This was an experiment I ended up liking. I did it to draw this and this. Basically, it’s a quick way to get started on a painting. This is gonna be a face so I can show the details. I decided I want to draw a guy this time, with a smug expression. This should be fun.
THIS IS FOR PAINT TOOL SAI. You’d be doing yourself no favors trying it in Photoshop.
01. I fill the canvas with a dark, desaturated color. Above that I begin to block in colors in a shape that resembles what I’m painting. The color I used is a peachy skin tone.
02. Using a brown or tan color, I draw on some line art. It looks ridiculous right now and that’s ok. All of this is done on the same layer.
03. On the same layer, I begin to block in colors (over the lines somewhat). I’m concerned with just covering the blue of the canvas. I’m being bold with a lot of the color choices, but it’ll pay off.
I use this little chart for starter skin colors:
04. With my water color brush on these settings (the size/density get toggled, and usually on the side of larger + lighter opacity):
I begin to blend with a sort of pinky peach color, to start. I blend all the colors together on the same layer, just basically mixing everything. I change the color depending on the saturation of the area being painted, so I switch to an orange for more red areas. Basically, try and match the colors. If you paint over a cooler area with a warmer watercolor, it will change it, of course.
05. This is the brush I do the first few details with! I got it from Tumblr, you’ve probably seen it around, it’s that really good blend-y edit for the acrylic brush:
(I toggle the size and opacity, but on the side of smaller + darker.)
I begin to pick up colors from both the canvas and the color wheel to make details. A lot of nice pretty colors are on our canvas already and it’d be a shame to waste them. But using the same colors to blend without eyedropping new ones will make the color palette a bit flat. Thus, I do both.
06. I also tighten up with an airbrush on these settings, changing only the opacity and size. I remember that it is entirely possible to overpaint things, so I try and enhance what I’ve already done instead of trying to repaint it. This is a mistake I and a lot of artists make, I think.
07. Still fixing up with the airbrush + watercolor (sparingly) + acrylic.
08. Once I’ve made some headway on refining, I get a gigantic airbrush (about 200px) and turn down the opacity to about 8-11% and begin to brush some reds and yellows onto the face to warm it up. Alternately, I’ve brushed greens and blues and purples to cool skin before.
09. I pick my background color and begin to use it to clean up the edges.
10. Last thing I do is paint his eyes! Time to export and edit the colors a bit in Photoshop. I try and fix them as much as I can in SAI with painting, but digital lends itself to the ability to fix quickly. Pretty much why I like to digital paint, besides it being cheap.
11. Before I export, there’s a few things I can do to make it better. Since it’s kind of quick and cartoony, I can lightly line it and make it pop. Or I can refine further with a nice textured brush and make it look more realistic. I dig the lines, so I’m going with those.
12. After I PS it (which is nothing more than a linear contrast curves layer and some warming via selective color) I shrink, duplicate the image and run a Paint Daubs filter (both settings on 1) to sharpen it. I take down the opacity of the sharpened layer to about 40-60%. I’m done!