Digital Art School Visual Storytelling from Your Imagination with Procreate | Krister Eide | Skillshare

Playback Speed

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

Digital Art School Visual Storytelling from Your Imagination with Procreate

teacher avatar Krister Eide, Fantasy and Children's Book Illustration

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

6 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Introduction Digital Storytelling from Your Imagination

    • 2. Where to Find Inspiration and Choosing Your Subject

    • 3. Art References for Imaginary Characters and Scenes

    • 4. First Sketches and Thumbnails

    • 5. Colors, Layers, Shading, and Details

    • 6. Final Touches - Lighting, Textures, and Storytelling

  • --
  • 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

Fantasy and Children’s Book Digital Art Illustration - examples using an iPad and Procreate but traditional and other digital sketching painting program are welcome.

Take the class for free + 2 months free Skillshare:

Free access without joining Skillshare:

In this class, I'll share all my tips and tricks for creating an amazing fantasy illustration.  I'll take you from the very beginning, finding inspiration and art references, to first sketches and choosing a dynamic composition, then shading, color, lighting, and details that'll help your characters and stories come alive. This course is open to all abilities..even complete beginners. 

I'll be using Procreate on an iPad, but any drawing or painting program will do. You can choose to draw fantasy creatures or fairytale or folktale characters. I'll show you how to increase the emotional expressions in your characters and adjust color and lighting to convey a strong mood.

I can't wait to see what you create!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Krister Eide

Fantasy and Children's Book Illustration


I'm a fantasy and children's book illustrator who teaches...



* If you join with the link above, you'll get the class for FREE + 2 months Skillshare Premium free! (over 20,000 tutorials). Share the link with your friends!

