In this session, we were joined by our longtime friend Nathan Brown from Trailhead Design Co.
Just to give you a little background on Nathan, he has been a professional designer/illustrator for over 16 years and has a real passion for creating design products to help the design community. Nathan's foundations and design approach came from growing up in his parents' antique store - we think that sounds like a great place to get some inspiration! Seeing products, advertising and art from the turn of the last century and beyond moulded his work and taught him the value of craftsmanship and quality.
Nathan showed us his latest product, developed with the guidance of Design Cuts, and tested with leading designers to make sure it is authentic as it gets. And we're not joking (or biased) when we tell you it's phenomenal. No need to take our word for it though, watch this session and see for yourself.
Let’s get started!
Draw a rough sketch of a reference image with proportions. All proportions may vary as per the reference image hence, there’s no standard rule. However, since it’s a roadmap to work on, it’s important to get some of these proportions in place.
For example, the ears are usually even with the brow line, the eye line is divided into thirds and the space in-between the nose is usually equal to the width of the eyes.
The corners of the mouth are even with the pupils of the eye and the bottom of the ear is usually about even with the bottom of the nose. Divide the head (hairline) into three parts.
Here’s a sample of the refined sketch after proportioning it.
By choosing Alfa-Lock you can color the lines like a layer mask.
Use Light and Shadow in your sketch. Light and shadows help to know the planes or the direction of the face. Where the light hits is the direction and the planes constitute its shadows. If it’s all planes, it makes the image really flat.
Take the Smudge tool and wherever you feel it’s too much pencil, smudge that area. Smudging of these pencils gets you a painterly like effect.
Add some watercolor to get the flesh tone a little lighter and darker in their respective areas. The textured round brush from the watercolor set helps get the wet edge effect. Start from light pressure and build towards a darker one.
Next, add-in gouache. Choose a warm and cool color. Add in a warm orange for the highlight areas and some blue into the shadow areas with gouache brushes. The gouache set is very similar to watercolor, but it's a little more opaque. The harder you press, the more opaque it becomes, so you can get transparency, opaque and traditional gouache all in one.
The next layer is oil. Typically in traditional media, you wouldn't paint oil as it stands alone because of the chemical. It is not water and it uses oil as the binder so you wouldn't paint oil over watercolor. In this case, however, it is a tremendous amount of fun adding oil.
The harder you press, the more opaque it becomes with great texture. Choose and add some warm colors and some cool colors that best suit your eye to balance the painting. You can use the Smudger tool to smudge the colors out too. The further you go, the more blended it becomes.
For the background, pick a subtle color and try to add the paper texture effect. There are four options to choose from: Stress Cloud, Grunge Cloud, Sponge Wash and Media Wash.
These create textures as if a paper was partially wet and partially dry. Layer it up from a dark to a light color.
Add shadows with gouache. Go back and forth between the shadows and the highlights, using the gouache brushes.
This will form a splatter effect. Zoom in and check where to add highlights in the eyes and the eyebrows.
Fade out the beard by using the salted texture brush. This adds a bit of a grungy and a gritty texture. With this technique too you can go back and forth for the loose textures, making it a creative playground. Again, go back to gouache and bring the facial planes back with the highlights. Use the crusty palette knife to make it a crusty texture.
Use the airbrush to create a grainy splatter texture that makes it feel like an actual airbrush effect.
Use acrylics from the acrylics set for highlights in the hair. Acrylic being the most versatile paint medium can look like oil. It can be watered down and to make it look like a wash. Acrylic can be watered down and be sprayed through an airbrush, mixed down, and be used as ink for a dip pen. Use opaque brushes to highlight the hair more prominently by adding strokes in the right direction. Don’t try to get extremely detailed, instead use broader strokes to finish the hair.
Finish by adding lowlight texture and detail in the beard, eyebrows and shadow areas. Crosshatch the light within the shadow out and add more details in different areas lightly. This subtly brings out more details into the final portrait, bringing the piece to life.
Add dark fine splatters for rendering.
Add lighting effects by using various watercolor textures and paint it in the lighter areas. Take yellow for the warm side and blue for the cool side and just paint it all over and set it to overlay, creating a beautiful lighting effect. Add overlay and experiment by adding final touches and flatten the whole painting.
And it’s done!
Wish to have this whole art studio? From the smooth opaque brushes to thin glazes, crazy textures, wild strokes and sponges, modeling paste, and palette knives, this set has it all!