I already told you who Giuseppe Mascara is and why I love him (!), now I show you how I drawn him.
Since I’m not yet an expert graphics tablet user, I always start my drawing using paper and pencil. I do some sketch to find the key features of the subject and to choose the pose. In this phase I use one or more reference photo, in this case the following one:
When I eventually draw a sketch in which I can recognize the subject, I replicate it using a better and larger sheet. After I finished the pencil drawing, I perform the inking. Creating the caricature of Giuseppe Mascara teaches me that it’s better to take a break between the pencil and the inking steps because looking to your drawing after some hour allows you to see many defects you didn’t notice before: disproportions and asymmetries appears out from nowhere…and it is much better to correct such kind of errors sooner rather than later. Surprisingly, also the likeness you thought you got completely disappeared after a while.
In this and many other cases, however, I inked without waiting, so I got this result (sorry, no photo of the original pencil):
Now, I swap to the digital process. I scan and extract the lineart as I explain in my first tutorial, so I obtain a cleaner and accurate lineart:
In order to work only on the subject figure, I create a new layer, destined to be invisible, selecting only the space inside the silhouette and I fill it with a random color.
Then I start with the colouring process. I creatie a new leyer for the flat colors first. I use one of the selecting tools provided by the most commonly used graphic software:
This step is important because it allows me to easily select specific parts of the body, for an example through the magic wand.
Now it’s time to add the shadows, that is the most difficult step for me. I spend a lot of time looking for a good blending effect. I usually start using hard brushes with opacity set to 100% (that means no trasparency). Again, I create a new layer and I try to add at least three different levels of blending for each color and for each area (skin, eyes, clothes…), exploiting the pressure sensitivity only. After that, I make the transitions among blended zones softer. The secret here is to use the stamp tool constantly. The aereograph is also very useful (note that the aereograph is a tool apart in GIMP, but it is a brush option in Photoshop). This is my method to obtain soft, invisible and natural color gradients. And this is the result:
I usually obtain a satisfying effect when I add the pure white near the lineart edges and where convex surfarce are present, e.g. near the cheek and in the front, in order to make such elements threedimensional. In this phase I prefer to reduce the brush opacity to low values (about 15%). I also add to the skin a color with a high red component, again using a very low opacity value and exploiting the pressure sensitivity of the pen.
Then I add a layer of noise, following the process I explained here.
The final step consists of create a background. I don’t want that the environment items became distractive, so usually I make the background minimal. In this example I just add the grass.
So, I have the (almost) final drawing and only now I notice that I drawn the right eye much bigger than the left one and the left ear much different from the right one.
How did I not see it sooner? I have no idea. Is in times like this that you realize what huge advantage is to draw digitally. I indeed solve the problem thanks to the useful Photoshop’s shortcut CTRL+ALT+SHITH+E: it creates a new layer that merge down the others (it exists also in GIMP, option Layer->New from visible). Then I copy and paste the right eye and the left ear, I flip them horizontally (by selecting Edit->Transform->Flip horizontally) and I overlay them to the originals. I refine the correction using the eraser and the stamp tools wheer they are needed and…that’s it: I corrected the mistake I never would have made if I’d gave a closer look to the pencil draft!
And now find the animated GIF showing you the drawing sequence I described in this post.
Well, I’ll just have to wait your comments and the comments of your followers.
At the next post!