Making of 'Spray It'
I always rough out my compositions for my images first so I can get a feeling of the final image in my mind before starting any work on the piece. So here in Fig.01, I did my composition study, and then moved on to rendering the girl in the pencil sketch to achieve the 3D form of the figure. I continue to achieve a sense of the pose and structure of the figure, with both lines and shade, until I am ready to scan it in and work digitally.
Note: For this illustration I worked very expressively and rough. I worked very much like a traditional painting as I painted over most of my line and shade work further on in the process.
So I scanned in the pencil shaded sketch at 300 dpi in grayscale, go to image>adjustments>levels and play around with the settings to clean up the sketch a bit, and finally I can start rendering the figure in Photoshop (Fig.02).
First, I set the lines to multiply and painted under the lines to get the general light and shadow down. I grabbed the smudge tool in Photoshop and smudged my pencil lines to smooth them out. When I'm done the general shadows I flattened the line-art layer to my general tones. After I'm done all this, I made a new layer on top of the line art and started painting over the whole figure (Fig.03).
This stage was very important for this piece, as it pretty much decides the whole light source of it. I made sure I suggested the muscles, bones with tones. Also, I wanted to have enough contrast in the figure, lights, mediums, and darks. When I'm done all this, I made a bigger file and canvas, pasted this figure onto it and started to bring in the other elements in pretty much black and white still (Fig.04).
I did the graffiti design here also and worked out every other element. The textures in the edges are all texture brushes effects; you can download these brushes from different artist's blogs or websites, such as the texture brushes Linda Bergkvist (http://www.furiae.com/) Goro Fujita (http://www.area-56.de/) . But some of the brushes I actually used in the piece was created by myself. Look up texture brushes in a search engine for some fast links. So after all the black and white version of your illustration is done. Its time to move on to the colour!
Since I pretty much already have all my tones and shades worked out now in black and white all I need to do now is add colour. Since I have all the tones worked out, I don't need to worry about tone when I add colour. So as you can see in Fig.05, I made a new layer, set the mode of the layer to overlay and painted each part of the figure in one flat colour. Here I used a beige/brownish colour for the skin, a dark blue for her jeans, dark brown for her top, etc.
In Fig.06 and 07, I added different flat colours to the piece to give it more colour and contrast. For Fig.07 specifically, I used a texture image (a close up image of a piece of wood). I set these layers to overlay same as the layer I did with the colours of the figure. Now to wrap up the general colours I added a new layer and used a soft brush as well as a variety of thin hard brushes to pain the spraying effects, not only did I used the purple and red spray effects in the trail of spray in the air, I also added some of the purples and reds to the letters in the graffiti to show the spread of the paint sprayed out.
Now, most of the image and textures have been filled in. The general colours are done. However, I found that the whole image right now looks a bit dull and greyed out. So I flattened the image to do some image adjustments (Fig.08).
So I want to turn up the saturation a bit first by going to image>adjustments>saturation to do that (Fig.09). After this I duplicated the flattened piece into 2 layers as seen in fig.12.
Now I made both of these layers into layer mask and went to image>adjustments>curves. For one of the masked layer I pumped up the darkness of it with curves, for the other I made a bit lighter (Fig.10).
Now you can just fill the masked layers with black and paint in all the areas you want to push darker or lighter! Finally, from this stage I start to do touch ups. Now is when I make a new layer and just start to paint over all the areas I want to alter to finish the illustration. At this point, I painted over many things, the figure, the graffiti, and the bars some of the texture, and I used a texture brush again to paint the thicker paint drops from the spraying. At this stage I actually decided that I want to paint in her legs too, this was actually a bad move, something that I neglected in the composition stage, so it was a bit of a hassle. I had to carefully paint it in to not let it interfere with the rest of the image. So after this is done, I once again did another image>adjustments>hue/saturation change (Fig.11) and levels to bring up the brightness of the image, and finish! (Fig.12 & Fig.13)