We draw a card with Santa Claus in Photoshop

Find out step by step how this drawing was created. You will understand how to create an illustration with beautiful lighting and learn techniques that will help you in many different types of drawings. You will learn advanced drawing techniques, such as working with custom brushes and color distribution, using hue and saturation adjustments. In this tutorial, I will describe to you the process of creating this image. I will simply go through the highlights of the process, without going into anything too complicated. This lesson is necessary to explain the basic coloring in Photoshop. There are several techniques, but I prefer this one, and I hope that I can convey it to you entirely. And now, let’s begin the lesson. You will need the Adobe Photoshop program and a simple sketch.

Lesson details:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Wacom graphics tablet Intuos 2 6×8 (you can use any other graphics tablet)
  • Photoshop CS3
  • outline of the main idea

Note: I always say this in all my lessons :) I hope you don’t mind. I will definitely say it again :) I use Adobe Photoshop, but if you want … you can use any programs suitable for drawing on the tablet, for example Corel Painter or something similar, to create the same drawing.

Step 1

In this lesson, I wanted to show the scene where Santa Claus comes up with the idea of ​​another Santa Claus, and he stiffens with surprise.

Step 2

I started by creating a new document in Photoshop 1000 at 1424 pixels due to the nature of the character being depicted. Also, at this stage you can start working on a smaller canvas, not forgetting that this stage is necessary to find lines and composition, and a smaller canvas will allow you to work much faster when creating a draft. Usually I create sketches and sketches in search of ideas for my illustrations and the best way to tell a story. I set the blending mode of the linear pattern to Multiply (Multiplication) and blocked the sketch layer. After that, I quickly distributed some of the primary colors on another layer. I used large brush strokes, because it’s easier to control the entire sketch as a whole.

Step 3

I began to sketch basic colors and shapes. My goal at this stage is to select the main colors and composition. Following, I drew a basic shape to illustrate a person and set the pose of Santa as you see in the image below. I also hid the sketch layer.

Step 4

As soon as we have the main lines of our drawing on a separate layer, we place it on top of the draft layer we created. For these illustrations, I used only the basic Photoshop brushes. You can “download” new brushes if you want. Here are my brushes for illustration – as I said, I’m going to use only standard brushes, some very simple round brushes. This stage is very easy, but at the same time very important.

Step 5

I decided to start from the background and removed the group of layers with the character. I saved the character file separately, as I find it more efficient to start work from the background. I continued to add brush strokes, and then began working on the foreground. Following this, I made minor changes and added some more details. I wanted the top of the illustration to look dark and empty, so I reduced the light layer with an eraser. You can see the yellow light pouring from the fireplace, as well as the darkness in another part of the scene.

Step 6

Here, as you can see, I currently only have 2 layers. It is important to keep the layers in order. This way you simplify the further process, and it will also be easier for you to make changes if necessary. Here, as seen in the screenshot, I added some details to the wood in the background.

Step 7

Now I will draw a simple Christmas sock shape using selection tools. On the toolbar, select Lasso Tool (Lasso Tool) (L).

First, create a separate layer of Christmas socks. With this tool, select a simple area, as I did. I will use the Lasso tool to draw, as this tool allows us to draw selected areas by hand. Click and drag to create a selection. If you release the mouse button, the selected area will be automatically closed with a straight line between the starting point and the ending point. After you create the selection, fill the layer with Pant Bucket Tool (Fill tool) (G).

Step 8

When I create a tablet drawing, I use many layers. In the final version of this illustration, I think there are about 20 of them. To keep everything in an organized way and make it easier for you, you need to combine these layers into groups. I will show you how to create a group of layers in a pure form – I will explain how to do this in the following steps.

Step 9

Here I create a new group, and you can see all of my layers in this group. In this lesson, as I said, I will work with multiple layers, so I need to create several groups of layers so that there is no confusion among the layers. With groups, your layers panel will look less cluttered, and you will need to scroll less. Please pay attention to my layer names. Create a new group by clicking on the corresponding icon at the bottom of the layers panel. It is important to name your groups, otherwise you will get confused when you have several. My group name: Santa_Background_Details (Santa_Fonovye_Details). Please organize your layers like me. Draw your colorful Christmas sock like I am here, and as you can see, I don’t add a lot of detail on the background objects. You can even paint simpler Christmas socks — it doesn’t matter.

