Ok, so first walk through that I make.
I'll try to be as clear as possible.
First of all, what do I use do draw?
-the program is Adobe Photoshop cs4, it'a a quite complex program and I only use the very basic tools (brushes, ereaser, levels..). If you don't wat to buy Photoshop you can download Gimp for free.
-Wacom Intuos 5 Tablet. Wacom is the best brand for graphic tablets. The Intuos is a very good one and a bit expensive, but the basic one, the Bamboo is also a good start and costs around € 60,00.
-Laptop :) of course you'll need a pc to draw digitally.
I don't have a unique way of working, I mostly follow inspiration, or I try new ways used by other artist.
Anyway, one constant is the sketching. When you're in front of the blank paper and you still don't know what you want to draw, or how, just start sketching some ideas.
I usually choose a loose brush and then draw rough shapes, untill I'm satisfied.
What I keep in mind during this stage:
-The composition! This is very important, especially in a landscape. You must convey the feeling of depth, and help focusing the attention where you want.
To do this I have drawn two tall cliffs on either sides of the paper: in this way they "close" the composition, leaving the middle sort of exposed. The main tower is set approximately at 1/3 of the orizontal lenght, so it will attract the watcher, but still leaves place for the eyes to wander over the rest.
- Perspective: very important too, especially if you are drawing architecture. The top of the tower should be more curved, because we are watchin ig from below. I'll fix that later :)
Don't worry about doing mistakes at this point, you are still looking for inspiration and every line can help you in this. Keep the sketch very rough, you'll clean it later, when you've decided wich lines to keep.
Now I'm adding more elements to the drawing, because I don't want it to be only a landscape, I it want to tell a story, and for that I need characters.
On a new layer and still very roughly I sketch in the girl and the dragon, using different references (in this case some of my older paintings) to get the pose right.
On the web there are a lot of free references, but always be sure to read the rules if there are, and to quote the source.
I draw a tree and a milestone in the very foreground, because this too will help to give a feeling of the distance between the character and the background and it also will help "closing" the composition and attracting the eyes to the central part.
I then create another layer (the "Shadows layer") and I paint roughly the shadows, to see how I will want to set the light later.
See that the foreground is darker then the rest. This is in order to convey "athmospheric perspective". It means that objects far away have a more desaturated colour, while foreground objects will be darker.
It will also help drawing the attention to the more light area of the landscape, which will be the tower and the field surrounding it.
Third step is to get a clean lineart and decide which elements I want to keep.
This step is mainly to give me a better understanding of what I'm going to paint, since I am very forgetful and distracted :P Most artists skip it and just go for colour straight away, adding and defining elements while on the go. I would forget everything I want to paint if I did it this way XD
To do this I set the "sketch layers" to a lower opacity so that the sketch will look less dark.
I then create another layer (which I will call "lineart layer") and start picking out the lines I want to keep, and also adding details like the armour, the cloack.. Since I've set the "sketch layers" to a lower opacity they now appear light grey and it is easier to see what I'm doing on the new "lineart layer".
Once the lineart is fully done I can cancel the sketch layer, or just hide it if I think I will use it later.
Once the lineart is clean, it's time to decide which colours to use.
For this painting I wanted some natural colours since it's a rural environment.
I start creating levels for the different objects in my painting, one for sky and see, one for the background cliff, one for the field and the tower, one for the foreground and one for the girl.
This way I can keep the colours separated and if I make any mistake they will affect only that layer.
I try to keep the colours as similar as possible so the final result will be more armonic and any deviance will stand out more dramatically.
As you can see the foreground colours are more saturate and dark, while the background is kept lighter and desaturated.
At this point I also define better the light source, being not the moon as before, but the dawn, more on the right side of the painting, so it will outline the castle on the cliff.
For today that's all, I'll post more as soon as I proceed with the other stages of painting!