I said I would upload a progress post so here’s a quick one of my Gallery of Mo portrait! My processes are pretty straight-forward and mundane but hopefully this is informative. I’ve not done a progress post on my work before!
1: I always do my initial rough linework in coloured pencils (sometimes there will be lines in multiple colours for corrections etc. I don’t use rubbers). This makes it easier to separate them from the finished fineliner lines once in photoshop.
2: I use the pencil lines as a rough guide for the pen but keep my references handy for spur-of-the-moment tweaks. I use pretty cheap, standard, Staedtler fineliners, since I got through a lot of them and any rough edges can be neatened up in photoshop if necessary (I’ve gotten a bit lazy with my initial lines because of this lately but I’m trying to fix that!)
3: Now I’ve separated the outlines onto a new layer in photoshop using ‘select/similar’/’new layer’ and/or the ‘select colour range’ tool, This is where I clean up the lines and if necessary, tweak the drawing a bit using the warp tool and simple ‘selection’, ‘pen’ and ‘move’ tools. In this image I did more tweaking than normal as I wanted the portrait to be as close a likeness for the subject as possible and I didn’t feel I’d done that well enough with the original lines. This way I can keep the base of my original drawing and not have to redraw completely!
4: Next is a basic flat colour base. Each colour is kept on a separate layer for easy adjustment.
5: As you can see, I did a bit more tweaking of the facial features here, but I’ve also moved on to more detailed colour layers. I’ve used my usual technique of alternating two tones of colour in the hair, but I’ve also added a bit of colour to the cheeks and around the eyes. I don’t always do this but he looked a little pale! I’ve smoothed the edges of the colour tone with the smudge tool as well, whereas I usually leave my shading and colour with sharp edges for contrast.
6: Next there are the shading layers. In this case there are two layers of shadow and one of highlights but in my more complex images there can be 5 - 8 shadow layers and 2 or 3 of highlights. I block them in on separate layers in opaque black and white, using either or freehand ‘pen’ tool or the ‘freehand selection’ and ‘fill’ tools, then adjust the opacity of each layer individually until I get the balance right.
Finally, I added a simple pattern layer in the background to spice it up a bit. Since it was a quick piece, this is one from my personal stock pile of patterns. This particular one was drawn while I was still at uni and has been used in several of my other pieces, including the wedding invitation cover images I posted recently. Every now and then when I have free time, I try and produce 2 or 3 new patterns to add to my pattern and texture library for future use.