In this tutorial you will learn how to create a touching illustration with funny mice.
When creating a picture, it is important to consider three components: lighting, volume and color. In addition, you can put in some kind of emotional message.
Create a new document File – New (File – New) and set a sufficiently large size. Expansion select 300 dpi, in case you want to print a picture. It is much more convenient to work with a large canvas, and after finishing the work, you can reduce it to a more suitable size.
We start by creating a simple outline on a new layer. Layer – New – Layer (Layer – New – Layer) (Shift + Command / Ctrl + N), on which we are determined with the composition. Set the layer blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication) and block it. I reduced the opacity to 50% so that the contours do not interfere with drawing.
2. Create a background
Apply basic background colors under the outline. I want to recreate an early morning with dew on the leaves and a light source behind the mice. We apply primary colors with a soft brush, without going into detail. The background should be the background and not attract too much attention to itself, distracting from the main elements of the composition.
3. Add volume
Create a new layer Layer – New – Layer (Layer – New – Layer) and with a stiff brush paint the leaves in the foreground. Do not worry about the details, we will add them as you work. The early stages of drawing, to a greater extent, are devoted to the analysis and construction of the composition. Therefore, at this stage, the sketch should be fairly quick and simple.
To blur the leaves Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur). Set the radius to a value so that the structure of the leaves is more or less visible.
When finished with blur, add a new layer. Layer – New – Layer (Layer – New – Layer) and set its blend mode to Soft light (Soft light). Then proceed to applying the base layer with light: orange – above, blue – below.
In this composition I wanted to play with the opposite of colors – yellow-brown against blue-green.
Start drawing mice. Create a new layer Layer – New – Layer (Layer – New – Layer) and as the base we use a neutral shade of brown. Choose something not too dark and not too light.
Now, above the layer with the base colors, add another new Layer – New – Layer (Layer – New – Layer). Transform it into a clipping mask by pressing Ctrl / Command + Alt + G. Due to this, everything that we will draw on a new layer will not go beyond the boundaries of the base layer.
On this layer we will draw the basic lighting for the mom-mouse. I want the light to be bright enough and saturated. To do this, set the layer blending mode to Hard light (Hard light). In the area of the head and hands, add orange color, and in the lower part a greenish-blue hue, since the light falling on the green absorbs the color and reflects it on the lower part of the body of the mouse.
I repeat, do not detail. Details will be added at the very end. When finished with the main light, select two layers and merge them into one Command / Ctrl + E or go to Layer – Merge Layers (Layer – Merge layers). If you don’t group and merge layers, then at the end of the work you can have 100 of them and you can hardly understand them easily.
Having finished with the foundation, we proceed to the creation of clearer forms. Add a new layer Layer – New – Layer (Layer – New – Layer) and transform it into a clipping mask for the base layer with the mouse. Brush gently begin to detail the character, highlighting the light and shadow.
We take the colors from the working canvas so that the work looks more harmonious. Constantly pay attention to the light source, where it is located and how it affects objects. If you are not confident in your abilities, use the photos to correctly determine how light and shadows will behave.
Learn the principles of light and form, and do not use styles and curly tassels. I drew a lot of light on the head of the mouse to add brightness, attractiveness and highlight it on a pale background. In mice, thin ears and light passing through the flesh will give them a reddish glow.
I added a new layer and tied it to the base (Command / Ctrl + Alt + G). Set the blending mode to Soft (Soft) or Hard light (Hard light), based on the desired result. Hard light has a stronger effect, but it must be used carefully, trying not to “burn” the picture. I added a bit of orange to the top of my torso and a greenish blue to the bottom so that the mouse more harmoniously combines with the background.
The upper part of the background is too dark, so I decided to lighten it a little with the help of a point light, as if the sun’s rays were breaking through the foliage. To do this, use the most soft round brush. In addition, I gently began to draw little mice, using the same technique as with their mom. Add a new layer, then bind it to the mouse base layer. Apply basic color transitions with a rough brush.
At this stage, the light effects look quite dim and do not stand out. During the work is very important to think through the main points. How does the light behave? Where does it come from? Are there any obstacles in his path?
The little mouse that is closest to the mother will be slightly obscured by her, so his body will not be fully lit. I did not touch my head, as the mom-mouse obscures the light that flows around her body. The tails and ears are slightly enlightened, so in these places we draw a diffused subsurface light and add a reddish glow.
In this picture, the mice are sitting on a branch with which they are trying to collect the morning dew. I have a little detailed mouse and added a new layer, which is tied to the base. I set the layer blending mode to Hard light (Hard light).
