Character Illustration: From Concept to Final Artwork | Matt Kaufenberg | Skillshare

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Character Illustration: From Concept to Final Artwork

teacher avatar Matt Kaufenberg, Freelance Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.

      Welcome to the Class


    • 2.

      Sketching Your Character


    • 3.

      Working in Illustrator


    • 4.

      Rendering in Photoshop, Part 1


    • 5.

      Rendering in Photoshop, Part 2


    • 6.

      Color Adjustments and Texture


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About This Class

This class will teach you how to illustrate using shapes and color to define form, rather than inked outlines.

In this class I'll be taking you through my process of illustrating a character, starting with the concept, then moving into Illustrator to create the shapes, and finally, rendering it in Photoshop. I'll also talk briefly about texture and color adjustments.

What You'll Learn

  • Finding Inspiration. We'll discuss sources of inspiration and identify a project we're passionate about.
  • Character Concepts. We'll sketch out the initial idea of your character.
  • Building the Foundation in Illustrator.  The shape tool will help you build a foundation for your character.
  • Rendering in Photoshop. You'll use masks in Photoshop to render a detailed version of your character. 
  • Color Adjustment and Texture. You'll use color adjustment and texture tools to fine tune your project.

What You'll Make

This class is perfect for the beginning artist, or even a professional one who's looking to learn a new style. Once the class is done, you'll have a fully illustrated pirate, (or other fun character of your choosing), to add to your portfolio.


Class Outline

  • Welcome to the Class. It’s time to get fired up! Drawing characters should be fun, and Matt has plenty of tips to help you get excited while also finding inspiration for your character design. From gardening to trips to thrift shops, inspiration is everywhere, and Matt has his Pinterest boards to prove it. Gather your own inspirational images together and share them with the rest of the class to show everyone what inspires your creation!
  • Sketching Your Character. Now that you’re suitably amped up, you’ll start by coming up with a few rough ideas as you sketch out your concept design. Matt gives you his tips for using Photoshop layers and simple shapes to quickly create concept art for your character. He’ll also share his thought process on what to look for when designing and how to make your characters stand out in a crowd.
  • Working in Illustrator. Once you’ve got a character you like, it’s time to take them into Illustrator and start building your character out of shapes. Matt shows you his workflow as well as numerous techniques for structuring your file to make working in Photoshop faster. Using layer masks, you’ll learn how to work efficiently and even how to change individual colors quickly and easily.
  • Rendering in Photoshop, Part 1. From there, you’ll export your digital art using Matt’s settings so that you can import it directly into Photoshop and begin adding detail. He’ll show you his methods for saving time using layer masks, as well as give you a few warnings about what to avoid when working in Photoshop layers.
  • Rendering in Photoshop, Part 2. Now that your character is starting to come together, it’s time to add shading and details. Using the free resources that Matt provides, you will add highlights and reflections that give your creation depth and personality. He’ll show you how to experiment with blending modes to quickly test new color combinations as well as some tips on choosing colors.
  • Color Adjustments and Texture. To make your final image POP, you’ll add some texture and learn to adjust individual colors to achieve your desired result. You will also learn several techniques for adding textures to your image as well as simple tips for creating light and shadow. A few more color tests and a blending mode or two will have your character ready to leap out of the screen!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Matt Kaufenberg

Freelance Illustrator


Matt Kaufenberg is a freelance illustrator living in Minnesota.

For over 10 years he's had the pleasure of working with companies such as Facebook, Netflix, Hasbro, Target, and more. He is influenced by artists from the 60's and 70's, especially children's book illustrators.

In his free time, he enjoys sculpting, making toys and spending time with his wife and their five kids.

