I’ve finished the Francesca and Isaiah piece. Check it out here, or peek at the thumbnail below. I’ve had pieces of this composition floating around in my head for a while – I knew I wanted to draw Franny, even the pose & meadow setting, but couldn’t make it all fit in my head. I finally sketched it out and realized that Isaiah was the missing piece. I’ve wanted to draw the Laundry dress too – that was tough but well worth it.
Art process - maybe it’s just me, but I love the drawing process as much as the finished work. I love reading artists websites where they share their creative process with others. (1) you can learn from each other, and (2) it’s just great to see how everyone ticks. Plus I find the art itself beautiful at every stage. Click through to see my art process from sketchbook to this image.
Overview of the process: tools – sketchbook, pencils, MacBook + PhotoShop CS3 + Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet (11 x 9 inches). I sometimes start in a sketchbook, other times I just sketch directly in PhotoShop using the Wacom. If I start in my sketchbook, I scan into computer then finish in PhotoShop. I work at very large resolutions (this image was done at 70 x 50 inches, wound up at 250MB). This way if I squiggle a little while drawing, downsampling smoothes everything out. It also helps to be able to zoom in and do details at high resolution.
PS – Click the images to see the full size originals in my gallery.
1. Character sketches – sketchbook & pencil (or pen), or direct into PhotoShop. This image started in the sketchbook, then I traced over the image on the tablet.
2. Detailed Inking - Wacom & PhotoShop, regular round brush, stroke dynamics. Isn’t Isaiah a cutey?
3. Coloring – for real people, I match colors against photos. I use a big brush to fill in large areas, then add detail with various appropriate PhotoShop brushes.
4. Clothing (Sketch, Ink, Color) – call me strange, but I need to draw clothes on top of a body. Even if they totally obscure the body. So after I’ve completed my nudes, I add the clothes. For Isaiah’s simple onesey I didn’t bother with a sketch, but you can see from Francesca’s complicated dress that I started with the blue sketch, followed with black inking & lots of color / detail work.
5. Finished! Francesca and Isaiah are now done – that took about 3 hours. The dress took most of the time – I had to get the actual dress out to see what the patterns were.
6. Background started – if I can start with a photo I will, here I found a nice meadow picture that suited my mental image of the final product. I scaled it to match my canvas, and resized & placed my subjects.
7. Background sketch – I go faster with the background, so broader sketch strokes to help me place the color later.
8. Background color & detail - just like with the people, I add detailed ink, broad swaths of color, and then more detail. I use assorted brushes here to give the natural feel to the wildflowers and sun highlights on the trees. Again, I do color matching from the original photo.
9. Horizon and sky - the flattened image above doesn’t show this, but I left the sky transparent, allowing me to add a sky layer below the background layer. I then added a little gradient and some fluffy clouds, as well as a few horizon hills in darkening colors. Almost there!
10. There is no step 10. All done! Actually, I added a little shadowing and detail under Francesca & Isaiah’s feet to plant them in the scene. I’m more or less happy with this outcome – I’d had the idea in my head for a while and it finally came together. I may re-use the Francesca & Isaiah images in a simpler desktop image, but that’s for another day.
Thanks for reading!