All right, since I've been getting asked for a tutorial aside from Livestream, I figured I'd at least give you guys a little something to go on while I work on my super deluxe all encompassing tutorial of everything and anything Avali. (With added bonus of how I totally screw everything up ever!
There is ALWAYS more to learn from art, so remember to take as much as you can from all the resources that you can, but never think of something as the end-all resource. Art is about growing and advancing, and I change my style and habits as much as possible. (Hence, why it's hard for me to make a tutorial at all! XD) and I am by no means an expert in any way. So just take what you want from this and keep doing what you love!
1. Fleshing out the basic idea of what I want is something I tend to do by playing around with my idea in mind. As in real life, I find that being random and toying with my paint gives better results and textures. You can see the simple idea that I have for a composition, and how many layers it takes to achieve. I always begin work in Paint Tool SAI.
2. I pick a base color. Something neutral and easily manipulated. Silvermoon is usually red, and this is a background, so I choose a grey-purple since it has the ability to go warm in the highlights and cool in the shadows.
3. I add a multiply layer to block in the focal point. I use the watercolor tool in SAI while keeping my light source in mind, but you can use Photoshop with a low opacity brush if you prefer.
4. I use another watercolor brush with an Overlay layer to pick my highlights. If you are using photoshop, try lighten or screen with a grey-ish tone for a similar effect. Remember to think in gradients. One major light source means light prevails in one area and fades in another. You can see this in my layer here, how it has a general gradient.
5. Now that I have most of my shadows and highlights, I use the color picker (Alt+ whatever tool you're using) to add in detail and form. This layer is set to normal. Remember to adhere to the gradients as much as possible. If you pull a color from the shadows, try to make sure it's not too dark or too light for the area around it. (If you squint it should still have an easily identifiable gradient.)
6. Now that details are fixed, I push the highlights and shadows further with SAI's luminosity and multiply. I have yet to find a setting that I like in Photoshop that mimics Luminosity layers in SAI, but you can try a bright overlay or screen setting as a somewhat decent alternative. Remember to play with the opacity settings in your layers.
7. I begin to work on the highlights in the foreground since that is where the subject matter will be. Keeping in mind the same light source from the background, I brighten the front of the image.
8. This is where I switch from Paint Tool SAI to Photoshop after flattening the image into one layer. I copy the image and set it to multiply to deepen it-- I can always add highlights later, but making sure I have deep enough shadows is important for me. Then I go to Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Balance, and brighten the image with the color scheme I like best. Sometimes I play with different colors for a looong time, others I find it right away. If you like a color scheme but feel it is too much, change the opacity and tone it down. Find a nice middle ground that suits your painting. And don't spend eternity worrying about whether the colors match. This is the base painting, you can change it later-- and if you're like me, you probably will. :]
9. I feel satisfied with what I have so far. I flatten the image again after adding one more layer of texture in Photoshop with multiply. I actually use one of my old paintings and make it large enough to cover this canvas. It adds texture, depth and sometimes gives new ideas. With the flattened image in hand, I move back to Paint Tool SAI and begin blocking in the characters.
That's all for this part, I hope this helps you at least a little! If you have any questions feel free to ask, and I'll try to answer them as best as I can.
((I promise a full, youtube-able, video tutorial will be coming up soon, as well as a few more mini-installments. ^^
Thanks as always~!