Meringue

This time something small and super cute. This drawing was supposed to be a sample image for a book for little girls. I was told to draw a kitten, which would be super ultra sweet and not necessarily fully realistic, more cartoon-ish even, like in children's books. That's how Meringue came to life - kitten so sweet beyond limits ;) As for the drawing itself I had a lot of fun doing it, nothing seems to relax me more than some kittens. Maybe you'll like this tutorial too!

If you have any questions or comments - don't be shy! I always read all your thoughts and questions with pleasure :) And beside that, it would help to hear what you would like to see in next tutorials, you can write that in a comment to this tutorial or on the main page, below the last note. I'll be waiting! :D

At first I sketch some main idea for this illustration. How the kitten will be positioned, color of its fur, everything must be hyper sweet so I pick the pose in which kitten is on her back. Colors are at this point mostly in my hear rather than on the paper but everything should be bright, soft with cream-pink hues. I am also not very sure with the kitten being a bit cartoon-ish and not-realistic-looking so I start with its face. This is what is going to be the center of attention for every child who sees this, this is what determines the quality of this picture.

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After drawing shape of her eyes (it's good to just copy the outline of one eye for the other, just to be safe) I fill them with color. I want my Meringue to have blue eyes ;) Then, on the separate layer (so I can move them freely) I paint eye iris. They are big, round and almost (but almost!) black. On the layer below, which I previously painted blue, I add some little bright lines to make eyes more interesting. You can do it with brush and color or you can just pick the burn tool and switch it to making lights brighter.

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Finally I add her a nose, to see how whole kitten's face will look like with those huge eyes. I paint it with a hard brush and then add finishing touches with a smudge tool - it helps me to ease out the edges and make transitions between colors smoother and softer. On the small surfaces this toll is really helpful. I also add lots of fur on the separate layer. I always start with the fur near eyes and nose and then expand to other areas. It's a bit boring task but thanks to that fur looks way better than when done just with some brush.

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Here you can see how she looks like zoomed out. After drawing fur on her head I move to ears. Fur is easier to paint if you have some dark color beneath and paint strands with lighter color. It's also good to vary thickness, longitude and angle of hairs (but not too often, unless you want it to appear really messy) and you have to pay some attention to the edge of the head where fur is most visible.

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And here comes the ribbon, since head is all done. I paint it on the separate layer, with a hard brush. When the shape is ready I add some lights and shadows, to give it some depth and the final phase is adding fur on top of the ribbon, to make it fit better. When it comes to the lights and shadows - here it was easier for me to just use colors and blend them together with smudge tool. I do not recommend using burn tool here, it messes the hues too much.

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To draw Meringue's body I add some basic shadows at first, to know how to separate paws from belly and so on. Only after that I add the fur, just the same way as before: using standard round brush (soft or hard) and smudge tool, to make it smoother. Kitten's back paws are done is similar fashion, I paint them on the separate layer just to be safe. Also using smudge tool on them would have destroyed fur on her belly and we don't want that.

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Next I move on to background and this ball of yarn which is its main objects. First thing is deepening shadows on the background (luckily kitten in painted on the separate layer so all I need to do is to add some darker color with big and soft brush) and also on the new layer I paint big ball of dull-pink - future yarn. On that ball I sketch out how the strands go. Sadly this is also not very entertaining, similar to painting fur. After adding dark lines which are supposed to be shadows separating those yarn strands. Then I add some lights - I paint little spirals and then blur them out with smudge tool - everything to make this yarn have some texture. There is also a light for the whole ball, to make it look less flat. As a finishing touch I add some very thin strands to make this ball of yarn look fluffy.

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Drawing is almost ready, but I wanted to make it even sweeter so the new layer on the top I fill with pink color and then change its blending mode to "Overlay". This, after adjusting opacity, gives me a nice, warm light for the whole picture. This certainly makes this picture even sweeter ;) After that I make Meringue a bit bigger, to get rid of empty spaces. Last touch is adding strand of yarn, to make the background more interesting.

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Those strands of yarn I paint almost identically to painting the whole ball of yarn. At first I just draw line with a hard brush - this will be my base. On top of that I add some spring-like lights and then soften this up with smudge tool. Below the strand I also add some shadow, to make it blend with the background better. As for the background itself I add some subtle texture with one of standard photoshop brush. This way it won't be so flat anymore.

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After adding some bokeh as an "overlay" layer to make light more interesting I add my signature and the drawing is ready! :) It really became a cover for the book, although in slightly different version (with darker background). I liked this version more so that's what I chose for the tutorial. I hope this helped a bit!