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Making Of 'Desirable Thirst'

By Niklas Forsberg
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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
Photoshop

Introduction

Welcome to my tutorial on how I painted the landscape/waterscape Desirable thirst. The tutorial works like a walkthrough/step-by-step guide. I will not explain in detail how you should paint the different parts in the painting. But instead try to
show one way on how to work.

742_tid_bm_desirable_thirst_1600.jpg
Click here to Enlarge

This painting took approximately 36 hours to complete, it was painted in Adobe Photoshop using a Wacom Intuios A4 (digital drawing board). I did a preliminary sketch on paper first. Actually the first sketch was on a tissue. But I scribbled over it and it became the rocks in the left/lower part :)
Btw, don't ask...


This is my first tutorial, I have 5 more step-by-step tutorials in progress. And I'm planning a series of 15 different tutorials explaining in detail different techniques and paintings. I would love some input and feedback on these tutorials so please don't hesitate to comment on my portfolio or mail me at nicklas@nalf.it - portfolio: http://www.nalf.it

Step 1 - Sketch

742_tid_bm_01_sketch.jpg
After I have done a quick sketch on paper I start Photoshop and create a new canvas. For this painting I started with 1024x768.

• Background layer. It's good practice not to choose white back--ground, a grey color or a color which reflects the mood of the painting is better. This is because it can be hard to get started with a blank canvas. Also white is so bright that your eye will make surrounding colors darker.
Choosing correct values can then be annoying.

• Created a new layer with a transparent back-ground. I then drew my sketch again using a hard 3 pixel brush. Mainly thinking composition and not on specific details at this stage.

Step 2 - Base coloring

742_tid_bm_02_basecoloring.jpg
Tip 001 - Learn the keyboard shortcuts. Improve your skill in Adobe Photoshop(tm), with keyboard shortcuts you can increase speed and efficiency. I have written a tutorial and I will try to give you detailed overview on the most common shortcuts and functions used by artists. Click here to read Tutorial 002.

Next thing to do is to do the base coloring. This step is just as important as the sketch. Choosing colors and values can dramatically change the whole painting in mood and theme. I wanted something very painterly, rich and warm colors to convey paradise. This part is always very relaxing and fun, at least I think so... I feel like a children painting in a color book :)

• I created a new layer and ordered it below the layer with the sketch. Then I paint with a hard brush (no soft edges on the brush). Those with a digital drawing board should set the brush to change the size of the brush according to pen pressure, good for painting smaller regions without having to change size of the brush. I started painting the objects that is in the background and far away from the viewer; in this case it's the sky.

• After painting the base color of the sky I create a new layer adding it before the sky layer but still below the sketch layer. Then using same brush settings I painted the foreground forest.I used 2 layers so that I can edit the sky more easily after I started working on the foreground.


Step 3 - DPI and the background

742_tid_bm_03_clouds_step1.jpg
Info 001 - DPI. DPI stands for DOTS PER INCH. In other words, how many pixels that's printed /displayed on every inch. For screen / internet usage 72 in DPI is enough. For newspaper use 100-150 DPI. For high resolution prints use 250-300 DPI.

Tip 002 - Shortcut for eyedropper when painting
I use the keyboard shortcut for the "eyedropper" when using the brush tool. It's the "ALT" key on pc. So that way when I'm painting I can easily pick up colors that I want to use by holding "ALT" and pressing on a color.

Until now I have worked with a small canvas, making it easy to paint big areas. But I want this to be printable in high resolution. So what we need to do now is to increase the canvas.

• In Adobe Photoshop 7.0 I choose in the Image menu "Image size". Photoshop now opens a new window where I can specify new size. In the "Document size" section enter following:

742_tid_dialog_printsize.jpg
This will make the painting huge and increase the file size to 50 mb. Be aware that the memory and CPU usage will increase. Old computers should not be used for making printable paintings the foreground.

• I almost always start painting in the background because it can be really difficult to paint it after we have added details to the foreground. Also the skies color will be reflected on the foreground.
Making sure that the layer with the base color for the sky is active I start adding details. I use a soft airbrush pencil. Because of the change of the canvas size we must work with large brushes.

I don't do too much detail, rather try to give the sky a texture that I'm satisfied with.

More information about my technique when I'm painting clouds will be in another tutorial. Please notify me if such tutorial is wanted.



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