Have you wanted to create scenes and stories from your imagination?  Join me in this class 10 Minute Art School: Digital Storytelling from Your Imagination. We'll use the iPad / iPhone app Procreate, but any digital art program or even traditional materials will do. I've called it the 10 minute art school because all of my lessons will be 10 minutes or less. A lot can be learned in 10 minutes and I think you'll see t... 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 Digital Storytelling from Your Imagination: My name is Christopher I. D. And a fancy and Children's book illustrator from Washington State. In this class, I'll be sharing all my tips and tricks for creating illustrations from your imagination. I'll take you from the very beginning with where to find inspiration and how to organize your right references to your first sketch and principles for choosing our dynamic composition. We'll move from a rough stage to a final composition and begin adding shading and details to really make your characters environments come alive. We'll try out different colors and see how they affect the mood of the peace. Lastly, we'll like your work into our final policy. This course is open to all abilities, even complete beginners. I'll be using procreate on iPad, but any drawing or painting program will do. I mentioned digital storytelling in the title of this course because I believe that telling stories through pictures can really draw viewers into your pieces. On a deeper level, storytelling is the secret ingredient of all of the greatest and most iconic works. I look forward to hearing more about the stories behind your characters and scenes, and I think you'll begin seeing your artwork in a whole new way 2. Where to Find Inspiration and Choosing Your Subject: The first thing we'll do for this project is choose a subject. Would you like to create another dragon writer? Or is there another story you would like to hear if you'd prefer the latter but don't know where to start? Try looking into classic fairytales, folklore and mythology for a character that you'd like to draw. And, of course, many fantastic beasts, including dragons, originated from combinations of different animals, so you can also create a character out of different parts of real animals. A good source for mood boards is Pinterest. Use the results for looking up dragons. And here's the results for looking up dragon writers. What I would recommend this after you've chosen what you'd like to draw is to try to find a personal connection with your subject. Sometimes it may even be subconscious, so feel free to sit with it for a while and even sleep on it with the dragon fly. A breathe fire. Would you tacked with like a friend? Or maybe it wouldn't talk at all. Making a list of attributes for your character may give you more ideas for your drawing in the next step. Dragons have a lot of similarities to dinosaurs. And there's a growing sense among scientists that the true descendants of dinosaurs are birds. Here's a feather from the dinosaur. Archaeopteryx rakes. The dragon in my drawing has some features of beauty vultures, secretary birds and crocodiles. There were also some logistical considerations they take into account with my dragon writer . It would be cooled and physically demanding to ride in a dragging a tile to to, I thought of pilot Close, but then also began thinking more about period dress around the time of Genghis Khan and the fact that this trying and could be used in battles. One thing I picked up when I studied other people's methods is how much they still depend on references even for more imaginative work. James Gurney of Dinotopia fame has great post about how he created his worlds and characters. I'll share some links to that in my Resource is in Class material section. Once I decided to give my Dragon writer Genghis Khan era clothing, I also look back at my photo references that I had taken when I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Take pictures when you travel, if it's allowed. If you look carefully at the details and costumes, for instance, you learn how they were made and how the different pieces might hang. Remove in different positions for your characters. Over time, though, I began thinking of my dragon writer. Mora's a character inspired by my younger sister, who had battled cancer. She was strong and brave and loved animals. So then the image started taking place, my mind that focus more on the relationship between her and the dragon thin, something like Battle. I also have a practice of keeping little photos and videos of things that inspire me, not just things I see in books and on the Internet. But in my day to day life, one of the things that inspired the territory for this project was a day in the spring. I walked in the park behind my home and saw the wind blowing pink blossoms from the trees are the little places you discovered of walks that captured your imagination. The moment in the golden hour before sunset, I said, Look, played in the afternoon. Find ways to put yourself into your picture, and more story and feeling may flow out of its and unexpected ways. 3. Art References for Imaginary Characters and Scenes: finding good references is essential for a great, realistic, imaginative art. There are two art blog's I'd Like to recommend to You. The first is Gurney. Journey by Dinotopia is James Gurney, where he often talks about art references that he uses for his work. For instance, this picture of some kids in this neighborhood playing tug of war transformed into a game with the dinosaur money colors is another great art. Blaga discusses art references. There are many uses. Two references. Anatomy, perspective, materials and lighting characteristics. When I've made physical models, I've made them out of Skull P or an oil based clay. There's a few things to keep in mind about art references. It's best to suit your own references when you can, trying to seek out public domain or creative Commons. Zero re sources such as and splash pixels or picks Obey use references to answer questions . Since how did the wings connect to the body or how far might be eyes be from the nostrils? Avoid