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1. Welcome to the Class: Welcome to Character Illustration from Concept to Final Artwork. I'm Matt Kaufenberg, I'm a freelance illustrator, I work out of my home from Minnesota. I'm really excited to be able to share my process with you. Hopefully, you don't find it too boring, my voice too annoying, which I do. But that's all right, I think we're going to have fun. This is my first online class, so please bear with me and if you notice any errors or that I'm missing something that I mentioned, I would have. Please just let me know and I'll get it up there right away. This video's going to be short, I just want to talk a little bit about inspiration, and what inspires me and ways that you can find inspiration. Starting off, inspiration for me personally is so important at the start of a project, whether it's client-based or it's personal, I need to get fired up so that I can be excited while I'm drawing. If I'm not having fun drawing, it's really going to show in the end product. It's super important that first step to be inspiration for me. One example, is the Avengers' Day Off and this set was actually created after I found an old card game at a thrift store, and I had like 30 cards or so, and each card had a different character, which normally you get like five characters to a card and then they repeat it. But this one had different characters for every single card, and just looking at them, I was super inspired by the art, by the sense of fun that the illustrations portrayed. It inspired me to do a piece similar to those style with illustrations, and I think I had just gotten back from Avengers. I was ready to draw some Avengers and I thought this was the perfect opportunity, mix those two together and I started off with Thor, and it turned out a lot better than I hoped it would, I just continued on. I only have three done, I'd actually like to go back and do more. Agent Coulson is probably my favorite one, just because that one really captured what was in my head, which isn't always the case, can't always get that out on paper. But you can see how finding the cards, if I hadn't come across that card set, this set would never have been. It's important to be on the lookout for inspiration and to follow through with that inspiration when you find it and do something with it. There's so many places you can find inspiration, whether it's reading books, being outside, going for a walk, going to a movie, listening to music, music is a really great one, gardening. I mentioned that because my wife loves to garden and I enjoy helping her out when I can, and that was what inspired the Thor piece. By drawing them up, I wanted something a little humorous, I knew I wanted to use a rain cloud. Then it just hit me, with the gardening thing that I should put that in there, maybe Thor enjoys that as much as my wife. That's one way I utilize the inspiration, there's so many other ways, you can see the pop culture, growing up in the 80s inspired me, Ninja Turtles, Yogi Bear, GI Joe. All of those are constantly inspiring me. I enjoy doing personal pieces that aren't based on pop culture, but I also love drawing Ninja Turtles. I never get tired of drawing Ninja Turtles, so you'll probably see some more of those. Hopefully, this lesson will inspire you, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone does. The reason I chose Pinterest to have you guys post your inspiration on, it's just because it's really easy to use, the design is clean, nice, it's organized, easy to share. It's one of my favorite places online to look for inspiration. It's like a black hole, you'll find one piece that you love and you'll find out where it was pin from and that person has a whole bunch of pieces that you love and you just keep going, you get sucked into Pinterest so you have to be careful so you don't waste too much time there. But go ahead and if you're not already a member of Pinterests, sign up, create your own inspiration board. It can be just one single board of inspiration, or it could be organized, the way I have all these folders. One thing to remember is it doesn't just have to be art. I have retro action figures here that definitely provide inspiration for me, cars. Obviously, a lot of mine is art, interior design and furniture. There's a lot of different things that can inspire you, not just art. Go ahead, create some of those boards, share with the class, and I'm super excited to see what you guys post, I'll go through all of your inspiration boards. 2. Sketching Your Character: In this unit, I'm going to be taking you through character sketches: coming up with the concepts, sketching them out, refining them. I'm not going to touch too much on this just because you could really get in depth with character design. It's really a class in itself, and I want to focus more on rendering in Photoshop. So that said, I'm going to be using Photoshop with Wacom Cintiq to do my sketching. I do a lot of my sketching digitally. Pencil and paper work, a mouse, a tablet, whatever works best for you, that's totally fine. So I'm going to go ahead and open up. Actually cancel. I'm going to create a new file, and I'm going to just rotate this. I usually don't sketch super high res. I zoom in, just because the line quality is better when you zoom in, I have more control over it. I'm going to use this brush right here which I'll include in the resources. I'm going to switch my brush size. Just test it out. Well, that's pretty good. I'm going to create a new layer. So I'm just going to start sketching quick sketches, shapes. I just block them out loosely. I like to make sure the head is separated when I'm drawing in this style just because I want it to give a layered feel. Again, these are very loose, I'm just trying to find a shape that I like. I'll go ahead and erase some of this. Let me give him a bit shorter legs. I like to have these detached looking arms. This is a style I like to use. I don't always take it this far with my first sketch. A lot of times, I'll just be drawing up these shapes, and I'll keep undoing. This one I like the pose and I can see a guy here. Sometimes I draw my eyes like this, sometimes I'll draw him open. Maybe this guy has a funny grin. He looks like he has handkerchief. He wears his bandanna on his neck. Maybe he's got those high pants on. Some reason legs are always the hardest for me. Trying to get this weight to sit properly on the legs. It's very important that the legs support the weight of the body, otherwise it'll just look off, and I know I struggle with that all the time. So I'm not completely happy with how this looks. I think he'll look better with lanky legs. Maybe his legs go right in front of his body. Something a bit more like that. If I like this guy where he's going, what I'll do is, drop the opacity of this layer to about there, and then even zoom in maybe further, and start trying out some other shapes for him. Maybe he's got a bigger belly. Something like that. His pants are red and high. I'll just start fleshing out some more details on him using some of the pieces from the sketch below, and creating new shapes that I think look good. He's gotten a little scruffier. Maybe needs a belt to hold up his pants. I just experiment, see what looks good. Most of the time it looks awful, so I need to change it. Well, just keep going. Just keep at it. Don't get stuck on one pose, or one character, or even detail, like I use striped shirts a lot, striped pants for pirates. But there are a lot more options out there, and that's really going to make your drawing unique, adding some of those details that aren't always used, like an eye patch. Now here, I decided to use a bandage on his face, instead of an eye patch. Doesn't quite read yet as pirate. So there's other things I could do, maybe give him a sword. A lot of times, I won't even touch a pen to the paper, I'm just doing phantom strokes just to see in my head what I think might look good. I think this guy might look better with his hands down here. Maybe something like that. This guy is a dopey pirate. Let me give him a patch. Now, you don't always have to give him a hook hand, it's done to death. I did it on my final piece for this, which I didn't actually record, when I was sketching that piece, but that's all right. This will at least give you an idea of how