((Sorry! I had to delete the previous tutorial post because it was having trouble loading. I think the files were too big. Hopefully this fixes the problem!))
I’ve been recently asked to do a tutorial, and I’m gonna be honest, I’ve never done one before. But I had the day off, so I thought I would give it a shot! So here is a breakdown of the steps.
1. I usually do my sketching traditionally. For this one I didn’t use anything special, just my sketchbook and a mechanical pencil. After scanning in the sketch, I brought it into photoshop to clean it up a bit. I never clean up my sketches TOO much because I like the rough look they have in the beginning. Polishing an image too much, in my opinion, loses some of the movement and personality of the sketch. So I just get rid of any spots the scanner may have picked up or any stray lines I don’t want there. I also usually desaturate the image just in case the scanner picked up any funky coloring in the paper.
2. I pick a nice textured brush and make sure to mess around with it’s presets a little bit so I get a randomish brush stroke. I don’t want the brush strokes to all look the same. I also make sure that the opacity on the brush is on and turn the sketch layer to multiply. I make a new layer beneath it and once I do that, I start coloring! I’m kind of sloppy with my coloring at first, not really worrying about making it look perfect. Once I block all the color in, I clean up the edges and any areas that need a little touching up.
3. Now I make a new layer above the base color layer and I start adding shadows to the face. With portrait pieces, such as this one, I think it’s really important to bring a lot of focus in on the face. So I spend the most time there. And I’m using the same brush that I have been using the whole time. I don’t generally change it, unless I feel like its absolutely necessary.
4. This is the most fun part for me. I love to add the blush to the face! The nose, cheeks, and lips are the warmest part of the face, so I like to exaggerate that by making them really rosy. I make a new layer and while still using the same brush, I lower the opacity a little bit just so it’s not so overbearing. The coolest part of the face is the chin, so I lightly brush in a small bit of blue to cool it down. I usually keep all of these on separate layers so I can adjust each element separately.
5. Now I add the rest of the shadows. When it comes to hair, I kind of just scribble it in and occasionally follow the sketch lines where appropriate. I usually just do it until it looks and feels right to me.
6. Now come the highlights. I really like putting in the highlights, because this is when the image starts to pop. Now, with this layer, I put it above the sketch page so the sketchy lines don’t hide the highlights. I add some shine to the eyes and lips and lighten up the area right under the eye since that is the brightest part on the face. As for the hair, I’m a little bit more deliberate with the highlights than I was with the shadows. Cersei has wavy hair, so I make sure to hit the highlights where the waves bump. This makes them pop out.
7. So, this is kind of a big jump here. I added some details to Cersei’s gown, but nothing that stands out TOO much because I really want the focus to be on her face. The design is an overlay with the opacity turned down really low. I added a background color, color picking from her dress because I want this piece to have an overall red feel. After I was happy with the background, to pop Cersei out a bit more, I messed around with the curves which can bump up shadows and/or highlights.
8. Once I am completely satisfied ((or as close to satisfied as I am going to get)) I make sure to save the PSD and then I flatten the image and save it out as a JPG. Then I go into variations and I pick a color to shift the image towards. I like doing this because I think it brings a lot of color harmony to the piece. For this one I went red, but I usually lean towards warmer colors anyway. I usually always go for red, yellow, or magenta.
9. I save the image out and it’s done! And here you have lovely Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones. I hope this haphazard tutorial was helpful to anyone who was interested in seeing the way that I work.