Step 1: Line art
I've always been fascinated by realism, and because of this it is really important to me that the base line-art sketch has got proper proportions. I usually use the old trick by putting a grid on top of a reference photo I've shot, and then
I copy the same grid onto a blank canvas and start drawing grid by grid from what I see on the reference photo.
I make sure to keep the grid on a separate layer so that I easily can remove the grid at a later stage, and also
keep the drawing on a separate layer underneath the grid.
Step 2: Blocking in, and grey scale shading
Once I have the line art version ready, I delete the layer with the grid, and then I make another layer behind the line
art drawing which I fill with one grey scale colour using a hard brush. Once this is done, I collapse those two layers
so that I only have the background behind and the character in a separate layer.
Now I start shading with grey scale tones only by looking closely at the reference photo. I use only grey scale tones
at this stage only because I like getting the shape up and running before having to think about colours. Some like
it the other way around and start out with colours. However, you should do what comes natural to you.
Step 3: Brush usage
Personally I really like using hard edged brushes as they resemble the traditional brushes in both the way of working and when it comes to the result. To make a simple hard edged brush in Photoshop, simply follow these settings:
- Make sure you have the brush tool selected, and choose a hard edge brush (the ones that looks like a hard circle.
- Now open the "brushes tab" (Windows/brushes). Click the "Brush tip shape" button and drag the "spacing" slider
to 10%. If this is set too high, the stroke looks like a row of balls instead of one single stroke, so keeping the spacing narrow makes the strokes look nice and smooth.