Step-by-step: Paint fantastical tropical fish
1 Start scribbling! I simply go a little crazy and do random strokes and shapes with a wispy brush on a separate layer in Photoshop. This is just to let the imagination flow to see what comes out and what happy accidents I can bring on. Don’t worry about anatomy just yet – instead, relax and have fun. These are only the first scribbles, after all. 2 I pick out my favourite scribbles, lower the Opacity to 20 per cent, create a new layer on top of the scribbles and start sketching. I add more detail, while also taking out anything that doesn’t make sense to me. Now is also a good time to start thinking about perspective and anatomy and whether the shapes work well together or not. 3 I lower the Opacity of the sketch layer and, on a new layer below, add saturated colours with a Soft brush for a smooth transition between the different hues in the fish’s scales. After establishing the base colours, I merge the sketch and colour layers and then begin rendering with a simple oval brush and a select few textured brushes.