He's an emissary for a powerful witch from a game my friend put together. He used to be the avatar of a water deity, but the deity became more powerful replaced this guy with a bigger and better avatar. Having nowhere else to go, he wandered into the witch's realm, and she gave him a nice cushy job.
The results came together with strangely effortless speed, going from an initial sketch to a final piece in a matter of a few hours. I was so happy with my process and how well it worked to nail the image, I decided to outline it here. So here's a fairly detailed explanation of the process I used, most of which is becoming standard procedure for me.
First I consulted a couple of Googled frogs & toads for reference, and started the initial sketch.
For the sketch or under-drawing, I lay down a dark background with a bit of texture, usually a scanned paper texture, just to provide some tooth and roughness. Above that, I create a dark Solid Color Adjustment layer. This will be the lineart layer. It's nice to have it as an adjustment layer because if I want, I can easily change the color of the lines and see the results in real time.
Next, I mask the layer completely (so none of the color shows) and then draw on the mask using black and white. Because I have my stylus set up to flip between fore-and background colors, I can draw and erase without having to call up the eraser tool or flip my stylus upside-down. A click of the stylus button gives switches me between adding to and subtracting from the mask, thus effectively erasing or creating a mark.
|Fig. 1: Detail of the Solid Color Adjustment layer|
|Fig. 2: Lineart layer mask.|
|Fig. 3: The drawing or lineart layer.|
Figure 3 shows what the drawing looks like as I'm working on it. Note that the lights and darks are much less stark than they appear in the mask. I like this because it gives me somewhere to build up from, and thus allows me to focus highlights and shadows with more precision later on.
|Fig. 4: Beginning to push and pull|
|Fig. 4: Timid color.|
|Fig. 5 : Bolder color.|
After this it was a matter of doing a final detail pass to tighten up a few bits that needed it, then tweaking the Levels and Saturation before saving out the final piece above.
If you've read this far, I hope you got something out of this process analysis. And thanks for reading!