand, some great advice, and a few tips I’ll be stealing – thanks for aiding and abetting:)

    Reply

  2. Keath’s avatar

    Or you can go with the abbreviated tutorial version:

    1. Be Mike
    2. Draw amazingly awesome pictures
    3. Repeat

    That’s mostly how it looks to outsiders :)

    You have so much talent it borders on the criminally unfair. But I try not to let it bother me or let it manifest itself in cruel tricks like, say, abandoning you at the Hellboy show in Orlando Saturday and making you hitchhike your way back to Tampa. ‘Cos, you know, that’s be really uncool. Totally justified maybe, but really uncool. By the way, you might want to bring bus fare – you know, just in case I “forget” to count heads before heading back :)

    Reply

  3. Pascal’s avatar

    this is such a well explained tutorial Mike, and what a beautiful image as well!
    (^_^)

    Reply

  4. Tim’s avatar

    Holy cow, this one blew me away. muy bonita amigo!

    Reply

  5. Nami’s avatar

    thank you very much for postign the tutorial! :D

    i very much enjoy your work.

    Reply

  6. Blom’s avatar

    Very cool!
    This is a great tutorial, thank you for showing us!

    Reply

  7. Matthew’s avatar

    Thank you for following through and posting your process for this image… very interesting…

    I wish Drawer Geeks dir ColMustard from clue…

    Reply

  8. Angela’s avatar

    This is way cool. Kudos to you!

    In other news, saw “Speed Racer” in the dollar theater last week. Survey says AWESOME.
    I blame the poor advertising for making this movie look dumb. It defied all expectations and completely blew “Hancock” out of the water.

    Reply

  9. mike’s avatar

    thank you all very much! glad you guys found it interesting. i should have added it’s not the only way i go about doing things, but it is in most cases nowadays.

    matthew- suggest it!

    angela- that’s good you were able to catch it on the big screen still! i can’t wait for the dvd. haven’t caught hancock yet…

    Reply

  10. Bryan B.’s avatar

    Killer explaination for a killer illustration. I love the thought and craft you put into the lighting, beauty.

    Reply

  11. Xenos aka graphicvectors’s avatar

    i must experiment with this immediately, it’s such a great technique. maybe I will give it a shot for the next DG theme. oh and thanks for the warm welcome too mike.

    -xenos

    Reply

  12. DaiKamonohashi’s avatar

    Wow. You always hear people saying how evil the dodge and burn tools are but you make them work beautifully. I am humbled.

    Reply

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