(thanks so much my dearest trent for letting me use your mix!)
hello all! since i dont really have any easy way to represent how i paint and since a lot of people have been asking for a tutorial, here is the best that i can do. i recorded a painting of a drawing and i highly suggest watching it. really, just observing the piece and how i did it are the best ways for you to learn, because there really isn’t anything step-by-step i can show you if you want to learn to paint the way i do. a lot of it is just feeling it out for yourself and making your own choices… but i will try and explain the process best i can. i also did a video tutorial because i think its important that you see the mistake i made and i where i made them, the parts where i struggled, and how i approached them. i think its important to see where i went wrong, too, so you can see how i problem-solved.
first of all here is the finished piece if you would like to see
and here are the brushes i use. keep in mind that, i used a lot of different settings on this piece and i will never suggest to anyone to keep their settings the same for every brush. brush settings are there for a reason, you should experiment with them, learn how they work. it can ONLY be to your advantage.
(these are the three brushes i use primarily for painting this piece, i dont know if every version of sai has these brushes, so i apologize)
normally i start my sketching in cs5. for a while i was using sai, but cs5 seems to have better brush sensitivity (though i would say sai has better dynamics). regardless, i sketched in photoshop. the canvas i used to paint was 3000x3000 (i really wouldn’t suggest going any smaller) i brought it into sai and after coloring my lineart (by making a new layer above the lineart and pressing “clipping group” in the layer settings). then i duplicated my layer. this for me, is my way of back tracking. but i’ll talk about that a bit later.
these days, i begin the painting by making a new layer beneath my lineart and setting in a rough estimate for colors and shadows. generally, i only do this for the face. this is because i dont want to lose a lot of the color from the sketch and i use the sketch as a way to navigate where my shadows should go. most of the shadows are in the sunken areas around the eye and beneath the nose. you can also start to bring in highlights at this point too, but i wouldn’t suggest using your darkest or lightest colors quite yet. use your darkest and lightest colors extremely minimally, you want the depth of contrast to range across the drawing, pulling only focus into your lightest and darkest areas where you see fit. there isn’t a secure light source in the picture, but if there was, you’d want that to be your focal point.
at some point after you’ve mapped out the shadows and some highlights of the face, you’ll want to merge your sketch and painting layer. remember earlier how i said you were going to keep a duplicate of your sketch layer? this is because primarily most of the actual painting will be on the same layer. from my experience, i like to keep a back up the original sketch in case i paint over something that just doesn’t look right, and can just turn the sketch on and remember exactly where the landmarks of the painting were supposed to go. in this painting i never had to use it, but as the whole “painting on one layer” thing seems to really freak people out, i decided to add this step.
basically my entire painting process is this: lay in shadow, smooth with midtone, apply highlight. its formulaic and a lot of it depends on exactly. with one layer painting you’ll also spend a lot of time on clean up, but use this to your advantage. resculpt your picture (if you keep your sketch layer duplicated you wont have a problem returning to what it was), dont be held back. dont be scared of this painting style. a lot of people think its unachievable, its really not. a lot of it has a lot to do with working things into your own system, into what works right for YOU. you can follow this tutorial step by step but that doesn’t mean you’ll always get the right result. a lot of it really is just experience, but it isn’t until you start trying that you can actually gain it. dont be afraid of making bad art! ive made tons and tons of bad art. good artists are only bad artists who got better.
thank you, i hope you enjoyed it. feel free to send me a message if you have any more questions. i wish i could be more thorough but i’m not very good with words and even worse at trying to explain stuff i did.
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