Sketch to finish, Art card 1, part one

As the writer, illustrator, concept artist, and designer (phew) of this book. There is not a task that doesn’t require my attention. That is fine, and I have no complaints! So, most of the time, everything I create in my physical sketchbooks has to have a purpose. This share will focus on a piece of artwork that possibly will have multiple lives.

But, how do you take a real sketch and use it as the basis for something digital? Well, this is the process I am employing to make a concept sketch into finished digital artwork.

There is a PDF attached that illustrates with notations every step, you might get the most from this article 

First, I scanned the drawing high resolution and grayscale. Let’s just say I have plans.

I am using the software, ClipStudio Paint (CSP) for this digital piece, so I used the import option and dropped my scan in place.

On a new blank layer, I started to rough in the rest of the character’s body. I am partly ashamed and shocked that I have not drawn this character in a long time. So, there was much going back and looking at the earlier drawings to get the details right.

Once I am happy with the rough sketch, I turn the opacity of that layer to 25% to lighten the lines. Creating a new layer and naming it “tighter” I start to layer on the character’s costume.

Note, I am a big fan of naming layers. It makes the organization of the files much easier in the long run. From experience, when you open a file you have not worked on for over 6 months you have little recollection of what is what.

Using the rough of her body, I sketch the clothing on the new layer. I am not worrying about the pose or the anatomy, just the manner of dress for the character.

Once I am content with the tighter pencils, I begin to digitally ink. As a general rule, when I ink, I use many layers. Anything complicated or that would look best if I drew through the shape, I use another art layer.

When I draw, I have to “see it.” It is anything I am trying to capture with pencil or pen. There are moments in the process where I can’t see it, and when that happens, I typically jump to another area of the piece that I can “see” and work there. I was having such a moment and jumped to a sketch for a panel idea I had, inking that. I will save it and use it later hopefully.

Part of this particular project is still a mystery. I am not sure of what style the final coloring will look like, so the stones are black for now.

My first challenge is the hands are not right. I never really resolved them in the previous drawings, thinking I would figure it out when I ink the piece. Time for source material.

I snapped a photo of my daughter’s hands in the position I needed and imported them. When CSP imports an image file, it creates a new layer for that image and takes whatever name the document had for the layer name. Fortunately, I had named the layer something besides, DCP2019223534434345243.jpg.

Once I repositioned the image of the hands, I saw my problem. The angles of my character’s forearms were not correct and creating no space for me to draw the hands accurately.

Here is where I wished I had created each arm on a separate digital ink layer. I selected the part I needed to move and rotated it to the new angle using the photo as a guide.

More to come in the next post on this subject; however, that post and the ones after till the completion of this particular artwork won’t be made public. So, if you would like to see the rest, why not subscribe?

I hope this post was a blessing and encouraged you to go for it and chase those creative dreams down!

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