Hey! So, I am getting set up to start a webcomic late this summer, and I’m doing some concept sketches along with my writing.
I decided to actually remember to document some process stuff along the way, so people can get an idea of how my brain works while I’m putting together an illustration.
Step one: Come up with a basic idea of what you want. Not too hard. This piece was done all digitally, so I started with a rough sketch in Photoshop. This is where I decide the basic layout of everything, and try to make sure the illustration reads the way I want it to.
Step two: Finished pencils. You can see I decided to make a few changes between this stage and the last. I got rid of the weird branch things, and decided I wanted to add some mysterious rocks. I really like the Japanese thing of having paper prayers attached to stone shrines and things, so I decided to add an element like that into this. Makes it more fun for me to draw!
Step three: Inks! Usually, this is where I would print out my finished pencils in redline, and then ink with real ink and a brush. But since I was lazy, and also wanting to work more on my digital inking skills, I did this in Photoshop, on a layer over the top of my pencils, which I lighted quite a bit.
Step four: Flat color. I decided all my base colors, and made my selections. This will make it easier for me to go in and change some color choices later if I need to, or allow me to select certain objects to embellish individually.
Step five: I added my shadows. I just picked a nice dark neutral purple, set it to multiply, and filled a layer over my colors. Then I added a layer mask, and used it to remove the areas that I wanted to not be in shadow. It’s starting to look reasonably finished now, but we’re not done yet!
Step six: Highlights. Same thing as the shadows, except I used a yellow color, and instead of having the whole thing filled, and erasing what I didn’t want, I just painted in the stuff I did. Now, in the past, I would have just called it good here and gone home, but since it’s a concept sketch, I wanted to really set the mood, so onward!
Step seven: Effects! I added a few gradient layers, some color overlays, and some blur effects, and voila! We have the finished piece, and now I have a frame of reference for how to draw and color the forest stuff in my webcomic. Hooray!