I go about sketching out my concepts, and that just looks funny. I'll come back to that if I like it. You create a new layer, start doing some more shapes. Maybe this guy has a bit thicker legs, I usually do skinnier legs, but I think it fits for this guy, and I think actually some bare feet would work well for this guy. Now, this belt shape gets annoying. It's too long, so maybe instead of that, we'll give him a ripped shirt, along with his ripped pants, and give him a strap across his chest here. Maybe he has a ripped collar as well. Then we can just maybe get a hat on. So just have fun with it. Again, if you're not having fun, it's really not worth drawing. I'd step away, maybe do something else until you are having fun with it. This guy could have bigger arms, which would be fun. I have a lot of trouble sticking with one style of hands. This is the one I use the most, but it's really whatever I'm in the mood for. I don't think I have necessarily one style for hands. Maybe this guy doesn't use weapons. He looks a little bit too friendly. He's just a happy pirate, happy, happy pirate. Then we do a little ponytail. If you feel the need, you can draw something next to him, a proper something, maybe that will inspire another idea. I'm not actually going to take this very far, but I'm just seeing where it goes. I like to do wonky perspectives, so we've got a perspective going here like that, within the bottom. It's just flat. It doesn't always work out, but I have fun with it. I've got an eraser on the end of my stylus, so that's how I can erase so fast. You could also use the shortcut keys on your keyboard. These guys actually go quite well together, maybe I'll come back to them sometime. I'm going to sketch a little bit more, so maybe shaped like that instead. With this guy, there's a big mouth, big chin, maybe a giant hat. Sometimes this can be fun. But more often than not, I really just enjoy drawing cute characters like the Thor or the Ninja Turtles or the Sasquatch Troop piece. But I got to have a villain character too. He's going to have a giant belt buckle. I'm going to break up this belt with some pant loops. They don't always work, but they will work for this. Bring his vest over his belt. Again, instead of giving these guys the boots, we normally give him some bare feet. If you're really enjoying the process, just having fun, people are going to actually have fun looking at it as well. If you think a part is boring or it's not working, you're just going to leave it. Don't change it up until each part of the drawing is something that you like. If there's a piece of the drawing that you don't like, scrap it and try again. This composition is still interesting. I'm going to do the same thing I did before. We reduce the opacity. Kind of been drawing ears like this. It's one of the few things that I draw consistent. At this stage, don't worry about your lines being perfect. Give him a Mario mustache. He looks too much like Mario. I think this guy actually looks pretty good without any major facial hair. You can see this is a little bit different of a style I sometimes do. But I really like how his arm, and this hand are hanging there. Not totally pirate-like. Looks more like the guy from Princess Bride. Again, just sketch it in some details. I just dropped my pen, which happens a lot. Hopefully my voice isn't too scratchy, came down with a cold. So I apologize. He needs thicker legs to support the bigger body. I usually just try a whole bunch of different hands. Just filling in certain spots, when we feel like it. Maybe instead of a sword, this guy's got a bag instead. Something like that. So this could be little cool flintlock pistols. If I was going to take this any further, I'll look one up for reference to get some of that detailing. I know a little bit what they look like but it would help to look at a picture. I think that's a lot more fun than just a generic sword. I could even add something else to that. But I think that's good. I think it gives you an idea of my sketching process. Just have fun with it. Whether you're using pencil and paper, which you can scan in, or if you're using Photoshop, mouse, tablet, whatever, upload your photos and let the other students see them. I'm excited to see what you guys do. 3. Working in Illustrator: Now that we have a sketch, we're going to take this into Illustrator and start creating some shapes. So I'm going to take the selection tool in Photoshop. I'm going to make sure, I'm selecting the right layer, and hit "Ctrl C" to copy it. Otherwise you can go up to Edit, Copy. Then I'm going to open up Illustrator. I'm going to create a new file, File, New. I'm going to name this pirate shapes. For profile, I'm going to use print. I'm going to use portrait orientation, although if you need to, you can use landscape. Under advanced, I'm going to change it to RGB. This is for when we export to Photoshop later on, click ''Okay''. Now you can either hit "Ctrl V" or edit, paste. I'm going to go ahead and resize this. I'm holding down "Shift" and "Alt" to constrain it, while enlarging it from the center. So I'm going to do about that. I'm also going to double-click on the layer. I'm going to dim image and I'm going to put in 20 percent, click ''Okay''. I'm also going to name this sketch, and then I'm going to lock it so that we don't modify it. Then we're going to go up to the Pen tool or P. I'm going to add a black stroke and get rid of the white fill, and then we're going to create a new layer. We're going to name this one head. So before we continue, we should go ahead and save the file. So I'm going to go up to File, Save. I'm going to save it as pirate shapes. I'm also going to leave that as is. So now I'm going to take the pen tool and I'm just going to start drawing by tracing the lines we created in the sketch. If you can't get this quite right, just undo and try again. Don't worry about getting it perfect. The Pen tool is frustrating to work with, at times, but you'll get used to it. You need to get a feel for where to click to get this point to come around, and just drag. I'm just going to adjust this slightly using the Direct Selection tool, that's this one right here. They all look pretty good. I'm just going to adjust them slightly. So that's good. I'll continue drawing. Start with this bandana. Now, since we're going to be creating layer masks in Photoshop, I'm going to leave a little extra room right here. You can create a layer mask in Illustrator, but I find it's just easier to create them in Photoshop. I like to work as much as I can in Photoshop. So I really just create the basic shapes in Illustrator. Now I'm going to just redraw that here, a little bit. Don't be afraid to delete your shape and try it again. Sometimes you'll find one that you like even better than what's on the sketch. So then for his beard, I'm going to follow this inside shape, and with this long handle, like this, you're going to want to click on this point right here. Otherwise, if I click now, I've got this big loop. So I'm going to undo that and I'm going to click on this, and then you'll be able to start right from that point, without actually getting that with loop. So I'm just going to go around the beard here. This will give me a layer mask in Photoshop as well. So I'm not worried about the shape of this. I'll maybe bring out this a little bit. Continue on. This is nose, adjust it as needed. Why didn't it adjust a little bit. Now I'm not sure, if I'm going to keep this scale in art. So I'm not going to draw that in Illustrator. If I decide to draw it, I'll do it in Photoshop. I'm also not going to create the inside of the nostrils here. I'm just going to create the shape and I'll add that nose in Photoshop. I prefer to do most of the work in Photoshop, just because it's a little bit more organic. Creating the shapes is definitely the most boring part, I enjoy it the least. Rendering in Photoshop is what I find fun. Well, some people might enjoy this better. But for me, I try to get this done as soon as possible, so don't worry about small things, like the line in the ear and the string on the eye patch, I'll add those later. So now that I've had sketches done, we're going to go down here and create a new layer. Let's actually click on "Sketch Layer". This way our new layer will be created below head. I'm going to name this body. I'm going