Learn step by step how this painting was created. I suggest that after following this tutorial, you find out what works best for you. In this tutorial I will be using Adobe Photoshop and Wacom Tablet to create the finished result. I will also be using techniques and methods that I feel most comfortable with when coloring. I suggest that after following this tutorial, you find out what works best for you.
Preview of Final Results
Golden Snake and the Dark Wildwood Painting Photoshop Tutorial
- Program: Photoshop CS2
- Digital Painting-Photoshop Tutorials
Step 1 – Base sketch and image composition
I decide to paint a golden snake and a dark forest for my tutorial. And here are two sketches about my main environment. I started with some quick sketches about the main idea and here let me show you my main sketch work. I start with a sketch work as you see but maybe you can prefer working directly with color. Some artist prefer to begin painting process directly with colors. But if you ask me, I advice you to start always with a sketch work to any painting. Because to begin directly with colors are more proper for an experienced artist.
Well as you see on these sketch works there are two character. The golden snake and a little alien character. Golden snake is the keeper of the Dark Wildwood. And he is looking doubtfully to the strange creature. And he doesn’t want stranger characters in his forest. Here is a very close screenshot for my alien character.
Step 2 – Setting the Canvas
Photoshop File size of the initial sketch work of is 700×839. Resolution must be 72 for now. Later you need to make it bigger to add painting details. But not now.
Here is the canvas settings:
- Width: 700 pixels
- Height: 839 pixels
- Resolution: 72 dpi
Step 4 – Choosing a brush
For my illustration I use only standard brushes with some different Pen Pressure settings. Here let me show my brush settings. In the Brushes palette (Window > Brushes), you’ll find many settings that you can adjust for your brush. In the Other Dynamics settings, I set the control to Pen Pressure. This is important if you are using a pen tablet for your painting. A pen tablet, such as the Wacom pen tablet, is essential for painting in Photoshop. It lets you paint using a pen instead of a mouse and adjust the strength and angle of your stroke. Set your brush settings to the one shown in the image below and try painting to see what it is like.
Step 5 – Color Palette
The second step here you to choose the main colors for you scene .A very important stage in creating your artwork is to decide which color solution is best for that your painting. The first thing that comes to mind with a snake in golden colors. Background is cold and I decide to give it a real night color, which has an added surprise because dark blue is also a natural sign of a dark mysterious night.
Step 6 – Creating the Layers
Now I’m going to show you some important knowledge about layers. I named my new layer name as “sketch” And now here as you see I have 3 layers. You must do the same on your own project. And now the first layer is for my signature. You can add a signature your image too.. On the next steps I’m going to create some more layers. The reason for painting on such new layers because of you need to make corrections later in the painting. It is much easier to fix errors if the main elements of your painting are separate entities. This step is really really very important.
Step 7 – Working On The Background Color
At this point, we can start coloring the sketch work. Here is my color for the background. Select the Gradient Tool (G) and do as you see on the picture.
Now is the time to determine the look of the background that you are going for. For the background, start by using the Gradient tool (G). After you filled the background, it must be like this.
Before continue the painting process let me show you my layer order again. I have created some new layers. Here are my layers for the image. I just changed the order of the layers because sketch layer must be on the top of all layers and its setting must be arranged to Multiply. At this point, we can start coloring the sketch work and you can define the main shapes . Don’t focus in on any one area, just start throwing down some shading to bring the volumes out.
Now here as you see I have created a new layer. And you name it as “stone” or “rock” I am coloring the rock and painting the top of the rock with a blue and some dark colors. I’m going to color characters at the next step.
Step 11 – Changing the Canvas Size
And at this step I would like to change the size of my file because I’ll begin to add more details so I’ll need to make a bigger file size. I do wish my file is to be more bigger size because at this stage I do think I can’t make so much detailed painting. So I open Image/Image Size. And make the settings as you see 2778×3494
Here is the new canvas settings:
- Width: 2778 pixels
- Height: 3494 pixels
- Resolution:300 dpi
Step 12 – Quick Detailing
At this step I have opened a new layer with the name of “trees” I paint some dark colors at the bottom of the trees. And I’m adding some light colors for the outline of the trees.
Now here is a screenshot for the details. I’m adding some more details for the tree.
At this stage I decided to color the snake. Now before coloring process let me show you my color settings for the snake color. Make the settings as you see on the image.
So I make a new layer and paint as you see. Snake layer is over the tree color. I continue to adding more details. I also would like to color the alien character too. And here is the layer for this character. On the top of the snake layer .
So I here is my alien character painting. Make some color painting with this character.
I’m adding some more colors and also I’m making some changes about sketch layer’s opacity. Here is take a look at character painting. His eyes began to look clear at this step.
I’ll now work more on the eyes and the body of the alien character and try to bring the character to life. Here also I’m pulling the alien character color layer at the bottom of the page for you to see the exact shape of it.
Now take a look at all details which I just make.
I continue to add more details and opening some new layers when I need. Pay attention to my layer order. Now look at all details. I have created a new second tree layer for the back colors. And also I have add some colors at the sky..
And here I have make some new changes on the illustration . Here as you see position of the rock must be like this now. Now I’m going to add color to the character. By the way don’t forget at this step you don’t have to over detail everything.
I’ll now begin to detail the snake character, adding more yellow and green colors. By the way don’t forget at this step you don’t have to over detail everything. At this point I kept working on main details and lights, until I got a nice and contrast. Sometimes I have to change some colors. I am pretty much finished with painting it’s body.
At this point I realized that my both characters are looking very simple and not so good, so I thought it was time to make some changes about the details of the snake character . I try some different outlook for it. And I continue to adding more details. I also would like to add some more details on the top of the image.
Now we can start out small details for our characters. I also used Color Dodge for the bright areas. This is how it looks once all the adjustments are done with the Color Dodge and Burn tool.
And also I do want to show you how I added those shiny areas on my snake character too. it is very easy :) I used Color Dodge for this effect. I always use this when I want to add some light areas on my illustrations. Let me show you how I did choose the Color Dodge.
And I do add some strokes with the Smudge (R) tool too. I use this because I want to add soft blurry areas on the tree and the background. You can also use this tool for the character.
And with the Smudge (R) tool I just make some little blurry shapes on the tail of the character.
And here’s the final image, I hope you found this Tutorial interesting.
I hope you found this tutorial informative, hopefully you can use some of the techniques here for your own painting. Practice and have fun!