Character Illustration: Create a Character with Photoshop & Watercolor | Cosmic Spectrum Yana Bogatch | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Character Illustration: Create a Character with Photoshop & Watercolor

teacher avatar Cosmic Spectrum Yana Bogatch, Illustrator and Comic Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (52m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Process and Materials

    • 3. Sketching Warmup

    • 4. Planning Your Character

    • 5. Sketching in Photoshop

    • 6. Tracing Your Sketch

    • 7. Inking Your Character

    • 8. Adding Watercolor

    • 9. Finishing Touches

    • 10. Closing

    • 11. Explore More Classes on Skillshare

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Love drawing expressive, intricate characters? Learn how to combine Photoshop, ink, and watercolor to bring your illustrations to life!

Step into comic artist Yana Bogatch’s studio and discover how to mix digital and traditional media to develop one-of-a-kind characters. From sketching thumbnails and refining in Photoshop to mixing ink and finishing with gouache, you’ll learn how to unite the flexibility of digital illustration with the spontaneity of fine art to create characters packed with personality. 

Through thoughtful, thorough lessons you’ll learn how to:

  • Draw dynamic poses with a sketching warmup
  • Develop your sketch in Photoshop before printing
  • Mix and layer ink to set the mood for your scene
  • Add watercolor with an eye toward contrast and depth
  • Finish your character with pencil and gouache

Plus, this 50-minute class is packed with Yana’s favorite tips and tricks for working in mixed media, developed over a decade spent refining her process.

Whether you’re a new artist with an idea for a character or a seasoned digital illustrator looking to learn a new technique, Yana’s accessible approach will open the door to a whole new world of intricate illustration. Best of all, by the end of the class you’ll have a tangible piece of character artwork to share with the world!

Click the "Your Project" tab to share your sketches and finished piece!


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Cosmic Spectrum Yana Bogatch

Illustrator and Comic Artist


Hi! My name is Yana (aka @cosmicspectrum) and I'm a freelance illustrator, character designer, and comic artist based in Toronto, Canada. With a Bachelor's degree in Traditional Animation and a background in music, I'm committed to creating an immersive experience with my work, and value storytelling above all. 

I love to experiment with new media and techniques both digitally and traditionally, which helped me develop unique approaches to both. I also creates in-depth tutorials full of tips discovered over my 15+ years of drawing. 