to lock the head layer, just so you don't accidentally select it. So just go ahead and keep creating your shapes, and then we'll start filling them with color once they're done. Now that we have our shapes all drawn up, we're going to go and fill them with color. I'm going to hide the body layer. I'm going to unlock the head layer, and then select all the sublayers. I'm going to go over and click on this little circle. You can see they're all selected now. I'm going to go swap this stroke with a Fill. Then I'm going to click on the "Fill" just to make sure that's active. Now when we deselect this, it's all filled in. We can't see anything. We're going to go to the head layer, and click on this little arrow. There we'll see all our sublayers. I'm just going to go and select each layer by clicking on the circles, and filling them with a solid color from the palette. Now I'm not worried about final colors right now. These are going to change in Photoshop. So just take whatever colors you'd like, and fill them. It can be close, but it doesn't have to be perfect. For this eye patch, I'm going to leave it black. I'm just going to skip that layer. Now we have all our shapes. For the head filled in. I clicked on the little arrow to collapse this layer. I'm going to lock it. Then I'm actually going to hide that layer first. Then I'm going to show the body layer and start in on these shapes. We'll start filling in the shapes for the body. Doing it the same way we did it for the head. We need to unlock the body layer. Then we're going to select all of the sublayers by clicking the circle again. You can see they're all selected. We're going to do the same thing. Swap out the stroke for a Fill. Makes sure the "Fill" is selected. I'm going to deselect them. We can see it's a mess. Then we're going to start doing the same thing, where we just click on the layer, and start filling in with the colors. I'll just do this fast since it's the same as the head layer. Now all these layers are filled with color. We're going to go ahead, and we're going to get these ready to Photoshop as layers. Now we have all of our shapes filled in, and we're going to start preparing this for Photoshop. First, I'm going to Save it. I'm going to show the head layer, and unlock it. Actually going to hide the body layer for now. Now if we were to export this with layers to Photoshop right now, we'd only have three layers. Photoshop doesn't read the sublayers. We need to actually take those individual shapes within the head layer and the body layer, and we need to make them their own layer in Illustrator. We can do that by going over here. I'm going to select the head layer. I'm going to click this button to select all of them. Then I'm going to go down to release to Layer Sequence. Now again, this little arrow right here in the Layers palette, Release to Layers Sequence. I'm going to click on that. You can see they actually changed from path to now layer. Now we can actually hit "Shift", and select all the Layers that are within the head. I'm going to drag them above the head layer. Now you can see that they're all their own layer. Now Photoshop will actually read these as separate layers. Now the head layer no longer has an in it, so it's empty. I'm going to trash it. I'm going to make the body visible, and I'm going to go ahead and select all of the body. Same way we did the head. Release to Layers Sequence. Now we've got them all numbered as layers. I'm going to shift, select all of them, are going to drag it above the body layer. Again now the body layer is empty, so we can trash that. I'm going to unlock the sketch since I want to bring that width. Now we've got the sketch and all of these shapes are on their own layer. What we're going to do is go up to File, Export, and under Save As Type, make sure you choose Photoshop PSD, name the same. I have a file that I was working with, so I'm going to overwrite it. Now this box comes up, and we want RGB, and we want high, for resolution. It should be at 300. We also want to write the layers. We don't want to flat image. Make sure that's checked. You can leave all this default, and click "Okay". Now we've got our Photoshop layered file. 4. Rendering in Photoshop, Part 1: So we have our pirate shapes PSD that we created from Illustrator. First, what we are going to do [inaudible] CMYK, which sometimes it is under the preset, and then just change that to RGB. Click "Okay". So this is where we're going to do our rendering, but now we need to bring in our pirate shapes PSD. So I'm going to double-click, navigate to Pirate Shapes. So here's our file that we created in Illustrator, and if your file works better horizontally, you can definitely rotate the canvas. It really depends on what kind of a character you created. But for my pirate character, eight and a half by 11 works well. Now, we're going to want to grab all this, including the sketch, since we need that to fill in the rest of the details. So I'm just going to click and drag so that we have all the layers selected and drag it over onto this, and that's the perfect size. So I'm going to close this. I'm going to drag the beard layer down near the face, and I'm going to go over this a bit more, but I'm going to right-click and create clipping mask, and that will form the beard to his face. So it's really that easy. It's one of my favorite features of Photoshop and I use it all the time. So we'll come back to that. But now let's grab the sketch which was below all the shapes, and I'm going to move it to the very top. So now, we've got this white sketch covering all of our shapes. I'm going to set the blending mode to multiply, and then I'm going to drop the opacity a lot. I'm going to keep it down just enough so we can see the detail. Maybe like 30 percent, and then I'm going to lock it. So now that the sketch layer is locked, the first thing we're going to do is select the layer right below the sketch layer. Scroll down, hold down shift, and click, just so that all the shape layers are selected. You don't need the background layer selected. We're going to go up here to this button, and this is lock transparent pixels. So we're going to click that and you'll see a little lock here on the side. The reason for this is we'll be able to fill in these shapes a lot easier, rather than using the paint bucket tool or selection tool, or even edit fill. We're going to actually be able to use the shortcut key of Alt-Delete. I believe on a Mac it's Option-Delete, although I can't say for sure. That's really going to help us save a lot of time when we're filling in these shapes with colors. Now that we've done that, what I'm going to do is finish adding a layer mask to any shape that might need it. So starting off with his nose, I'm going to select that just like his nostrils. Now, I'm using auto select, this way I don't have to choose layers like this, I can actually just pick them right on the canvas, and it will switch to them. So if that's not checked, check that, makes it a lot easier. Sometimes you need to turn it off, but for the most part, I keep it on. So let's take these nostrils and now when using a layer mask, whatever you're masking has to be on the layer right above what it's going to mask. So the nose, which is down here, and the nostrils are up there, I'm going to hit "Shift", select both of those and drag them down. With both of them selected, I'm going to right-click and create clipping mask. Now you can see that they no longer overlap, they fit inside the nose. Now I'm going to finish doing that with the bandanna. Now an easy way to add that layer mask is by putting it under another shape that also has that same layer mask. So in this case, the beard, I'm going to put it underneath. Now, I actually want that on top of the beard, so now I can move it, but it keeps the layer mask. So that's a quick way without having to right-click and add layer mask, just drop it below and then you can rearrange it as needed. Now, for the eyes and the eye patch, I could drop these below like this, but I want to show another way to do a mask if you need it. Sometimes, that's not going to work, like in the case of this nose right here, if I drop it down below the bandanna, which I need it to be, it's going to get clipped in that clipping mask. So I'm going to undo that, Control Z. I'm actually going to Control-click on the