Dust

This time something simple and calm. I have no idea how it happened that I did not publish this tutorial until now, this picture was painted during last summer so ages ago! But still I hope that you will enjoy some of those steps, as well as the explanation. I had fun drawing this, that's for sure :)

If you have any questions or doubts - feel free to ask me!

First on the separate layer I draw some sketch. I do it with a standard, round and solid brush. When the drawing is ready I lower the opacity of its layer, so it won't disturb me too much and still be helpful. Background is done on yet another layer, cause I want to have the possibility to change it if something went wrong. I add colors with a hard brush, just picking the tones I want to have there. Main idea for this drawing is as such: I want light to be behind girl's back, but I want the background to be dark as well. And that's how this happened, we all imagine that this is some kind of sunset and forest in the background ;D Then I pick my smudge tool and change some brush options - it has to be solid and round but with bigger separation and scattering (if you have problems with setting that, check out this tutorial: brush settings). With this I only need one stroke to even things out and get this great bokeh effect for free. Middle portion is then brightened with burn tool.

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For an additional effect I add some bright smudges on the background. To make them soft and delicate I use soft brush with very low opacity (few percent). Using a filter is also possible, Gaussian blur or motion blur are equally good for this task. Sketch also comes back and on the new layer just under it I add first colors for the girl. With such light colors tend to be nasty, be careful not to sunburn your character ;) And since her face is most important here we start with it. With a soft brush with low opacity I add first lights and shadows. Use bigger brush and all spots will blend nicely. Layer on which I paint right now is above the sketch so adding more color makes it disappear slowly.

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I start with lips. First thing is adding the dark line which separates upper and lower lip. Then I paint them with dark color and after that, when the base is ready, I add some lighter lines, which will help me build the right texture. Those lines shouldn't touch the separation line I painted before or the lips edges. It's also useful to add shadow under and above lips right away - without those lips tend to look strange. Details are corrected using smudge tool. I add some light to that separation line as it was too dark. I also paint over the sketch on the nose and add some small light on it's tip. When lips are ready a fight a little bit with the shape of her chin. In this moments smudge tool seems to be the best solution for me, make it strong and you can move edges around.

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Below you can see detail from nose and lips. Everything was painted with a soft brush, with bigger surfaces I used big brush with low opacity, with edges a very small one. I avoid using hard edged brush in detail like this because edges are too sharp then. Sometimes I used smudge tool to soften some blending edges. Then I move to eye. I add some light to the eyelids to make them pop out more and some detail to the iris - some small lines and light. Second eye is painted in the same way (do not copy-paste it!). Whole face is in the shadow but I couldn't help myself, light is eye makes it look alive ;)

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My girl finally gets her eyelashes (messy) and eyebrows (even more messy). From far you won't be able to tell they are ugly anyway so I don't bother making them prettier. Lashes and brows were painted on the separate layer (so I can easily repaint them or erase them), again with a soft brush.

Then the time comes for hair. On the new layer I paint the base shape for her hair and some dark lines just to see how it will look like. On her fringe I also added some shine, so it isn't so flat (with the burn tool). It looks ok to me so I move to the detail right away. I do it by slowly adding new thin lines of single hairs. Some of them are very light and not straight at all - just to make things more interesting.

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Here I paint the rest of hair. Mostly I just paint some thick strands with soft brush, then use smudge tool to blend them together and after that add thin strands, to make this whole mess look more detailed. I also add very bright, orange strands when light comes in. Burn tool is very helpful too, it lets me easily lighten up some parts of hair which I have already painted. Then I paint the neck (necks are terrible). With a soft brush I paint some delicate shadows of clavicle and then light. You have to be extra careful here. Make lights too bright or shadows too dark and it will look terrible. With the neck - you have to be gentle.

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On the new layer I add some dots - smaller and bigger, with low and high opacity, many kinds - they are supposed to imitate dust. I don't know, somehow I enjoy looking at the dust in the sun. Well, this dust was inspiration for this whole picture XD Then I repaint her shirt on the new layer. I want to have it separately to adjust edges easily. With soft brush (and low opacity) I draw edges of folds on her clothing. When it's done - I add the lights in the same way. If brush is soft enough this will be a very good base for folds, only a bit of smudge tool and it's all good. Then I add some texture - I use new layer with blending mode set to overlay and with some standard texture brush I paint all over her shirt. Some final touches with a small brush, repairing edges and I am done with the shirt.

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Dust Dust Dust

I add bright edge of the shirt and some tiny lines sticking out from it (do not tell me that this is not important) and I start drawing final element, the hand. I paint it on the separate layer (again!), just to leave the shirt intact. I take colors from girl's face - we don't want to have a color surprise here, her skin should have basically same color all over. I paint with a soft brush and use hard-edged eraser for edges. If there is such need I ease those edges out a bit with a smudge tool. Last thing is the shadow and some light on the hand, coming from the background.

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And it's ready! Below you can see animation with steps and some small surprise at the end ;) Enjoy!