You can find more of my work over at Cosmicspectrum.Art



See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: What I love the most before drawing characters is that it gives me a chance to channel all sorts of different emotions through them. My name is Yana Bogatch and I'm an Illustrator and a Comic Book Artist. In today's class, I'm going to show you how to create a character illustration using a combination of digital and traditional media. Specifically using Photoshop, ink, and watercolor. I'm really excited to share my process with you because I spent many years perfecting it. I think starting the process digitally, and sketching in Photoshop creates a really solid foundation. Using traditional media on the other hand requires a lot of instant commitment where it's really difficult to fix something. So you have to develop a skill to learn how to work with the mistakes you make, and sometimes those little mistakes are what makes the drawing a lot more spontaneous and fun to look at. In today's class, I'll be sharing my whole process with you starting with the very first step of doing warm-up sketches, and finishing with scanning to drawing and doing finishing touches in Photoshop. Then I'll print it out and use a Light Box to transfer the sketch on watercolor paper. The next step is inking the drawing, and the last step is putting in color with watercolors. There's something really satisfying about holding a finished artwork in your hands and being able to look at it from different angles, and I hope that you can follow this process so that you can experience that as well. Please post your artwork into the project gallery, because I'd love to see what you come up with. I'm super excited that you decided to join my class. Let's get started. 2. Process and Materials: So in this class, I'll be teaching you how to draw a character using Photoshop, ink, and water color. I usually start with at least 30 minutes of warm-up sketches because I find that my hands are pretty stiff and it helps to loosen up and it really speeds up the sketching process as I go further. So it's usually really worth it to take the time to do that first. Once I finish warming up, I usually have a pretty good idea of what kind of illustration I want to create in my head, but I haven't made any sketches yet. So I'll do a little thumbnails to get the composition down and I usually make them pretty small which makes the process a lot faster and I can go through a lot of options and choose the one I like most. Once I pick a thumbnail sketch that I'm happy with, I snap a quick photo of it and send it to myself so that I can open it in Photoshop. I drag the photo into a Photoshop file which is usually a regular paper size so eight and a half by 11. I'll blow it up so that it takes up the whole page and make another layer so I can do a more finalized version of the sketch. In the next step depending on how clear the thumbnail is, I will usually do a very light sketch that shows a gist of where everything will be so that I can make another layer to make a cleaner version of the character hopefully, the final one. Sometimes you have to make an additional layer just to make sure everything is as clear as possible. Once the Photoshop sketch is ready to go, I print it out and use a light box to transfer it onto watercolor paper. I usually have a rough idea of what color scheme I'll be using. So depending on that, I'll use a colored pencil to create a really light sketch on the watercolor paper. Once that's done, I move right into the inks. My typical approach when it comes to creating digital illustration would be called cel shading. So I will start with doing line art and then create other layers as I move forward. So that's also something that I transferred into my traditional painting process. So I will also start with the line art using ink and I'll also put down shadows and similarly to creating another layer on top of that and setting it to multiply to lay down flat colors, I will just use watercolors to do the same thing and achieve a similar effect. For the last step, I'll just work on the little finishing touches by using white gouache for a little highlights or colored pencils to tie the image together. So these are some of my basic tools and I use these color pencils for transferring the sketch. I usually use this ballpoint pen that I got from Muji for sketching. For some reason, I haven't used a actual pencil to sketch in a really long time. I like using this pen a lot because it's very smooth and it's relatively thin so I can get very precise lines with it. I also have some micron ink pens here. I usually use a nib to ink but sometimes for very fine details, I'll use these. Then I also have this precision eraser that helps if I'm working with a relatively small drawing that has a lot of detail in it. So this is my go-to ink that I use, it's Ph Doctor Martin's and there's two different kinds that I have. There's a mat and a glossy version. I usually go with mat when I add watercolors later on so that it doesn't distract with the shine. I also use Winsor and Newton black ink as well. But I've been using this one a lot lately and I like it. These are the colored inks that I like to use, they're also Winsor and Newton. What I really like about them is that they're really bright and vivid and they are actually a little bit like watercolor. But the great thing about them is that they don't get revived with water after they're dry. So that's why I use these rather than watercolor to mix with my