Making Of 'My World'
Outstanding illustrations are filled with creativity, plan well before you start on your draft. Know what you want to convey to your audience through the picture, your ideas, concept, color, worldview. Don't let your illustration become an anatomy drawing from the biology classes, use your unique ideas to draw your viewers attentions.
The inspiration of My World came from an early piece titled Butterfly. Closely studying past works will sometimes give you a new feeling about it, I felt an urge to compose an image which can give a new world to Butterfly, a new definition.
I usually use blue pencils for contouring and drafting out my works, then with 0.5 2B mechanical pencil to finalize the outline and define the finer details before scanning the drawing into the computer and adjusting the contrast in Photoshop. Coloring is done solely in painter.
However, I decided to use a different method, just sketching from scratch in the computer (it was the same for Butterfly). The good point of this is it gives better control over the lineart, shadings and allows adjustments for contrast in different areas. This image's composition is nothing new, just with some personal concepts and style, like the fish and volcano in the glass spheres, mechanical limbs and hair of the girl, and the masked bird etc.
The only software I used for the My World was Painter 6.1. Watercolor was used throughout the process ever since drafting, in this manner the lines' edges will create a very dedicate and subtle touch when coloring because of the mix of hues. Due to the fact that in Painter 6.1 watercolor's only a base layer, I do my coloring only on one as though on paper.
1. Diffusion: gives the medium a certain amount of wetness, usually use it for the base color on big areas as well as to give a blurred effect at places.
2. Simple water: my most used tool from watercolor, most colorings are done with this.
3. Papers: base's textures, doesn't really stand out used with watercolor brushes, but for rough textures like rocks and machines, I do increase the percentage, but for skins just usually not at all.
4. Controls - size: used most frequent during coloring, shortcut keys are [ and ] on the keyboard, adjusting the brush sizes from time to time gives better control over the color mixings.
5. Controls - opacity: I usually keep the brush opacity at 100% because personally I like my colors a little more opaque, though it does make using watercolor a little not like it in some ways.
A tablet is a must, I use a Wacom one. Without one I'd recommend users to stick to Photoshop because in my point of view without a tablet it's really difficult to work in painter.
01, 02 - Coloring should always begin with the background, usual steps are to decide on the range of basic colors to use, shade blocks, then go into details. In this picture I wanted to present something simple and at will, so in the lighting and colors I didn't apply the aforementioned method, instead, directly into section by section of details.
03, 04 - Behind is a huge robot's head. After laying out the base colors, follow the value and tones to define details. Some cracks and scratches were added to the surface to give more texture.
05 - Finishing the background, I started working on the girl. The face takes a lot of time to render. Detailing the light pupils and dark eye rims, the forehead and face's sides' textures, all to give her a more industrial feel.
06 - The coloring of hair is pretty easygoing with the base color blocks already there. But extra care is noted making sure the lighting doesn't go wrong for the arranged layers. Slight designs in the front make the hair more interesting and girl more charming.
07 - The body is colored according to the order of arrangements back and forth; paint the skin first, then the accessories, the chair before all that, of course. Attention was paid to the joints and structural proportions; I used smaller brush size and work slow to keep the skin smooth, also, not forgetting the shadows cast by the necklace.
08 - Edges of the necklace was strictly controlled, the carvings and lines took a lot of time to detail. Those done colors were laid for the remaining parts of the image. More hues were used in this section to make the centre more colorful and interesting. In detail the left armrest on the chair was shaped and made into a twisting stack of CDs.
09 - To bring out the half mechanic half organic feel in the piece, a trait in Butterfly, the design of arms were made to look organic yet locked in a mechanical design. The textures not flesh but plastic and leather inclined, the right wrist's spiral looking thing is a speaker, earphones directly plugged in for music; and to leave an impression of difference the phone in her hand was designed out of the norm, communication of a different world with another.
10 - The two spheres are also part of the main focus, I had wanted to use them to present two totally different worlds contained within. Final decision was an erupted volcano and a fish in water.
11 - Here, other than painting what's within the spheres, the texture and shapes themselves also had to be projected; thus cracks were painted on the one behind, and the one in front, weightlessly floating, water spurting out from the centre.
12 - The last part is the bird at the most front. This bird was painted casually with no reference, wearing a mask and giving it a sharp looking eye is to show that even birds have thinkings in this world. After coloring's all done the image was resized to check on any mistakes or if anything was missed out.
Adjusting of colors was done in Photoshop because Painter's color contrasts are lighter. Because there was a very clear concept in mind since the very start, the workflow was very smooth. Overall the image took about 10hours without any references.