Drawing process for King

Here's a simple process breakdown for my drawing of Florence Welch, inspired by her song King.

STEP 1: Lines

I started this drawing in Photoshop using a paper texture from Rebelle's library. The lines were made using Kyle's HB Pencil with smoothing set to about 25% to get clean, smooth lines. I really enjoy this brush, it's got a nice texture without being too crunchy. I believe it's in the Megapack set but I'm not 100% sure.

Lines outline of illustration

STEP 2: Block-in

This is where I take the illustration to Rebelle 5. I absolutely love the watercolors in Rebelle because of how real they feel. The acrylics and oils are pretty insane too, though I hardly use them because I'm not much of a painter.

Using watercolors as a base in this illustration allows me to block in my colors and values in a short amount of time. If I use pencils, it takes me forever to fill the entire thing with tiny little strokes. I could size up a pencil brush to be huge and then fill the area in, but that ruins the illusion of this looking like traditional art. There is no such thing as a massive pencil in real life, so how could the drawing look real when it's made with a non-existent tool? The trick to making digital art look like traditional art is using the tools and methods that mimic real life.

STEP 3: Render

Once my values are blocked in, I take the illustration back to Photoshop and begin to render. I exclusively use my Sketchbook Set brushes for Photoshop here. I draw like I would with real colored pencils, so I use the brushes at smaller sizes and hatch like I would with real colored pencil.

I don't use any blending tools. I "blend" by transitioning colors and values. Blending makes an illustration feel digital IMO since smooth blending doesn't really exist unless you use Gamsol or other mineral spirits. Even then, Gamsol isn't as smooth as digital blending tools.

STEP 4: Details

At this point, I'm not really feeling the purple robe. The rest of the illustration has warm oranges & yellows and the purple feels off to me. I want it to look more cohesive with analogous colors, so I use the Hue/Saturation layer adjustment to change the purple to red & pink. Then, I draw in the background design with pinks to complement the robe.

Next, I add more line work over my rendering. I feel like some of the lines got lost during the rendering process so I add more. And lastly, I bump up the color saturation of the entire illustration with another Hue/Saturation layer adjustment. This brightens up the colors and makes them feel less flat and dull.

And that's it! That's the entire process for the drawing. It probably took about 15-20 hours to complete. Rendering like I'm using real colored pencils is super time consuming, so I try to save time where I can by using watercolors as the base. To me it's worth the effort though because it has that realistic colored pencil feel.

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