Illustration – The Gunman.

Illusions, Uncategorized

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.

A previously drawn sketch / line art

A previously drawn sketch / line art

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.

Layer folders

Folders created for the layers during the illustration work flow.

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.

Base colours 2

Base colours have been tweaked using the colour slider on each layer.

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.

shadows.png
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.

final image.png

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

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Illustration – “AI” – Geisha.

Illusions, Uncategorized

Tools :

The software i used for this illustration was Adobe Illustrator on the Ipad pro (also known as Adobe Draw). I later imported it to Adobe Illustrator on my PC to touch up and finish the image.

From sketches to illustration – progression.

Before i begin sketching i usually go through a thought process. Depending on the work i want to create, the time i spend thinking about the image and visualizing it varies.
After i have an idea on how i want the sketch to turn out i do some research.

Spending a few minutes on Pinterest i get some inspirations and visual impressions before i execute the first/starting sketch. Be careful with spending too much time on this however as you do not want the inspirations you receive from elsewhere to dictate how your piece turns out.

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The first step was starting a rough sketch, trying to capture the essence of what i am visualizing and trying to create with the image.

This is however not necessarily the right approach always. It was the way i started this illustration, but sometimes you just get a sketch you want to complete with no visualizing or intention as well.

The beginning of an illustration or sketch is always open to varying your approach. You could always start a new sketch if it does not pan out as intended.

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After the main sketch was done i spent some time experimenting with it on different layers, thinking about colours and lighting etch, this is evident with all the layers i used.

After i had spent some time thinking about the image i reduced the opacity on the sketch and started refining the line art on a new layer.

This is definitely one way several digital artists go about refining and create line work.
However this is not always how i go about it myself. Refining line art on a new layer is maybe an easy way of doing it but sometimes refining the sketch itself is a better way to approach an image, albeit a more difficult and time consuming approach.

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On this one however i refined the line work on its own layer. Spending some time adding details around the face and hair to create more interest and ensuring the face is the focal point of the illustration.

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I do this spending some ekstra time getting the line work to be coherent. meaning creating lines mostly in one long swift stroke with minimal amounts of breaks in between the lengths of the lines. This is to ensure the line work doesn’t look scratchy and broken up in between the endpoints.

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After i have finished the line work of the main sketch, i continue working on it adding more details. Focusing on shadows and where the light source is i draw in where the shadows  are to create some more depth in the line work. I also add more detail around the face and hair, trying to create interest.

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Finishing the line work is always satisfying to me, probably because this is where i tend to spend the most of the time i work an an image. This is when i begin spending time on experimenting some more with new layers and colours to figure out what i want to do next.

When i have made up my mind i start organizing my layers again to remove the unnecessary ones and clean up the work space. Keep in mind however that you should not delete the rough sketch layer. It is nice to have as a comparison later down the road of the illustration.

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Now the time to add colour has come, i played around with several combinations of colours to find the ones i wanted to use in this illustration.

I like de-saturated colours as they dont “glare” and strain the eye as much as highly saturated tones do. I want the image to lead the eye well without having too bright colours that steal the interest away from the focal points.

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After getting a base colour palette to work with mu drawing i started fiddling with the flowers on the fan the geisha is holding.

This is where i got stuck. This happens sometimes, you get stuck on illustration work and you dont really know what to do about it. I put the illustration away for a few days while thinking again about how to deal with this issue.

I the end i asked another artist friend of mine on how she would approach it (i specifically asked about the background colour). Blue was suggested as the colour for the background as she thought this would give the illustration some more depth.

In this i agreed, i played around with some blue hues that i thought would work well.

Pro Tip : When stuck, ask someone for directions.

A-I 1 - Drawing 2

To finish the illustration`s background i wanted a graphical element to round the whole image off.  In the background is the kanji for “Ai” drawn on a makeshift wall.

Of course when using graphical element from a written language that is foreign to you, one needs to do some research.

In Japanese, both “ai (愛)” and “koi (恋)” can be roughly translated as “love” in English. However, the two characters have a slightly different nuance.

I did some research and found this web page from ThoughtCo explaining what i needed to know for this illustration with, at the very least,  a small degree of confidence.

 

Feel free to leave a comment on this post and let me know what you think.
Thank you for reading, i hope you enjoyed it.