Monday, November 29, 2010

It'll all get better in time

I drew my holiday card design last night, and thought I'd post the process for those interested:


I came up with a couple of ideas that I thought would work for the card, but as soon as I drew the girl with her reindeer, I didn't want to draw anything else.

I searched Google Image for reference. I liked this site a lot, and I found my reindeer's pose here.


I posed for a reference shot to use for the girl. Necks, shoulders, and arms are the most difficult for me to draw correctly from imagination. Even a somewhat similar reference pose is a big help. I used things like my hood and wrinkles around my elbows in the final drawing as well. I used this expression, but tried to change the face shape.


I penciled with non-photo blue lead. Pros: don't have to erase after inking, so ink scans nice and dark, paper doesn't degrade from erasing, and I save time and energy. Cons: can't erase, so pretty much have to get it right the first time, and the original will have lots of visible blue lines.
At this point, I generally know what the setting will be, but I get my characters in place first and leave drawing the background for later, since it should complement their pose and composition.




I inked the foreground first, and went left to right whenever possible.


I inked her hair without clear pencil lines, and ended up with the braid being out of perspective. I have to remember it's worth the time to put down my brush and tighten up my pencils when I run into these areas...






I started to stray from my pencils in the background. I realized that the hay/wall division was too high for the perspective I was using.


I used a photo of the image and messed around with it in Photoshop to test out a new background composition.






I added a spot black in the background to help frame the important part of the composition (reindeer face, girl face, hands). That left hand looked ungrounded, so I increased the shadow that it cast.


I scanned the image into Photoshop, cropped, adjusted the levels to get rid of any visible pencil lines and make the ink dark, converted to bitmap, and saved as a Photoshop file. I closed and reopened it, edited the line art, and converted to grayscale.


I converted the image mode to CMYK, added a layer set to 'multiply' called 'flats', and began flatting the image. My black and white line art stayed untouched on the background layer.


I colored the reindeer on a new layer so I could push color around with the brush tool and not ruin the flats around it. Then I selected the areas around the reindeer on the flats layer, moved back to the reindeer layer, and deleted where I went outside of the lines. I merged the reindeer layer down onto the flats.

I made some adjustments to the flats like differentiating the foreground and background wood and changing the levels and saturation of different areas to complement the girl and reindeer.


I added some highlights and color to the flat layer (blue reflection in sleighbells, pink flush on her cheek, white highlights on reindeer and her hair). On a new layer called 'shadow' set to multiply, I add shadows in a reddish gray.


I made a final layer called 'effect' set to multiply and added a radial gradient in the same tone that I used for shadows. This is a little cheat to pull the eye to the center of the image.

7 comments:

Eric Merced said...

It was fantastic seeing this. I love seeing the process Artists take to create their works. Thanks for sharing. The image came out beautiful and I've been inspired by it :)

Tally said...

Thanks, Eric! :D I love seeing other people's processes, too.

Bren said...

Thank you so much for sharing your creative process with us! This is a beautiful post. The illustration for the postcard is gorgeous! :D

Emily said...

Gorgeous! Thanks for taking the time to document your process (and so clearly)! I love seeing "behind the scenes," especially for a process I don't know (must experiment with these non-photo blue pencils and bitmap mode... hopefully with a scanner that behaves well!).
Also, I just noticed that your blog goes down instead of up. T_T

Emily said...

waaait, it does go up...
is that a double fail, or a delayed win, or a draw?
and another comment to moderate is kind of a fail...
eh, you decide, Tally ;)

Chinkypin said...

This is way cool! Digital image creation is such a mystery to me. This is like having the guy who does slight of hand tell you where the duck came from!

Pj Perez said...

Such great work as always. Getting insight into others' processes serves as good inspiration as well. Whoever received your holiday card were lucky folks!