Select the layer with the sketch (make sure it’s right over the body base) and choose “Make Clipping Mask” from the Layer menu (or click Ctrl + Shift+ G). This way all the parts of the sketch that are over the body base will be clipped. There may be a lot of layers within the clipping mask. Create a new one under the sketch, it’s going to be used for shading. Lower the opacity of the sketch to make it a non-disturbing template.
Take a hard brush with low Flow (15-20%) and paint the shadows. Don’t dive into details, this phase is supposed to help you get rid of the sketch. Remember about light source!
Before we dive into details of the body, it’s good to complete the outfit – it’s going to cover a lot of skin, so painting these parts of skin would be a waste of time. Sketch the outfit with strong lines on a new layer outside of the clipping mask.
Now do the same as with the body – paint a base for the outfit, clip the sketch and lower its opacity.
Hair can be considered as a part of the outfit too. Paint the strands with hard brush (60-70% Opacity), then fill empty spaces on a lower layer to fully cover the head. Cross the strands all the time, even the straightest hair tangle. It’s good to draw the strands as X’s, not lines.
Let’s come back to the outfit. Part of it will be made of red leather, the other part – of metal.
Red should be shaded with dark green (according to color theory), so use it to shade all the leather parts. I used the same shade to change the color of boots and pelts too, too much red would look… weird. When it comes to the metal, shade it with everything that surrounds it – sky, light, red leather…
Some people have problems with making lineless artwork sharp. A good trick helping it is not to use a light on a whole lighted surface. Leave some base color at the border – very thin one – and you’ll see how good it looks from distance.
Use the colors of the sky to put lights on every surface. Try to add some depth to it, and follow the trick from the step above all the time.
Step 9 – leather brush
Create a new file and draw some scratches there. Avoid putting any details, it should be consistent and almost round in shape. Use only black. When you’re done, choose Edit > Define Brush Preset. Now you’ve got a new brush!
Now you need to adjust the preferences to your needs. These are my options – you don’t need to follow them, feel free to experiment.
Now create a new layer within the outfit’s clipping mask and use your new brush to paint leather texture. Don’t leave it as it is, shade it too, cover a little with other tones – make it natural.
Shade all the outfit carefully, draw the borders – finish all the leather elements so that you can leave it for now.
Color the pauldron roughly – simulate some scratches, then put some colors and cover them with soft painted grey.
When metal’s surface is polished, it reflects everything around it. So, look around and paint it on the pauldron. Use hard brush, paint quickly, and use Screen Mode when you need to stress any light.