© 2012 Russ Cox | Smiling Otis Studio
In celebration of Valentine's Day, I decided to work up a sketch I had lying around my studio that I called "Gladys And Her Cat". It is based on how children usually carry a cat around the house. I though adding the drawings hanging on the wall would help emphasize her love for her cat.
This is a tighter version of the sketch. I lightened the nose and mouth on Gladys so the line work would not stand out in the final art. The line work was converted to a dark purple to give it a bit more life than using black.
Using the multiply layer in Photoshop, I did a grayscale underpainting which I duplicated and then added a red tint. This makes it a two layer toned underpainting so that I have a dark value to paint on which helps the final art colors pop.
Working like a traditional painting, I started from the back by painting in the walls, patterns, baseboards, and floor. This helps me decide what colors to use for the main images and prevents color revisions later on by trying to get a background color to work with all of the main elements. The final art layers are set to "normal" but have my brushes set to 20-45% opacity. By doing this, it allows me to build up the color.
I then painted the drawings by using a crayon-like brush. I though the paper should be a few colors like construction paper. The dog and mouse were painted next.
Continuing moving to the front, Gladys was painted in the next step. I thought having her as a redhead would help solidify the concept of "love".
The valentine's card and cat were painted. I used my orange cat as a model for color and attitude. Sometimes I will play with the saturation if I find the colors getting flat as I work. Gladys' skin tone got a mild boost so she looks more lively.
I thought I was about done with the illustration but the floor seemed too bare and boring. Building on the drawings in the background, I decided to add some additional drawings on the floor with a few crayons laying about. I quickly sketched the new items out, scanned them, and added them onto a new layer which I multiplied so the white drops out and the line work is showing. Working digitally allows one to add and subtract images as they work without having to start over.
The final image has the new elements painted, some of the line work beefed up and highlights added.
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Tune in next week to see what the talented Debbie Ohi has up her sleeve!