On the wire

Yes, something very simple, but it somehow didn't want to leave my head unless I finally drew it. So why not post it? Boredom on the wire, very ugly birds and battle with anatomy. It went fast and I didn't waste much time on this one but maybe you will like it. And don't let yourself be fooled! Those feet took me most of the time I invested in this drawing!

If you have any questions or you see mistakes I could fix to make it better - let me know!

At first I just place the idea on the paper, planning the composition as always, without thinking too much about the anatomy (well, it's still not automatic thing for me, I am not all that good with anatomy). Well, as you can see, painting with such sketch would be suicide but no worries, I will draw it all from the beginning once I am ready to paint for real. But first - colors. I want this drawing to be clean, bright and warm. Apart from the sky there are no big surfaces of one color, blue is very dominant here but it doesn't really mean that the palette should be boring and small. I place colors with hard brush and on separate layers. It will be easier to manage them later on. Sketch is also on the separate layer but I quickly get rid of it and repaint my character. Face starts to resemble human, not bad at all.

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I start with the head. Portion of the sketch is copied and merged with the layer on which I placed skin color previously. Remaining part of the sketch goes underneath so I don't have to think about it for now. I start with some soft lights. You can see that I chose different hue for that - from warm peach-pink I moved to almost yellow. Shadows are a bit more red on the other hand, saturated, I avoid dull colors to help skin look fresh and healthy. Then I add darkest shadows for eyes, nose and lips, just to avoid losing those edges. I slowly add more shadows in different color, building contrasts for lights and shadows. I paint dark spots near and under lips, jaw's edge and corners of the eyes. Everything is done with a hard brush so I can clearly see the edges of light and shadow areas. Opacity is low - I'd rather make same stroke 5 times than constantly switch colors.

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I move to his hair, on the beginning drawing just dark shape. After that I add lighter lines which let me see how whole hair behaves and how to model it. You can see that I also used dodge tool to make some highlights but that wasn't really all that important. I could do that by hand too. I certainly don't recommend using dodge tool like that on the non-gray hair. I let go of the hair and take smudge tool to get rid of those hard transitions between color on his face. There is no room for the soft brush here - what you can see below it's already 100% zoom. I would loose all my edges and everything would become blurry. Instead I use smudge tool.

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Hair is repaired in a similar manner. With a strong smudge I simply "draw" thin strands. Colors I places here a while earlier (or maybe shades of gray...) mix together nicely and soon I get a solid foundation for hair. On this drawing there is no special need for detail as the character is very small. Such hair seems to be quite enough for us.

Next thing is painting his left hand. I use same trick that was mentioned while I explained how I painted the face - at first I only use hard brush and then, after shadows and lights are placed, I smudge every hard transition with smudge tool. I often pick colors from the face to stay in the same palette and build shadows slowly. When arm finally starts to look good I start painting shirt sleeve. It's on the separate layer underneath so it's easy to paint him without touching the hand.

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I quickly draw second arm and sleeve (well, for now it still looks sketchy) and I move to trousers very fast. You can see a sudden jump between the screen on which I only have some basic lights places with hard brush and the screen with almost finished fabric. Actually it WAS really fast. I used smudge tool to create folds, drawing a stroke from brighter to darker area. Then I fix the edges and draw over ugly traces which smudge tool tends to leave.

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My drawing is still missing many things but it's looking good so far. The only issues I've had was moving his head a bit higher so he isn't slouching so much. From this perspective you can also see that face and hair could use some more detail - there are visible spots on his cheeks and hair looks like noodles. I go back to the face then and fix this, adding more detail with a hard brush and blending colors with the soft one. Missing floating hair is also added.

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Without thinking too much about why I actually do it, I add this strange white smudge. I draw it with a hard brush and then use blur filter. It's painted on the separate layer so I can easily get rid of it if I change my mind. Then I finally start painting his clothes properly. With a smudge tool I blend colors together, making soft transitions between lights and shadows on the sleeves and purple ... something, that he is wearing. While I am at it I sharpen edges on his trousers and since I noticed and feet are still missing I decided to paint them. I really didn't think I will have such troubles. Finally it started to look decent but really, I will have to make whole separate tutorial about painting feet, maybe I will learn how to do that then. One day for sure...!

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After those terrible feet I draw proper edges on the sleeves and fix his right arm a little. That's the step when everything is almost done and I just fix some details, add line here or there and so on. I place pattern of his clothes but as you can see there is no actual pattern, those are just some random scribbles I made with a soft brush and some random dots. Finally I add new layer on top and switch it to overlay blending mode. With a soft brush I add some more lights and shadows, some more colors. You can see subtle difference between left and right side of the picture below. It's a small trick but it sometimes helps a lot to make light on drawing (or character, like here) look more even.

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Finally I fix those clouds, but there wasn't really much to do. I just took soft round brush with ow opacity and built the shape. Then I added some blue shadows on the lower part and with a dodge tool some highlight on the upper part. It's good enough if they look as if they had volume. This wooden pole was painted very fast. At first I just added shadows on the sides and light in the center, then some dots and lines and I used smudge tool to create the base structure. After that I took one of those basic Photoshop texture brushes which no one ever uses and added some random texture. On top of that I painted more lines with dark color, making the pole look as if it was cracking. I fix the top and here you have it!

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Those wires and other things were painted with a hard brush, I didn't really think about them... One important detail you might not notice here is that every wire has a shadow. Without them whole thing looks a bit too artificial. Birds were the last thing I painted and frankly speaking I didn't give them the attention they deserved. I rushed it at the end, frustrated that I don't know how the bird should look like. I just painted some shapes with a hard brush, adding lights here and there and blended everything together with short strokes of a smudge tool. Birds are another thing I definitely need to practice.

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For the finishing touch I add more warm tones and the signature. That's it, another simple drawing is done!