Because I felt my heroine would stand out more in red, I tried the colour out on a layer over her blue suit. I also added some blocky shadow to aid the form on this layer. You can shade more subtly later, painting on layers set to Multiply blending mode over the top. (The dog idea was abandoned at this point and the layer deleted.) Hitting the H key flipped the image horizontally and allowed me to check to see how off kilter the drawing was. It’s a good habit to get into.
I roughed out some cemetery headstone shapes in the background, and introduced more victims to her pile. Each was on a separate layer as I played with their character and placement. The more character I could give them, the more believable they would be, and the more points of interest there would be to keep the viewer interested. I planned to give them a group of their own, like the girl’s, later (Fig.07 and Fig.08).
Notice how I separated her hair on its own layer, so that I could work freely on it without worrying about having to keep retouching her face? I had to be careful that the two would work together without it resembling a crash helmet. I merged them as soon as you could and softened the edges in places to make it more natural. This kind of separation of parts is useful but can lead to way too many layers, even for me! Remember the need to keep control – apart from anything else, everything will slow down as the file size soars if you don’t.
Something I particularly like in Artrage is the ability to make stencils out of images. Using texture images I have on disk already, I opened the stencil palette and navigated to a folder I’d already made called ‘Textures’ (you can put your new stencils in whatever stencil folder you prefer). Click on the ‘Add New Stencil’ button and you can browse your system to an image file of your choosing. Open the image and the stencil is created. They appear as red rectangles (see image). Right-clicking on a PC gives you the option of inverting the stencil (Mac users have to navigate through the tools/stencil). There are really handy stencil transform options using the space bar (move), Alt/Option (scale) and Ctrl/Command (rotate) keys (PC). You can also leave them hidden in place, making them temporarily inactive (Fig.09 and Fig.10) .
I upped the dpi to 200dpi by the way (image size is 32.5x40cm) – so keeping layers under control becomes more important for file size issues.
To help unify the lighting, I created a flat blue layer on top using the roller. Changing blending mode to Multiply (right-click and navigate to change from default), I reduced the opacity. By painting on it with white or rubbing away with the eraser, you can introduce ‘light’ back into the gloom. I used a single light source overhead to illuminate the scene and pick out details accordingly. I consolidated the forms of her victims somewhat in ‘body colour’ (sorry about the pun), and airbrushed some darker shadows on another ‘Multiply’ layer. This is something else I do a lot. Although again, I repeat: merge these layers when you can to keep the thing moving along and control the file size a bit (Fig.11 and Fig.12)!