Step-by-step: Light up some fur

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation -

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.

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