copying someone else's work. Copyright infringement rules are very complicated, even regarding fan works, so it's best to be safe. At the end of the day, you might have lots and lots of photo references. One nap I've been using to organize my references is beautiful, which costs $5. I have photos for inspiration, for references regarding animals and objects and for our tutorials in this project. Au specific references to see how the teeth of the dragon might fit together using oclock dollars a model and all selected some historical Chinese dragons that had whiskers. I also looked at a variety of wing Daniels to see how to represent the wings of the dragon is their full. It'd additional references gave me models for how wings could be patted on the dragon and healthy iris and the dragons. I could catch the light. Finally, I just want to briefly mention the neat resource that can help you visualize your objects more from different perspectives and that sketch fab. It's a repository for three D models, some free and some for sale. You don't have to download to use it as a reference for your drawings, sketch fabs model of you and lets you rotate the subject from different perspectives. It was just take a screenshot. From the perspective that you went, it could be a great reference, although you have to add in your own lighting and shading 4. First Sketches and Thumbnails: commit yourself to loosely sketching out different ideas. Don't worry yet things are ugly. It's fine for things to look ugly at this stage. Use references to get ideas on paper, but avoid relying too much on Tracy because it often leaves a drawing tight and stiff, trying to recognize the basic geometric shapes underlying the figures. It'll help with capturing the volumes later on. Your first sketches should be thumbnails. Here are a few examples They should be small and rough, giving an overall view as to have your characters and scenes will be laid out. Keep track of the positive and negative space is The positive spaces are, for instance, the marks that have drawn here to represent the dragon and the girl, and the negative spaces air the spaces in between. Make sure you keep looking from far away at thumbnail. Can you see what the pictures about immediately? If so, you're on your way to a good composition. If important parts of the scene are overlapped too much, then you might not have a strong silhouette and may be hard to see what you're trying to call attention to your focal point. Do you have strong lines of action. These are the arks made by the poses of the figures bodies and can be thought of this line running down the length of a character spine, a clear, smooth line of action. Make supposed easier to read at first glance and don't establish one early on. It can be easy to get lost in the details of character, a great introduction to basic construction. The lines of action can be found in the animation tutorials made by Preston Blair, who helped animate movies like Fantasia and Bambi. You can often find many images on the Web, but by a used version of a book. I also made some simple thumb. They also think through the possibilities of my Dragon writer, trying different ages and different costumes to save time. Once I had the basic character shape, I tried different costume elements on the same shape, then decided on my final choices. I work in gray scale to narrow my focus to forms and value. Next comes starting work on the line art for my sketching and procreate. I usually use the default number six B pencil when you're adjusting your characters. Post is there are four tools that I found especially helpful. They have their equivalents in all popular, sketchy impeding programs. They are free form or last rotate, distort work and liquefy. If you want to transform uniformly, grab any of the corner points to stretch in one direction. You grab a point in the middle of aside tap and drag to move. Selecting the green rotate point can help you try out different positions of the characters , select through a major minor joint, then rotated to see a different position. For instance, when I select through her elbow here, I can move her arm up and down. The warp transform tour can help you at some smooth bends, for instance, strengthening the line of action with this tool, you pick points with lines intersect to make movements. Another trick I have when I'm playing around with the drawing this duplicating the layer and hiding one of them so that if I make too many changes that I don't like, I can always go back to the original version. Of course, it's also usually easy to undo using the double tap or Baquero regarding the warp transform tool that the grid points air space too far apart and just last, so smaller parts that help you to make more subtle changes in possession. E the war of transform towards also very helpful when it comes to adding textures to three dimensional volumes. But we'll talk more about that later when we come to textures. Another option is the distort button and transform mode. To use tap and hold a corner, you'll see that it allows you to distort elements into perspective. For instance, if you have this flat rectangle, hold the anchor point and you'll see that you can shorten one side, so that looks like it's receding into the distance. You can also use this tool to help correct perspective mistakes. Finally, the liquefy tool has found under adjustments, which uses the magic wand icon. It does just what the name says. It softened. Zero mrs. If they were melting clay. I usually use, push and pull the most, but they're also reasons to use things like bloating pinch. I like using liquefy to make subtle changes since his positions of the hand or emotional expressions of the face. When looking over your final composition, it may also want to consider the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds was developed in the 18th century as a pattern of composition that has an inherently pleasing structure. It takes inventors of where people's eyes naturally gravitate. If you divide to canvass equally into threes horizontally and vertically, like a tick tack toe grid, you can see where the ideal places for certain