Making of 'Funfair'
I like my pictures to describe funny or strange situations, such as in my picture, 'Funfair'. The idea of the funfair came about when I was sitting in the park on one of my lunch breaks. A friend and I were eating ice-cream when a small insect landed on hers... Her face instantly turned into a funny grimace and I just had to hold on to that facial expression by drawing it!
As a starting size, I used around about a 3000x3000 pixel canvas, at 300dpi. First I drew the sketch in Photoshop using a small, pressure-sensitive paintbrush (Fig01). The background and the sketch both have their own layers. I then set up the basic colours that I thought I would possibly use for the sketch (Fig02). I always try to use very loud colours in order to enhance the surreal situations that you find in my pictures.
I created a layer behind the sketch layer and filled it roughly with my chosen basic colours (Fig03). The lighting and shading were set up with the chosen basic colours, again using a new layer (Fig04).
For this piece I chose a daylight situation, in order for a summery, sunny ambiance to be achieved. I used a hard, round brush; to get a smooth transition between the colours, the settings Other Dynamics and Pen Pressure were used (Fig05).
At this point I had the basic frame upon which I could then start adding all the details...
By creating a new layer I made sure that the sketch layer would still be there. On the new layer I just started drawing over the sketch lines - ignoring them completely. I started with the face because this is the main point of focus.
Having created a general idea of the face, I was then able to work on the details such as the nose, mouth, eyes, teeth, and of course - very important for my nasty red-headed teenage girl - some freckles, using the same settings as before but working more precisely this time. For the detailed parts, for example the lashes or other fine lines, you can use the helpful setting: Shape Dynamics (Fig06 - 08).
The hard brush gives us a nice painterly character, unlike when using Airbrush, as this feature always looks a little cleaner. After finishing up her face I then started working on the rest...The next step was the hair. Earlier on I set up the basic colours; one of which was chosen for her hair colour. I enhanced the lighter and darker shades of red in her hair using single wisps. I didn't want my character to look all prim and boring, and so for this reason I painted single wisps sticking out of the hair. This way her hair looks less combed and more out of order, which also gives her a cheeky look. The more luminous spots you apply to the hair, the more it will shine and the silkier it will look. This time I didn't want to use effects like that because I wanted the hair to look a bit shaggier, for the reasons I mentioned before (Fig09).
Moving on to detail the frog, I painted bright yellow coloured spots where the light was to be hitting his body. This way the frog looks all wet and slippery, and you also get that typical pimply skin effect that frogs have (Fig10).
After that I worked on the ice-cream cone. To get a characteristic ice-cream surface, the line management had to be more inaccurate and I finished up with the Unsharpen filter (Fig11; see Fig12) for the general progress). Looking at a real ice-cream cone would also help!
I then worked on the hands and clothes; you could either do these both on one layer, or each one on a separate layer, on top of the sketch. After finishing all that up, the sketch was then not really visible. The sketch layer was therefore hidden and everything else was merged into one layer. You should always merge layers together when you have finish your work on every layer - that way you can save a huge amount of calculating capacity. However, in order to have some kind of backup, I saved jpegs for this piece every couple steps - but that's up to you.
The background needed to support the picture whilst not becoming a key focal point. The colouring had to be bright and strong to achieve for the whole scene that summery look which I described earlier.
I started with a rough, green area that was to later on display trees and bushes (Fig13).
I filled this area with darker and lighter shades of green; using a brush I created myself very easily (Fig14; see Fig15 for the settings).
Finally, I erased some parts of the edge of the green area using the same brush as before. To achieve depth of field I used the Gaussian blur filter on the trees (Fig16). Behind those trees a Ferris Wheel was depicted to signify the name and action of the picture. Of course, the Gaussian blur also had to be applied here.
The lowest layer held the sky and a few clouds. Both were sketched only roughly.
I can never really stop working on a character - there is always something to improve or change. A useful way to do this is to create a "correction-layer". On that I can then, for example, change the light beam in the corner of an eye, or change how the T-shirt falls. For a nice finish I gave her a hair band with green dice, which creates a nice contrast to her red hair (Fig17; see Fig18 for the final result).