Golden thread

This was actually a break from commercial works and some other drawings. And I missed snow, enough to make a Christmas-like scene. Little lights, falling snow... They are so charming I really couldn't resist any longer, ditched my work and painted! Beside my usual jabber there is also a video for you to download and watch. It's in super speed, lasting only 7 minutes while actual footage is about 5 hours long. It's perfectly watchable but if anyone needs full length movie - just say it out loud.

I also added some tips below, because you can't see everything from the movie and also a brush which I used to paint wool here. It's pretty easy to make if you have a sweater and a camera but still - you can download it HERE.

..:: DOWNLOAD VIDEO-TUTORIAL ::..

I start with some lousy sketch - it helps me to chose composition for the whole picture. Usually before I am sure what I want to paint few such monstrosities come to live and when I actually see what looks better I make a final sketch. Lately I try to make my sketches a bit more detailed. Painting and drawing seem to be separate skills in my case but I want to get better in both of them so I need to practice! Also drawing sketch carefully makes me see more anatomical mistakes and I try to get rid of them right away. The sooner the better ;)

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Here comes the simple color and lights - I focus mostly on the character's face as it's the main point of the picture. I wanted this little string he is holding to have a golden glow, putting some light on his hair and face. When I have some first colors put I start painting facial features. There is a small trick here, shown in the movie - I actually copy sketch layer and merge sketch of the face with my color layer beneath. Then I hide the original sketch. This way I can use for example smudge tool and use all those lines I sketched previously, without affecting the original sketch. And obviously - you need to trust your sketch to do that, who needs lines which are actually not helpful at all?

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After painting face I move to his hair. Some base shape was already made when I first added colors to the picture. Now I put some lights on, trying to merge individual hair strands into blocks. This is actually very important! Only after that I paint thin hair, flying around and being shiny. With that helps me one particular Photoshop filter - Filter->Blur->Motion blur. It helps to make hair more floaty and less static. Watch out not to over use this! ;D

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Scarf is almost automatic, I just paint some basic shape and then add texture with my wool brush. I made it a while ago, for something completely different and now I feel the urge to try it out in different drawings. It really is helpful! But if you are planning to use it remember that everything made with such complicated brush will look artificial. You need to add something made purely by hand to escape that feel - I added some strands of wool on the edges. Small thing, but makes a huge difference!

Then it's time for painting hands. Here good sketch made it very easy! I added some basic shadows, basic lights and everything started to look right. For me the hardest part in drawing hands is actually reaching this point. After that I just follow my intuition. Another thing that made it easier this time was this particular light.

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At last - snow. I admit I didn't really give it much thought. Same with the background - on the movie you can see clearly how I made it. Just few bright circles in a row, blur filter and here you go, illusion of some illuminated city in the background is done. Or so I want to believe. Snow was made in a similar fashion, it's only worth remembering to make both small and large flakes, also vary opacity and sharpness. I also make light a little bit more interesting with lighter spots. On this picture I mostly used layer with "overlay" blending mode - this was I can quickly adjust colors and so on. Golden thread and small girl were also painted on such layer.

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And that's all! On the very end I just adjust contrast and colors a little bit. I recommend downloading the movie as quality is much much better. And again - if you have any questions regarding this picture (or not?) or want to see some part (or whole?) of the movie in the real speed - I'm here for you. I hope this drawing will be an inspiration for you. Snowy-shiny pictures are very charming and this special mood is actually simple to achieve - you just need some snow (white dots + blur filter) and warm glow (overlay blending mode and warm color)! Good luck and don't forget to send me the result! :D