bandanna. So Control-clicking on the layer, the bandanna layer is actually going to select it. Then, I'm going to click on the nose, you can see the nose is selected. I'm actually going to go to select an inverse. Now, I'm going to go down here to layer mask and I'm going to click that. Basically, it actually subtracts this shape from here without destroying it, we can always get that back or even move it if we'd like. Now, this one isn't quite as precise as clipping mask because you can see that there's a slight line here, so I don't use it that often. But for some things, you need to, and I can always move this up just slightly to fix that. So I'm going to do the same thing for these eyes. Now that I've got that layer mask, I can Control-click on it like I did before, and I won't have to inverse this time because it's using this mask, and I'm going to put that on that one, and then I'm going to click again and put it on the eyes. So now both of those have that mask on them. So that's another way to mask out shapes if you need to. Clipping mask is definitely the best, but when that doesn't quite work, you can use the layer mask. So now for the tongue, that's right above the mouth as well as the tooth. So I'm just going to grab both of those, right-click, clipping mask. For this coin, I want that to actually be partially in the purse. So I'm going to Select it. Control click. Now the thing is, I want this part of the coin to be masked, but I want this still to be out. If I put a mask on it right now, this would also disappear. What we can do is grab this Polygonal Lasso Tool, and I have it up here. Set to add automatically so I don't have to keep holding Alt or Control, and actually Shift. Shift will add and Alt will subtract. I'm going to add to this selection. So this is what we want, and obviously, you won't have exactly the same. But this will give you an idea how to get around this problem. There's probably a bunch of ways to do it. This is just the way that I use. So I'm going to click on the coin, going to add a layer mask. So that's in there now. I'm going to select Layer Mask. Again, I Control clicked on the layer mask that I just created. Now, with this layer selected, I'm going to add another one. There we go, now we don't have that piece sticking out. This one also needs a clipping mask, and I can adjust that if I need to. The belt, we can do a clipping mask. I'm not quite sure if I want it to stay within the body. I'm going to undo that for now. I like having it come out a little ways. I'm going to bring sword above the beard; right now, it's behind. To select all of these layers, you can click on it. If you hold down Shift, when auto-select is checked, we can actually click on whichever layer we want to bring to front. That should be all of them. I'm going to bring that above the beard here. Now what we can do is we can actually go ahead and start modifying the colors a bit to be closer to what the final illustration will be like. I'm going to start picking out colors here; they better match what I have in mind for this piece. So you really can use any colors you like. I've added a lot of custom ones. This is the default color swatch palette from Photoshop, and then I've just added on over the years. I've got some specific ones that I picked down here, just to be prepared. I'm going to go ahead and start filling these in. Since we have the black, transparent pixels on each layer, we're going to be able to just fill them in by using the Alt Delete key. I'm going to start with the face. I'm just going to choose any other shapes that are going to use this color, such as the fingers. Now, you can see the fingers aren't in the right order, so I'll fix that in a second. This has got a little gap in it, which is fine. I can go back and actually change that once I'm rendering. Right now, these fingers are in the wrong order, so I'm just going to start dragging them down. Then I'm just going to double-check to make sure that they're in the right order. We get that. Change this. I like to go with more of a pink nose, especially with these flat shapes; it just helps pop off the face a little bit. I think that will leave that a little brighter for now. Again, we can change these. I'm going to change them even more once I start rendering. But this will give me a better idea of where I want to take the piece. These are slight changes, not much. One thing I want to add that I didn't add the shape for in Illustrator, since I thought it'd be easier to do in Photoshop, the color for his pants. I am going to select that whole body layer, which you can see is that. I'm going to take this Lasso Tool and just click around it. The belt's covering up this area so I don't need to worry about what that looks like. I'm going to create a new layer, and I'm going to select this darker color. I'm going to hit the Alt Delete and fill that. Then I'm going to hit control D, to Deselect. Otherwise, you can go up to Select and Deselect. Obviously, that's not going to work like that, so we've got add the mask. So now right-click and create clipping mask, and there we go. Now, we have his pants. Now we can start to work on some of the rendering. Also, we can modify the colors as needed during that stage. 5. Rendering in Photoshop, Part 2: I'm going take the ellipse tool, I'm going to start rendering his mouth. For the back of his mouth, I'm going to fill it with a dark color. Right there that popped up, that's my radial menu from my synthetic and it has a lot of my shortcuts, so you'll see that pop up from time to time. Now I'm going to fill this with this dark color that I sampled. I'm going to actually fill it using the Alt+Del and I'm drawing directly on the mouth layer. Sometimes I'll use a clipping mask so that I'm not actually ruining the base layer but for something like this, I usually just draw directly on the shape. I'm just going to adjust this. I'm going to create some lines on the inside of his mouth using the burn tool instead of the brush tool. The burn tool is actually still using one of my rough brushes and it just darkens the layer. The ellipse tool's just making that sharp edge. You can see there it's not quite the color I wanted for the burn tool so sometimes I'll switch between it and this time I'll use the brush, and I'll color-pick darker color and I'll just brush that end. Make sure that I'm on the right layer instead of drawing on the layer below it. If you accidentally draw on the wrong layer, just undo it, try it again. It could often get confusing when we're working with lots of layers. So I'm just going to adjust this. Color picker knows to a bit darker color and then just get coming here. Brush this in. I might resize the brush as I go and I can always adjust that more. So now for the skin color, I like to keep it a little bit red in the skin color when I'm using the darker tones on it. I don't like to go too brown. So I'll pull it down a bit. Add just a bit more red to it. Just get a shadow, a way to define that shape as being behind the head. I'm going to start doing the same shadow on the face. So I'm going to pick a shade of color for this tooth and give it a little bit of a reflection on the other side by color picking the brighter yellow. I'm just going to adjust this bandanna. I'm not quite happy with the color. So I hit Ctrl+U which brings up hue saturation and that way you can really just adjust this to see if there's a color you like better. I like that color. Again, Ctrl+U, I believe Command U on a Mac and I'm going to color pick and add that to the other part of the bandanna. As you can see, I've made a few other color changes before with his outfit and sword. I'm just going to see if there's a better color for the shirt also using the hue saturation. Really I just experiment with this to see if something catches my eye. It really didn't. I think the blue works fine right now and that may change. We'll see. Let me add a shadow and I just jump around the piece. Whatever catches my eye, I'll start rendering that piece. Just so I don't get bored. I'll color pick to scale back some of the shadow if I think it's gone on a bit too thick and just add a little bit of depth to that. Get a nice shadow color for the beard and actually let me do a highlight color first. Since I don't want the beard to be too heavy, I'm going to use a highlight for this instead of a