Yes, I’m still on my creature adventure, and this time I think I really see some improvement. I started with a nice photo of a lightning struck tree and looked around the image for a place to situate my creature. I decided this looks like a place where a little frog might pause in his hike to take in the view.
I did a rough sketch of my frog (and found myself looking for “frog leg anatomy” on the internet) before I began laying down color (my sketching still isn’t quite where I want it, but that’s not an issue for me). Again, I hit about 50 plus layers getting the tones right, but I was a little more bold when laying down my shadows.
My big confession is that I didn’t have the patience to work my way through Photoshop for this little guy. I went right to my default program for everything – Corel Painter. Not only am I more comfortable with the platform (I should be after using it for about 10 years) but I can isolate different portions of my critter and use the airbrushes or blenders or chalk to add highlights and shadows. I have a way of organizing my layers in Corel that enables me to go back and forth and add shadows to specific parts of his body without needing to go back and tighten up my lines.
I do organize my layers better though. I use the same method as Aaron Blaise, but I just use more of it. My shadow layer is usually three deep; my highlight layer is four or five deep because I tend to be a little too bold with a highlight and have to adjust my opacity and re-highlight so it’s not so bright.
Here’s my little guy without his setting:
You can see my airbrushing and blending lines – things I clean up closer to the end, but at this stage he’s looking pretty good. My next step is to add some texture…And then clean him up a bit. I have to tell you, I don’t know why he looks so sad, but when I got those eyes done I just knew that was expression he was meant to have. Like he’s a little verklempt looking out over the forest below. Perhaps they’re logging out there, or someone has dammed up his favorite stream. Maybe he’s just remembering those days when hiking in the woods wasn’t an arduous event. More on that later, because I suspect there’s a deeper meaning that comes out in art.
So here’s my final hiking frog in his environment:
And isolated on a tee shirt (this is why I love layers)