Step 6: Attire and Colours
It's now time to work on the Joker's attire a bit more; working on the folds, adding details such as buttons etc. Bring in some new colours, such as a red/orange colour for his lips to really help them to stand out. We can also add a yellow colour for the teeth, as we want them to look very decayed and all around nasty to match his sinister smile (Fig.07). All of this detailing can be done with a basic hard edge brush, in combination with a soft edged brush where we want the material to look smoother - in this case, the suit.
Step 7: Getting Serious
I'm happy with how the image is coming along at this stage, but it does need more refinement. So let's increase the resolution yet again close to 300 DPI and begin adding details. It's important to spend a lot of time on the face at this point; use a soft edged brush to smooth out the Joker's features, as well as his clothing. Always be careful with soft edged brushes though; although they're good for blending/smoothing, overuse of this brush can cause an image to look plastic and undefined. Finding a good balance between hard edged and soft edged brushes is essential in order to create a successful painting.
Work in layers and merge. An example would be creating a new layer for the eyebrows, and merging it when you're satisfied with the results. Keeping the detail work on a separate layer ensures you'll never mess up what you already created underneath.
Step 8: The Bat
The bat (which was very highly referenced) needs to be painted following the same results already mentioned, although make use of the speckled brush much more often, as it will help to bring out the texture of the "fur". Most of the detailing in my paintings is done with a spackled brush as well (such as the pores on the Joker's tongue), so use this as a "stamp". The hard edged brush can also be used again to bring out the "fur" texture even further. For the wings, overlay lots of random textures and brushstrokes as well to help differentiate them from their surroundings.
Step 9: Working on the Face
For a character such as the Joker, nailing the face is essential, there's no going around it. For reference, I looked at pictures from Alex Ross and other illustrators, as well as images of Jack Nicholson's Joker as well as Heath Ledger's, respectfully. My goal was to come up with something original, while remaining true to the character. To get the right amount of detail necessary, make sure you're working at 300 DPI at this stage, which will allow room for more detailing. Use the standard hard edged brush, along with a round brush for smoothing the features out (especially the cheeks), and a speckled brush for a more refined blend (Fig.08).
Step 10: Finishing Touches
To finish off the image, bring out the texture of the suit more, as well as adding some horizontal lines to make the suit stand out more. Be very careful when creating the horizontal pattern; follow all the contours of the suit accordingly. It can be good idea to do all of this in a separate layer in case you make any mistakes, which would destroy the suit itself. Once that's done, use a soft edged brush at a very low flow and opacity and apply it everywhere to smooth the image out a bit. Also, spend some more time on the Joker's face, specifically his eyes and expression.
Step 11: Refinement
When I'm satisfied with an image, I upload it to a variety of different art forums for critique. As a result, I reworked the Joker's eyes, as they were previously a bit uneven (I wanted his expression to be uneven, but not his anatomy, if that makes any sense) - so don't hesitate to do the same if you feel you need to, until you're satisfied with the image (Fig.09).I hope you found this tutorial helpful, and please don't hesitate to contact me should you have any questions - I'm here to help!