Hi, I'm Wan Kok and I have been involved in the art industry for almost 12 years now. Throughout my career, I've been exposed to lots of different ways of creating digital artwork for the games industry, post production and publishing companies. These experiences have somehow helped build up my personal way of rendering scenes. In this tutorial, I'm happy to share my techniques with you, and I will walk you through the many steps that I take in the image creation process, from the initial conceptual work through to the final rendering. I'll also include you in some of the artistic decisions that I make along the way!
This tutorial is divided into five main sections: Research and Concept; Preparing your Canvas for Colouring; Colouring; Texturing; Final Touch Ups. These will be summed up in 10 steps. Each step along the way will be accompanied by a screen capture from Photoshop, explaining the tools and methods I used.
As always, it is vital to know what your artistic direction is prior to painting. What kind of style, design element, the canvas size, final output file format, etc. These are essential! If you have not received any brief from your art director, then ask! Alternatively, if this is your personal project then I strongly advise you to plan one out as this will definitely save you time in the end.
Design and Concept Sketches
Design your characters and roughly work out some thumbnails - keep them rough and sketchy. In this stage, let your creative juices flow and sketch as many ideas as you like. If time permits, develop your world! Think of the environment your characters will dwell in and what kind of climate and clothing they might wear. What are their characteristics? Consider these questions and slowly you will start to "feel" your painting. Make it fun! Once you're happy with your design, start planning your layout and try experimenting with various layout designs (Fig.01, Fig.02 and Fig.03).
Prior To Colouring
Once the layout is done, get it scanned. Usually I go with 300dpi, greyscale (some prefer colour scale). I opt for this option because it gives a certain touch to the pencil outline. I usually don't ink my pencil outline. Open the scanned file in Photoshop and make sure the pencil layer is set to "Normal" blending mode.
On top of the pencil layer, open a new layer. Choose the "paint bucket" tool ("G" shortcut key) and fill the whole canvas with a suitable dark colour. Here I go with warm browns for the basic coat. Turn the layer to "Multiply" blending mode so that the underneath layer is still visible. For my own personal liking, I always start colouring the characters first then work on the background later. This way it helps me to judge the colour relations amongst the characters more precisely. At this stage, give your canvas overall flat tones. Do not worry about the detail just yet. I love to work with my brush opacity set to 20-50% and "Flow" set to 68%. It simply builds up the colour nicely this way (Fig.04 and Fig.05).