This illustration was created mainly for me to improve my workflow and broaden my understanding of working with clipping masks and layers. I spent a lot of time experimenting with how Photoshop works for illustration during the process of creating this image. In this post i will try to breakdown the main steps in how i brought this image to completion and what i learned from the process.
Initially this illustration was sketched, drawn and written about in an earlier blog post, however i did not feel like it was completed. The line art was done and i added some blood spatter to illustrate wings. But i wanted to take it further and experiment with colour and some shading. The previous post can be seen here : Wings of blood.
To continue working on this illustration i first cleaned up the sketch again and began reworking and preparing it for the next step. After i removed the spatter i re-cropped the image to be in portrait mode instead of landscape mode. I also refined the line art.
While working on the image i organised the layers into folders, even though this consumes the focus and some time from working on the illustration itself, it was well worth it for the workflow later. I could then click through the layers and display them as i saw fit while working on the illustration.
I proceeded to add the base colours to have a middle tone to work from. This means having a base that i could work in both lighter and darker colours if needed. I also added a somewhat bland background colour to further figure out my colours later.
Working with Pure white as a background is not good when trying to figure out skin colours etc as it is a very sharp and dominating colour, it will influence the choices you make, as darker colours look a lot darker in contrast to the white background.
After i added the base colours i used a colour slider to tweak the colours on each layer. This makes the overall colour scheme more cohesive and ensure the different colours and layers work well together. Following your instincts during this process is important.
This affects the aesthetic of the whole illustration so taking the time to get the base colours just right (in accordance with your own taste) is time well spent.
When all the base colours are a nice mid-tone and seem coherent, the next step was adding two layers to each folder. One for shadows and one for the light. Personally i always start with the shadows as these are larger blocks of degraded light. filling in the shadows also helps in figuring out where the light is actually coming from.
The shadows add some needed depth to the illustration. Finally the highlights are added as well as some final detailing to finish the illustration. The highlights also puts some further emphasis the shadows. They can be used to make the shading more gradient as well, giving the image a more completed feel in regards to the direction the light is coming from.
In this image the lighting is coming from the right side of the person.
For future illustrations i think i would benefit from experimenting more with bounce lighting. It is also evident to me that i am not completely confident when it comes to colours. These are aspects of illustration i will be working on to further improve my work.
Blending is also something i am intending to work on. Too much gradients when it comes to blending makes the illustration look a little flat. Being rougher with edges, lighting and shadows could be better as it may create more interest and depth.
Thank you for reading. -J