black ink. Sometimes when I want to give an illustration like an extra little touch, I will also mix in either this Winsor and Newton silver ink or this Kuretake gold Mica ink. These are the brushes that are use. I'm not too picky when it comes to brushes. I usually get regular watercolor brushes available at any art store. These two sizes are my go-to so they're a size four and two. I like to have the smaller brush for detailed work. This medium sized brush is one I use most commonly and I also like to have a slightly bigger one to fill larger areas with watercolor or ink and I use these brushes for ink and watercolor interchangeably. For a majority of the ink work, I use a deleter brand nib, it's the genome. I think it's really popular with comic artists in Japan, but it's a really nice and thin line and usually have a couple of those just in case. This is my favorite watercolor set. There Dr. Martin's synchromatic transparent watercolor. I really like these ones because they're very bright and they mix very cleanly. So I can get a wide range of colors and also liquid so I can be very precise with how much color I put on my palate. So in addition to the Dr. Martin's watercolors, I like to use regular ones as well. I believe these are pentel and they came in little squeezed tubes. So I just put them all on a palate so that they're easy to get to. Sometimes I like to use these because they do give a little bit of a different effect and when they dry, they don't revive quite as easily as the Dr. Martin's ones. So they're a little bit easier to use in that sense but the color is not as bright. This is the watercolor paper pad that I use most commonly. I'm not too picky about the type of paper that are use. Sometimes I'll also use Bristol paper if I don't want texture but lately I've been using watercolor paper most of the time. My biggest concern usually is to make sure that the paper is not too thick so that I can use it on the light box to transfer the sketch over. This is my current favorite sketchbook to use. I've been using these for a couple years now consistently and what I like about it a lot is that it is very thin so it's easily portable and I can bring it wherever I want. Also, when I open it up, it stays relatively flat and there is not too high of an edge so I can draw all the way to the edges of the paper. So this is the light box that I use, artograph is the brand and I really like it a lot because I've been using it for quite a few years and never had any issues with it at all. I like how the brightness is relatively high. So I can use a pretty thick paper, but also it's not so bright that it hurts my eyes when I work on it not when I use it for a long period of time. For the digital portion of the illustration, I use Photoshop and a 22 HD Cintiq, but you can use any tablet that you have and it doesn't even have to be Photoshop. So whatever digital program you're comfortable with will work just fine for sketching. 3. Sketching Warmup: The reason why I really like to start the process with some warm sketches, is because I find that my hands are usually really stiff. This is something I don't even necessarily notice. I spent so many years drawing and most of the time I was pretty impatient, so I would just sit down and get straight to work, but I found that doing warm-ups and spending at least 30 minutes and up to an hour and maybe even more sometimes, really helps to speed up the process later on. It greatly aids in accuracy and just generally makes it a lot easier to draw. This is something that I definitely had to learn the hard way, and it's really easy to forget. But I would recommend to always start with warm ups, because it's definitely worth it. When warm-up sketching, I don't like to put too much time into any single pose because the whole point is to just use your hand a lot, to warm up. So I'll maybe take a couple of minutes propose, maybe up to five at most, but usually it's around two or three minutes. I usually like to work from reference images for the warm-up sketches. I usually like to use dynamic poses, various types of actions because they're a lot easier to capture and see. I really like using Pinterest and actually use it for many other aspects of my work, not just warm-up sketches. Pinterest is also really helpful when you're starting a project. I usually like to create a folder full of inspiration that I can always go to and look at, that'll help get the creative juices flowing. So when doing warm-up sketches, I like to start by finding the rib-cage, followed by pelvis and it's like a pillowish basic shape. From then on establishing a line of action is pretty good. So it gives you a good sense of the movement within the pose. It's pretty important to place the feet. So I like to do that early on without getting into the details. Then, the head. I usually try to connect it to the torso as soon as possible so that the placement is relatively accurate. Then, I'll find roughly where the hands will go. Like so. Maybe indicate a quick gesture of what the pose of the hands. Yes. Then, after the basic just is ready to go. I will fill in a little bit of the details. Usually, in this process, I'll find that, maybe I missed the mark in certain place specially when I just start to warm up, so I'll make adjustments as I go. The point here is not to get any nice drawing or anything like that, is just to get your hand moving and to capture the pose. If it doesn't turn out are great, there's always the next one. Go ahead and do your own warm-ups, try