elements might be. To use the rule of thirds, you choose your horizon line in the top or bottom horizontal lines, and then put your characters where the lines intersect. You can also choose not to use the rule of thirds, but it's often helpful when starting out to at least consider it when working on an important element that might take up a small amount of cannabis spacing appropriate document. Such is the girl of space. Another tip I want to share with you is that I usually work on its own. The largest size in its own document, then, as the last step imported as a transparent, PNG unfortunate aspect of procreate at the moment is that it can blur small details, which then remain blurry when resized. Sometimes I also do the combining of details Info shop because procreate has more layer in quality restrictions. That's all for this lesson. I look forward to seeing your first sketches 5. Colors, Layers, Shading, and Details: time to dive into color, you might have a strong image in your mind about what colors you'd like to use for your scene. But there are a number of great free tools that can help you to experiment and try out combinations that you might not have thought of otherwise. The truth is, is that this is a whole science called color theory that the only be dabbling into I'd recommend learning more about color theory to bring more emotional feeling into your work through color. The basic color wheel was invented by Sir Isaac Newton, who mapped the color spectrum in the circle. The idea of color harmonies came later, and different combinations of colors in the color wheel can be chosen if you want to create certain effects. For instance, in a monochromatic Corp at all, the colors are different. Brightness is and saturation of a single color. Such is blue, For instance. Complementary colors are colors that are opposite on the wheel, such as, for instance, or in Sadako Blue. Complimentary coast can be jarring and also make colored elements pop out of the background analogous colors, on the other hand, because they're next to each other in the wheel. These combinations are often found in nature and are generally associated with more soothing moods. From the beginning, I wanted my Dragon Writer piece to take place during a Sunday afternoon with cherry blossoms, and my close game generally evolved naturally from that. If you have certain times of day in mind for your pieces, you can take a look at something such as, for instance, Ty Carter's time of day keys. You can also take a look. It, for instance, photos and movies. Still is that colors that you like to emulate and import them into procreate. Used the eyedropper tool and experiment with picking different colors. Save these colors in the palette of your own. You go through these steps wrench, add insert photo, open color wheel pallets and then hold the eyedropper on the color and drop these colors into a new palette box. You can do this by hand, and you can also explore free color palette sites such as coolers at Cofer, Color inspiration on coolers, user space by to sort through different colors. Clicking on the color you like will lock onto it so that when you hit the space bar again. It will find a variety of colors that would work well in harmony with your pick. Another great resource is canvas free, color powered generator. Upload an image that you like. So just this illustration by Howard Pyle and will collect the palate you so that you can import it into procreate. The next steps are doing a color block end of your image, Although I often erased the pencil later, well, usually use a large heart airbrush to get the color filled in. Things start to take on another dimension when you begin to layer on top the base layer in order to shape and define your forms. That was kind of a quick demo, but here are the steps that it went through with shady. First, I did a rough blocking of the color with navy blue for the body back, the head and neck and bays for the face and the bottom of the neck. They then erased back some of the color with a hard airbrush to define the dragons form. Once my creature was filled with the base colors, I made a clipping layer mask above the layer. This is the layer where I did my feeding. It took the base color that I used for my face, but it made it a little darker, a little more saturated and a little redder. This was the color that I used for the shadow under the dragon's job. For the shadows in the folds of the dragon, I used Mandy bees, feather scum Bilby brush with a color only slightly darker than the base nephew blue color in the block in. I also used the smear tool that I also said to the matter. Be feathers Campbell, be brush. The smear or smudge tool is the pointing finger icon between the brush and the eraser. Finally, I added an iridescent aqua blue highlights using the same brush, but now, with less smudging, trying to air on the side of caution when it comes to laters, I prefer to make lots of layers so that I can change my mind later and not have lost anything. The nice thing about having a fully code and base layer is that you can use a clipping mask on the layer above. That allows you to shade within the shape without worrying about getting outside your figure. When choosing colors for your shadows in general, try to wear on the side of blue, not black, and easy way to add shadows is to add another layer. Use a large airbrush and change the blend mode of the shadow layer to multiply. I've talked about pro creates color wheel, but this insight part represents the value, which is to say, the light and dark along the vertical access in the degree of saturation of color along the horizontal axis. When you're doing the saving, now is the time to get out your references. If you're not sure of the anatomy, a common mistake is stopping too soon. There could be a lot of saving involved with taking a ride. Work to the next level, put on some music or fun podcast and get into the shading zone. In the last part of this lesson, I'd like to talk about how to use layers have to very color and saturation and finally, custom brushes. Players come in handy with shading because you can imitate the multi level nature of