What I do first, after I have an idea (good or not ) is to lay it quickly down on paper. I usually use a mechanical pencil with a 0.5 HB lead (which is considered the standard lead), trying not to get too caught up in detailing at this stage; I focus mainly on the composition and organization of the overall elements of the illustration and the basic shapes that will make up the characters.
I always draw directly on the paper where Ill finish the illustration, which is an art paper of approximately 180-200 grams thick. Its important that the paper is thick because it has to stand the whole process of the colouring without bending or breaking.
I also use a standard pencil eraser (Staedtler) to vaporize anything that might go wrong, heh, heh
NOTE: Its very important not to push the pencil too hard against the paper, because it will be difficult to erase it afterwards, and it may affect the colouring process.
Step II - Final Pencils
After I have the draft finished and Im pleased with most of the elements and the composition, then I move onto the finished pencils. Though Im inking and colouring this myself, I need to reassure my lines to feel fully comfortable with them and to track down any errors or mistakes that mightve slipped before. I focus especially on anatomy and details at this stage and use a softer 0.5 B lead which allows me to easily define the whole illustration.
I use a Maped detail eraser at this point, because I no longer need to make any big changes and erasing a B lead might smudge the paper and stain it, which would ruin the canvas.
Step III - Inking
After Ive got my finished lines, then I start inking the piece. I use black felt-tip pens of varying sizes (0,05 up to 6,0) to tone the lines and give them a different intensity depending on the element Im inking. Things in the foreground will of course be blacklined with a wider pen and objects in the background with a finer.
A most important detail too is the fact that I dont black line everything in the piece; some elements (such as golden objects or hair) I line with the colour theyre going to be later filled up with or a dark grey tone, to make them stand out a bit more and soften them up. In this particular case, youll notice the hair on the Goddess, the tattoos on Sláines face and the golden ornaments.
The black spots (such as the hair and other pitch black sections) are painted using a Pelikan water based, broad tip, black marker. I used to use alcohol based ones, but later realized that they arent good in the long run and ruin the paper after a while when they start distilling their solvent. The water based marker needs at least to layers to get a good solid black, but its way better in the long run.
Step IV - Tones
At this stage I have already erased the pencils and left the canvas ready to go in with the markers and start the colouring.
I add tones first, using grey markers ranging from the lightest to the darkest, building up shadows as if I was working with watercolours. Metals are the objects I focus majorly here, and details that need volume before I add the colour.
The tones will also help me give the colours a better blending between themselves and not have them fighting each other and the illustration looking like a rainbow.
Step V - Colours
This is the fun part! I add the colours after Ive finished all the grey tones, and even on top of some of them (as the Goddess hair) to give them the final touch.
The markers (as I said before) work as watercolours: each layer adds more shading to the whole and so you work from light to dark; setting the tones first and then darkening the shadows.
I usually will add a layer or two more over the colours that have a grey layer under to bring them up a bit if theyre too dull; which wasnt the case (fortunately) on this one.
Youll notice also that at this point, the skin tones are similar between Sláine and the Goddess, which is something I fixed in the next step.
I work with the same tones or similar ones on the colours, but sometimes if I need more shadows Ill add grey again until I get the desired shadowing.
Step VI - Detailing
Detailing is the easiest part, perhaps, because you already have all the difficult parts of the process behind you. However, we have to be careful not to ruin something during this step, because thatd mean a start over from scratch (theres no Ctrl+Alt+Z in this!).
In this stage I usually add smoke effects, eye colours, tattoos, blood splatters and all those things that require me to use oil pastels, acrylics and brushes. For smoke, particularly, Ill lay a bit of oil pastel and smudge it with my finger to get the vapour and then Ill paint wisps with acrylic. Same for blood, where Ill sponge some splatters with red acrylic and then add streaks with markers.
Step VII - Finishing
This is the last stage, in which Ill go back into the illustration again with the micro pens and refine the lines again, bringing up details or adding a thick lining to the characters that are in the foreground. Ill also frame the illustration with black (usually, though this may change regarding the image) and Ill have it finished.
Ill lay a thin coat of fixative matte varnish to protect it and scan it. Some brightness/contrast adjustments later, itll be up for display on DevianART.
Many people have asked me to post a tutorial showing how i work one of my illustrations, and i finally decided to take some time and show a bit of what goes on at my drawing table.
This isn't meant to be educative or anything, as i don't have the skills yet (i think) to teach anyone anything, but i think this insight might help shed some light on certain aspects of my aproach to drawing and how i do certain things. I only took a section of the illustration so i wouldn't have to upload a tremendously heavy file on my gallery.
I hope you like it and let me hear your thoughts on it!
This is really great! Thanks for taking the time to explain your process. I am always looking for new techniques, and I think I will adopt some of yours in my own art. Your work is amazing, by the way!
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More