to spend at least 30 minutes. Sometimes you spend up to an hour, which is really good. Really the more time you spend on this, the better, the easier it'll get, when you move on to the next steps. Yes, just don't focus too much on what the drawings look like. The whole point is just to get warmed up and loosen up your hands. The next step, we're going to start planning the illustration by drawing little thumbnails to get the basic composition down. 4. Planning Your Character: So the next step is choose Thumbnail, the illustration to get the basic composition down and figure out what you want it to look like. I usually have a rough idea of what I'm going to draw, so it helps to have a character in mind of course and perhaps like some sort of action that you'd like them to be doing, or maybe even just a feeling that you'd like to get across. So with this particular illustration, I want to draw this one character of mine and the thing I want to focus on is her facial expression. So usually, I'll just start with something like that and see where it takes me. So with this little sketch that I drew here, I'm putting down the angle of the face that I was thinking about and also came up with maybe having her hold her hair like this. So it's just a little bit of an exploration so that in the next thumbnail, I can figure out what the entire pose is going to look like. I really like where this is going, but I feel like I should draw a few more options just to see where I can take it. I've done some more little thumbnails to explore the idea that I was going with. I started with sketching this pose over here. Although I liked it, it seemed a little bit too formal and I didn't like her, she was directly facing the camera. So I tried these two and they were a lot closer to what I had in mind but in this one, her face wasn't visible enough so I decided to try a pose where she was laying down. But this one again, I didn't quite like compositionally, but I really liked the idea of using mushrooms as foliage around her and like a little log that she can be laying on. Then I drew a couple more options and with this one, it was a good combination of her face being visible enough so that I can incorporate the facial expression that I liked in the beginning and I could also use the mushrooms as foliage around. Coming up with poses to use for my character, I like to avoid anything that's too static, so I don't generally tend to do standing poses. For this particular drawing, I really like the idea of her holding onto her hair. I think it went well with her facial expression and gave off a certain slightly nervous feel even though she's relatively relaxed on the tree here. So yeah, having a little bit of an idea like that helps a lot in creating an interesting pose. So any tiny action like a character holding her hair is more than enough to go off of, to come up with an interesting composition. The one I landed on was this thumbnail, so I'm going to go ahead and bring this into Photoshop to make a finalized sketch. I really like this part of the process because it allows me to quickly explore my options without getting too caught up in details. In the past, sometimes, I tried sketching out poses much larger on the page and unfortunately, that made me focus on details and it took way too long. So with these, sometimes the smaller, the better. I find and I don't have to worry too much about getting things right, because this is mostly for getting the gist of what the drawing is going to look like. The great thing about taking it to Photoshop is that I can zoom in and use the thumbnail as an under drawing directly for the final sketch. So at this point, once they have thumbnail that I feel pretty comfortable with, I will snap a quick photo of it and I'll just take the image straight into Photoshop. So now that I've shown you my basic process, you can go ahead and start drawing some thumbnails of your own and remember to have fun with the character and get into what their personality is like and use that as a springboard for ideas for poses. Make sure you don't get too caught up in the little details because this is just the very beginning. The next step is taking the thumbnail image into Photoshop and making a cleaner sketch. 5. Sketching in Photoshop: So the next step in my process is to bring the thumbnail sketch into Photoshop to make a cleaner version. I'm just going to go ahead and start a new file, and we're going to go with an eight and a half by 11. The reason why I'm making it eight and a half by 11 so that it can be easily printed out on a regular printer that you might have at home. So for the file, you just have to make sure that it's at least 300 dpi in resolutions so that you can print it out at good quality. So I'm going to go ahead and drag in the photo. So now, I'm just going to resize the sketch, so it fits better. At this point, you don't necessarily have to have the exact size, you can always adjust it later on. So now, I'm going to turn down the opacity to somewhere around 20 percent, so you can still see it easily. So I just created a new layer on the top of the thumbnail to do a cleaner version. My favorite brush to sketch with in Photoshop is the rough basalt brush from Kyle's Megapack, and I've been using it for a very long time. I think I do adjust it slightly. So if you go to Brush settings, I usually make sure that transfer is on and build capacity jitter and a float jitter are set to pen pressure. In this step, I'm going to begin by doing a gesture, a rough gesture