For any painting, to begin with, sketching is not only the most basic but the most important thing. The whole painting depends on it and can be considered as the backbone of any painting.
Here, I have focused on the subject from the top angle with slight fisheye effect. I did some scribbles first and then fine tune the outlines to make the subject clearer for the next stage. For sketching, I use Adobe Photoshop with Wacom Cintiq monitor and several different brushes which give the real feel of sketching with the pencil.
I normally use “Hard Round Pressure Size” brush by enabling brush pressure as well as thickness buttons in the top brush control panel. This will serve the purpose of getting the pencil sketch effect. This feature is also useful while colouring.
I have kept the main source of light from top hence the play of light and shadows are pretty simple in this illustration. Also, the characters expressions play very well depending on how we choose to place the light source.
Here, I wanted to get the festive feel in the entire colour tone. So I chose to get the orange and yellow tone which gives a warm feeling in the environment. The final colour tone can also be achieved even at the last stage by adding just a flat colour layer on top of all layers and then by trying different mode options in the layer pallet. But here, I chose to set the colour tone layer by layer. I did not use any colour filters, as I mostly knew which tone the final illustration should have.
The character colouring steps
To avoid any spill of colours at this stage, start by creating the characters and the props in different layers. And If you want to colour a specific part without disturbing the nearby object then you need to create each and everything in different layers and then group it under the character or the object name.
For example, in this illustration, I’ve created layers for the skin and clothes within the characters. And for the background, there are many layers for all the objects and that is where you may get confused.
When you have multiple layers then the convenient way to work on the desired layer is to hold the control/command key and then click on the part of the illustration that you want to select. The correct layer will be selected and then for colouring, again hold the control/command key and click on the selected layer under the layer panel, this will highlight/select the layer with selection marquee and you can begin the colouring. There won’t be any spill of the colour outside this selection.
After all the characters and objects are coloured it is time for the background light fixes. In these images, you can see the difference as I’ve added slight glow as well as little shadows to make the characters stand out. And finally after completing everything sometimes you might want to change the size of some objects or change few colours. Since we had everything in layers it is easier to do these minor adjustments even at the final stage. I had increased the size of the boy by about 15%. And we have reached the final illustration.
I almost forgot to mention one important thing that to always save the file and keep duplicating it. As sometimes, the file might get corrupted due to some system error or something else. But If you have duplicate files then you don’t have to begin the illustration from scratch. So saving is a good habit but duplicating the files is even better. Good Luck!