How to quickly draw a planned character in Photoshop

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What will you create

There are many methods of drawing on the tablet. For example, you can draw everything in grayscale, and later add color, you can use different blending modes to create maps, like in 3D programs … But sometimes it happens that you absolutely do not have time to think and plan. What if you want to draw something quickly, just to check what the idea looks like outside of your imagination?

In this tutorial, I will show you how to quickly “blind” a character with colors and, basically, with one textured brush. The whole process of adding shadows and colors will be reduced to a few steps. You can also create some conceptual drawings or a basis for a more elaborate illustration.

  • Create a basic set of brushes for drawing in Photoshop

1. Decide on the idea

Step 1

Create a new document. Fill the layer with the tool Fill (G) 50% gray. Add a new layer and use a non-standard brush to sketch a few options for your idea. Draw quickly and do not worry about accuracy.

The brush for such sketches should be a bit sloppy and unpredictable. You can also try brushes with gouache texture and acrylic from this set (for a fee).

Step 2

Select the sketch that you like best and use the tool Lasso (Lasso) (Q) to copy it to a new layer (Control-J). Lower Opacity (Opacity) of this layer and delete the previous one.

Step 3

Create a new layer, name it. Lines (Lines). Using any brush convenient for you, quickly sketch the details. It does not have to be a perfectly neat linear pattern, but you need to be sure that you are planning to draw. Remove the previous layer after you finish.

Step 4

Lower layer opacity Lines (Lines) to about 20%.

2. Create a basic lighting.

Step 1

Create a new layer under the layer. Lines (Lines). Using a stiff brush, draw the basic shape in one color. It should not be too detailed, as in the process of applying shadows, we may change the edges. Name layer Base (The foundation).

Step 2

From now on, all new layers will be cropped by layer. Base (Basis) (i.e., clipping masks). To do this, hold down Alt and click on the line between the layers, or use the Control-Alt-G hotkeys.

Step 3

Create a new layer (and don’t forget to make it a clipping mask), and then fill it with the darkest color of the shadow in your drawing. In this case, it is dark blue.

Step 4

Create a new layer and fill it with the color of the areas that the surrounding light falls on. Here the white wool becomes bluish when faint ambient light falls on it. Name layer Ambient (Ambient).

Step 5

Add a layer mask to the layer Ambient (Surrounding), and then fill the mask with black color – and the layer will disappear. Then use a textured brush to paint in lighted areas, leaving a shadow in between.

Later with a soft brush you can soften the places where the shadow is almost absent. In general, your goal is to simulate the lighting in cloudy weather.

Step 6

Add a layer mask to the layer Base (Basis) and with different brushes correct the shape.

3. Complete the lighting

Step 1

Create a new layer. Decide where you want to place the light source, and which parts of the character will be lit accordingly. Use the transitional color, which will be located approximately between the colors of light and shade. This is usually a supersaturated version of the base color. If you paint skin or white fur, then at this stage it would be nice to apply the effect of subsurface scattering.

Step 2

Create a new layer under the layer. Base (The foundation). Draw the most illuminated ground and shadow on it. This will be your pattern of brightness.

Step 3

Create a new layer and add more light, leaving the edge of the transition color.

Step 4

Create a new layer and complete the lighting with the brightest version of the base color.

Step 5

Since the feathers are very thin, the light passes through them. Create a cool effect using this property:

Do not forget to illuminate the area located immediately under the “glowing” feathers.

Step 6

Create a new layer and shade the part of the body located in the shade, choosing a slightly lighter color – this will be a glare from the light reflected from the ground. With the tool Eyedropper (Pipette) (I) select the color from those already in the picture, and with this color blend the transition color to create a “fluffy” effect. Gradually lower the layer opacity Lines (Lines) until the need for it disappears altogether.

4. Finishing touches

Step 1

Create a new layer and work on the details. Be careful – the more detailed one element is, the more careless other parts will appear. It is important to consider the whole picture as a whole.

Step 2

Now is the time to take advantage of the popular “fur” tassels, if you want. They work wonders if you use them on a character with shadows, choosing a color from his body.

You can create your own brush by examining:

  • tutorial Create a brush and paint the fur in Photoshop,
  • other lessons on this topic.

Step 3

Create a new layer on the background (under the layer Base (Basis)) and with a soft brush, draw a white glow behind the character.

Step 4

Create a new layer and soften the fur with the same brush. It may not be necessary in the case of dark wool, but on white wool, where there is a large amount of subsurface scattering, it will look very good.

Step 5

Create a new layer and fill it with black. Click Filter > Noise > Add Noise (Filter> Noise> Add Noise). Adjust the effect so that it is sufficiently contrast.

Step 6

Click Filter > Liquify (Filter> Plastic). In the window that opens, select the tool Warp (Deformation) (W), to “smudge” the points, turning them into lines, which creates the effect of wool.

Step 7

Change the blending mode to Overlay (Overlap) and lower the opacity of the layer until the effect looks natural.

Step 8

Create a new layer, but this time do not make a clipping mask out of it. Make the latest adjustments.

Step 9

You can play with the background to make the character look more interesting on it, but do not get carried away and do not overdo it with the shadows!

That’s all!

Quick, yes? Using this method, you can present your ideas to others or resort to it when you cannot decide whether you want to continue working on the illustration and visualize it with all the small details.

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