but very lightly so that I can establish the figure with a greater degree of precision than the thumbnail. So it can also fix any anatomical and consistencies. Usually in this step, I will be a lot more precise with the angle of the face. Here, I can make little changes as they come up. For instance here, I was planning to draw the hand going up like this, but now that I look at, I think it would look better if I draw it like that. I'll roughly plan out where some of features will go just to make sure that the placement is correct. So at this point, I'm still just trying to get the gist of the pose, but with more precision these time. Once I'm still establishing the pose in the first pass of the final sketch, I'll usually put in a rough shape for the hair, so I can figure out how much space I wanted to take up and what the overall shape will be. Now that I have a first pass rough outline of the character's pose, I'm thinking that I might want to change how the legs are positioned. So I'm just going to go back and erase this and try some different options. This is one of the best things about sketching in Photoshop is that it's really quick to get rid of something and try something new. At this point in the sketching process, I no longer need to see the thumbnail, so I'll just get rid of that. So now that I'm done with the rough outline, I've established the placement of all the limbs and the pose. So I can get into details. After completing the first pass of the sketch, you can always add another layer just to retain this one in case you want to go back and redo the details. Sometimes I'll do that or at other times when I feel more sure about where the competition is going, I'll just continue with the details on the same layer. It's also a good idea to start on a different layer if the sketch turns out too messy than it's a lot easier to clean it up later when it's underneath. But since this is relatively clean, I'm just going to go ahead and draw in the same layer. In this step, I will concentrate more on certain elements where I will put more details and leave other things for the inking process. So it's a little bit more organic and I don't have to spend too much time on the sketch. I usually like to start with the face because it'll help me set the tone for the rest of the illustration and it's the most important part of the illustration as well. So when sketching out the face, I usually try to get it as finalized as possible so that when I move on to ink, there isn't anything left to resolve and I can trace it one-to-one so that the facial expression remains as close to the sketch as possible. The face is usually the focal point and it's usually the first thing that the viewer will look at when they see the illustration for the first time. So it's really important to get it right. After I finish finalizing the face, I usually move on to the hands because they are the next most important thing. The reason why I like to focus on hand so much in the sketch is because usually, it's a pretty dead giveaway for lack of anatomical knowledge. So I don't like to leave that up to chance for inking either. So I like to get it as close to the final as possible in the sketch that later I just have to carefully repeat it with ink. Usually when I finish finalizing the face and the hands, I will just zoom out again and look at the overall picture and make sure that it looks right to me, and I lay down some basic shapes for the clothing, wherever it's missing. So as you can see here, I already have indicated where the skirt will go but, I haven't really done anything in the torso areas. So I'm just going to go in and do that. Usually in this phase, I won't go into too much detail, I'll just establish where the folds will go roughly. Some of the most important things to make sure I have down are the shapes. I'll focus on how the clothing falls and what kind of shape it creates around the limbs just to make sure that nothing looks strange, and it's all dynamic and nothing really fights too much. I don't usually do one element at a time. So I travel around the entire illustration and add lines here and there as they see fit. So right now, I'm going to move on to the hair and finalize that a little bit more. Drawing the hair is usually the most fun of an illustration for me. I really enjoy how much freedom and allows and I usually don't care too much about how it's supposed to look in reality. So I will break it up into strands and larger shapes so that it's more manageable and it helps organize the image and make it look more coherent, and then I can go back and add little strands where I feel is necessary. I can also do that while inking as well. So I don't spend too much time getting into the tiny details in the sketching process. So once I have most of the characters elements pretty much worked out, I will zoom in again and decide how much detail to put into the background. So like I mentioned the sketch, I really like the idea of putting some mushrooms and foliage. So I've indicated some rough areas where I'd like that to go and roughly what shape I would like it to take. So based on that, I will just draw. These types of things are pretty quick and easy to draw, so I don't have to draw it every single one. These are the type of details that I really like to leave for ink because it's more spontaneous that way, and will usually end up looking more interesting. So I feel like this isn't a pretty good place, but I'll work on it for a little bit longer just to get down whatever lines