Making Of 'Seriously No Joking'
WARNING: CONTAINS NUDITY
Hi! My name is Jesùs Conde and I'm from Venezuela. In this tutorial I'm going to explain a little bit about how I work and I hope this help you to become a better artist. By the way, I should say that I don't consider myself a great artist - I still have a lot to learn so you'd better teach me something in return one day!
Please understand that this is not a step-by-step tutorial, because I don't really like to be that mechanical. It is more like showing you the stuff I did and the result so that you can apply the techniques to your own paintings.
Let's get started!
Inspiration & Line Art
Sometime when I'm searching for inspiration on a particular subject, I just do some research about that them. I often look for music that relates to it, such as movie soundtracks, as this helps me get in the mood to draw the subject (Fig.01).
For this painting it wasn't particularly hard to find material that would help me. I just looked for The Dark Knight soundtrack, pictures of the character I wanted to draw, and pictures I could use as references for the poses. I worked with some pictures from a friend, Daniel Ilinca, who took amazing photos of his beautiful wife, Ana Maria. She's great; I love her poses!
Sometimes I receive criticism for taking poses from pictures, or taking colors from them, as other people see this as cheating, but I don't look at it that way. I think that whatever makes you faster in the creative process is more than welcome (Fig.02).
Starting The Painting Process
When it comes to painting I really like to be quick because I love the part when I take care of the little details. So at the beginning I do all kind of steps to be faster and get to part I enjoy the most.
Step 1: The Basic Colours
I feel kind of stupid saying that I start by applying the basic colors, as there's not really another option. So I just started with flat colors without getting too complicated. I used one layer for the background and another for the character. Once I had the color layer done, I made two copies of the character layer it - you'll see why later (Fig.03).
Step 2 - Basic shadows
Next I took one of the copies of the character layers, went to the menu and clicked on Image > Adjustment > Hue and Saturation. I decided where the key light was going to be and, knowing that, I started to erase the parts that would be in shadow (Fig.04).
By this point I had the color layer with the shadows erased, the darker color layer and another copy - so three layers in total.
Step 3 - The highlights
I collapsed the darker layer with the one on which I'd erased the shadows, leaving me with two layers - one with shadows and one just with colors. I kept the one with just the colors behind and went to Image > Adjustments > Hue and Saturation and put some lightness in the image. Next, on the layer with the shadows, I erased the parts where the specular, or lighter parts, were going to be (Fig.05).
The last thing to do was merge the shadow layer and the color layer together, giving me a character with shadows, lights and background.
Adding detail is my favorite part! I like using a technique called "trama" (I'm not sure if the name in English) where I render the image using little lines, instead of just brushing and making it perfect and soft. I like images when they look shabby and with textures. For the soft parts I use the Smudge tool (Fig.06 - 07).
The process works like rendering software; you know, with the little box going from top to bottom in the image. I made a grid, keeping in mind that it there were some parts that couldn't be divided or painting it would be really hard (like the face for example) (Fig.08).
I then spent 5 minutes on each box and then did another pass of 10 minutes. It's great working like this with a timer; it kind of puts you under pressure and is a really fun technique to use (Fig.09)!
Another thing I like to do is put backlights on my characters. It makes them pop out of the drawing and look interesting. It's always better when these backlights make sense. In this image, my character was standing on top of a building and it made sense to have a blue light behind, like a moon or something. I always create the backlight in another layer first. That way, using the Hue and Saturation controls I can change it however I want.
Sometimes I like to put some layers with colors, like a post effect. For example, I might have one layer with dark edges and Color Burn for the Blending Mode, or maybe an orange to blue fade from the top in Color Dodge Blending Mode. I even use textures sometimes, like old paper or dirt. I've gotten some really cool results by doing that (Fig.10).
And here's the final image (Fig.11)!
So that's it! I hope you enjoyed the tutorial!
I'm not sure if this advice is going to help you since I know there are better artists out there, but if you are just starting out and want to get better at this then hopefully this will help you a little.
You should always practice the basic things: colors, human proportions etc. You should also look at a lot of tutorials and draw as much as you can. But don't get stuck just drawing one thing though. Variety is important and if you focus too much on one area then you might get very good at that, but you won't be able to draw much else!
I think that if you can finish a painting, or at least 60-70% of it in one day, then that's great. The next day you'll see it with fresh eyes and will probably spot some changes that need to be made, but the original idea will remain.
Always use references when you don't know what something looks like. At least for making concept art. Don't be afraid of using pictures; the person that hires you won't mind if you looked for advice during the process. He'll only care that your ideas are great and if using references is the best way to explain them, then that's the way you should do it.
Always add details to your drawings unless the intention is not to. The imagination of the painter is not the same as the guy who is looking at the image. So it's better to do some hard lines on the drawing.
I want to thank you for reading this tutorial and also thank 3DTotal for giving me the opportunity to share the little things I know about digital art.