From a Realistic Sketch to a Stylized Illustration in Procreate | Di Ujdi | Skillshare

From a Realistic Sketch to a Stylized Illustration in Procreate

Di Ujdi, Illustrator & Art Explorer

From a Realistic Sketch to a Stylized Illustration in Procreate

Di Ujdi, Illustrator & Art Explorer

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7 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Welcome

    • 2. Project

    • 3. Sketch What You See

    • 4. Reimagine The Reality

    • 5. Color Testing

    • 6. Final Illustration

    • 7. Thank You

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About This Class

Reimagining reality is the most interesting part when it comes to illustration, but sometimes when you’re faced with a deadline or a lack of ideas, the best way to begin is to actually start with what you see, and then reshape it, change it, stylize it to fit with the project concept you’re working on.

In this class, I’m going to show you how I use a realistic sketch from a reference photo as a base for making a stylized illustration in Procreate. Without having to rely only on imagination or endless scrolling on Pinterest for ideas, we’re going back to basics, and we’re starting from what we see so that we can convert it to what we actually need for our project.

This class is for intermediate and advanced levels, so before taking it you should already have practical knowledge when it comes to basic concepts of drawing, and you should also be familiar with digital drawing in Procreate.

By the end of this class, you’ll have a finished story illustration and a new illustration technique that will help you out when working on your future projects.

So, if you’re ready, let’s get started!

Meet Your Teacher

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Di Ujdi

Illustrator & Art Explorer

Top Teacher

Hey! I'm Nina, even though most people know me by my artistic name Di Ujdi. I'm an illustrator and surface pattern designer.

With a big love for all things floral and natural, I enjoy depicting the world in a colorful, fun, and naive way. As an artist, I’m known for stylized illustrations and bold floral patterns. Besides spending time reimagining the world and finding new color palettes, I’m also proud to be a Skillshare top teacher and share my knowledge and passion with others. 

I was instantly drawn to Skillshare and its wonderful community. My biggest wish is to get to know more of you, share what I learned, and continue learning.

I hope I can encourage you and help you out on your creative jo... See full profile