shadow. I might add a bit more light to this just so it doesn't feel too 3D. I like to keep my shapes flat. So sometimes rendering like this can make them feel a bit more 3D than I'd like. So I just try to scale that back if it gets to that point. I'm going to color pick the shadow for his skin and add it to his arm here and I just undo if I don't like the first stroke. Sometimes I'll go over a piece numerous times until I get it right and I'm going to go in and start adding this to the rest of this arm just to show a little bit of shadow where the beard is. I really didn't like it so I just undid it, and I'm going to give some depths now to the fingers. I don't always render this way. Like I said, sometimes I use a soft brush so that the gradient is pretty hard to notice. I'm going to just move that thumb down instead of having to redraw underneath it. I think it looks better that way anyway and just find a darker color for the sword. Instead of just dragging straight down and getting a darker yellow, I like my shadows to have a little bit of color to them. So I want a little bit more orange and now I'm going to go a bit darker just so that underneath the fingers and that part of the sword stands out. It's really up to you to use the kind of brush you like. Just experiment with different ones. Sometimes I'll use watercolor brush, sometimes I'll even use just a hard brush for hard shadows, which I'll do little bit of that on this piece later. I'm just adding a slight highlight to the black of the hook hand just to give it a little bit depth and now just to add a little bit of light to the hook. Give it that metallic look without looking too rendered. Like I said, I like to keep my shapes pretty flat. So I'm just going to keep color picking and rendering. Sometimes I use a highlight, sometimes I'll use a shadow, and then sometimes like on the belt here, I'll do both. I'll probably do a hard shadow on the belt which is why I'm not going to render it now. A little bit of shadow to the shirt where the beard is and again, I'll probably add a harder shadow for that as well. Sometimes I let that arm pop up. As you can see, it looks disconnected from the body. But that's kind of the style that I enjoy. Don't always do that. I've selected the beard, the way I've shown before, and now I'm moving that selection using the selection tool, and this is a way that I get some hard shadows here. Then I'm just drawing in on the shirt to get some hard shadows. I'll adjust it. That's maybe a little bit too dark. I don't want to overpower it, but I also want to give it a little bit of a layered feel. I'm going to use this to create a hard shadow on the arm. That gives it a little bit depth, like it's a paper cut out, which I do that style a lot for my pieces just because I enjoy it, and I think it gives it an organic quality. Just style it a little bit. There. I'm going to create a joule type field to this eventually, once I get to the inked lines section. But for now, I'm just going to add the highlights in the reflections. Throw some shadow on the pants. You may not even prefer this way, but you can use the steps in this class to experiment with your own style. I just use a lasso tool to create some hard shapes, go in a little bit darker. You can't go too dark, otherwise you'll lose that bottom edge of the belt, so you have to be careful. I'm going to add those hard lines to the belt buckle. Again using the lasso tool, lining it up with the shadows on the pants. Then do a harder shadow for the vest. I can't say my shadows are always a 100% accurate or consistent. Sometimes, I just do what looks right or looks pleasing to the eye. Now, I can't go too dark here because we're going to lose the vest. I don't think that's too dark, I think that works. I'm going to grab some of this shadow from the sword and add that into the belt. I like to keep the colors consistent. So for most of the pieces, I'm going to use that orange shadow on some of the gold items. I could even put that on his tooth. So maybe I'll go back to that later. I'm just going to add some highlight. The boots are already pretty dark, which is why I am adding a highlight instead of a shadow right now. Some places, a shadow will work well. Now the boot, I need to add a layer mask, the way we did it before with the gold coin in the purse, so that the boot looks like it's coming out of the boot fold. Without layer mask, you can see it chops off the top of the boot there. Now, it looks like it's coming out of it, and I'm going to add this highlight, the top part of the boots here. I'm doing this with a stylus, like I said before. But a mouse works as well. You don't need the fancy equipment. You just have fun with it. I'm just adding a little bit of shadow, I think I'll go a bit darker at the backs of these coins, just so they stand out. I think I'll add a little bit of a highlight to this bandanna. Just slightly, and I don't want it to look beveled. Sometimes you get that problem if you add too much of a light and a dark. So I'm going to make it a bit messy here. Just so it doesn't look beveled. I'm going to switch to this rough, harder brush, and this is what I'm going to dress some of my hard shadows with. So with this rougher brush, it's more like a pencil. I'm going to draw in these hard shadows, and personally these are my favorite parts to add. I think it really starts adding depth to the illustration. You don't always need them, but it's how I illustrate, especially under arms like that. You'll see that a lot on my pieces. That helps it get over some depth to it. It works in unison with the softer shadows that I have going. I'm going to add a hard shadow to this belt to actually give it a bit of thickness, as well as I'm going to add a little shadow by the belt buckle. Just a little bit on that edge also, just so it looks a little thicker. Like I said, I don't add too much 3D or depth in that sense to my drawings. Well, I think it works well. Just testing out to see how some belt folds work, and I'm not quite happy with them. But I like to experiment to see what works. I'm going to give it a harder shape. I'm going to use that to draw in some lines here. It's the same tool I'm using, same brush I'm using for the harder shadows, and I'll use that as my line tool, and you can see I do a lot of undoing, sometimes I try not to, but a lot of times I'll just keep going until I get that perfect line. Sometimes it takes forever, sometimes I get it right on the first try. This brush is a little bit lower res, I think. But it doesn't matter because usually these drawings are shrunk down a lot, so you won't even notice. I draw the lines on his nose here. See I drew within the layer mask. I created a new layer for it, but it was in the layer mask, so I just right clicked. You can release clipping mask, and so that's what I did for his nose. I'd like to draw spots on some of his noses. Now I'll start drawing the inside of the nostrils like I had mentioned in Illustrator. I'm just going to go in do it on this nostril. I like a little bit of roughness to my lines. You can also use a hard brush for these detailed lines, but I just prefer something with a little bit of roughness to it. I'll just add a little bit of a shadow to his tooth, underneath his mouth, underneath that top lip right there. I'm just creating a layer usually above the part that I'm adding the detail to. Now I could be using the sketch for this detail, but I'm just winging it. I have a feel for what I want already since I spent so much time on the sketch. So I really don't feel like I need it right now. If I decide something's missing, I usually go back to it, see if there's anything I forgot to add. I'm trying to add in his earring here. Instead of using a mask, I just erase certain parts of it. I'm going to draw the lines on this bandanna here. I like when the lines come off the shape a little bit. They don't have to fit inside it perfectly. They can be a little messy. It's really up to you and how you prefer to draw. I'm just going to see here. I think I'm going to draw in some spots. I had some on the sketch, but I'm just winging it here, seeing what looks good. Try not to be too uniform with it. Keep it loose. I'm not worried about perfect circles. Just don't get hung up on the details. Unless you need your illustration to be perfect in terms of shapes, don't worry