step by step
Very often when I start on a drawing, I have absolutely no idea where I’m going. Typically I just start doodeling and see what happens. When I started on this drawing, I had an idea about the direction, namely that I wanted to draw a girls face seen from the side.
I typically start out very rough, trying out some different styles, strokes poses, expressions etc., and the good thing about this stage, is that nothing can go wrong, so you can simply go nuts – that’s why I seldom show these first sketches to anyone.
I try to somehow “dig out” a surface and some shadows, and when I find something that seems to work, I simply hang on to it, while digging around new places. While “digging around” finding the blocks, I try not to go too black, and not to use to much contrast in the picture (except for the hair). Creating to much contrast destroys the drawing, and very often it’s the tiniest shades that does the whole difference (if you take a look at the details below, you’ll see what I mean).
This proces takes a lot of time, but it is also the most important step to get right. I redo, stretch, scale, erase and do the whole thing all over again, until my sketch is 100% ready for the next step. It takes some time, but what I learned from experience, is that if your sketch doesn’t work, the final picture won’t either.
While drawing, I also flip the picture a lot, to find out wheter the drawing works or not. You might know the feeling of doing a drawing one evening that you think is great, and when you check it out the morning after, you very quickly spot all the errors and mistakes. The flipping lets you catch a lot of the mistakes very fast, so you don’t have to go to bed in order to see the mistakes you make :)
Once the surface is in place, I go one step closer to the picture (I tend to start zoomed out, and slowly work my way into the picture). I might also add, that I ALWAYS have 2 windows open for my drawing. 1 is where I see the entire picture, and the other one is the window I work in, and zooms in and out of.
This step is where I use the airbrush and smudge tool a lot. You need to be carefull though NOT to use the airbrush to much, as the drawing very easy could end up looking like something from the 80’ies. Therefore I also use a lot of other brushes, and combines them with the smudge tool.
Third step is adding all the details. This is actually my favorite part, but it is also the part that where I can spend most time fiddling around with all the little details.
While I add the details, I also create a new overlay layer, and start adding some colours. For this particularly drawing, I didn’t do a lot of colouring. It has a somehow sad feeling to it, so sticking with some very subtle colours, gave me the expression I was looking for, while giving her the pink hair, added a nice contrast to the picture, instead of having it all very grey and boring.