Step-by-step: Light up some fur
1 I start off with a rough sketch of a cuddly looking fox that I can paint underneath. I don’t pay a lot of attention to details at this point, because this sketch will only be a guide and not set in stone. Reduce the Opacity of the sketch layer when you paint to about 50 per cent. This will enable you to see the line work without it interfering with the painting process. 2 I continue by blocking in the main colours, which at this point are unlit by an external source. I keep it dark, because I plan on building up the shapes by going from dark to light. I like to maintain a traditional approach to my art, so I’m not afraid to work with messy, textured brushes. These add a lot of unintentional detail and keep the art from looking plastic and overly smooth. 3 Now to the fun part! On top of this unlit base, I work with different layer styles such as Soft Light, Hard Light and Overlay. In combination, these can create a golden summery glow, especially when painted on such a colourful animal as the fox. This is really about trying out what works, so experiment with different opacities and intensities of the light. 4 This is the final detail phase, and definitely when I have the most fun. This is where I paint little individual hair strands and weave the whole composition together. I usually merge everything and work on one single layer to marry all the elements into one cohesive image. I’m also fond of depth, so I choose to frame this with some leaves out of focus in the foreground.