Gently add orange color on the ears, where the light is most bright. Keep working until you are happy with the result. As a rule, in such situations, I trust my feelings. I can determine where the light is too much, and where there is little, and fix it. Trust your instincts and, if you don’t like something, change it. If it is difficult for you to do this, ask a friend to evaluate the picture. Your friends should not be artists to understand where it looks good and where it doesn’t look good.
Now we turn to a more detailed study of the picture. At this stage, I’m starting to paint the texture of wool. Mice are quite fluffy, but this does not mean that you need to draw every hair. Take a rougher brush and make short strokes around the edges to outline the base contour of the coat. This is very effective at quickly creating wool, as there is no need to waste time drawing each hair.
I added light to the branch, giving it volume. I advise you when studying natural elements to study photographs, and it is best to go outside. What does the real branch actually look like? How does light interact with it? Where is it rougher, and where is it smoother? How to recreate the texture of a branch in a digital drawing?
5. We modify the background
I decided to add leaves sparkling with dew. They will contrast favorably with the basic elements. Start by drawing a green base on a new layer. Layer – New – Layer (Layer – New – Layer).
As before, this is just the basis on which we will add light. The leaves that are closer to the viewer are drawn on a separate layer so that you can blur the background grass and give depth to the image.
I chose a layer with distant leaves and blurred them slightly. Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur). The leaves should be fairly well viewed, so use a not so intense blur, as before the grass in the foreground, leave clear. It is about the same distance from the viewer as the mouse.
Add a new layer Layer – New – Layer (Layer – New – Layer) over all background layers, including with grass. Set the blending mode to Overlay (Overlap) and reduce the opacity to 75%. Now let’s start giving the work a humid atmosphere. With a soft brush of sea blue, we slightly begin to tint the background. For better results, I added a correction layer. Photo Filter (Photo filter) and set it to Cooling (80) (Cold) with a density of 25%.
Now let’s take a leaf-cup and a drop of dew. For the leaflet, create a base evil layer.
The leaf is very thin, so most of the light will pass through it. The half that is closer to the viewer is less illuminated, because it is covered by the second half of the sheet.
We continue to detail the sheet, add contrast. Saturation adds drama and appeal.
We draw a blade of grass and a drop of dew. Notice that the drop, although transparent, still has some density. The leaf is visible through the drop, but thanks to the play of light it is refracted. To enhance the effect, I added a little flare at the top.
Go back to the background and continue to draw the leaves. Again, if you’re unsure of the right thing drawn, try exploring the real living leaves and notice how the light interacts with them.
Working with the leaves, I decided to improve the light in the foreground.
It seemed to me that the leaves were too bright, so I added a new layer above the background and set its blending mode to Hard light (Hard light). Pale dark green color tinted bottom of the image. Too much green now, so create another new layer with blend mode. Soft light (Soft light) and tint the leaves in blue to give the effect of moisture. Next, create a layer with the blend mode again. Soft light (Soft light) and tinged with a greyish-blue color in the background to enhance the atmosphere.
A little more detail the leaves to prepare them to add dew.
6. Draw dew drops
When I draw drops, I use Elliptical Marquee Tool (Oval selection) (L), so that they turn out with clear and neat edges and stand out against the rough background. Add a new layer Layer – New – Layer (Layer – New – Layer) and fill the selection with a neutral shade of blue taken from the leaves. Then we make the central part of the drop a little darker, and the edges are lighter.
In the part where the light falls, I added a bright glare that spreads a little inside the drop and appears on the opposite side, but here it is more diffuse.
We draw a small drop next to a large one, using the same technique. Then we draw the shadows and the reflected light from the drops inside the shadow.
Activate Lasso Tool (Lasso) (L) and with the Shift key held down, we create a lot of rounded selections. Because of this, we do not have to draw every single drop. Add a new layer and fill the selection with a neutral blue color taken from the leaves. Then carefully draw all the drops in the same way as the first. In addition, I still worked with the leaves, using a rigid round brush with opacity sensitive to pressing the pen on the tablet.
7. Add the final touches
When you’ve finished with the background and the mice, we’ll start adding the final touches: whiskers, tufts of wool, and lighting effects.
As mentioned above, I often take colors from the background so that all elements of the composition look harmonious and do not conflict with each other. Such a balance is difficult to maintain and this requires practice.
At the final stage of work, I combined all the layers together and reduced the size of the image to a more convenient one. Then applied the filter Filter – Sharpen – Smart Sharpen (Filter – Sharpness – Smart Sharpness) to make the drawing clearer.