Background and secondary lights
I want the illusion of depth of field, so I use a blur filter to make everything out of focus at the back. The cool background colour is shining on his shadow side, creating an interesting rim light, and I have bounce light from various pieces of his costume. All these secondary light sources should be subtle and not overpower the main light source.
Putting in the final touches
A large amount of time is spent painting and smudging, painting and smudging. There’s no trick – it’s just time and patience, and being willing to look at your piece honestly and make changes. Towards the end I always do a few final touches: a Levels adjustment to create more contrast, a noise layer and some last tiny highlights. And then I call the painting finished. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my process!