Re­fin­ing the sketch

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I add more de­tails to make sure I’ve got a pretty solid idea of where I want to go be­fore I start ap­ply­ing colour. I give her a crown of flow­ers, as well as flow­ers at her feet and waist, and start to in­di­cate that her staff is formed of swirling vines. At this point I’ve got most of my ma­jor el­e­ments in­di­cated – although not fully de­tailed – so I’m ready to start colour­ing.

De­vel­op­ing Ideas

Adding colour

Now I start adding in the ac­tual main colours. I cre­ate a new layer and set its Blend­ing mode to Hard Light, from the float­ing layer win­dow. This en­ables me to add bright, rich colour to the sketch with­out los­ing the de­tails of the sketch. Us­ing a stan­dard cir­cu­lar brush, I quickly block in my ar­eas of colour. I want the colours to be warm, bright and fresh.

I re­ally like the con­trast be­tween the char­ac­ter’s ar­mour and the sur­round­ing green­ery, so I push it a lit­tle for­ward by adding even more flow­ers, par­tic­u­larly on her staff. I’m not too sure about the blue but­ter­flies at this point. I like all the dots of colour that they cre­ate, but they may not work in this par­tic­u­lar colour scheme.

Tint­ing the sketch

I tint the sketch to a warmer colour, be­cause I know I want this to be a warm colour piece over­all. To do this I go to Layer> New Ad­just­ment Layer> Color Bal­ance. This cre­ates a new layer that en­ables me to ad­just the colour of the piece. I play with the slid­ers on the mid­tone and shadow tones un­til the sketch is a colour that I‘m happy with.

Be­gin­ning to paint

Af­ter adding the base colour, I cre­ate a Nor­mal blend­ing layer and begin to paint. My brush’s Opac­ity is set to 100 per cent, and the flow is set to be­tween 15 and 20 per cent. I tend to work on the over­all im­age in bits and pieces, rather than com­pletely ren­der­ing one area at a time, be­cause I like to see the over­all look de­velop as I go along.

Re­think­ing ar­eas of the piece

I no­tice in the pre­vi­ous drafts that her ex­pres­sion was be­gin­ning to look a bit dour, which is not what I want, so I start to work on it a bit more. I ex­per­i­ment with giv­ing her a lay­ered skirt, pos­si­bly with more chain­mail el­e­ments. I also start play­ing with the idea of hav­ing the canopy of the tree look a lit­tle more stylised and be­come an en­cir­cling bor­der form.

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