Making of 'Kai'

Hello everyone! Here I'm going to explain the process of painting my character, Kai. In this 'Making Of', I will not go into every single detail; I will just show you my working process and what tools I prefer to use, and I hope that will be useful for you all.  If have any suggestions or better working methods then please feel free to contact me.


This character is one of my personal projects, and here is a brief description of the character. He looks like he's full of energy, but is without patience and has a childlike quality. He has brown skin, short hair and is between 18 and 22 years old. Okay, so now we have an idea of the type of character I had in mind, let's go into how I followed through with my idea.

Concept & Sketches

I started out with this very rough sketch (Fig01), to try and discover what he would look like, what clothes he would wear and the type of pose he would be shown in. After sketching, I decided that the perspective I'd used to illustrate my character was too 'normal', and I wanted the character design to look more exaggerated and interesting. And so I sketched again until I was satisfied (Fig02) and then I started blocking in some colour.



Here I will introduce the tools I used most often:
Paint Tool:  I always use Photoshop's basic paint brush tool (Fig03) - it's enough for me!
Smudge Tool:  I often use this tool for blending colour (Fig04).




Paint Hair/Fur Tool:  I often use this tool to paint hair and fur; it is Photoshop's default brush (Nature Brush). I find this one useful for making fuzzy or hairy texture (Fig05).

Color Blocking

Now, I know this guy should have a brown skin tone, with maybe yellow or black hair, and I want his costume to have even more vibrant colour to match his personality!

Okay, so this is the basic colour blocking stage. For this layer of colour I used Multiply mode, and at this stage I was still considering where the light would be coming from. The yellow circle in the image shows where the light is coming from (Fig06). I continued with more shading work (Fig07), working on the volume and changing some of the design - sometimes this just happens when painting in the colouring stage!  As I mentioned earlier, I used the smudge tool for blending colour (Fig08).





I carried on working in more detail and made some further adjustments. I used the Hue/Saturation settings to make the skin lighter and the Transform tool to make the eyes bigger (Fig09). I always change back to black and white mode to check the values - it's important, for me. Sometimes you can lose contrast when you paint in colour, so it's good to do this in order to make sure everything is looking good and contrasts correctly (Fig10).


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Painting Hair:

Here is a step-by-step to show how I paint hair (Fig11a - f). I use a basic paint brush and the smudge brush to paint hair. Sometimes I'll even change the brush to 1 pixel to paint each single strand of hair. There is no shortcut to painting - you just need patience.







The Finished Piece

After all the detailing work, it was finally finished (Fig12). I hope you found this 'Making Of' useful. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to email me.


Thanks for reading!

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