I just sent my final version of Lyssa the white wizard to Jon Schindehette over at ArtOrder.com. I made her for the very exciting "Evolution" challenge. The basic rules were that you had to make your own version of a young human female wizard with black hair, dressed in white and gold. For further info on the contest and the project that originally started it all please visit www.theartorder.com.
Since the challenge is called the "Evolution" challenge I thought that it would only be natural to show all of my readers step by step how my submission evolved from sketch to finished illustration. This is going to be a post heavy on text and heavy on pictures, and hopefully people will find it enjoyable and informative.
Now, let's get to the step by step "tutorial" or whatever one might fancy calling it:
I drew a sketch on regular printer paper, that's pretty much how I do most of my sketches. I find it practical. I scanned the finished sketch and opened it in Photoshop where I multiplied the layer the sketch was on and added a layer below the sketch layer. I decided to lay some background color to sett the general mood of the piece and ended up with a stormy purple.
In this image you can see that I've started working on the skin and the face in general. I'm not really happy with the general build of her face. It looks a bit lop-sided and the proportions are of. Beyond that I'm happy with the color of the skin and the texture of it. I started working on the skin in a medium flesh tone, I used darker tones of pink and white here and there and some dark browns on the areas where I needed a darker shadow.
After finishing most of the skin I decided to leave it alone for a while and start working on the dress for a bit. Since the dress had to be white I can pretty much choose to use any kind of white I like, like eggshell white or whatever. I chose to use snow white as my basic dress color. I just loved the nice sharp contrast of the white with the purple background. For the shading of the dress I decided to go with a purplish blue to reflect the background color. Her hair had to be black so of course I gave her black hair, but with a tint of blue to make the hair more interesting and more natural looking.
At this point I realize that I am not happy with the build of her chest either. The boobs are too high up, they look odd and I'm not very happy with the cut of neckline.
As you can see a lot of things have happened in this image. The skirt has been colored in a golden/beige shade of white. I thought it would look pretty that way, but the contrast between that shade the stark white shade just made the image look messy so I'll be changing the color of the skirt. There are too many folds too, its straining on the eye so I'll have to do something about that too.
I've moved her boobs a bit further down, I've also covered those puppies up a bit. In general I don't find a lot of cleavage attractive at all.
I've given her some fresh and fun turquoise tights with some swirly golden effects. It gives the outfit a hint of modern day fashion in my opinion. All the areas that are colored yellow will be turned into golden trims and accessories later in the process.
I'm still not happy with the face, but I have adjusted the shape of it, added a deeper shadow under her chin. I also decided to redraw the eyes, I moved the lips also and reshaped them a bit. I think these adjustments made her face look younger and more expressive.
At this point I have chosen to airbrush out some of the details in the dress and to give her skin a smoother look. The dress has been given some more blue shadows, the skirt has a cleaner white shade to it and the whole ensemble feels more cohesive than it did before.
Once more there is quite a leap in the process. Most of the golden trims have been finished, in addition I've given her a turquoise and gold necklace. I felt that the tights were a bit lonely. It stood out to much and there was nothing else in the image that could pick up that color. later I will add some earrings too, to break up the blackness of her hair.
I have also added a magical lightning effect arcing from her hand to her wand. It adds a lot of movement I think, and since I chose to do the effect in yellow and orange it gives it a nice complementary contrast with the purple background.
There is not much left to do now. A few details and some nitpicking remains. The wand has been colored in, the face has been worked on some more, I've added some yellow reflections on her skin and her clothes, since I figured the magic lightning would probably cast a bit of light. The hair has also been tended to, I've cleaned it upp a bit and made it a bit softer.
I was actually going to leave the illustration like that, but I realized that the character looked silly just floating about in a purple vacuum so I added some grass and changed the background color so it looked more like regular blue sky. I took a break for a few days and when I came back to the drawing I realized that her neck was a bot long, her eyes were still not to my liking and so on and so forth, so in short I made quite a bit of changes.
And in the end this is what the final image looks like:
Hope you found this entertainig or useful or both.
Until next time
Anita Night a.k.a Anita K. Olsen