This tutorial is about one of the many process you can go about for creating a digital drawing in photoshop. I used photoshop 5.5 but any version is OK for digital painting. Everyone should use what best suit their approach of work, this process is just what I found to be easier for me. This tutorial is not for Photoshop beginners since I will not cover the basics of Photoshop.
First thing first, Eng is my 3rd language so this will not be the best english written tutorial you have ever seen, anyway...
Like many people, I usually start working with a neutral background, in this case is darker than usual but it's no big deal.
Brushes: having a bunch of weird/alternative brushes is pretty cool and can make your drawing a lot more interesting if you can handle them well, but for most people having too much brushes is just distracting, my self included. I'd recommend if you are a beginner to start off with the default photoshop brushes. I used just the standard round brush with hard edge in this case, with the opacity jitter of the pen tablet.
I layed down a very rough sketch in solid black, you don't need to be precise for this kind of stuff, just go for it - it's a speed painting!
Note: from now on I'm going to use only shades of gray, no colours for now. It's easier to see if you're doing something wrong this way, and where light and dark shades should be. Towards the end of this process I'll start working with colours.
So, let's start. On a different layer I started to tone down the figure, very quick in this case too, I'm just painting inside the outline with a slightly darker shade of grey than the one used on the background, in this case too, no transparency, brush settings at 100% opacity, I set this layer to multiply, to paint over the outline without covering it.
This will be our base to work on.
I created another level on top of the other and let it set to normal.
here starts the fun part, from now on, all I'm going to be doing is painting with shades of grey, where I think the masses that need to lift up from the base are, to generate some depth in the drawing.
Another level, yet again in normal mode, putting a bit more detail with another slightly lighter shade of grey chosen with the color picker.
Same here, another level, another lighter shade of grey.
Same here, masses are starting to pop out, and I'm happy with the way it looks overall, so time to start adding some colours!
You can use all the layers you think are necessary to create the depth you desire, always working from darker to lighter.
If you like, you can merge down all the layers with the shades of grey together at this point, personally I like to keep them if possible. For example, I wouldn't have been able to create this tutorial if I had them merged.
To lay down the colours I made yet another level, and set it to "overlay", so that the color we'll be using would not affect too much the shades we lay down until now.
Using red and yellow colours with high opacity I started brushing around, on the main figure.
Another level, yet again in overlay to refine the colour in some areas, and to brighten it a little, same brush work with a more saturated red brush.
Again: you can create how many layers you want, that's not the point, the look of your drawing is.
A little color to the background too, with the same method. I used a brighter color on the part of the background that is near the darker parts of the figure, to make it stand out a bit more, it's not really necessary trough.
At this point is pretty much done, all you want to do from now on is refine the part you think more work is needed, add some color correction, and change everything you don't like, until you're satisfied.