Two Artists, One Blog

Process of Thumbnails and Sketch-- Video!

Alright, here's my first video attempt ( ever ) much less trying to explain my steps at 2x the speed I worked at!

I have started doing a step-by-step ( via screenshots ) colouring method of the sketch I posted last, so look forward to it within the next couple of days. Below the video are stills and extended descriptions of what's going on. Any questions or comments are welcomed and will be appreciated, also, don't be afraid to critique it!

( Song is Matthew Good - Champions of Nothing off of the album Hospital Music )

Breakdown of video with screenshots

Alright, first off I just got the document set up. for this because it's pretty basic. Set it to 900x900 pixels because that's just the size I like to work at. The brush I'm using is just a default Photoshop brush with a size-jitter set to pen-pressure. You can change brush settings by clicking a tab labeled "Brushes" in the top right and corner, usually next to tabs labeled "Tool Presets" and "Layer Comps."

Here's the few thumbnails I went through in the sketch process. First, keep in mind that this is zoomed in 200%, they are very small so they don't take long to draw. I'd like to point out just a few things about this part. First, don't worry about any details or complicated specifics, just get the figure and idea down. This whole step is merely to organize thoughts and to make sure you choose the best possible basis for a picture. Sure, we might think our initial thought is pretty good, but you want to explore it in-depth before you commit an entire picture to it. Rarely do I go with my first thumbnail, as you'll see here, I end up going with the second.

Also, remember to keep things versatile. There's no point in drawing the same pose just altered a little over and over. I tried to keep in mind here that in the last picture the character was facing the right at a 3/4 angle, so I avoided that as to have some diversity from it. Another great thing about drawing out several thumbnails is you might end up getting ideas for future pictures.

Not much to explain here, but it is a necessary step to discuss. I used the lasso tool to draw a selection around the thumbnail I chose to use, then ( by holding down the CTRL key and clicking it ) dragged it away from the others and erased them. After that, I used the selection tool to grab my thumbnail again, and with it still selected, right clicked on it. This shows a drop-down menu, which I clicked "Free Transform" in order to stretch it to the size I wanted the picture to be.

After all of that I sketch over this blown-up thumbnail, because, well, it's not very pretty. In order to see my black sketch-lines, I use the colour menu ( CTRL+U ) to adjust the lightness, saturation, and hue; these are dark to light, dull to bright, and colour value-- respectively. Changed it to a blue-green/blue, which you can choose any colour your comfortable with so long as you can distinguish it from black. I just use blue because in traditional arts I used a blue graphing pencil for the same purpose.

I'll combine these two into one section, as there wasn't much done between them but still worth noting. Redefined the basic anatomy in black then went back and listed the main details to the right as I did with the last sketch. This should look familiar, as it's the stage you all saw in my last post! There isn't really much to explain in words here, the video is better to show what I've done. Simply drew in the prominent details and made sure everything was moderately defined. Take note, like my co-author, I still draw in the figure THEN the clothes/details over them. Always try and build from the ground up: stick figure--> life figure. Anatomy-->Details.

In the second image I realized I had messed up. Usually I just draw over the rough thumbnail ( literally on a layer above it ) but here I forgot to do that. Though, it does give me a chance to explain "Levels." Using the Levels Menu ( CTRL+L ) you can seperate whites, grays, and blacks. This is extremely useful when scanning pencil works for digital inking/colouring and here I used it to make anything that wasn't solid black to turn to white.

Finally, I moved the sketch layer above a blank layer and set it to multiply ( note: I like to work with a white background and setting this to multiply will make it see-thru, so I've added a third layer underneath all of them that is completely white ). Multiply allows you to colour/paint anything that isn't black below it, which is perfect for lines. I blocked in the main colours for the picture, making sure everything looked right-- sometimes things can look fine until you start getting into the colours and realizing that something key is way off. So, we fill in the basic colours first.

That's all I can think to write at the moment about my process of thumbnails and sketching. If anyone has any questions, comments, or critiques I greatly encourage them to comment here and let me know-- I'll answer all the questions I can to the best of my ability, and hopefully through your comments I will produce a better video next time!

Here's the finished sketch:

( Click for full-view )

Thanks for reading!


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2 Responses to “Process of Thumbnails and Sketch-- Video!”

  1. # Anonymous Anonymous

    hey andrew, this is amazingly helpful, and my commish is looking fantastic, awesome job man :]
    now if only i had daily access to the program x_x
    i'm assuming you use a pressure pen as well, correct?  

  2. # Blogger Andrew Phillips

    Yeah I use a stylus and drawing tablet. When I sketch like this I only set size-jitter to pen pressure, I leave the opacity-jitter away until later.  

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