Everyone just seems to love these show and tell posts, so I figured I would do another one. Here is a look at how I created one of the chapter headers for the Dark Erotic Romance, Cupid. By Jade Eby and Kenya Wright.
1. Usually I sketch in my computer but since my Wacom tablet has been being a jerk I have gone back to sketching with pencil and paper. Once I have a nice sketch I scan it in and load it up into a Photoshop file. For Chapter headers I like to work 800x800 pixels 300 dpi, but the size changes once the finished project is done. I usual crop the picture to fit better. It really all depends on the subject matter and final size desired, but I like to star big.
2. To spot any problems with the anatomy I flip the image. By flipping an image I have been looking at for hours it is easy to spot mistakes by looking at it in a different angle. I also define the bow and arrow more. Add details to the toes, define the muscles a little more, fix the hair, and had a sash around his waist.
3. Once I have the sketch set and fixed up I clean up the out line. Using the pen tool in Photoshop I trace the outline then stroke the path with a brush setting between 2-5 depending on the line thickness I want. Because I wasn't sure where I wanted the arrow, bow, and sash to overlap the lines of the guys body each item is outlined on a different layer. At this point before I go through and erases the lines I don't want and combine the layers I save this file, and then save it again under a new file name. So in the project folder I end up having file names like this: cupid_01, cupid_02, cupid_03. This helps me trace my steps and keep organized. Its just my system.
4. At this point the outline is clean and ready to go. I flip the image back to the correct position and start adding some shadows. I used such an intense red for a reason. First it helps to see what portions I missed when coloring in the shadowed area, and two it's cupid why not red?
Laying in the shadows I make sure to keep true to my light source which is positioned upper left-hand corner, which puts his left side in shadow.
5. Before I get to far into the shadows and details I set up a wing template using a stock-art wing I have. Since the wings were an after thought and I already had my sketch scanned and cleaned up I used a template, instead of sketching my own set. I position the wings and adjust size to make sure they fit cupid.
6. On a new layer I copy the wing template with a red fill and then using the eraser tool set with a blood splatter brush set, I erase parts of the wings to give them a blood like effect. I also switch between the dodge and burn tool to make lighter and darker areas on the wings.
7. To add to the blood splatter effect I brush some more blood splatter in on a new layer under the wings. Makes it look a little messy and bloody. Using the dodge and burn tool again I add lighter and darker areas.
8. Here I have placed the wings on the man and erased the parts that would be behind him, but before I did that you know I saved another file. ;) I have also gone back over the shadows and added a deeper value of red where the shadows would appear deeper/darker. This gives more depth and more interest in the overall piece. I also changed the outline color from black to a darker red so the contrast is not as intense.
9. Now that the picture is complete time to play with some colors. I combine all the layers into one layer and change the picture to black and white. Then to make it a little warmer I adjust the hue&saturation to add a little red into the coloring.
10. In the end we settled for something with a little more red but not as much as during the sketching process, and there you have it. That is generally how my illustration process works, but each project has its own steps and process.