about the perfect circle. I actually like wonky shapes. I think they have a lot more character. Perfectly round shapes can be really boring on an illustration. Sometimes they can work, but a lot of times they just make the illustration stiff. I'm just trying some blending modes here. Definitely experiment with blending modes. I'm just seeing if there's anything that works well that will show through the lines. Granted, I could put it underneath the lines as well. I'm actually going to select the lines. I had anti-alias unchecked. So I'm going to check that again, re-select those lines with the Wand Tool, and delete pieces of the polka dots. The reason I do that is because with that piece I forgot and I drew directly on the bandanna, which happens sometimes. That's not a big deal. Now I'm going to click on his beard and make a new layer. I'm going to draw some loose hairs in here. I'm going to try it dark. Sometimes I go light, sometimes I go dark. I really just experiment and see what looks best. Now this is where it helps to have a stylus. It's hard to get thick and thin lines like this with your mouse. It is possible, but a stylus definitely makes this easier. If you're really interested in getting into professional illustration, I would suggest getting a tablet first and trying it out before moving to a bigger thing like a syntec. I had a tablet when I first started out and really enjoyed it. I trying to do some hair sticking out, and that was inside the clipping mask, which is why you couldn't see it go past that shape. I'm going to keep trying the string for his eye patch. I was thinking of having it going under the hair. But I think I'll actually leave it on the outside. I had to switch layers. Really I could have done it on layer on top of everything. I'll add some detail to this money bag. I'm drawing a string right here. One thing I want to mention was I like to add a little bit of humor to my illustrations, so usually the final sketch that I'll use is something that made me laugh a little bit. The idea that this guy got his hook caught on his money bag. He's all happy to have all this gold, and yet now he's ripped it and his gold's just falling out. I thought it was fun. It was a fun idea. It's not hilarious, but just a little bit of humor, I like that. I enjoy adding that. If it made someone smile, it did what I wanted it to. Shade a little bit of a shadow now inside the bag. Make sure I'm on the right layer. So there I created a new layer. I just had to move it around, I had it on the wrong layer. I need it to be a clipping mask for the bag. So that stayed within that shape. I'm just going to play around a little bit and see what works best. The nice thing about this being on its separate layer and having a clipping mask, is I can erase it as well without ruining the original shape. Just going back and forth here, trying to see what looks right and a little bit darker. I'm also going to click the transparent pixels just so I can add some darkness to the inside of this bag. Add some. There's some lines coming from it and I undo a lot. Just kind of experiment. I tried to erase that, but if you erase with that locked transparent pixels on, it's actually going to take the background color and that's going to be there when you erase it. So you got to make sure when you're erasing one of these shapes too, take off the lock transparent pixels, otherwise you'll get what just happened in there when I tried to erase it. I think I'm going to try to add a bit more of a textured shadow to the inside of this bag. I think that looks a bit better. Like that. Just add a little bit of darkness to where this is, maybe underneath the coin there. I'll add a harder shadow there as well. Now, if I go too dark like that, I'm not going to be able to see that part of the rip, so I'm going to add a harder shadow under here. Maybe the shape of a coin a little bit. I'm just adding in these tiny shadows, little depth to this rip. I think that looks good. Now, I'm going to go and paint in just a little bit detail on these coins. Go ahead and do that same thing with the rest of these. Again, you can see I angle my lines. It would be really boring if all these lines were straight down. So I like to vary my lines, tilt them a bit. It really adds a lot of character, those small details like that. Going back to the wonky circle, instead of a perfect circle, it's those little things that really make the illustration in the end. I'm just looking to see which one of these is on top. Just a detail on the top of these coins. That one, that coin is above it, so I actually have to create a layer above that and bring that in, and just slightly erase these tips. I'm going to add a little bit more shadow to that coin, since it's pop and out of that hole in his bag. We'll add more shadow. I'm going to draw some stripes on his shirt. I don't know if I want these to really pop out too much, so they'll probably be subtle lines. I'm going to get a lighter fill. Now, you could choose a darker. I decided to do light. I create a clipping mask so they stay within the shirt. Again, I'm going to play with the blending modes. I experiment a lot with blending modes. You can really discover some fun things when using them. So don't be afraid to just cycle through them and see what each one does. I'm just creating a layer mask above the sleeve here so that I can also add some stripes. I'll use the same color and then I'll set the blending mode to the same one that's on his shirt for consistency. Looks pretty good. I'm not quite happy with these lines. They actually look like they're going behind the sword. They're bugging me when I created them, so I'm just going to try a little bit different. Maybe you bring that up above the solid layer so that sits on top like that. That looks a lot better. I'm also going to just fix this firm, not too much, I could add a mask. But sometimes I just go ahead and erase some of it. Maybe add. I'm going to add some stripes here as well to his pants. I'm first going to just try. I think I'll just try some flat stripes. I'm giving him some a bit of an angle to each one and seeing how this works. I'm hitting "Delete" with this tool when I want to go back when I haven't got a line that I like. Now, to get the curved line, I'm going to use the pen tool in Photoshop, which is similar to the one in Illustrator. That's slightly different. It's actually a little harder to use in Photoshop, which is why I use Illustrator for my shapes. But it works in this case. Then I can just lower that opacity. Check what the other one is, 34. I'm just going to change that to exactly the same. I'm just going to match. I'll maybe fix the stripe over here just so that gets a bit closer. Actually, I'll move it over a little bit and add an extra stripe in there. That looks pretty good. I think for the most part I'm happy with how this is looking, I think it could use a little bit of color correcting. That's going to be in the next unit anyway. I think I'll just be done with this for now and we'll go on to the next unit. 6. Color Adjustments and Texture: To finish this class off, I'm going to talk a little bit about color adjustments, and adding some texture to your illustrations, which will really help it pop. I haven't said it enough, save your file if you haven't already. I saved this as Pirate Color Adjustments and Texture, just so I had some previous files to work with if anything happened. Go ahead and save a copy of this. Save as and name it whatever you'd like. I'm going to start by selecting this guy, all of the shapes, and I'm going to flip him. I just feel like working that way for right now. I'm going to go in, delete any layers I don't need that are hidden. I'm going to just quick add a few things that I missed the first time around. We got a line on this sword. Something like that and you won't have it come all the way down and touch. I'm just lowering the opacity. There are different ways you can do that. We could fill it with a lighter color, I just find this easier. Then I was just going to finish rendering his earring, which I never got to. I'm going to take one of the brushes and maybe use one of these colors. One of these lighter and probably use this orange down here that I talked about earlier. Just add a little bit texture right there. Might even give this a highlight. You can't really see it