Poppy seed bun

After a rather long break and all those speed-painting sketches with videos it's time for something more interesting (at least for me). I drew this as a form of relaxation right after coming back from Japan. Winter still hasn't come where I live so it's still quite appropriate to draw autumn themed things, right? ;) Feel free to read tutorial about flying cats, wool and sweet poppy seed bun. That bun is of the utmost importance.

At the beginning I just carefully sketch the whole thing. Originally I wasn't planning to add those kitten at all, then I thought of one, but decided to throw two more, to make things more random and perhaps interesting. As you can see I drew her face and that first kitten quite nicely and after that just scribbled all other things. Well, that's quite enough anyway, since scarf is not so hard to draw without the sketch and hands will be redrawn anyway. Right after that I create new layer and apply some colors underneath my sketch. I try to set some color palette for this picture and also think about the light here. It's important to do those things on the beginning. I wanted this to be a warm, autumn image, so there is a lot of purple and red in the shadows and background has shades of cold blue for contrast with the warm light. I start serious painting with the face, using a rather strange brush. It's a bit hard to blend colors with it, but it gives a nice texture to work with. You can download it HERE.

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When I know where my main shadows and face features reside I get rid of the sketch, moving the layer with her face on the top. Softer spots you see on the drawing were done with smudge tool. Her cheek was polished with the brush, but I lowered the opacity and that made blending easier. Step by step I add more details, like light, inside edge of the bottom eyelid, edge under the lip and so on. It's easy to forget for example shadow under the eyelid (bottom one) but without those details eye wouldn't look very realistic. I also change shape of her eyelids with the smudge tool while I paint, trying to find what I like most. Also added shadow on her cheek, to make it less flat.

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Face still doesn't look very convincing at this point but I'm slowly getting there, it's not bad. I add hair on another layer - that helps to create additional contrast with the face and it's also easier to spot mistakes. Then I smudge away all brush-wrinkles I find on the skin, trying to make it smoother. I also change her eyes a little bit, making pupils smaller and adding more color to the irises. That made quite a big change and I like the result. I guess she simply needed that, along with a bit warmth on her skin. Sometimes it's hard to notice such things before you actually try them. Play around with saturation and color balance of your layers while you paint, it might help you improve your drawing.

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Skin is already smooth enough, but I still have doubts about her face features and some details. I refine shape of her lips with smudge tool, giving them fuller shape. Same with eyes and edge of the face. One eye had to be moved a little, because my Alice seemed to look somewhere else than I wished her to. Sometimes it's good to mirror whole drawing in search for mistakes.

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Alicje looks quite good at this point, time to draw her some decent hair. I still use same brush but I make it smaller and with long strokes I try to add some hair texture. I also add some eyelashes to her eyes (on the separate layer!) and fix ugly eyebrows. While painting hair I try to merge strands into groups, that way hair looks more natural. And this is where I stop working on her face, turning my attention towards the rest of the picture. I create new layer and add her scarf, painting folds of blue fabric and short strands of wool. Scarf is a bit transparent but I don't mind. Colors underneath make it more interesting ;)

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Then I add bun, hands and glove on separate layers. I rather keep them separated, in case I need to rearrange things later on. I also add her sleeve and place some colors on the bun. That was actually my favorite part of the picture, that poppy seed bun... After adding lights and colors to that piece of pastry, I move Alice's hand a little bit, since it looked anatomically incorrect. I also sketch out her cup and fingers of the other hand. This is all a bit sketchy, I am just trying to arrange all elements at this point, decide lights, shades and colors.

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Below you can see how I paint her fingers. At first I just sketch out main shape, then add color with my strange texture brush and then use smudge tool to blend lights and shadows together, creating fingers. Additional bright light from the left side of the picture helps mask imperfections of those low quality fingers. As you can see bun is still a bit sketchy at this point but colors and correctly arranges shadows make it look convincing and you can already recognize it as a poppy seed bun. And that's what this is all about - first you create general shape and when you can see the object, recognize it, then you add details.

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Finally time for kittens, because until now I haven't put a single stroke on them. On the separate layer I add some warm and rather dark colors and cover the sketch. Black fur is easier to paint that any other, but it also makes the kitten flat. I try to avoid that by adding lighter areas to it's face and since we have a warm light here, they appear a bit red or orange. Light behind the kitten makes edges look very bright and additionally I painted his whiskers and some fur strands in a bright color too. I don't try to make this fur look magnificent, kitten is cute and that's enough for me.

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Details on the scarf are painted in under one minute. With brush I presented once before, wool is no problem at all. You can download that brush HERE. I add new layer above the scarf, switch it to multiply mode and with a dark color I draw lines with my wool-brush. And that's it, there is nothing more simple ;) Bun is more demanding, as I paint everything by hand, using my texture brush. The trick is, to add some flour dust with small dots and poppy seed texture with dark circles and lighter spots. Below you can see how this detail looks up close. Wool on the sleeve is painted just like the scarf, I just use smaller size of the brush to distinguish those two textures. Sma e with the glove.

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Then I add some colors and bokkeh (those light circles and other effects) to the background, since it was terribly empty. Well it's not much more ambitious now but I never planned to draw a complicated background here so I am more or less satisfied ;D Only one sleeve is left. At first I fix those folds with brush, just to see how fabric should behave, after that I use smudge tool to fix edges and blend the colors. Then - the texture on a separate layer. To make that cardigan look more convincing, it's good to add some strands here and there, make it look a bit tattered. Some parts could use a little light too.

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A bit of fun with additional light and here you go, drawing is finished! :)