Green worm

It's maybe not an amazing drawing, not very fresh one too, but I'd like to show you some details while we make our journey through the whole process. For example I'll show you how to draw wooden texture without any special brushes and with some simple tricks. We will take a closer look at the fabric here and some other elements of the drawing. I hope it will be an interesting tutorial.

If you have any comments, write ahead, I will also answer all your questions with pleasure :)

What you can see here is actually a revised sketch. First one was just bunch of ugly ellipses, which helped me decide where and what should be placed. Only after I planned the whole composition I dare to draw details of my idea and I try to make the sketch as clean as possible, that way it will help me later on. I sketch everything on a separate layer and lower it's opacity. Then, on the separate layers, I color elements of the illustration, one by one - head separately, hair, arms, cloak, planks and background bushes. This way it will be a lot easier to color. After everything is nicely separated I add some shadows and lights. As you can see light here is nothing like on the finished piece. Well, I am pretty indecisive person... :D

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I start with the face, of course. I paint with a soft brush and low opacity. This way I can slowly build form with shadows and lights. I'm trying to make nose, cheeks and lips look less flat. For that you need a certain amount of contrast between your brightest and darkest tone. Opacity is pretty low so I don't need to think about blending colors together, everything looks neat from the beginning to the end, just takes more time. Remember to use many colors, not just one tone with its lighter and darker variations. I added more yellows to the highlights and a bit of red to the shadows. Finally I add the highlights and face doesn't look flat anymore. You can still see some messy lines though.

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I finish details on the face by adding eyebrows, eyelashes and ear. That last one is covered in very strong light, skin on the ear is thin and semi-transparent, that's why light is coming through the ear ;) I also start painting hair, picking lighter and darker areas. Light on this illustration is located on the left and I have highlights on the face already painted so it's hard to make a mistake. Those first lines are then blurred with the smudge tool and on top of them I add thin lines of hair with a brush. On the right, where hair is in the shadow, I add some bright hairs, to make it look more natural. Left side is almost white from the light. Notice how I merge hair into groups and try to make them look messy - this helps to give life to the hairstyle, it doesn't look stiff. Also hair is gray but I still add some yellow to the lights and green and brown to the shadows, use of many colors makes drawing more interesting.

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When the hairstyle is finished and that floating part is also painted, I start painting shirt. At first I just try to place the lights correctly. To check if everything looks fine you can zoom out the whole picture or squint your eyes. When you are not convinced by the blurry image then there is something wrong with it and lights need to be adjusted. I add more of those soft strokes to finally see some volume and plan the folds. Sometimes it helps to use small lines instead of blurry strokes, it helps to see edges. Hard lines can then be blurred with smudge tool. Last step is to make shadows look deeper and lights brighter since when you build them bit by bit it's easy to make contrast too low. That sleeve is obviously not ready yet but at this point I don't want to paint too many details as everything may yet change.

Green worm Green worm Green worm
Green worm Green worm Green worm

Time to paint rest of the clothing. No folds here, fabric is a bit stiff, it's enough to just draw the features like collar, clasps and seams. Shadow on his body is hard to paint since I have no shadow on the wooden floor yet but I just paint what I think is correct and leave it for now. In the worst case scenario I will just repaint the shadow once more, it's nothing complicated. After that I start coloring the forearm. I need a deep enough shadow here as the brightest part will seem to be more in the front and that would certainly help here. Then I add a little bit of detail to just see where the hand is and finally I need to cut it off and rotate as the previous position didn't look very stable.

Green worm Green worm Green worm
Green worm Green worm Green worm

And now the hand, that's always very problematic for me hah... At first I sketch it once more, to be sure how to place all those fingers and after that I try to figure out where shadows and lights should be. I use smudge tool a lot right now (you can see it, it leaves those smudge patterns). Finally I blend color together with a soft brush. I also lighten shadows between fingers to make them look less separated.

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And here comes the background. What happened here? Seems to be a big jump but really, it isn't, believe me. To paint those bushes I just took some basic texture Photoshop brush and added a scattering option to it. That way I got some chaotic and bush-like texture. Correct way of picking light and dark areas and painting them with that brush + gaussian blur made it all very simple. Just few strokes with different colors. Same with the grass - Photoshop has this very stupid grass brush. Never use it for detailed grass. But this time it was a good choice. Grass further away was made with a smaller brush and heavily blurred, on the front I also used blur filter but weaker. Grass was painted with brisgh colors on the dark background.

Then I adjust lighting a little bit, adding new layer in the opacity blending more and painting it with some yellow-orange tones. Looks way better! I also add more light to the left part of the background since this is there my light source is. Last thing is adding lots of flying dots and lines and circles to steal your attention from the blurry background. Well, it's working, isn't it? :D

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Finally this wooden texture. You can clearly see that I've been avoiding this subject for the whole time ;) I didn't really know how to paint them. Technique I am about to show you was developed after a short period of trials and errors and it's not the best way (probably) but it worked for me. At first I place some base, one color, only dividing the whole surface to planks. Be careful here, think about the perspective. When this is ready, on the separate layer I add some texture with one of the standard brushes (I am such a lazy person... You can use whatever brush you like, it's not very important, you will see why). I only want something to be underneath, pattern of this texture is not important at all. Then with a bright color and soft brush I add lines. Opacity is low so they look messy, placed one on top of another, with some lighter and darker spots. That's absolutely fine. Don't try too hard because they will start to look artificial. Then you take dodge tool and make those lines more refined, just see the picture below. On top place a new layer with multiply blending mode and darken everything. You can also do that with a brush or burn tool. Final things - merge all those wood layers and use sharpen tool. A lot. Until the texture from the beginning phase starts to pop out. Then you are finished!

Green worm Green worm Green worm
Green worm Green worm Green worm

What is left is to refine details, everything is more or less painted. I also need to add the bird and the worm. At first I just add base shape with a hard brush, just to see where they have heads and where legs. Then, again with a hard brush, I draw some lines like I did on the sleeve before, picking lighter areas. Smudge tool helps me blur them out and final touch is adjusting the light, making it brighter on the bird's back. Also don't forget the shadow under those guys or they will look a bit strange, floating above the floor. They are both not very detailed but I don't care since they are both very small on the picture.

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I refine details some more, mainly on my character, background is considered finished and I also don't want to touch those planks. I adjust edges of the shirt's folds, making them sharper. I also add details (like seams) and edges on the purple cloak. I mostly use hard brush for those task, occasionally blending colors with the smudge tool. That was I can save sharp edges and whole image doesn't look very blurry. Pattern on the fabric is made on the separate layer. At first I just draw part of it with small lines and then copy-paste it until whole cloak is covered. Drawing it on the separate layer makes it easy to brighten or darken some parts of it.

Green worm Green worm Green worm
Green worm Green worm Green worm

I add some more warm colors and here you go, drawing is ready! :)