Whenever I think about my favorite Disney cartoons, I always come to the cartoon “Little Mermaid “. In today’s lesson, we will step by step consider the process of creating an underwater picture, which was inspired by my favorite little mermaid, Ariel.
1. Start with a simple outline.
Although I was inspired by the Mermaid cartoon to create this picture, nevertheless, I didn’t often refer to the original image of the mermaid as the original image (although I did it when I painted her best friend, Flounder).
Instead, I collected a large number of images on the Internet to better understand the “mermaid anatomy”. Based on my mixed culture of origin, my initial idea was to create a more culturally ambitious Ariel. This is reflected in her bright accessories and curly red hair.
As soon as I decided on my idea, I sketched a simple sketch in Photoshop using a standard round brush, creating for this a working paper with the following dimensions 8 x 10 inches (inch) at 300 resolution dots per inch (dpi).
Now I will say this: creating simple sketches is perfect for translating your original idea, but I recently discovered that the more specific your sketch is, the easier it will be for you to navigate when creating your picture.
2. Create a halftone base
Working with light and shadows is a little scary for me, so to counter my fears, I usually start with a gray background for creating a general lighting scheme. For this, I created a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) and with the help of a hard round brush of light gray I painted my mermaid.
After creating the base, I fix the layer (translator’s note: lock icon) and create two more duplicates of the same layer, changing the blending mode for duplicate layers to Multiplication (Multiply). Only on the first duplicate of the layer do I use the tool Gradient (Gradient Tool (G)), creating the effect of transition from light to dark tones.
Next, I turn to the second duplicate layer to add halftones using a soft round brush. This time, I will focus on creating shadows all over my body, in particular, I emphasize shadows on my face, stomach, and tail.
3. The first stage of coloring
To move from a black-and-white painting to a painting with bright colors, you will need several stages of coloring, including the use of several blending modes and adjustment layers. Create a new layer, change the blending mode for this layer to Multiplication (Multiply). On a new layer, I added natural colors to the skin, hair and tail of a mermaid.
Next, I created more layers, changed the blending mode for these layers to Overlap (Overlay) and Bright light (Vivid Light). Here I used saturated warm colors to liven up the picture. I also used a hard brush to detail the features of the face as well as the body.
I continue to work carefully on the details, focusing in particular on applying color on top of the draft layer, so the picture gradually acquires an attractive 3D effect.
I always find a way to apply adjustment layers in my work. Create a new adjustment layer. Color Balance (Color Balance) for color correction, focusing on blue and red tones in mode Mid tones (Midtones). Although this is a generalized interpretation of the cartoon Mermaid, It is very important to convey the same color shades as in the cartoon to show the relationship with the original story.
4. We rework the details to better combine them with the underwater scene.
Further, I decided that it was necessary to alter some details, since they did not fit the underwater scene the way I originally wanted. First, I used the tool Rectangular area (Rectangular Marquee Tool (M)) to create a more compact scene. I selected a small part of the scene and then cropped the image, for this we go Image – Crop (Image> Crop).
At first I thought that a beautiful curly hairstyle would be perfect for my mermaid. But when I looked through dozens of underwater images, I realized that this hairstyle would not be able to keep its shape in the underwater environment. Instead, I drew curls of curly hair that could spread easily under normal conditions.
Remember, I said that it’s best to start working from a draft? I decided to redraw the hands of Ariel after a lot of options that I came up with at the beginning. One of the advantages of working in Photoshop is that you can redraw the details over and over again without affecting the rest of the scene. Even if the hands are not perfect, you can quickly give them the right position.
5. Continuing to adjust colors.
Just as in the previous steps, I used a combination of blend modes plus adjustment layers for color correction. At the beginning, I created a new layer, changed the blending mode to Soft light (Soft Light), and then applied a soft red brush. Next, I created another new layer, filled it with a bright green color, and then changed the blending mode for this layer to Light replacement (Lighten)
Next, I applied an adjustment layer. Color Balance (Color Balance) to restore the blue tones for the entire scene.
Next, I added an adjustment layer. Exposition (Exposure) to enhance contrast and saturation.
While detailing the picture, experiment with blending modes to create beautiful color effects. In this case, I created a new layer, changed the blending mode to Overlap (Overlay) and with a brush added warm color shades to enhance the lighting effects and add small details.
6. Fix hands, necklace, and face
Now let’s fix the long-awaited mistakes! You may not fix them for a long time, so try to force yourself to correct them, this will improve your overall performance technique. For hands, I chose a relaxed position that does not require too much detail. I used a hard round brush opacity (Opacity) 50-100% to complete these details.
Ariel is represented in a bathing suit, which is well known, because made of mollusks, but since I did not manage to draw mollusks, I decided to paint the ornament instead. For extra shine, I added bright white dots to mimic the look of sequin fabric with rhinestones.
You can easily carry out portrait retouching of an image simply by studying the video make-up lessons on the YouTube channel. Explore various make-up and contouring techniques to apply them to your paintings to create a beautiful and sultry look.
7. Final details
We are almost at the finish line! In conclusion, I concentrated on the fine details, using a hard brush with a high opacity (Opacity) 50 – 100%. This opacity will provide a good image on any screens and devices.
In the last steps, I corrected the mermaid’s hair, paying particular attention to how the hair curls repeat the flows of undercurrents.
Next, I added underwater bubbles around Ariel and Flaunder to recreate the underwater scene.
And we have completed the lesson!
I hope you enjoyed the lesson that was inspired by the Little Mermaid cartoon! Creating your favorite characters from childhood can be not only fun, but also a great way to replenish your portfolio and improve your knowledge. I wish you to enjoy the magic of Disney by creating your own interpretation. Good luck!