Step-by-step: Paint shell-inspired armour
1 I start to paint the character in Photoshop using a small Round brush. An engaging pose will show off the armour design to best effect. I also try to give some of the armour pieces a shelllike silhouette. This sketching step usually takes me around 20 to 30 minutes. I keep the lines loose, so that I’m not locked down with the line drawing for the next steps. 2 Giving volume to the line work can make the colouring process much easier. Because I have a traditional oil painting background, I prefer to begin this step with a medium grey background. Now I can carve into volumes with a dark grey and bring out volumes with a light grey. It gives me greater control by avoiding the extreme values such as pure blacks and whites. 3 Now I start the basic colouring process with the colour swatch I’ve generated from my photo references. I maintain the same colour temperature and use medium saturation, which ensures that my colours work together. I concentrate the colours on the armour pieces that I want to show off, so that the character isn’t competing with the final armour design. 4 Finally, I carefully integrate some photo textures to my basic colour painting. Then I erase the textures in the shadow areas to achieve a better blending result. I select Color Dodge mode for my brush, to introduce shine and highlights to the armour pieces. For a final polish, I use a textured charcoal brush to blend together the colours from the photo references.