Step 10

At this stage, I create a copy of the Christmas socks layer, and then merge them into one layer, and now, in general, there are two layers. One of them is a shadow, the second is an object. As you can see, I do not make any changes with them as a whole, nor do I add more details.


Step 11

Here take a look at the details of the group. As you can see on my sample image, a new item in the image colorful details (colored parts) has one layer. There are many of them in the group of layers. Groups help you organize and manage layers — you can use groups to arrange your layers in a logical order and to reduce the mess in the layers panel. You can also merge layers into groups within other groups.

Step 12

At this stage, we are starting work on the character, so I close the group with the details of the background, and now we can only see the basis for the character sketches. This second and most important stage of the process concerns the color palette and the tone of the image as a whole. Here, as you can see, my layer of color is under the layer with a linear sketch, and with the help of a large soft brush I began to create the basic color scheme.

Step 13

When I added color and details, I worked through the image section by section, drawing the character’s face, clothes, one after another. In this step, I switched to a smaller brush and raised hardness (stiffness) to the end. I created several color swatches for the character’s skin tone and began to apply color. I decided to stop at the gray and white hair color for Santa. Here I will show you my brushes for his clothes – I used only standard brushes and, as it seems to me, they are great for working on our character. For his dark belt, I used a different brush.

Step 14

Using my main brush, I also added light and shadow here and there. Use soft brushes for this effect. Using a hard brush with about 50% opacity, I put some glare and darkened areas of the red suit that are in shadow. As the process continues, I constantly take a pattern from tones that are between dark and lighter tones, as they depend on how much I click on the pen.

Step 15

And now it’s time to add details to the character’s face. The next step is to choose an average color / shade to start shaping the face. In this step, the most important thing is to determine the shadows and lights, the scrupulousness is not useful here, since in the future this layer will not be visible. At this stage, you can relax and experiment with tones. I used this color for the face, which you can see below. Find the areas of the head that the light touches. To add a bit of color and shape, I framed the color from the previous step with a slightly darker and more saturated color.

Step 16

I still use the standard brush. I wanted to make my character’s hair smoother, so I used a thick brush. Now is the time to add some shadows. This is the first layer, and it should cover all shadows. In Photoshop, I would use a brush of normal hardness with pressure-sensitive opacity.

Step 17

I spent a little time smoothing out Santa’s clothes and other features. Santa’s hair was improved: at first I scribbled the strands with a medium round soft brush, and then added details using a smaller, stiff round brush with the shape dynamics feature turned on. Then some recent improvements were added to the hair – I created the small details of the hair with a smaller, stiff round brush. On a single layer, the character’s drawing is complete, and he needs a little more detail, such as light, shadow, and contrast.

Step 18

And now I want to draw a gift box using selection tools. I will draw only the basic form of the box. I create a new layer group and then a new layer and name it boxone” (box1). On the toolbar, select Polygonal Lasso Tool (Polygonal Lasso tool) (L). With this tool, highlight the area of ​​the gift box. I will start by creating a selection on a new layer of the form that I would like. When I am finally satisfied with the form, I begin to add the main color. If you ask why I used Straight Lasso instead of Magnetic Lasso, or just Lasso – this is because Rectangular Lasso is intended to create selected areas with straight edges. You can make Polygonal Lasso work in the same way as regular Lasso by holding down Alt / Option – then you can draw the area by hand.

Step 19

Select the Polygonal Lasso tool. Use the tool Paint bucket tool (Fill) to fill the selection with yellow color. The next step is to roughly outline a shadow area on a new layer. After the shadow is drawn, I begin to erase those parts that I do not need. You must deselect after adding shadows. To do this, press Ctrl / Cmd + D.

Step 20

Create a new layer: to do this, click on the corresponding icon on the panel with layers and name it ribbon(tape). And now, as in step 18-19, use Rectilinear Lasso. Then use the tool Paint bucket tool (Fill) to fill the selected area with a ribbon color.

