Shiba Ryuu

Today a portrait, which I've painted for RudeOwl, it's the main hero of her original manga - Shiba Ryuu. At first I wanted to draw something more complicated, but I had so much trouble with his face that I had to abandon my original idea and focus on the portrait. Maybe next time I'll manage to do something more interesting. Right now let's just see how this almost female face and massive amount of hair were painted :D

If you have any question I am listening, comments (critique too) are really welcomed :)

At first I try to sketch out everything and place face features in correct places. As you can see - I did not succeed :D Of course when I was painting I thought that everything is perfect but now I can see clearly that his lips should be placed more to the left and be wider. Composition also isn't first class one, it would be better with more space on the right side of the drawing but adding more light there could help a little. Colors are kind of dull, almost gray, I really don't know why I made them this way. Maybe after I ditched the more ambitious idea for this drawing I kind of run out of enthusiasm xD Then I add first shadows on the separate layer above the sketch. I use some fancy brush for this, it's great for painting clouds and also base for skin. You can download it HERE.

Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu

With a dark (almost black) line I draw eyes, nose and his mouth again. In a moment whole sketch will disappear under my new layer of colour so not to lose track of facial features I outline them once again like this. I also add more lights and shadows to the face, you can already see that I plan to make left part of his face way brigter than the other. On the second picture you can see that I fixed his lips a little and also added a bit of warmer colour to this trully gray face. On the last one face is already coloured (more or less), I added some purple to the shadow to make it more interesting. For now not much colour here, I focused more on adjusting lights and shadows.

Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu

Zooming out we can see that my Shiba has a bit of a problem with his chin. I will fix it in a minute, right now I want to add hair first, to see how this face will look with dark colour around it. It's still gray and gray and gray so I add new layer with an overlay blending mode and with soft brush I place some warm colour there. Way better :) I merge both layers and with this new palette I try to make some base for his neck and torso.

Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu

I move back to the face in a moment and add some highlights. White spot in the eyes, tip of his nose, near lips and chin makes the whole drawing look way better and more lively. I also fixed his chin, making it smaller, and added small scars this character has - on his lips and side of the face. Then I spend some time on his arm and armpit. I erase bad edges to give those elements a proper shape and deepen the shadows. I also draw some texture on the separate layer, using small, a bit blurred dots. More abouut drawing skin texture can be found HERE.

Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu

Arm looks way better now, I go back to the face for a moment and play with detail some more. I ty to remove messy lines and all random details and ugly transitions. I use smudge tool most of the time but small brush with low opacity is also very handy. I fix his eyebrows with were just thick lines a moment ago and paint over the forehead since the sketch was still showing through. I make nostrils and nose in general look better by adjusting edges with smudge tool. When all transitions are smooth and nice and edges are sharp and in proper places I can add some texture. It's good to draw it on the separate layer. That way you can always erase parts you don't need (like inside the nose). Last thing is making some shadows less dark, like on his nose and cheek. I can do that easily with soft brush and light colour, just under the texture.

Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu

Yes, face is ready. Finally the time has come to draw his hair. I start with that small bit near his face, which I paint simply with a hard round brush. I use few different colors and also add some light hair. The hardest part here is that Shiba is not standing, he's lying on something. This makes his hair act strange, mostly because gravity makes it bend upwards and then follow down his skull and so on. This is a bit tricky. I use lighter color to make his hair look like it's bending. Then I need to move whole thing up a bit since his forehead was too small ;D I break this lighter area into chunks. I make them a bit irregular to show that hair is just lying there freely, a bit messy even. When that hard part is done I just pick some dark and light colors and try to sketch out the flow of hair.

Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu
Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu

Hair detail, which is what we all like the most. When whole hair is more or less sketched and grouped into chunks, I can add more detail to the whole thing using hard and very small brush. It's not all that complicated but it takes time and patience. Usually I follow lines I already have there, painted, but sometimes it's a good idea to add a floating, messy hair here and there. It makes the whole hairstyle look less atrificial and stiff. I also use many colours, since variety is important and unless hair is dyed it never is all in one colour ;) Finally I add new layer with soft light blending mode and make the top part tad lighter.

Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu
Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu

Those feathers weren't really hard to make. At first I just painted the shape on the separate layer. Later on added some lights with a hard brush, used smudge tool to fix them a little and add some light with dodge tool (for shadows). Then I copy and paste this one feather and adjust all those copies to make them look a bit different. I warp them, change shape, add some details, make them darker and change the angle. That way I have many different feathers and had to paint only one of them ;)

Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu

Finally I spend some time fixing the neck and surrounding areas, blending lights and shadows together. You can do that with brush, simply setting it to low opacity. This way you slow down the work but don't have to change color so often and also you have full control over what you are doing. So I slowly build she shape and polish all those ugly transitions.

Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu

And final detail - simple bracelet on his forearm. At first I just draw the shape in dark color, using hard round brush. Detail is then painted on the separate layer. I just add some simple lights and dots for texture. Then I copy everything merged and paste it on top. I blur out this new layer with a filter and change layer's blending mode to overlay. I lower its opacity quite a bit and desaturate it a little. This way I can quickly add warm glow to the whole drawing.

Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu Shiba Ryuu

One last thing to add are those strange dots on his forehead. And that's it, simple portrait is done. RudeOwl liked it so I guess I am satisfied :D