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1. Welcome: What I love about illustration is that I can reimagine reality. But sometimes when I'm faced with a deadline or lack of ideas, the best way to begin is to start from what I actually see and then reshape it, change it, and stylize it to fit with the project concept I'm working on. By the way, I'm Nina, even though everyone knows me as [inaudible]. I'm an illustrator and pattern designer, and I really enjoy depicting the world in a colorful, fun and naive way. In this class, I'm going to show you how I use a realistic sketch from a reference photo as a base for making a stylized illustration in procreate. Without having to rely only on imagination or endless scrolling on interest for ideas, we're going back to basics and we're starting from what we see so that we can convert it to what we actually need for our project. This class is for intermediate and advanced level, before taking it, you should already have practical knowledge when it comes to basic concepts on drawing. You should also be familiar with digital drawing in procreate. By the end of this class, you'll have a finished story illustration and a new illustration technique that will help you out when working on your future projects. If you're ready, let's get started. 2. Project: For this class project, you'll create an illustration based on a story you like. The best way to start is to think about a children's book or short story you loved as a kid. Or maybe you're currently reading a novel that inspires you. It can be really anything you like, whether it's a popular story or a not so well known one. If you are left with no ideas, feel free to borrow mine and illustrate a story I'll be showing you throughout the class. Once you know what you'll be illustrating, it's time to find a reference image that you're going to sketch. It can be related to architecture, it can be a landscape with a village, street corner, inside of a house, basically, anything related to your specific project. You can use your own photographs or search for photos that have a free, non-exclusive, worldwide copyright license on websites like Unsplash. All in all, the best way to put your new skills to the test is to make something. So once you've finished, click on the Create Project button and share your illustration. I cannot wait to see what you'll make. 3. Sketch What You See: The story I'll be illustrating is not so widely known folk tale from my country, Serbia. It's called A Castle Neither in the Sky Nor on the Earth. It's about a dragon who lives in a castle that is somewhere in between the sky and earth. One day he steals a princess and her three brothers need to go and save her. It's a very usual plot twist, but the whole scenery and the idea about this dragon castle is super inspiring. In this case, my base point will be a castle, of course. On the Unsplash website, I searched for Switzerland castle because I know that they have a wonderful medieval architecture that will really go well with what I want to create. I decided to go with this one. It's less grandiose, and more, compact, and cute. It will work very well for my illustration. A great thing when it comes to using a reference photo as a base for your illustration is that you're not starting only from imagination. You're not drawing the same old, same old castle you would usually do, and also you're not tempted to instantly go to Pinterest and then unconsciously make something similar. Besides this being a good starting point, sometimes you actually need to stay closer to reality because what you're illustrating takes place in Sweden, for example. So you want to get the essence of that particular architecture or landscape. All in all, once I found my reference photo, I'll create a very quick, realistic sketch. You might be tempted to just start illustrating without doing this step. But whether you're drawing on top of the reference photo or making a traditional sketch, taking the time to actually do this is very helpful. Photos are always full of details, and by drawing this sketch base, you're actually paying attention to details you want to draw or leave out. You're paying attention to construction and drawing fundamentals, and you're getting familiar with what you'll be changing later when you start illustrating. 4. Reimagine The Reality: The sketch is ready and it's time to start re-imagining it. At this stage, let your imagination go wild and try not to look at it as it is, just a lovely building, but as a possibility to become something different, something you want to see. You already know the rules of realistic drawing, but in your artistic world, those rules work a bit differently. That's something that stands out. So let's get in our creative mindsets and make some changes. Now let me tell you what I have in mind for this story illustration. When it comes to the composition, the castle will be central and it will be placed on a cloud, and later I will add a sleeping dragon around it. This cannot go without a dragon. After all, the castle belongs to him. But first of all, let's change the castle to fit better with what I have in mind for this illustration. In layers, you can see that I have everything separated into different layers because it will help me now when I start changing things. So for example, this bottom part with hills is not necessary, so we'll just delete it. Now, let's see what we can change with this castle. First thing I'm going to do is delete these bars here because I want to make it compact and centered. So I'm just going to raise these parts. Let's turn off for the trees for now and work on the bottom part. I'm just going to make one straight line through the bottom. Oops, here it is. Now I can position everything on it, and I will just also drag this building down. You can see that a tower is going to be a bit behind, so I'm leaving a little gap here. In that way also, I'm not having everything flat at the bottom. Another thing I'm noticing is this line here. I think it might be better if I just move it, so it's not completely in the same line as this house. This looks good. Now let's see what's happening up here. I have these chimneys and these additional roofs, and I'm just going to erase them. The next thing I want to do is to make this tower a bit bigger, because later I will add a dragon. and since the dragon is going to sleep around the castle and a tail will go down, making this tower a bit bigger is going to help me with composition because making the tower a bit taller is going to balance the tail later. I will just select it and drag it up. Last but not the least, let's make the flagpole and the flag a bit bigger. You will see how the ideas will come naturally just by looking at the realistic sketch you made. Depending on your project assignment, you can really take any approach here. You can stay closer to reality, make smaller or bigger changes, or go totally abstract. The only important thing is to use your illustration style rules and apply them consistently while changing the sketch. Now, let's bring back the trees. When it comes to these trees, what I'm going to do is basically create a sort behind the castle that is going to look as a cloud. I'm keeping these two on the right and the rest, I can just delete. Also if you remember, I said that I want this to be central. A good way to balance this is to make this cloud behind the castle a bit symmetrical. What I'm going to do is actually use these trees. I'm going to duplicate them, flip them horizontally and just place them on this side. You can see now I have two starting points that are the same, but the rest I can just fill in. With this being done, let's select everything and position it correctly with the guides. This part is finished, and now it's time to add the dragon. So the whole castle will be on a cloud and around it, I will add the dragon. Let's make that the cloud, and the dragons tail can go somewhere here, and then around. You can also see what I'm doing here. I'm actually matching the end of his tail, the lower part of his tail, with this gap here. I'm going to do the same thing here when I add the feet. I'm making him a bit cuter and less scary. He's just sleeping at his residence and not knowing about a trouble he'll be in soon when the younger brother comes to rescue his sister princess. Okay guys, this looks like a good base, and now I'll just refine everything once again in another sketch on top of this. 5. Color Testing: The final sketch is finished and it's time to add the colors. I really like to spend my time here testing out the colors because your sketch can look great as it is, but colors are a whole new world that will change how this artwork looks and feels. I'll just very roughly fill these parts with some heavy brush in different layers. This is just to mark things up and it shouldn't be time-consuming. There are two things I really like about color testing in my workflow. The first is that I can stay in this phase and just play with colors without worrying about how the final perfect illustration looks. The second useful thing is that I can work out the layer arrangement. Because if you're disorganized person like me, when you're working fast on finishing your illustration on deadline, your focus is shifting, and instead of paying attention to details, you're basically creating a labyrinth of trials and errors with a bunch of layers that are all over the place. Everything is filled and all the layers are arranged. I really like how this limited color palette is working together. You can see that I use the same pink color from the castle on the dragon, and I'm keeping the cloud in the same color as the background as well as dragon teeth. Once I have everything arranged and I have these test colors, it's time to refine them. What I'd really like to do is to select a color layer. Let's select this one and go to adjustments, hue, saturation, brightness and layer. In this way, I can change and refine these test colors with the live preview. It's really helpful to see the whole illustration while doing this. I will just spend some time playing with these settings for each layer until all the colors look good together. 6. Final Illustration: The colors are ready. I also save them in this new color palette. To keep this visible while I'm working on a final illustration, I will just go to layers and merge all color layers together. Now what I want to do is go to Actions and turn on Reference. You can see this little pop-up window. Now I need to switch to image and just drag and drop this layer here. This is very helpful because it's not on the canvas, so it's not interfering with your workflow. It's in this pop-up window, and you can also turn it off, and then you can turn it back on and the image will still be there. It's time to refine this illustration. As you can see, I'm working in layers and separating everything by color or position. Since I already spent time working out a color arrangement, I know that I can start by making a perfect pink base for the whole castle. Then I can add the rest of the color walls as clipping masks. In that way, I don't have to worry about carefully drawing, for example, the bottom line, because everything will stay inside this main base. We're done. As you can see, I added just a bit of texture on the dragon as a clipping mask using the same green but with a multiply blending mode. While the rest of the illustration is made out of flat colors. Also these textured lines on the roofs are such a lovely detail. All in all. I'm very happy with how everything turned out. It's incredible to think that this was once a Switzerland castle. But now after a bit of re-imagining and reshaping, it's got a completely new life and story as a magical dragon castle. By the way, I cannot wait to see what you will create. Also I would love to hear about a story you decided to illustrate. Make sure to write about it when posting your project. 7. Thank You: Thanks so much for spending time with me and watching this class. I hope you enjoy it and started making plans for your story illustration. I'm excited to see what you'll create. Once you finish, share your project. By the way, make sure to rate and review this class. I would love to hear what you think. As always, if you have any questions or something I was showing wasn't clear, feel free to ask anything in the discussion section of this class and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. To get notified about my next classes, follow me here on Skillshare. You can also keep in touch with me on Instagram @DIUJDI. I'm sending you lots of love and good vibes, and I'll see you in the next one.