Welcome to the YJStudios illustration blog. I am Yoel Judowitz, a professional illustrator specializing in books, products, packaging, and educational programs. I will use this blog to share my insight and knowledge on the subjects of art and illustration. For more info see my website www.yjstudios.com
Category Archives: Technique
Step 1- Line art on it’s own layer. (I used Denis Zilbers pencil brush see my post here on all types of great brushes.*see the end of post for screenshot of my layers)
Step 2 – Add a flat mid tone beneath the line art ( Use magic wand to select negative space with contiguous checked, than select inverse, than go to select/modify/contract by 2 pixels- than fill with desired color – this prevents space between fill and line)
Step 3 – Add a new monotone values layer above the mid tone layer defining the light source/s and forms ( I used 4 values for this picture the mid grey plus 2 darker and 1 light. Be sure to alt + click between the flat layer and the value layer above it to auto mask to the flat layer – now you don’t have to worry about going out of the lines)
Step 4 - Add a color gradient layer over the value layer to define the key color/s (Use the same alt + click trick as before. I used a complimentary color combo here. For a great Corel Painter like color wheel to add to photoshop see me post here)
Step 5 – Add some paint strokes for reflected lighting/rim lighting on another layer above ( Look beneath the nose and chin – I used a saturation layer – you can use a different color/source to make it more interesting)
Step 6 - Add a background beneath all the layers ( I used a gradient plus some interesting texture brushes see the links above for brushes and texture resources)Step 7 – Final step -Add an adjustment “levels” layer above all the layers to bring out the dark and lights of the picture and make it richer.
This method separates value painting from color painting. It is a classic approach and is used by many pro artist.
A popular alternative method is to paint the local colors first and than the values in color on top of them.
A middle ground might be to fill the canvas with the key color/s and than paint the middle/dark values and darks in a more or less “monotone” of the key colors and finally add more diverse colors and color accents toward the end along with the light/middle and highlights. I think this final method might be the fastest for many pictures while still making it easier to separate value from color.
One step that many digital artists add to this process is adding textures in the form of photos or brushes on an adjustment layer like overlay or soft light set to a mid or low level transparency.
Great free sites with many, many, textures:
Use James Gurney’s Gamut masking method: ( Basically limit your colors to a specific range/mood, with maybe a dash of contrasting color for flavor- or the character. Also read everything he has ever written on that blog, really, don’t just sit there looking at me, get started.)
Here is an online tool to help make gamut masks :
Here is a great interactive Painters wheel like you find in Corel Painter that opens in Photoshop -free from Len White and here is a color wheel that imports into your swatches from Sketchling at CG Hub
Here is how it looks when photoshop is opened:
The Painterly Digital Brushes Collection:
The main quality I look for in a digital brush is a painterly responsive feel, or brushes that look like they were made with brush strokes, not a hard captured/scattered/ photo/shape.
There are certainly plenty of general texture/brush tip brushes out there. The trick is to find brushes that specialize in a certain purpose ie grass, leaves, water, clouds, stone etc. but still have a painterly feel. These painterly, purpose-specific brushes are also out there, and can significantly speed up your work-flow, but unfortunately you have to hack through miles of evil, stencil-like, scattered leaves to find them. The above screenshot is of my constantly evolving painterly brush set.
These are the best painterly brushes from the pros that I have found:
My Main Painting Brushes:
• DanLuVisiArt / Adonhis brush pack – one of the most popular collections on the net. Amazing basic, plus, great cloud, glow, phenomenal fur/ hair, all painterly, a very good foundation to build your collection)
• Mike Nash’s brushes Look on bottom of the home page for the brush download link. No imitation leaves, just bristle/texture etc. Each brush is perfectly suited for it’s purpose- a small and perfectly balanced collection- almost like a classic oil painting set)
• http://stumpypencil.blogspot.com/2009/08/sumi-brush.html I love this rough sketching brush exceptionally natural and responsive.
• Mar-Ka Brushes / Margarita Sheshukova (bristels and texture, great painterly leaf, grass brushes)
• Imiliea Lush Grass (lush painterly grass brush)
• Fox- Orian Brushes ( nice general shrubbery leaf shapes, great light rays)
http://www.pandemoniumart.net/brushes/ (link to several top notch collections. You can also see their websites for examples of how they used the brushes. – warning: you can spend days on these)
http://theroundtablet.com/2011/06/27/photoshop-brushes-of-the-pros-for-free-skills-still-required/ (great collection- again pro industry artists only- also the best digital painting resource site I have found yet)
Here is the most advanced and comprehensive brush set that I have come across yet: Blur’s Good brush 5.1 by Xueguo-Yang – a
remarkable insanely remarkable, Chinese artist. The set (English version) should download with an instruction pdf – some brushes are smudge tools, others require multiply/screen modes.
* For beginners here’s how to load brushes
Collections by Artist:
I am a little crazy over brushes. Here are some of the artists brushes that I have collected over time. I try to collect each one with some sample art that they have done so I have a better idea how they use the brush.
( I know it’s not the brush that makes the picture and.. yada, yada… trala -la… – I still love ‘em and yes they make a HUGE difference in terms of speed, a.k.a. $)
Click (twice) for large version if you would like to see the names in my current collection:
Collections by Subject -The Ultimate Tool:
I believe that the real ultimate strategy is to organize all your digital painting assets ( brushes, photos, patterns, scripts, actions etc) by commonly used subject. Give each subject it’s own titled folder in your general art assets folder.
The only way I have found to transfer select brushes from different assorted use, “mixed” sets into a “master subject” set ( for example taking different leaf brushes from various mixed use sets into a master “leaf” set) is to:
a- Have the “master”set open.
b- Load/add the “mixed” set to the master.
c- Use the preset manager to delete the extraneous brushes from the added “mixed” set leaving only the select brushes that you want plus the original master set. Save.
d- Repeat this process/ for every subject/ with every brush set/ one at a time —– very/ super/ duper/ ridiculous – Adobe? Hello! (Even with the abr viewer programs)
After a full day of drawing pretty flowers and rainbows for a kids book something was bound to give. (Love my new grunge/watercolor brushes see last post):