I sometimes get questions about my digital painting process so I figured I would break it down for anyone who might be interested.
But before I get into things, I want to point out that this is in no way the only correct way of painting digitally, this is just how I work :]
So without further ado, here we go!
My painting program of choice is Procreate but I think these methods would work in any program that uses layers and blending modes.
Most of my (recent) paintings are done mainly with a basic hard round brush. I will use fancier brushes to paint in the backgrounds and more towards the end of the process to paint in small details like single strands of hair (My favorite ones come from MaxPacks – mainly the Painter’s and Comics packs)
I usually like to start with gathering some different reference images for inspiration as well as to help with basic anatomy etc.
(this particular piece was for a dtiys challenge from @angelganev so some of the “research” work was done for me)
I then move on to making a rough sketch. I’m not trying to be very precise, it’s just to get the basic shapes in.
Sometimes I get lucky and the first sketch I make is good enough. Other times I will make multiple versions and choose the one I like most, like in this example.
I lower the opacity of the layer with the first sketch to around 50% and make a new layer on top of it.
Then I work on refining the sketch more, adding details and fixing areas that need it.
I usually keep my sketches pretty loose and don’t really spend a huge amount of time on them.
Just need a good enough base so I can start painting.
Adding base colors, light and shadows
Once I’m happy with the sketch, I merge the two layers together.
On a new layer underneath the sketch I fill the shape of the character with base colors.
I set the sketch layer to multiply and play around with it’s colors using the Hue, Saturation, Brightness tool to see what matches.
After that I add a color dodge layer on top of everything and paint in basic light areas with a soft round brush.
Once that is done, I create a new layer and just start painting on top of everything.
I prefer to start with the face and move from there.
In general, I like to pick a cooler tone for shadows (like blue or purple) and a warmer one for highlights (yellow, orange etc.)
I don’t stick to this all the time but that’s typically my approach.
Background and details
Here you can see I started working on the background. Normally I start on the background earlier in the process but in this particular piece I left it till this point.
At the same time I also rendered the character further and fleshed out more of the details.
At this point it basically comes down to shading and lots of rendering :]
Here you can see l added another color dodge layer to add some more of that dramatic lighting.
After that I pick a light color and add a bit of an outline to some areas to break everything up a bit. I just think it looks better that way.
At the end, once I’m happy with the overall drawing, I merge the whole image and play around with some of the adjustment settings like curves, saturation, hue and liquify if needed.
The final result
And that’s basically it!
You can find more of my work under these links
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or send me a message using this form :]