Step-by-step: Covering skin with reptilian scales
Once I’m satisfied with the light and shadow, I create a Multiply layer and use the warm colour of the shadows to draw scales one by one. Their shape is an irregular quadrilateral with a bevelled edge. I avoid rounding them off, leaving them with noticeable edges. I also lay down each scale’s shadows in the same colour.
I paint a more regular pattern on the horns’ edges for a more realistic effect. Then I paint lights with a light, cool colour. Every scale has its own highlight that reinforces its rounded shape, as well as following the shape of the head. I apply white brushstrokes as highlights, to simulate the smoothness of the scales.
Now I paint the girl’s horns. To achieve a more interesting effect I give them a twisted form, taking a cue from some animal horns, such as the goat and ram. I pay attention to the light and to the shadows they cast. Horns are leathery so I paint in some more white brushstrokes, to simulate a shiny appearance.