Nightmare in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will look at how Hatice Bayramoglu created this beautiful picture in Photoshop. She will show you the whole process from sketching to drawing nuances using your own technique.

Final result

In the lesson was used Photoshop CS2.

Step 1– The concept and layout of the main outline
I draw a lot of simple sketches on a computer or sometimes on paper. I’m going to use my old sketch. Here he is. If you want, you can use it too.

Step 2 – Sketch
Let me show you a screenshot of the main outline. At first, the heroine was just a sketch of an illustration for a book with stories. I often draw a lot of simple sketches to present a story, but when I look at them, I see that I only need one. The sketch that was used in this lesson was not used in my project.

Step 3 – Picture Settings
I used a 900×2158 file, 900 pixels wide, 2158 pixels high, and with a resolution of 72 pixels per linear inch.
We start by creating a new document in Photoshop. Now the resolution may be 72. Of course, later I will need to make it big to add details. But not now. And of course, no part of this outline will be present in the final image. A sketch is needed in order not to get lost in the work, to determine the placement and shape of objects. Therefore, you can later delete or make invisible a layer with a draft.

Step 4 – How to choose a brush
I usually start with a small image, then enlarge it to add more details. For this image, I’m going to use standard brushes with different settings. My settings are shown in the image below. You will find more settings in the Brushes window (Window – Brushes or Window> Brushes). In the tab Other dynamics (Other Dynamic) I ticked Pen pressure (Pen Pressure). If you use a tablet like Wacom, this setting will allow your tablet to feel the pressure of the pen on the surface. Some tablets may also allow you to change the stroke angle.

Step 5 – Color Picker
The next thing you have to do is choose a color picker. Here are the colors that I used for this job. You can use the same ones and load them into Swatches palette (Window – Samples or Window> Swatches). If you don’t like these colors, you can always change them later. I want my drawing to look like a nightmare scene with strange clouds, so I chose blue, brown mixed with green, and some shades of blue and magenta. For the background, I chose the cool sea color.

Step 6 – Creating Layers.
When I feel that the sketch satisfies me, I turn to the layers. The sketch is on its own layer, which is called a “sketch”. In the image below, you can see that I work with six layers. Layer names make my work easier and faster. Drawing on different layers will make your possibilities more flexible, will allow you to make adjustments.

Step 7 – Putting in order the background
Here is the color that was used for the background.

I started by using the tool. Gradient (Gradient tool) to create a background. Here are the colors that I used for the gradient.

Step 8 – Working on Background Colors
In this step I will work on the general background look. Now I add colors to the sketch. Now I just paint and add basic background colors to the background outline. For the background, choose a tool Gradient – Gradienttool (G) and create a gradient like in the screenshot below.

Step 9 – Coloring the Background
Before continuing to colorize, let me show the order of the layers again. I made several changes to the order, since the draft layer must be above the other layers and with the blending mode Multiplication (Multiply). You can also block the layer, so as not to accidentally draw on it. Now we can start coloring the sketch and paint over the main shapes. Do not focus on only one area; just start adding some shadows everywhere. When you paint, make sure that your brush is 100% stiff. Using a brush with soft edges, you end up with a blurred image.

Now, as you can see, I just blocked the draft layer. You should also do this.

Step 10 – Resize
Now I will change the size of my drawing so that I can detail it. Using Image – Image Size (Image – Image Size), I set up the following settings: 1200 pixels wide, 3010 pixels high and 300 resolutions.

Step 11 – Quick Detailing
With a larger image size, I can draw more details. I lower the opacity of the layer with a draft of up to 42%, because for now there is no need to see it so much.

Step 12 – Detailing the Background
Now I’m going to hide some other layers in order to better see all the details of the background. Look at the shape of the clouds. In the next step, I want to detail the clouds.

Step 13 – Adding Light to the Clouds
In this step, I decided to add more details to the clouds. I chose the “cloud color” layer and started adding more light colors behind the clouds. As you can see, I drew a few rough shapes for the clouds, but I’m still not sure that these will be the main cloud shapes. I still don’t focus on just one area, I just started applying some shadows to add volume.

Step 14 – Working on the Clouds
Now I am sure that my picture still lacks clouds. So I created a new layer and painted it. The cloud layer is above the sky color layer. I keep adding more details. I also want to detail the very top of the cloud layer. I use the tool Lightening (Dodge tool) in order to highlight some areas.

Step 15. Now pay attention to the details that I just did with a brush with a mode Lightening basics (color dodge). I opened the “sky” layer for you so that you could see the details more clearly.

Step 16. I also added strokes using the tool. Lightening (Dodge tool). I used it to add light, light areas to the clouds.

Step 17. Now pay attention to the details that I just did with a brush with a mode Lightening basics (color dodge). I closed some layers especially for you so that you could see more clearly the details of the big rock. And I also continued to add details to the rock.

Step 18 – Detailing Colors
As soon as I am satisfied with the details of the clouds, I begin to detail the other parts of the illustration. I added some red and yellow colors down the image.

Step 19 – Continuing to Add More Details
I continued to detail the clouds, here is a screenshot of the main details. Now I contrast the clouds and the rocks, adding bright tones to the sides, darkening the backs, and imposing light colors behind the objects.

Step 20 – Adding Shadows to the Rock
And so I decided to make some new changes to the illustration. I changed a bit the position of the mountain. Now I am going to add color to the character. But do not forget that in this step you should not detail everything.

Step 21 I continued to work on the main details and lights until I achieved a good and contrasting result. Sometimes I had to make changes to the colors of the rock and remove some of its details.

Step 22 Now we can begin to detail the rock. I also use the tool Lightening (Dodge tool) for bright areas. This is what the rock looks like now, after working on it with tools Lightening (Dodge tool) and Blackout (Burn tool).

Step 23 I want to change the shape of the rock a bit. To do this, go to the layer with the rock and choose Edit – Transformation – Warp (Edit-Transform-Warp).

Step 24 And I make some changes with Warp.

Step 25. The position of the rock should be similar.

Step 26 – Detailing Your Character
After I finished working on the rocks and clouds, I decided to add more details to my little cartoon character. Let me show my basic colorings of my character. I closed the sketch layer to see how my character’s coloring looks. The result suits me, now I can add details. I started by detailing the clothes.

Step 27. I can start adding more details. So I opened and moved the base sketch for you so you can compare. As you can see, there are no big differences between draft and color work. Now we can hide the draft layer again.

Final result
Here is the final image. I hope this lesson was interesting for you.

Author’s comment: I hope this lesson was informative for you and will now come in handy when doing your work. Practice and enjoy!

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