9 Building up the figure
I block the basic shapes of the face and outfit with very wide strokes, adding spots here and there, and defining the pirate’s facial features. I also set the mood and lighting, letting the texture and brush strokes help with those little happy accidents. At this point I’m trying to stay in the middle of the grey spectrum; I never use 100 per cent white or black. It does look a bit flat, but this is just the first step: it’s the foundation on which I’m building on. I create new layers whenever I’m happy with the result – this enables me to make changes if subsequent work doesn’t quite go to plan.