So here's a step-by-step run through of my process on creating the Monsters & Dames piece I posted up last time. Click on each one for a larger version.
STEP 1: Since this piece is completely digital, I started with just a series of gesture digi-sketch lines trying to come up with a pleasing composition for the figure. It's not about detail or perfect proportion, just a nice sense of flow and some energy to get things started. After a couple attempts, this one seemed to spark something fun and I ran with it.
STEP 2: Starting a brand new layer, I channel a bit of Arthur Rackham and come up with this sprite-ly vampire girl. The dark blue line version is obviously a lot more detailed, but I'm trying to keep that overall energy I had in the rough sketch. Working digital gives me the chance to try some different detailed bits and then discard or merge them as a I go.
STEP 3: Right-handed people tend to lean their lines right and left-handed people vice versa. In my case, when I flipped the piece horizontally I noticed that the entire character and face were skewed to the right and it looked quite wonky. A quick Edit> Transform> Distort adjustment and she's properly balanced. Adding a new Multiply layer as a base grey, I carve out some highlights and add some rough shadows to give myself a rough plan to work from later on. I'm pretty happy with it at this stage and pumped to continue.
STEP 4: Here's the digital inked line art, done in Manga Studio. I like the flowing ink line in the program and it works well to keep the delicate feel I wanted for the piece.
STEP 5: Here, after a few different colour palette options, is my 'Flats' - basic coloured selection areas I use as my base when starting to colour. Whether I want simple cartoon cuts or fully painted work, these broad selection areas of colour give me a template to work from and make selecting and separating elements a breeze later on in the process.
STEP 6: And here, after a few more Overlay, Multiply and Screen layers to create simple colours and light and shadow, is the final. I tweak the final colours in CMYK mode for printing and then, after saving the layered version, I flatten all the layers and output a print-ready TIF file.