are missing and to tighten that up a little bit before I can move on to the final step of the sketch. So at this point, the sketch is more or less good to go and I got a little bit carried away with adding details. So this is a little more detailed than I would usually go, but I noticed that it's a little bit hard to tell what's going on around the face and the hair. So I decided to add a flat tone on the hair just to make it easy to see through the paper once I transfer the sketch using the light box. So this is a really quick and simple stuff. I'll usually go into the brushes and pick something regular. So from general brushes, I'll go with hard round brush and make sure that the flow is 100 percent. I'll just go and check the settings and make sure that transfer is not on. So it's a solid brush. Without caring too much about staying within the lines, I'll just pick letter gray, a mid two letter tones. Though when it prints out, it's not too dark, so I can still see the lines through it. I'll put the tone on a separate layer, usually underneath the sketch or if you're going to put it on top, make sure it's set to multiply. Because there's so many lines in the sketch, it's a little bit hard to tell where the hair ends and the dress begins. So it just makes it easier and faster to ink when there's a flat tone over there. So in this step, try to focus on really catering to your own skill level and see how much detail you want to go in. Usually, the more detailed the sketch and the more finalized it is, the easier it will be two ink. For me, usually I like to focus on the face and the hands just to make sure those things are really finalized, and maybe be a little bit more loose with the hair or the clothing just because I've done it so many times and I like to add a little bit of experimentation in. But just state your comfort level and make sure that you feel really good about the sketch before moving on to inking. At this point, I feel pretty comfortable with the sketch. So I'm just going to go ahead and print it out, so I can use it with my light box. 6. Tracing Your Sketch: So, in this step we're ready to transfer the sketch to the watercolor paper. So I have the printed out sketch right here and a piece of watercolor paper that's slightly bigger than the printer paper, so it will be easy to attach to. To stick it onto the watercolor paper, I'm just going to use washi tape. It doesn't adhere too much to the paper. So that when I take it off later it won't rip. Now, we're ready to move on to transferring the sketch, and see how adding the flat tone really helps, see where the hair is going to end up. So you can already envision the drawing is going to look like. I've been doing this process for quite some time and at first, I used to just go straight into inks without first recreating the sketch with a colored pencil but from trying it out a couple of times, I found that it's actually a lot easier to spend some time on tracing the sketch so that I don't have to keep the light-box on all the time, because since the light comes through, especially when I want to fill a large area of washed down ink, so if I want to lay down flat tone, sometimes it's difficult to determine what it's going to look like because it appears lighter when the light-box is turned on. So it's easier to just transfer the sketch, so I can just turn it off and ink without having the light shine through the paper. I like to trace the sketch using a red pencil specifically a prismacolor, so I can erase it easily just in case I make a mistake. It melts pretty easily into the ink once we start going over it so that I don't have to really go back and erase it afterwards when I'm done. I like to, I have a bunch of colors available, so I usually choose a color that'll complement the rest of the color palette that I'm planning to use. I usually print out two copies of the sketch. So one I used to tape in back of the sheet but the other one, I will keep right next to me so that I can look at it for reference, because sometimes when the papers stick you can't really see the small details. In this particular illustration the face is pretty small in relation to the rest of the paper so I can't really see it too well with the light box. So I like to keep the second printout right here for reference just so I can take a quick look and replicate it on the spot. So while I was still working on the sketch in Photoshop I decided to put some branches into her hair. The stuff I'm just putting a little bit more detail into those. Something that I'd like to point out is looking for patterns that you do automatically look. For instance, for me I kind of zone out and sometimes I tend to place things at equal distances apart from each other. So if you look here there's a branch right there and here and there and it looks like the distance between them is equal which looks kind of weird, and it looks a little bit too orderly. So, here I'm just going to omit this branch so it's not there at all and it'll look a little more organic that way. So similarly, like in Photoshop, I will omit the details to apply them to put on with the ink. So delays. Again, I'm just tracing the basic outline I'm not getting into the tiny details here. Although for this sketch I do aim to be a little bit cleaner than the Photoshop. It's important to remind myself that I want the sketch to be pretty light so that it melts into the inks easily. So now we're ready to start inking. 