This stage is important as it is done in preparation for the next stage when color will be added. When you are in the early stages it is helpful to open a new window so you can have one zoomed in and the other looking at the whole image.
This way you can work on small areas and see the effect it has on the entire image.
After the lights and darks were established I could move on to the coloring phase. Layers set to Multiply and Hard light were used to create the relationship between the warm and cold colors. As you can see I used red and blue to do this and covered the main part of the image (Fig.03).
Through repeated color adjustments (Ctrl + U, Ctrl + B and Ctrl + M) I achieved the color effect that I was striving for. I also started to use the brushes with Fusion effect applied in this phase, which will also play an important role in the rest of the image.
I found a rock photo and added it to the background. It was important to blend it in to the scene using transparency effects and color adjustments (Fig.04).
This gave the scene some texture. The next step was to deal with the relationship between the war horse, armor and character.
It was important to differ their colors slightly to make the structure clear.
It was important not to completely cover the armor with brushwork at the draft phase so that the image would be more vivid once the color was applied.
The next step was to deal with the shadow and to add some texture to the character. I used the backlight color for some of the detail on the characters as I thought this would add some mystery and power to the image (Fig.05).