December 10, 2017

Prairie | Step by Step Process +Commentary and Gif

Hello once again! As I mentioned on my previous post, I'll be posting the step by step process of my recent digital painting "Prairie". It all started when I was practicing anatomy from a reference picture I found on Pinterest. Sometimes when I see a pose I start to visualize a whole other setting and context to it. And that can be used as a trick for when we lack inspiration.

When I settled on the theme and scenario, I went on Pinterest again to find inspiration for her clothes (dress and shoulder piece). I think it's great to have something to look at that relates to what you are painting so you can get your ideas flowing. Just try to not get stuck on what you see too much. Make experiments and transform - make it yours.


I: On this first stage I place the base colours. Make sure there is enough contrast between these. You should check the values throughout your work progress. Just use the Black and White adjustment layer and tick on and off this layer as you go.

II: Shadows are now added. I like to go with a darker shade from the base color but with a different hue. For example, the base colour is a very light peach, but the darker shades are variations of dark pinks. There are many ways to paint skin and to choose its shades, it all comes down to preferences and other factors.

III: The background idea remained the same from my first attempt at painting this sketch. A prairie with a few flowers during daytime. I started to refine the dress and accentuate the folds of the fabric. Here I also did some variations with the colours. Instead of just using light and dark blues, I picked shades of purple.
IV: At this point I start by going over the linework. Little by little I start to refine the edges that are represented by the sketch lines. The skin colours that were already placed are now blended and her face features are more proeminent. After some playing around with the dragon scales from the reference picture for the shoulders, I decided to go on a different route.

V: Here I coloured the shoulder piece and gave it a metallic look - same as her waist accessory. As for the background, I used Selective Colour to fine tune the colours. The trunk was also rendered by adding greys and browns - as it wasn't a very important element I kept it simple enough to look like a trunk and to not be distracting.

VI: The whole image was adjusted with the Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and the hair was taken care of by being painted with a darker colour and given some hair strands illusion.
VII: With an overlay layer and with a soft brush I go over the landscape and start to add the sunny atmosphere. I make sure her hair also has some of that light. Then I selected all of the background layers and merged them all together to apply a Gaussian blur filter.

VIII: After my boyfriend pointed out that her leg was looking a bit off - Sometimes we are so eager to finally finish or we are looking at the same painting for so long, that it is very easy to overlook details like these. Ask someone you trust to help you point out any mistakes. - I fixed it by taking a look once again at the reference picture. I also added some fabric from her dress on her right side to give it more dimension. With a cool sun ray looking brush I have on my brushes folder, I tried to represent the sun rays and it gave the picture a more striking look.

IX: On this final stage I applied a Multiply layer to darken her right side and "behind" her leg so there could be more depth. Some sparkles were added on her dress to make it a bit more fun. With a Color Dodge layer I add some highlights to her skin. When it comes to adjustment layers I used once again Brightness/Contrast and went with Vibrance to make the colours pop.

Afterwards I painted her ear and softened up her face a litte bit and I was finished!
You can check the full finished picture on my DevianArt here. :)


To briefly timelapse all of the steps until the final result, here's a gif for you!

If you like to watch timelapsed painting videos, I also recorded this process. You can watch it here! :)

I hope you enjoyed this post! I always have fun writing these.

See you next week!

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