7. Inking Your Character: The first thing that I start with is mixing the right color. So sometimes it takes a little bit of time to do that but I like to make sure I get it right. I always keep a small piece of paper around. That's usually the same paper that I'm doing the illustration on just so I can see how the ink interacts with it and to make sure I have the right tone. I usually like to add a little bit of colored ink into the black ink just to add a hue to it so that it's closer to the color scheme that I'm planning to make the illustration with. For this illustration, I'm going to mix a warm brown color. I was thinking of a somber mood for a foggy forests sort of setting. I'm going to keep it very minimal with colors mostly sticking to a couple and I'll see maybe I can introduce an extra color but I usually like to keep color schemes very simple because I haven't exactly found the perfect ratio yet but it's always good to just experiment. So now that I've added some brown and red or like a pinkish color I'm going to test it out. I make a lighter tone so that the lines aren't too heavy. I also use it to shade as well. I usually like to premix the dark, the darkest tone and a lighter one as well and have those ready to go. As I'm inking if it's necessary to have some sort of mid tone I will just mix it on the spot and then always make sure to test it before I use it on the illustration. So the inking step is probably the most challenging step so far because mistakes are a lot more likely to occur and you can't really go back to fix it or erase. But it also makes it a lot more fun because sometimes you make a little mistake spontaneously and they end up adding to the piece and also it's a really good learning experience because learning how to fix something that's relatively permanent on the page is a really good skill to have. So at this point I'd like to add some lines. I usually start with the face because it's the most important part of the illustration because it almost always is the first thing that the viewer is going to look at. For me personally I really like to focus on facial expressions. So I like to make sure that we get it right first and just in case I make some sort of mistake that I can't fix. Sometimes that happens that I have to just start over again and that's why it's best to just start with the most important part in mixture to get it right because everything else can let mistake slide if they happened later on in the process but definitely not in the face. Now I'm going to go into the background and add a tone wet on wet to create a nice moody atmosphere and to set the tone so that I can contrast the hair and the dress against it. So the first thing I'm going to do is to just wet the paper and then I just have to make sure to do it quickly so then I can quickly go back in. I'm just going to go on and look for more water wherever it's starting to dry up. I'm mostly doing this to create a fading out effect. So I don't have to wet the paper everywhere I'm just going to do it where I want to fade the ink code. So now I'm going to add a little bit more detail closer to the focal point which is the face. The reason why I leave these details to the inking step as because I feel like it's redundant to do them over and over again because it's really easy to make it open spot which also adds an organic element to it. I never know exactly what type of pattern I'm going to go with. So it's pretty fun to just leave it up to chance. But again it's also because I've done this so many times before. So you should definitely show whatever you're comfortable with and if you wanted to include more detail in the sketching process that always helps if you feel like it's hard to make a decision. So at this stage in the inking process I pretty much laid down most of the important stuff around the face and I'm going to try to put less detail in the surrounding area like in the background and stuff so that it doesn't take away from the focal point of the image. It usually when the detail is too evenly spread it creates a little bit of confusion and for me personally it's a pretty big point that I'm trying to improve on because I always tend to get lost in the details and I evenly spread them throughout the image. I'm trying to really hard to work on that. So I think at this point I'm pretty much done with the inking stage. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. As you recall it didn't really go into the lighting or anything like that in the sketch. So I like to leave it up to chance. So I decided on the spot, I didn't want to go for anything too realistic. Just wanted to mostly focus on the face and create an eerie atmosphere and a little bit of a ghostly feel. So now I'm ready to add some color. 8. Adding Watercolor: While inking this piece I decided to use an analogous color scheme, which means that I'm going to be using colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Since I used a warm brown tone to ink, I'm just going to use orange, like an orangey or brownish to red color scheme. If you're someone like me who's pretty intimidated by using complicated color schemes, analogous is a really good choice because it's almost guaranteed to look good no matter what. Because the colors are so close to each other. They complement each other very nicely. So like with the inking, I'm going to start by just putting some color on the palette and making sure I test it first before adding it to the illustration. So I'm thinking of using warmer orange or brownish hues in the background right here and leaving those as it