//EDIT: it has been brought to my attention that Naruto actually has blue eyes. Shame on me. Also, the whisker marks got lost in the process. These mistakes are fixed in the new final version however: [link]
So some of you may have seen the most badassed warm up drawing
that LeSean did of Uzumaki Naruto. And if you did, then chances are that you also saw how he followed this up with a step by step
of how he went about drawing it.
Well I thought it might be cool if I presented something in that same vein, seeing how I had plans on coloring this baby regardless of what happened. An explanation of the individual steps follows below.
Pencils: LeSean Thomas!
Colors: Me (Monk)
Software: Painter IX
The tool I used in Painter was the Dull Conte.
Step by step:
#1: Easy. I saved the line-art from LeSean's DA account onto my hard drive and opened it up in Painter.
#2: Since I already knew ahead of time that I was going to go for a slightly warmer kind of feel, I decided to color the line-art a slightly saturated purple red, to accentuate the sunlight/summer color palette I was going for. I did this by creating a new layer above the background layer in Painter, setting it to "colorize", and filling it completely with the desired color.
#3: Probably the most important step out of all: laying down the flats. I know this step is tedious, and it's boring, and nobody really wants to do it (at least... most people don't), but trust me on this one, it's a vital step. Lay down your flats, all of them, before you go in to start rendering your piece. Laying down your flats gives you a very good idea of how you're going to approach your piece. It will give you a better understanding of the palette you are going to use, thereby giving you a better feel of the atmosphere and mood that you're going to create (and I can't stress enough how important mood is). I know it's tempting to just lay down flats in one area and then immediately go into rendering it, but especially
if the piece is more elaborate and complicated, you might want to have a complete idea of the entire picture before you move on. I basically always work from dark to light. I put down very dark flats, and then slowly apply more and more highlights.
The way I lay down my flats in Painter is by creating a new layer above everything else, setting it to "gel", and the just filling in areas with the brush tool (in this case Dull Conte).
#4: The first layer of highlights. Pretty simple, I create a new layer, set to normal, and just paint away. Obviously I kind of avoid the pencil lines, since I'm painting above them and don't want to ruin them - but it's not a tragedy if I happen to cross them from time to time, as long as it's nothing major. The thing with the first highlight layer is, I basically fill in all the areas that LeSean didn't designate as shadows. I go all the way up to the pencil line with my colors on this layer.
A general rule of thumb for me for highlights is that the first couple of highlights work towards a VERY saturated highlight, and then I slowly work back to a more desaturated color. Of course sometimes I stay completely saturated, sometimes I don't even do saturation to begin with - it depends on the mood I want to achieve. In this case, bright warm colors = saturated colors.
#5: Another layer of highlights. Basically the same as step four, only that on some select few parts, I don't draw the highlights all the way to the pencil line. The light source is set so that it's coming from the left. Accordingly, more light will be hitting Naruto's right (our left) side. So I extend the highlights all the way to the pencil on the left, but I kind of fade them a tiny bit towards the pencil on the right, if that makes sense.
#6: Same as step five, another layer of highlights. As you can see, I'm getting more selective with where I'm putting my highlights. It's time to put some thought into which areas you think stick out more, aka which areas get hit by more light. For example, I'm not applying the highlights of this layer to the area right underneath Naruto's right arm (his right). Or to the far right (his left) of Naruto in general. This time around, I choose to put highlights only where I think they would actually show up. But I don't get too picky quite yet, I still stay somewhat broad.
#7: NOW I get selective. This is the last layer of highlights, and I decide carefully where to put it. Not much to say here, I basically shrink down the area of where I put highlights the further I go. It's more of a practice thing to know where to put your brightest highlights and where not to put them. Also, observing how light and shadows behave in real life helps a LOT.
#8: I'm done with the highlights, more or less. But seeing how LeSean pencilled in the shadows already from the beginning, you can see that there is a lot of contrast in the picture right now: very dark shadows compared to rather bright highlight areas. In fact, it's too drastic for my tastes, so I decided to color in the shadow areas as well, make them lighter. This is exactly the same process as the highlights. I just fill the pencilled in shadow areas with approximately 2 - 3 very subtly lighter colors. Shadow doesn't mean that no light hits that area, it's just less
light hitting it. So, shapes in shadow still appear "3D" - I still render them like any other object that's hit fully by light. It's just that the transitions inbetween the individual highlights are very subtle (if you put as many highlights in the shadow as in the actual highlight area, then it wouldn't be identifiable as a shadow any longer now would it).
Small note: in case I don't agree with the way LeSean layed down shadows in one area, I can just completely paint over those areas with highlights. In this piece, I did that with the drop shadows from the small pieces of debris swirling around Naruto. Nothing major at all though, and LeSean has a very solid idea of light and form anyways.
#9: Another slight tweak to the shadows. I still thought that at some parts the shadows were too drastic, especially in the transitions between light and dark. So on the left side of Naruto (his right), as well as on his right leg, I smoothed over some of the shadows a bit, brightening them a bit. I did this also because like I already said, I wanted his right side to be hit by light stronger than his left, to sort of create a focus (instead of having the piece contrasted equally all over, leaving no room for a center of attention).
#10: Last step! I thought it wouldn't hurt the piece to spice it up just a little more, so I added a white "rim lighting" on Naruto's right side. You can see this in a lot of Hyun Tae-Kim paintings, and it's a great way to not only pop the character from the background, but also to accentuate certain forms. Plus, it looks neat.
That's it. I'm done with this one, and I call it a wrap.
Some very very minor things are out of order in the step by step, but have no influence on the process whatsoever (such as the fact that I added my signature in last, but on the very first layer, so when I created the step by step it shows up from the beginning). One last thing: in LeS's step by step of the drawing he also noted the time it took him to draw the image. I didn't do this hear, since I stretched this piece out between several projects and evenings. But I can guarantee that it took me a lot longer than 2 hours (which is how long it roughly took LeS to draw the lines). This is mainly because I'm not the fastest, but also because the tool I used, the Dull Conte, is a little special. In order to get a good effect with it and in order to not ruin it's beautiful texture, you have to kind of plan your strokes a little in advance, and lay them a bit slower and more carefully than normal (it's not brain surgery, but it does draw out the process a bit).
Okay, the end. I hope this was informative to at least some of you. If people still have questions, I'll be ready to try and answer them madscore. Also, thanks again at this stage to LeS for the seriously fun drawing.