that much, but that's good. We've got this. What I'm going to do, I'm going to unlock the sketch layer and delete it since we have this saved as a different file. You don't have to worry about that. I'm going to select all the layers, and I'm going to drag them into their own folder. Now we've got a folder like that. I usually keep a couple of different copies of this. I'm going to bring it down again, grab the whole group, and drag it onto the new layer, so that we duplicate that. I'm going to hide the first one. Then with group one selected, I'm actually going to go and flatten it. I just like working with a flat file when I'm working with color adjustments. Now, if we need to go in individually, change different pieces on this guy, we can definitely do that. But starting off, color adjustments, control hue, like I mentioned before, is a great one. If I want to add a little bit more red into his beard, maybe like that, not much. I'm undoing it just so you can see. I like the contrast of those colors a bit better. We're going to leave that. Then I like to create a new layer. Maybe drop a yellow color or purple color and I'm going to fill this layer. Again, you can hit alt, delete. Then I'm actually going to right-click, create a clipping mask, and I'm actually going to go cycle through the blending modes. There's a few I like to use, but I always cycle through with colors just to get a feel. For some of the color changes, maybe something will pop out, then go back to the original file. I mean, that's fun having it monochromatic, even lowering it just a little bit. I even like how that looks. I'm going to hide that layer, select the flat pirate layer again, and I'm going to bring in a yellow here, fill that and just see what changes that would make. That's one way to color correct but I'm going to touch on texture a little bit. I created a new layer above the flat pirate. I'm going to go in here, and in the resources, I believe under concept sketching actually, there's some links to brushes, download some of those. These watercolor brushes are fun. I like this one a lot. Now, what I'm going to do is set the opacity down to 34 and maybe put multiply on for now. I'm going to take a purple color. I'm going to go in here and click. Every click since it's on multiply is getting darker. Now, this doesn't always work, but I like to experiment. Then I'm going to switch it to light. Let's see, I'm going to go to lighten and yellow and maybe throw some of that on. I mean, really you can do this with any brush. I could go in here and switch it up a little bit, maybe throw this one on here. Try some with the purple. Now that we have that, we can adjust this a little bit. Maybe lower the opacity. Then again, play with blending modes. You get some fun texture going on here. You can always hide the layer to see what it's doing. You get some bright watercolors in here, which are fun. If we don't want it to be so harsh, we can take our eraser tool and take a soft brush, and just erase some places that you don't think it works. I really like the way his leg has that texture in it as well as his beard here. Also the lighting on his bandanna, I think it's a little harsh, so I'm going to just erase a little bit. But I think it still looks pretty good there. I think on his sword maybe, take some of that off. Now we can see what that adds to the piece. Maybe a little bit by his mouth. It really adds some interesting shapes to the inside of the drawing. It adds a lot of color, depth, and detail that wouldn't be there. Otherwise, you can see how flat it looks there. I like the bright colors. Now, if you want to add a little bit of texture to the illustration itself, and I'd probably recommend doing this on each individual layer, but it works like this too. I'm going to go ahead and add a layer mask, not a clipping mask, but a layer mask to this pirate guy. It's down here. I'm actually going to go to eraser and choose this one which is included in the resources. I'm just going to resize it a little bit. Maybe that's a bit too big. You can go ahead. This is how I do some of my work. I also add some other textures as an eraser. You don't want to go overboard. I just like adding a few rough edges. I really like to keep my work from looking too clean. Now, if I was working on individual shapes, I could go inside here and do that as well. But this gives you an idea. Maybe a little bit on his nose. Something like that. Now if you want to, you could go in here and maybe didn't get one of these messier brushes. I'm going to shrink it down. Right now I'm on the layer mask. That's why it's not drawing anything. I'm going to go above this in the click so that this isn't inside the clipping mask like these colors are. I'm going to go in here and maybe zoom in so you can see. It's actually better to click with these kind of brushes with the mouse and see if there's something a bit darker. Doing this where I erase it just gives a little bit more of a messy feel. I'm actually going to go back and erase a lot of this up just a little bit. Now, I'll go back and erase and I'll actually take most of it out. What I'm doing is just trying to get a little bit of dry brush feel digitally. Then and again, if we want to try some more color changes, we can go hue saturation a little bit more, see if that something works better now that we've got this texture on top. Obviously, I'm not going to go to this extreme, but I usually just try it just to see if something pops out. Now, I really like this yellow in his beard. I like this color scheme. I prefer this one, but this also looks pretty nice. Just experiment, I'm going to cancel. There's also other adjustments you can make, color balance. I don't use that as often. But definitely, something worth experimenting with. Add a little bit more magenta to it. I tend to skew towards magenta for my final illustration. If we really wanted to get serious about color adjustment, we'd use this layered shapes. I could go in here now and just select his beard. If I want to go back to that more yellow color, I could without affecting any of the other things. The reason I do it this way first is just so that I can quickly see if there are some colors that might work better without having to select every single shape and color change. We're going to see how it's going to all look together. I just take that flat shape and just go back and forth a little bit with hue saturation. I don't necessarily want that change. I'll undo it. But definitely try changing pieces. Again, Control-U is the shortcut key for hue saturation. Get used to using those. You'll be able to do your illustration a lot faster if you know all the shortcut keys or the ones that are important for illustrating. I'm just tweaking or share a little bit, see if there's anything would work well. The reason the blue works is because of his beard. I like this darker blue. Now that I've got that, that's plus 11. If I was going to do this on a lot of shapes on the drawing, I'd create an action for it. But since it's just a sleeve, I'm just going to remember what this setting is, hopefully, and do the same thing for the sleeve. Now that we have this, we can actually take our layer here. I'm going to release the clipping mask and I'm going to hide flat layer, drag it above. We can actually create a clipping mask on a folder. Now, this was a little off so I could adjust it either way and see I can move this around, see if there's any other shapes that I like. Maybe I'll go up and sharpen this. This brush seemed a little soft. Then I'll also give us a different texture. You can see we had a little bit stronger shapes, not too much. But if I undo it, as you can see, you get a fun watercolor shape in there that you normally wouldn't get if you didn't sharpen it. You want to be careful not to sharpen things too much, but especially for textures inside the drawing, it works really well. That's the basics of color adjustments and adding texture. We could bring in some flat textures from different sources on the Internet or scanning our own and lay those on top, and it would be the same concept. I'm excited to see what kind of textures you guys use, what color schemes you use. Can't wait to see everything finished. I hope you guys had fun with this class and learned something new. I look forward to the possibility of teaching some more classes.