real shadows. For instance, in the case of the strategy in it, put down the dark shadow first, then paint feathers on the higher layer so that I don't have to worry about painting a uniform shadow between all the feathers. This technique is the same with painting things like for they care Oregon piles of Haiti. There is some planning involved with layers. Think about it as if you had a paper doll and had to put all the different layers of clothing on top. There's a base figure and then the pants, her tunic and then the armor. Sometimes, however, the order can get a little complicated. For instance, in the case of my Dragon Rider piece, the dragon's tail is higher than her boots, but the dragon's jaws lower than her hand. As faras hue and saturation goes, there's a hue saturation slider under the magic wand. Duplicate the layer. If you don't want to worry about irreversible accidents, no play around with the sliders. Are there so happy accidents that you prefer over your original? If you're happy with the brightness and saturation of your work, you might want to try adjusting color balance to also located in the magic wand. Color balance is a way to see how color differences can change things up and color balance . You also have the option of changing just the highlights. Mid tones or shadows. There are some great custom brushes out there, some of them you might have to purchase, and seven of them are given out for free for the feathers here I used one of Matthew Bod ones. Wonderful procreate, fresh packs. Here is this gum road page. He's generally given these brushes away for free but asked for a donation if you're able. Here's an example of the stroke used to create this feather effect. There's also a huge number of precious that are available from pro creates form, or that you confined just by searching for procreate brush on the Web in the next update of pro grade. It's also going to be possible to import Photoshopped brushes, so that's pretty great. If you've been collecting Photoshopped rushes over the years, that's it for now. You're on the home stretch 6. Final Touches - Lighting, Textures, and Storytelling: here we are the last lesson for this class. My dragon pieces set during a sunny day. Because we have multiple characters and objects in the scene, there will be a balance between light and shadow. The two main aspects of light that you have to side on for your picture are where you'll place your lights and what colors you'll choose. In my dragon piece. The decisions are straightforward. I put the sunlight to the left so it hits the back of the dragon writer, and the shadows are cast to the right here to sunlight close. That added, in my piece, one of the dragon's head and one for the scene. Overall, both uses soft light blend mode with a soft airbrush on the grass below. I used a layer with a screen blend mode to both brighten it and complex. If I the colors, take a look at what happens when I switch the light on the dragon from soft light to screen screen is too intense. You can't see the dragons features anymore. A soft light is in the contrast category because of that flight, but it also adds darkness to the parts that were dark in your base layer. I also added a little soft light later to the writers hair, and it has nice effect because her hair color comes through for the armor. I used a little hard light because it had a more intense effect on the brights and darks. Here's another illustration that I've done for my little 20,000 leagues under the sea Siri's. These dramatic beams of light were achieved with the overlay blend mode. This blend mode adds light while also bringing objects and details. Interview such as my great Horned owl and the Tentacles. A simple way of understanding what the's blending modes do is to create a layer that has both white and black on it. When you switch to multiply, only the black comes through When you switch the screen on Lee, the white comes through when you switched to overlay. White makes it brighter, and black makes it darker. Switching gears. I'd like to mention something briefly about texture because some of you might like to use that if you illustrating complex things like dragons. I didn't really use photo textures in this way for my dragon piece, but just as an example, I'm going to use this photograph of a snake skin. I got it from textures dot com, which is many free options for textures. If you work with imported textures, it's best to select a texture where the light doesn't conflict with lighting that you have in your image. You may also want to de saturate your textures so that the color in your piece won't conflict with the color in your texture. The steps for adding a texture begin with importing the image to a new layer in your document. Then use the Warped Tour to bend the image in a three dimensional way of your character. Put the texture lay on a clipping mask if you can, so you don't have to worry about the texture going over. In this example. I'm really just show you a simple texture overlay. But for instance, with complex three D forms, you may have to use a variety of texture images and then spend time carefully patching up the seems so that they make a cohesive whole. You can also just be a pastie slider to optimize your effect. Finally, before we come to the end of this class, I'd like to suggest that you consider whether other storytelling details might really enhance your picture. For instance, I added a sword that was peacefully laid down in the grass, indicating that she was able to leave the battlefield. I also added some buildings in the background to help give a sense of a larger world the peace. When you make an illustration that tells a story, think carefully about relationships, relationships between multiple characters or character in your surroundings. Every character in the scene should have a role. Each one should have a different personality and different responses and motivations for the scene. The colors, poses and shapes, and your illustrations should also reflect your stories in their overall moods. I love to see what stories you've created, and I hope this takes you to a new level in digital storytelling.