Step 21

The next step is to sketch a shadow on the new layer. After the shadows are drawn, I begin to erase parts of the shadows that I do not need. You have to deselect the selection after adding the shadows, to do this, press Ctrl / Cmd + D. The image below shows a simple coloring. On this panel, you can use the colors to shade the ribbon on the gift box.

Step 22

Click on the foreground color, the icon of which is located in the lower part of the Photoshop window. When you do this, a window will appear on the screen. Color Picker (Color palette). Now you can use the color slider in the center of the Color Picker dialog box to move through the color range you want to use. When you do this, a range of colors of one shade will be displayed in the color box, on the left side of the dialog box.

Step 23

Here, as you can see, you can select the R, G or B channel, and use them to change the amount of red, green and blue that make up your chosen color. You can enter a new value, or use the color field to change the original values. Changing the LAB value on the right side of the dialog box will allow you to adjust the brightness of the selected color.

Step 24

When you decide which color to use, click OK to close the Color Picker dialog box and return to your document. Now you can use the color that you created in the palette in your document.

Step 25

Now I disliked the color of the ribbon, and I changed it to blue, and also began to add shadows on the box. Here you can see where the light source is. Next, I began work on the details of the tape. I use a brush that is not too small, for it is not yet time for the final details. Also, erase some places where it looks unnatural, and mix using Blur Tool (Blur tool) (R) and Smudge Tool (Finger tool) (R).

Step 26

Just as I drew this gift box, draw a few more pieces of different colors. Do not forget to create a new layer for each box. You can combine them all after you finish drawing.

Step 27

Now we will work on the background. Create a new layer for colored lights and another for green leaves. Now draw simple greens and colored lights like me. There is no need for details, just give them a basic shape. I will add details to the greenery in the following steps.

Step 28

Now, at this step, I decided to work more on the character and detail of the background. I’ll start detailing Santa’s face. I used my primary colors that I received in Step 4, as well as Burn Tool (Dimmer tool) (O). Now select the colors for the highlights on the skin – I chose yellow and orange colors as light skin tones. I made the shadows deeper by adding dark yellow, light red and orange. As for the brushes – I used the same ones as in Step 5. I also use a hard brush with opacity set to press and a low parameter value. Flow (Push) (sorry for the pun). I added shadows to his face, drawing with brushes of different sizes with low pressure. It should be added that at this step it is very important where the light sources are located.

Step 29

As soon as we determine where the lighting is on the character, we will work with the light in the background and again with the greens. Create a new layer for colored lights and another for green leaves. Now place the lights in the order shown in my illustration. Name layer New Light (New World) and then create a copy of this layer.

Step 30

Select your new copy layer and then click Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur). In the Gaussian blur dialog box, set Radius (radius) at 20.5 and click OK. This will create a glow effect for the second lights in the background.

Step 31

And now adjust the brightness of the lights painted in blue against the background as follows: press Image > Adjustment > Brightness/ Contrast (Image> Correction> Brightness / Contrast) and adjust the brightness. And more, blending modes will be very useful in this step. By adjusting the glow effect with Overlay (Overlap) Color dodge (Lightening the basics) or Soft Light (Soft Light) you can easily create a more beautiful effect without changing the Brightness settings.

Step 32

And again, as I did in the previous steps, arrange the lights, as shown in the picture. For extra brightness you can use Dodge Tool (Brightener tool) (O). Before using the Clarifier, you must change the settings. Range (Range) of this tool. The range determines which pixels will be affected by the effect, and this is perhaps the most important and most frequently forgotten thing. Set the range like me.

Step 33

And now it’s time for small details on the background wall. In this step, I created a new layer called Snow shapes (Forms of snowflakes). Here is the shape of the snowflake, which I chose from a panel of arbitrary shapes. First choose Custom Shapes Tool (Arbitrary Shape Tool) (U), and draw lots of snowflake shapes like me, and then set the blending mode to Soft Light (Soft light).


Well, it’s time to close Photoshop. As I explained, I used only standard brushes. And here is the final illustration. I hope my lesson helped you and gave you inspiration for your own drawing on the tablet. I also hope you enjoyed reading it! Thank you and see you soon.

By: Hatice Bayramoglu

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