When I set out to create this image I wanted to represent an elite soldier (a sniper) that was operating in a desert-like area. What I had in mind was somewhere like Afghanistan or Iraq, but in the near future. The general idea was to paint a soldier wearing body armor, a baseball cap and big boots. I searched the internet for all kinds of images of soldiers with different weapons and uniforms, looking for references. I think that reference images are very important if you want to create a realistic image.
I normally use Corel Painter and Photoshop simultaneously. It's my belief that Corel Painter feels more like painting traditionally and I really like that. On the other hand, Photoshop is a wonderful tool that I use to transform the image, apply textures and correct colors. Both programs are complementary and by using them together I can work really quickly.
Fig.01 shows the brushes that I used in Painter:
- Pens – Scratchboard tool: I use it all the time.
- Chalk – Square Chalk: for the background and general volumes with textures.
- Digital Watercolor – Broad Water brush: for the base color.
- Airbrushes – Digital airbrush: for shadows and create atmosphere.
- FX – Glow: for lights and atmosphere. The Glow tool is extremely powerful.
With the idea of the soldier in my head I started to work. The first thing to do was the general line work (head, feet, waist, arms, legs and shoulder lines). You can see my sketch in Fig.02.
Shoulders and waist lines are paramount, because they outline the position of both legs. After that, I started to dress the character.