8 steps to create a picture in Photoshop

Drawing an imaginary world created on the basis of history is almost always a long and painstaking process. In this lesson you will learn a few steps to achieve this result!

In my spare time, I came up with a magical world that called the “World of Tosor” (in the parallel universe there is an immortal and almighty Lord Tosor. He is prudent and fair, and Tosor keeps peace and harmony in this world).

In this tutorial, I will show you how I created the first drawing from the “World of Tosor” series. I will also show several techniques for the arrangement of light and shadows, and mention the correct framing and composition of a good design.

Step 1. Composition

For starters, I drew a good composition in gray. This step is the foundation of further work. It will determine whether the work will have a special place in your portfolio, or it will remain a draft, lost among files and folders.

To create a good composition, one should correctly divide the subjects into ‘foreground’, main object ’and’ von ’.

To create a sense of depth, you should make the foreground objects darker, and the background objects, on the contrary, light.

Here I try to depict only the most important elements – I want to convey the story with the minimum amount of details.

Step 2. Light and shadow

When I am satisfied with the composition, I start working with shading the main object. I try to use a different light coming from different directions. The character’s lighting will ultimately determine how the entire scene will be lit. Most artists, after several years of practice, develop an instinctive reflex that helps determine which lighting is appropriate in particular cases. In this case, for example, I thought that the main light falling from behind and reflected on the character’s back would give some mystery to the image.

I experiment with lighting to achieve the best result.

Step 3. Color

I understand that when it comes to color, I want to try everything at once, but let’s not go crazy. You can start in the red / yellow spectrum.

I decided to make the main character uniform red, and this choice will affect all the elements of the image. As you can see in the first image, the result is not very impressive yet. But when I added wool of a more contrasting color to the animal in the second image, some result began to appear.

The next step I will show you my techniques for drawing wool and fur.

The initial choice of color will affect all work.

Step 4. Grass, hair, fur and wool

In general, in this process there are two steps: creating hair and combing it.

In example A, I painted my hair sticking out in different directions using a Dune grass brush. Next, I start “styling” my hair with the Smudge Tool.

In Figure B, I combed them a little more and added ambient light to make the wool fluffy.

In Figure B, I wanted to get smooth hair. I added contrast and removed the fine hairs.

In Figure D, I decided to add some curliness to my hair. Also, I added more light to make them look more fluffy than just smooth.

In Figure E, the wool looks denser and thicker, and it is this wool that I want on my animal.

Step 5. Background

At this stage, I start working with the background. I depicted the main shapes and colors of the terrain, while not thinking about the interpretation of the image.

In the second picture, I connect the story and the plot. I wanted to make the valley look magical. Tosor should catch his breath when he looks at his property from the top of the hill, but also the valley should look harmonious.

Light, again, is the most important part of the image. Since I have already decided that the light on the character will fall from behind, for the background I decided to choose the sunset scene.

I choose the primary colors from the purple spectrum, but the sunlight I do is yellow. I added clouds from my library and corrected everything a bit.

Step 6. Detailing

Now I proceed to the details! I drew armor to the animal, added shadows on the tree, and also, as you noticed, added another little creature on it.

At this stage, you need to pause and show the work to someone who does not know anything about computer graphics. I call such an observer “a man from the street.” Why? Only such a person will give you his sincere opinion.
My friend, for example, noted the animal on the tree and the strange shape of the horns of a large monster. He did not understand what kind of animal was sitting in a tree, and the shape of the horns seemed to him too strange. There is no need to explain to him why this is the case, these things will have to be sacrificed.

In the process of detailing, we have many options in front of us, but remember that not all of them are equally good.


In this part I tried to draw two different versions of the horns. Option A looks like the horns of a mountain goat, and looks pretty good on the creature. In option B, I wanted to create a new kind of animal, Bubalus, which exists in Tosor’s universe – a place where nature is completely different.

After some reflection, I chose option B, with no serious reasons for that, just trusting my artist’s instinct.

Hoopy bird

I added leaves to the tree from the back using special brushes. You can find a lot of brushes on the relevant sites or create your own.

I adjusted the proportions of Tosor, and how should I draw his hair and headdress. I drew the horns in this way, adding shading and texture.

On a tree in the foreground, I painted the mystic bird Hoopy. She has beautiful long feathers on her head. The creation is small, so it does not distract the observer. To add such a detail so as not to distract attention from the main character is not so easy.


In this step, I wanted to bring the work to the ideal, I added various details, not forgetting about the light and shading. For example, on a mushroom on a tree, the light falling on the right should propagate to the south. Since I work with 3D, I deal with such things every day, and have already developed a reflex to control the propagation of light on objects. I know how the surface should be shaded. I also advise you to work with 3D, it will greatly help you in forming ideas about the distribution and location of light.

This is what my final image looks like:

Step 8. Crop

Our most important goal is to balance the drawing, and to draw the attention of the observer to the most important part of it – in my case, to Tosor. I use the golden section based on the Fibonacci sequence, and for me this option is perfect!

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