Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How I do an illustration, step by step

This is another personal piece I just finished. I want to show how I work step by step.

First, I make thumbnails before I do sketches. It is very important, because you can see the general composition and color balance in sketch stage. I usually do 5-10 thumbnails for one illustration. But for this illustration, I directly went on ink, (sorry people, but I just wanted to do that because it is just a personal piece. :-P) 

Second, after I choose 2-3 thumbnails, I start drawing sketches. When I do it,  I also put colors. Some people don't put colors in sketch stage, but for me, I had experiences that sketch looked good, but when I colored it for final, it looked HORRIBLE! So I try to put color to see colors work with balance and contrast. (Because I didn't do thumbnails and sketches, I had a hard time doing coloring this time.)
(something like this?)

After I get one good sketch, I start final drawing. I use sumi brush, cold press paper and ink from Dr. ph Martin. I tried several inks, but I personally liked Dr. ph Martin's thickness. 

(This is the final drawing for the illustration.)

I also like drawing on cold press paper; it gives textures. especially when I use dry-brush technique, it gives great texture like on the peonies. 

Fourth, I scan the drawing, import it to photoshop, and start color it with multiple layers. I separate layers by foreground, midground, background, and figures, so I can manage contrast between different ground levels. (I will post how I color with details later.)

After I finish color it like coloring books, I start coloring lines. If you read a post I posted long time ago about how to pick up line works, you will see how you can color lines. (http://meenchoi.blogspot.com/2012/09/many-people-ask-me-how-to-pick-up-line.html)

And then, I put shadows and lights.

for shadows and lights, I do them in different layers, I usually use multiply option for shadow with very light colors. And for light, I play with different options like overlay, softlight, screen, and many other options. For this one, I just used normal with lighter opacity. 

At last, I put textures and adjust it with adjustment layers.  I do several ways to apply textures. First way is using paper textures I scan. you can also find paper textures in google, but it is hard to find in high resolution. And I like scanning textures I make. I keep paper texture images in a folder, so I can reuse it. Another way is to use brush tool. I have many brush presets I made in high resolution like over 2000. (I will write a post.) I use them like stamps in different layers. 

For the light glowing, I used paper texture, made it yellow, and masked the layer with circle gradient tool. 

Thank you for reading this and hope you learn something from it!

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