is, and then adding maybe a little bit of red in the face to create additional contrast. Then using maybe a little bit of a brighter brown to highlight the branches that are in the hair. Then perhaps I will put down a bass tone on the dress but we'll see how it looks with all the other elements first. I like to make a lot of decisions on the spot. Because it helps me learn and experiment. This particular paint is very concentrated. So I like to add a lot of water. So here I'm using the wet on wet technique again; like with the ink but this time watercolor. I want to create a soft gradient around the edges, like right here, for an interesting effect and also to retain the foggy type of atmosphere. Although at this point this is pretty bright, so maybe the mood is changing a little bit but I do like words gone. It's kind of a spontaneous process. Now I'm just mixing a slightly brighter version of this color. I'm just coloring in the branches so that they don't read as part of the hair as much as do right now, and it also creates little pops of color throughout the figure because right now she looks very gray scale compared to the background. So I just want to integrate her into the rest of the image without putting too much color. I think I'm going to add a little bit of red. Now I'm going to add some right to the face to strengthen the contrast and draw more attention to the focal point. So I feel like now the illustration is in a pretty good place and I'm ready to move on and add some finishing touches. I usually tend to not overwork because sometimes I can ruin the drawing by adding too much color or just spending too much time on the step. The next step is to add some finishing touches with various mixed media. I like to use gouache to add some white highlights and maybe some colored pencil to tie the image together. 9. Finishing Touches: So now I'm going to add some finishing touches to the piece. First, I'm going to use white gouache to maybe add some highlights and fix some parts. Oh, I made little mistakes. So I add some highlights here and there. I usually use white gouache to go over and fix some of the areas I covered with paint, just to add more precision and draw the eye back to the focal point. I like to use gouache because it's opaque, but I can also mix it with water if I want it to have some transparency. Well, I know that it's pretty common to use a white gel pen for this type of soft, but I find a gouache just gives me more precision and a wider range of line quality. I'm here for shoulder blends into the background a little bit. So I'm just going to add a stain line to create an edge. I'm just going to add a little bit of detail to the background now as well just to see what happens. Now, I'm just going to go in with a wider brush and see if I can reduce this dark spot over here a little bit. I like how mixing the white and creates a little bit of a cool tone. So it's a nice contrast to the rest of the more, gives it a more foggy feel, like I initially wanted. So I'm just going to knock down or knock back some of the hair strands to create a little bit more depth. Now, I'm just going to add some last touch us with a red pencil. I'm using the same pencil that I use to transfer the sketch over. What I'm doing right now is mostly adding some ingredients to further strengthen the focal point which is the face. I think this is a good time to call it quits. It's hard to say how exactly I decide when it's done, but I feel like if I put a new more detail then it'll feel overworked. I just wanted to leave some parts loose. I think it creates a more interesting type of atmosphere. So in this step, I used gouache to add some additional details and just to fix any little mistakes that I made along the way, and as well as to draw extra attention to the focal point, and then they used a red pencil just to tie the whole image together and add some subtle gradients here and there. Now, you can go ahead and do the same with your character illustration. 10. Closing: So now you've seen the entire process starting with the thumbnail sketch and ending with the final illustration, and now you can finally have the satisfaction of holding a finished piece of art in your hands. So even though I've done this process many, many times in the past, I find that most of the time the finished artwork looks very different from what I originally intended it to, which is totally fine because I tend to make a lot of decisions on the spot and I just roll with whatever happens. So it creates an extra level of excitement about drawing in general, and I'm really happy with how this turned out. After I finish the artwork, I like to scan it in and bring it back into Photoshop so that I can further adjust the colors if I need to, and maybe fix some tiny little detail by zooming in. So as you continue to hopeful use this process, I hope you learn something new each time. I would really advise you not to focus too much on making something perfect because even this piece, although I'm really happy with it. There's still a lot of things that I can take away going forward and I would definitely do some things differently next time. So every illustration is a learning experience. So if you've been following along with my class, I really hope that you learned something new and I would absolutely love to see what you came up with. So please, upload your creations to the Project Gallery. Thank you so much for taking my class and I can't wait to see what you create. 11. Explore More Classes on Skillshare: