Improvised Illustration: Style and Technique | Roman Muradov | Skillshare

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Improvised Illustration: Style and Technique

teacher avatar Roman Muradov, Illustrator

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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.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Technique: Brushes and Pens


    • 4.

      Brainstorming: Before and After


    • 5.

      Sketching I


    • 6.

      Sketching II


    • 7.

      Sketching III


    • 8.

      Photoshop I


    • 9.

      Photoshop II


    • 10.

      Photoshop III


    • 11.

      Final Thoughts


    • 12.

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About This Class

Follow award-winning artist Roman Muradov in his improvisation on the theme "Before and After" and try your own.

This inspiring 90-minute class reveals every step of the artistic process, including:

  • Exploring the theme and coming up with multiple ideas
  • Experimenting with various tools and making several variations
  • Finishing the pieces digitally and picking the one that works best

Along the way, Roman shares unique tips for drawing with brushes and pens, developing your personal style, and using the barest resources to come up with ideas that will benefit artists of any skill level and background.

All students are encouraged to explore the prompt, share their own interpretations, and exchange feedback to deepen their understanding and technique.


Students of all levels are welcome to experiment and submit illustrations. A working knowledge of Photoshop may be helpful, but is not required.

Looking for more on ideation? Check out Roman's first Skillshare class: Expressive Illustration: From Ideas to Execution.

Meet Your Teacher

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Roman Muradov



Illustrator and cartoonist from Moscow, Russia, currently living in San Francisco. Clients include the New Yorker, New York Times, Penguin, Google and many others. Featured in the Society of Illustrators (Gold Medal), ADC Young Guns, American Illustration and numerous other shows.

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1. Introduction: My name is Roman Muradov. I'm an illustrator from Russia and currently living in San Francisco. I've worked for all kinds of clients from editorial and books like New Yorker, York Times and Penguin to Google, Motorola, and Lucky Peach. You may have seen my first class on Skillshare where I talked extensively about different methods of generating ideas. This class is not entirely dissimilar, but it's focused more on the exploration of style. In my opinion, style is content and the two can't be separated. A good style is not just something gimmicky that makes for a more appealing image, but it's something that can't be disconnected from the image itself. Just like in good writing, style serves the narrative and it's not just a notion. So, the assignment for this class is to make an illustration based on the general theme, before or after. It can be as losing interpretation as you like and in fact, it should be very loose. I'd like to try out different techniques; some that I'm fairly familiar with and some that I'm not familiar with at all. That's something that I think is always good in the search for style. I would strongly encourage you to try out two or three different techniques particularly those that are not entirely familiar, although you can show just one final project. I think it's good to show your steps and also some variations that you may have done during the process. So, a strong project here would accomplish whatever goals you personally set up for yourself. I think in general, it should be a pretty unique and personal interpretation of the idea and the more experimentation you do with the medium, the better. Please do share your work, specifically, I would love to see your process and your failures, as well as your successes. 2. Style: Of course, even if you have one style that you are completely happy with, you always have to change it a little bit dependening on the client and the specific assignment. So, for instance, when I had to do this New York Times Book Review Pamuk novel, the main thing in most New York Times Book Review illustration that you shouldn't show the face of the protagonist. But that's, for instance, one of the constraints you have to keep in mind. Then just stylistically, it shouldn't overtake, shouldn't say too much about the story, it shouldn't spoil it, so to speak. On the other hand, this is a comic I did for Smoke Signal, which is a newspaper-ish anthology, and here I had absolutely no art direction so I could do whatever I want, which is what I did. Something like this, which is the cover for Teaching Tolerance, I don't really know what it is. I think it's a magazine about teaching and tolerance. So, this is a much, much more mainstream publication that just needed to be very clean, pretty, and accessible to children and adults. So, you see very little of my natural inclinations for obscurity and weirdness here. So for the last issue of Lucky Fish, I was lucky because I got to write and illustrate this article about breakfasts in Russia. Because I wrote all this, well, one thing I couldn't blame the writer for giving me blend material, but also I had much more freedom than usual. I wanted to evoke the feeling of illustration that I saw as a child, but same time make them very modern. I did most of them on an airplane, just arranged them out of different shapes using textures than I had before. So, for this issue of the Prime Russian Magazine, which is a bizarrely titled Russian magazine, I did about six illustrations of fictional doctors. So, this is Austin Slover. Again, here I used the deliberately, sloppy, very smudgy style because I didn't want to give my own vision of what this characters look like but get a slightly, may as make a blurry vision of what they do. So, they're all deliberately mismatched in terms of layers, and I smudge them a lot with my hand to show the fictionality and the whole unreality of their existence. This is for MIT Technology Review on Why We Wait to Treat Cancer. So here, I went for a much simpler, cleaner style because it's a news article, people don't really have too much time and patience for my artistic pretensions. So, I wanted to communicate the idea in a very clean and simple way. So here, I designed and illustrated the DVD of Day for Night by Francois Truffaut, which was put out by Criterion recently. Here with the color scheme, I really wanted to evoke with the feel of the '70s I think. I'm not quite sure when it's done. At the same time, I wanted it to feel pre-modern. This is a somewhat unusual case because the art director told me literally what to do. He wanted me to draw a meat grinder or the thing that processes meat and out of different scenes from the movie makes one clean reel, but I also decided to design the whole thing like it's made out of different film equipment so it doesn't look too literal. I also got to design the insides which was very fun, and this connects to the opening sequence. The film is about making films and it's all very confusing. They're self-confusing, they get very confused. Truffaut himself is in it as a director. They barely make it, so I wanted to get that feeling of everything fitting in more or less but slightly sloppily. Here, I used deliberately bad paper, so the ink would bleed through a little bit more than necessary. It's also about romance and jealousies. So, the act of unfolding this paper is also like spying on the characters who incidentally spy on each other. Then in the end, you have a camera which also connects here, so you'll have an infinite magical lantern like from the first volume of proofs. This also connect for the more dedicated readers. So, I often see my approach as a balancing act between accident in design. So there's a good deal of planning, a good deal of overthinking, and then over overthinking, but at the same time, I don't spend a lot of time drawing. I don't spend a lot of time polishing. I do spend a lot of time considering sayings and redrawing and trying out different options. So, it's allowing a lot of accidents to happen, but the most important thing in this approach is then going back to it and editing. So, anyone can make an accident, but this approach is more about looking at it and assassinate from an artistic viewpoint and also maybe doing something with it. Also, it's good to remember than doing nothing with it is can be an act of doing something with it if it's a very deliberate decision. So, the example I sometimes give is a song by The Fall called Paintwork in which the singer accidentally recorded a bit of TV interview in his hotel room, and you can hear that in the final song. So, this is a mistake that he made while playing around with his dictaphone. I think what's interesting here is not the fact that this accident happened because this could happen to anyone, but the fact that he decided to put it in and also make it part of the lyrical content and it actually makes sounds and only adds to the whole thing. I also like the example of Flann O'Brien, the Irish novelist, who I believe gave his work in progress to a fan for critique, and then he used the given critique as part of the novel, which is also very outside the box thinking. Yeah. I guess in the end, whether you like the polish look or unpolished, it doesn't really matter. It's more about having a certain openness to the way that things happen, and this stretches to any medium or on even any form of artistic expression. 3. Technique: Brushes and Pens: Okay. I'm just going to go over a few tips and tricks in using brushes and pens here. So, let's use this one. So, the important thing with a brush is to always keep a bottle of water nearby and to let it drink some water. This way, it doesn't dry up and doesn't get ruined as fast as it normally would. This brush is really old even though I kept it in decent condition. You can see a kind of encrusting of ink around the rim. So, this happens when you dip the brush a little too deep and then ink starts ruining all these connections. So, try not to dip all the way and just get this part covered in ink. Now, even if you have an old. I mean, brush, there's a few tricks you can do to make it decent again. So, let's say it looks like this. What you can do is when you deep it in ink, then you do a rotate in motion on paper. What happens is all the bristles they come to something of a point more or less. Then you can have your nice lines. So, the way you hold the brush is entirely up to you. Some people prefer like this, some people like this, I just do whatever I feel like. You can even hold it on the rim. So, if you want to make nice clean lines, a good way is to make sure you're holding the brush not too tight and at the same time not to loosely. So, somewhere in the middle, just pay attention to your fingers and how it feels. Then a good thing is to set up let's say kind of imaginary points, and then connect them in your mind and then connect them with the brush. So, let's say we wanted to look something like this. To be a little more concrete, let's say we want to have a hair shaped something like that so, you kind of imagine the way it looks and then you follow the directions. So, this is going to be someone's hair. So, it's a lot about pressing very lightly and then letting go. The more you do it, the easier it gets and then it actually becomes second nature. Actually, pretty fast if you do it twice a week at least. A really good way to practice and to understand how you want to draw with a brush is just to give yourself a clean sheet of paper and tell yourself that you're going to try out as Mark Megan tricks as you can. So, something like this, something like this, maybe something like and that. Same with lines, so you'd do something like a pattern. Suddenly you may realize that you actually enjoy drawing this kind of stuff or maybe you like to hold the brush like this and do a more shaky line, or maybe you like to make very nice clean lines that go from a point then get thicker and then vanished like this. This is quite easy to do once you get the hang of it, but the hardest thing to do is to make long uninterrupt lines. But even that becomes second nature eventually. So, when I was doing my first book, someone for some reason told me in that Dan clubs doesn't deal with rulers, which is clearly a lie, but, I said all right if I am going to be a real cartoonist then I have to be like Dan clubs. On the cover of the book I have a lot of very tall buildings that are even longer than this. So, I'd train myself to do this long tedious uninterrupted lines. I'm already forgetting how to do this and actually. Okay, so pens are a little easier because they're made out of metal. They offer you more resistance. So, when it comes to clean lines it's much easier to distribute pressure. But even here you can have a lot of variation, a lot of subtlety. There is almost like calligraphic quality and well no wonder because this kind of pens are used for this purposes [inaudible]. Of course, you can use the very same tool in a more relaxed shaky fashion. Kind of like they're grazing the surface. Artists like Quentin Blake can make or that looks just disarmingly simple. Well, it's pretty much impossible to imitate and Charles Schultz of course, is the famous example because it's impossible to draw Snoopy. If you don't believe me just give it a shot. It's nice sometimes to draw the same picture several times in different styles. So, let's say I want to draw this one, but in a slightly different treatment. So, here already we have a different kind of quality and a different kind of character even. This one is much more fluid. Oh, great. You can even combine brush and she is surprisingly difficult to do well, at least for me. So, I'm still figuring it out, when it could be good when it works. Same here you can do different types of Mark Megan, see where it can take you. This whole builds confidence so to speak and then when it comes to making real hard work you're much more likely to go through fewer revisions and what not. Again, everything depends on the personality I find. So, I'm quite impatient and I like to just lead the line glide and see where it can take me. You will notice that I rarely do this kind of stuff. Sort of slowly build the lines. This is just not something that I have the patients for. I'm already getting bored. So, I will just go ahead and do something like that. So, here we have some kind of animal. Perhaps he's smoking a pipe. So, I had some ink water left I can use it to make a little wash to give it some more dimension so to speak. Although dimension maybe the wrong word for this kind of drawing. An illusion of dimension, not even an illusion. Delusion but I said illusion. Basically, don't listen to anything I say. You can fill area with more clear water. Let's say something like this. Then you can take some ink and put it there. Again, this sketchy paper is not greyed for this kind of effect, because it tends to dry very quickly. But it can still work if you can draw fast. Now, we have a silly face and a head and stripes. Because why not and maybe a frown and the bottle of wine. There, I like to have every corner filled with stuff. So here we can have some clouds and the rain and the sun. Okay. 4. Brainstorming: Before and After: All right. So, let's start with the beginning which is our same, before after. So, the first thing to do, you might want to pause the video and write down the first thing that come into your head when you hear this word even before I give you any ideas. First, the best way to come up with something new and original, is to go beyond the obvious. But in order to do this, you sometimes have to confront the obvious. So, don't be embarrassed or just write the most banal and boring thing that pop into your head. Get them out of your head, and then you can explore things that are a little further removed. So, also consider the relationship between the words before and after. It doesn't have to be before and after, it can be one or the other, as long as that somehow makes sense conceptually. It can be something in between, you can for instance, show before and after at the same time, you can show them merge at the single hole, or of course it can be more straightforward, just two different states at the same time. You can always split your image into two halves, and have a more narrative approach, or it can be more conceptual, and of course it can be a mix of the two. In teaching illustration, people often talk of clarity is the main goal. That certainly makes some sense. Although, when we work on a project like this which is more personal, of course, we might want to go for the exact opposite to that. Maybe you might want to make something that's a little more vague and confusing. Some of the greatest works of art are completely inexplicable, and it's out for the readers to make connections and make up their own stories. You may want to present it as a series of unconnected dots, and then let the viewer connect these dots, or it can be a very straightforward narrative that is easy to follow. It depends on what you want to do professionally, and maybe it could be the opposite of that just to get yourself out of your comfort zone. Especially with most of my editorial assignments, I like to start with word association. Because as a material, you are given boards, an article or what not. So, it feels like a natural transition from words to raking downwards, and then to images. It's almost like a project of translation in the way, and you can start writing associations that are entirely yours. It can be related to books that you read or movies that you watched, or it can be something from your life or your personal experience, it doesn't matter. Anything counts. It can be highbrow or lowbrow. Just write whatever pops into your hand. So, I'm just going to try and do that for myself. I'm going to write before, after. All right. So, I haven't slept particularly well today, and like most of the days. So I'm thinking about this moment of waking up, when you're half asleep but you're not quite awake, that state always interests me. When you wake up, and you have experience of feeling the remembrance of a dream, but you have no language to describe it in any concrete terms. So, fading dream, half dream. So, this will be before and after at the same time. I would probably explore this, but I'm going to move further. I'm also reminded of before the law from Kafka. So, it could be just an exploration of that theme, but it's been done so many times and I don't want to do it again. If I look back at my personal experiences, I spent half of my life in Russia, speaking Russian and not quite half much less than that here about seven years I guess. Speaking English, so it can be language, linguistic before and after. I could also think about language in terms of visual representation. So, I can show Russian as one shape, and English, and another, and perhaps there are some intersection. So, I can also again dig deeper into my personal understanding of how this works, and the way I feel. So, for instance, I don't have much of an accent, it's more of a speech impediment I think. But I certainly use slightly unorthodox syntax when I write in English. So, perhaps it could be an intersection that creates something else. This can be completely abstract which would be fun to do. So, just visually, I would think of maybe doors, windows, and sometimes it's nice to go from details because it's always hard to come up with a good underlying concept. A lot of writers like telecommunity, they talk about starting with a visual image and then finding meaning for it rather than the other way round. Then, it's always good to think about the words themselves beforehand, after image. So, this actually relates to this one, and can be like a photograph that's been exposed for too long, or when you stare at the sun for too long, or maybe a strange feeling when you meet someone and then they don't quite find their place in your memory yet but you have a general feeling of what they look like, a blurry image. Or just knowing that you've seen someone for the last time, and then their face somewhat etched, but not in any concrete terms and seems to go over everything you see in the streets and what not. This could be a good and unrelated to the whole sleep thing. So, for instance, it can be some landscape, a city or whatever, and over it can be someone's image. So, again if we return to the language here, before it can be as in front, after sort. There's already a lot of things that can connect here, and I could just make up little stories when looking back, remembering something, missing something that's in front, whatever. Of course, it can be just simple images, like something coming out of an egg, which would be before and after the same time, I suppose. Some kind of transformation, a person walking from cradle to a grave very happily. So, he's stuck in the middle. Be more conceptual like that. But right now, I'm more interested in this whole dreaming and waking thing. I feel sleepy, so feel right. So, how can we do this? Okay. I think I'm going to focus specifically on capturing this sensation of being not quite awake and not quite asleep. So, let's say I have a little person on a bed, which seems like a natural place for that person to be considering the subject matter. Of course, I might not draw a bed, it can be just a black void. Like didn't laid back and stories, can write them just in case like worst words. Maybe not. Then, how do I show that transformation? Of course, it can be like a symbol, a wagon, an alarm clock going off. It can be light of the sun, or it can be some dream imagery can collide in with reality. I think that is probably the easiest way to do this. Now, immediately a lot of questions arise. For instance, how do I draw this person? Can be more realistic, well within reason. I don't why he has such a huge nose. Well, I do know. Something like that, or it can be completely abstract, it can be just a shape. So, all this have, each one of these would have different implications and what not. How much do we share with the bed? If it's, is it a nice comfy bed with some pillows, or is it something a little more frugal? Is it something a little more symbolic, perhaps just the shape of a bed? Then, what do we have here? This is the main question. Of course, it can be imagery from a dream, it can be abstract, so this will come closer to the ideal with fade in and being unclear. It can be something that I would remember from a dream, I don't know like a horse. Maybe not. I don't remember a horse so, it's a lie. So, I think what I'm going to do, at least for the purposes of this class, is trying out different options and see how style and medium can affect the concept. So, I'm going to write down three things that we will try. Okay. For the first one, let's try to do one sketch to determine what goes where, and just the general composition. Then I'm going to try and do an overlay in pencils, and maybe one in ink, or it could be pencils with a brush or graphite with a brush, so to speak. There's two slightly different treatments that don't quiet overlay. So, they're not going to be perfect, and then I can scan them in, and give them separate qualities. So, one can be one color, the other can be another, or they can be semi-transparent or multiplying. What that will give is a slightly shaky feeling. I imagined. I have no idea, but that's the fun of it, I suppose. For the second, let's go with negative space. So, I'm going to plant it in a way that the person will be composed. Let's say out of the shape of the room, the bed more specifically, and the shape of a dream. So, this would be before and this will be after the waking and the dreaming. What I like about this one is that these ideas can be switched, and maybe he's fallen asleep rather than waking up. It doesn't matter. So, I quite like this one as an idea. I think I might use ink-washes, could be cut-outs, and digital would probably be easier. But it wouldn't be fun to show on camera. For third one, let's try something that I'm not comfortable with. So, I think I recently did this little drawing in ink and goulash which I've never done before. I quite like the way it turned out. So, maybe ink and onward goulash or watercolor outright pain for now, partially because I'm not sure how to spell goulash like so many people in this world. At least I'm not ashamed to admit it. Okay. So, we have three different approaches and each one will produce slightly different illustration of the same idea. This is something I strongly encourage you to do, although you can just do one thing, or you can do three completely different things. But I think it's a really good exercise to do the same thing, but see how much you can squeeze out of just the difference in medium and the difference in style and treatment, and there's a lot you can learn from that alone. 5. Sketching I: So, for the sketches, I'm just going to use regular paper and this simple pencil, and I think I will keep everything very small because I'm doing several versions and otherwise this class will take forever. So, let's start on the first one, that's two kinds of pencils. So, I do need some decent composition here. Let's say, this is our bed and we have a child sleeping here. I'm going to keep the bed pretty simple. So, let's keep all of them square just because it's somewhat unusual for the sake of variety. Now, that I think of it, maybe it can be different divisions or different states of his body, layering on top instead of what I had before. So, this might be a more interesting solution. This could be like a pinball table and maybe not. So, how much of the room do I want to show? Probably doesn't matter at all. So, it doesn't matter where the room is or what kind of environment, I don't think so. So, I'm going to ignore all that. How do I draw this person? Well, I think it might be good to have the most wakeful state, semi-realistic so to speak. The one that come after are a bit more in abstract. It's going to be like this, or maybe the hands can be patiently waiting, as long as it doesn't dead or completely dead. Maybe he's wearing woolly socks, which should be cute. Okay, this is fine. That could be just horizontal I suppose. Yeah, I think that's probably better. Sometimes it's good to simplify perspective. So, the illustration reads more like a symbol rather than direct physical representation of the space. Maybe some shadows here. Then here, I'm just going to indicate maybe something like this. So, the main danger is that he might look like he's dying and his soul is leaving, maybe he can have his eyes open or maybe there can be half closed, think he's still a bit sleepy. I'm not trying sure how to draw the eyes, maybe like that. As long as he seems happy, I think it's all right. Well, when I started in the final, I can decide on that. Here I'll just put question mark eyes, and then, more abstract. I like to make these notes for myself. All right. So, for a second one, we're doing negative space. That can be tricky. It's always good to improvise. But I think here, I'll start by drawing the character and then figuring out how to do this. So, here let's go for some a little more abstract or rather not abstract but still figurative but not as detailed. It should be a person like this. Okay, a little like this. I think maybe it should be more flat, it could be something like this, maybe this time a person will be lying on the side. Okay. So, how do we make all these shapes? Well, it is kind of complicated. So, I guess this will have to be one of them. I want to make them all pretty abstract. This will be one. This is going to be two. This can also be two then we have the feet and going to be one. Then I want a bit of a relay here, and this will be hanging. How about this is three? Well, we'll do them all separately and then we'll figure out maybe this should also be two. So, this is more of a simple plan and for this third one, so we have planned in contained, Well this I can really just improvise on the spot to be honest. So, now that I think of it, I see that I should do the background as a wash of sorts, so I'm going to mask that bad because I want them to be in different mediums. But i'm also going to mask it badly on purpose. So, some things are a little unstable. Yeah. So, if you don't have a light box, you can of course use tracing paper or you can just copy sketches. It doesn't really matter. Just like a light box because it allows me to do the same thing several times, but it's definitely not a necessary tool. So, I always have two bowls of water, one for ink and one for water color or graphite and whatnot. Then I have a little bottle of ink and all my pens and pencils stuff lying around, I'm pretty messy as you can probably tell. So, I don't pay too much attention to having the perfect setup. So, I think I'll use graphite powder for this which can be rather messy, but let's hope nothing happens. This is how you applied it, so it makes a very nice texture, but it can be very hard to control. Instead of water, you may want to use say, alcohol which gives a better control. I've never done this before but I just discovered something. This looks good. This well, it's an excellent but also it's a good texture I might have some use for it later. We can remove this. Let me add a little bit more. Maybe I just do this. So, this is a good abstract foundation. I think I might as well do a second later here. Just using this. In case it looks too abstract, I can add it on top of it, and probably I would need some lines here. So, I'm not going to bother with now, so I'll just draw them, figure it out later. So, with layers sometimes I have a plan in mind, sometimes I improvise like I'm doing now. So, this is really pretty different from the concept I had before. Let's draw the character. I'll use a water color pencil for this one. So, we have one of them. I think I might just fill in one as a shape, simply to have that as an option. So, where I want shadows to happen, I will draw down on both of these. So, for instance I want the second sock to be darker. So, I'm going to draw the front sock and the back sock. We'll see if it works. I think the best thing is just to do this simple fading images of his face becoming progressively abstracted. There, I accidentally smashed it here which actually looks pretty good. So, happy accidents. This almost looks like a landscape. Maybe I'll put a tree or something. Why not? So, it's going to be the stuff of dreams, little trees. All right. So, that's good enough. I think we can probably add a little bit of gradient altogether. So, just more stuff I can then play with. All right. 6. Sketching II: Okay. So, here I'm going to use some ink. For this, I think I'll have to use two brushes because this one doesn't come to a point at all because it's so old and I don't know where to get brushes like this. This one is still holding up although both of them are pretty old. So, when you draw with a brush it's definitely good to keep it hydrated. Just put it in the water first and that preserves it much better. So, even this one comes to some sort of a tip, but maybe I'll just try to draw with this old, old brush and see what happens. Okay, I'm starting to forget what goes where. So, let's start with this shape. I think I will keep it pretty loose and clunky. I don't want it to look too deliberate, maybe just around the head. Yeah. Actually, I really like working with the instrument that's hard to handle. Then it feels like something of a struggle, like a puzzle that you have to solve. Here I can dip with a little bit of water just to give it more of a variation. At the same time, I don't think I want too much of it here. So, maybe around the edge of this shape it can be a little more watery. Now, for this I'm using pretty cheap sketch paper. So, it's not watermedia paper and therefore washes are not particularly good with that. However, I draw really fast, so I can get around it, definitely not the ideal surface. Okay. What else? Did I do the wrong one? Yeah, I think I did the wrong type or maybe not. Well, let's see what happens. I'm completely improvising right now. When I scan and then if something is completely off, I can just delete them or maybe move things around and see what happens. Which is the magic of mixed media that you never really have to commit to anything, but you can still try out tons of different things. Sometimes I like to let the brush go dry like this. Again, it creates a nice unfinished look to it and you can make very effective lines with them. So, if I would draw hair or whatever, etc. I don't know if I want her features, but I can draw it and then use them later or ignore them. So, I think I got everything, I'm not quite sure. Yeah, looks like it. All right. Well, I'll edit it later and then. Again, in the worst case if I need more texture or more shapes, I can just draw them digitally and attach a previous scan to it or cut it out of some other scans. The possibilities are limitless. Okay. Since there is some space, might be good to add a few abstract shapes like this, not abstract, no, stars and little kind of swirly things. Okay. I also like to draw something on the margins when they have empty space, just something unrelated and that's it's usually more fun than whatever I'm doing at the moment. So, I don't know. It's good to draw without thinking sometimes, it's very liberating. Here I have a dog that I kind of prefer to the main drawing. I just did this spot series, which had a lot of people with different stripes and outfits walking, so I'm still recovering from it. So, with this first two, I took a sketch and I pretty much improvise on both of them. Thinking mainly about texture and how they would overlay together, but at same time I didn't think about it too much though, there's very little planning for this two. Of course, if I'm doing something a little more involved rather than just playing around, I would probably make a more detailed sketch and also make a digital mock-up to see how things will fit together, but here I don't really know, so we'll find out. 7. Sketching III: So for the last one, I'll use this little metal nib as a base, and then I think it would make sense to draw the character with a nib, and then, the dream images with paint, or we're going to see what happens. So, I don't really know how I would want to draw. I'm just going to sketch a few things. I think I would like the character to be a little more abstract than what we had before, maybe something along the lines of Paul Klee and Miro. Also, I want the actual line to be really flat, and a little childlike, with a bit of myriad to it. But I do like the set of hands under the head on the previous drawings, so maybe I'll keep that in this one. So, let's start with the hands, why not. So, I like that when this scratches the surface, it makes a very uneven line, which can be good, but I quite like this quality, it's very unpredictable. So, it's not particularly abstract in character design, but there are some elements of looser treatment here. Not really like this. So, I'm going to make myself an indication to delete this, which is not very professional, but I like it. Maybe there's a shoe on one foot, and socks on the other, just to show that I was in a wild night before this. Sometimes it's really good to draw without a sketch. Now, with a lot of art directors, well that, who trust me rather, I wanted to say that I trust, but I think it's more importantly the other way, they sometimes allow me to just do this. So, I would either send them a description of what I want to do instead of sending them a sketch, and then I would just go ahead and do it like this, which preserves a lot of spontaneity. Of course, if you're working with someone for the first time, they're not very likely to allow you do this, so it's a good thing to aspire to. Well, like for the last spot series that I just finished, and they're very small, and they don't take me a lot of time to draw. So, I simply went and did about 20 of them instead of the usual, let's say 10. That was easier for me than making sketches and whatnot. So, I'm going to make the bad fairly better. Oh! I love how this happened. So, this line ended up unfinished, but I can suggest it by using these little bits of texture here and there. That's more than enough. I think we can go to paint now. I tore a little bit of palette paper, and this is a good way of limiting your palette, by literally limiting the kind of space you have. I'm going to use some colors. As I'm looking at this, there's something that seem a bit overdone in terms of detail, like this texture is a bit too much. So, I suppose I could, like in this drawing, just cover the less successful bits with gloss. I think what I'll do is, I'll let this thing dry first of all, and then I'll first draw stuff around, and see if it doesn't clash too much, and then maybe I'll go in and add some more gloss on the figure as well. So, when I pick colors, usually additionally, I spend a lot of time mixing them, trying to find the right combination. I think a lot about the sound that the color makes, so to speak. It's semi technical, semi intuitive. For something like this, I prefer to just go completely intuitive. So, there's very little concept in what I do here. Basically, I just picked these colors more or less at random. So, I have no idea what will happen. So, for this piece, I wanted it to be all pre-improvised. I think it's good to allow yourself some play time, so to speak, to just do something silly. So here, this is weird here, maybe this can be a good starting point, and I can just go and do a shape. This could be an animal of sorts. So, I'm going to keep this also all fairly unfinished in quality, just to give this dreamy feel to it, or maybe it gets more abstract as it goes along. So, perhaps this can go into this here, a bit. Let's see if that's a good idea, works all right. So okay. Here, I can use this as the starting point our concept so to speak. So, let's say each one of these shapes will somehow correspond to what he's wearing. I think three colors is probably enough, I don't know why I'm putting so much paint. Something neutral like this. Well, this is going to be funny because there's a butt involved, and buttocks are always funny. These colors don't work well together at all. So, I'm going to change that. Just a bit of an outline. I'll keep this one completely abstract, it could be like a little mouse, but we can make it more spelled out in there. Now, he seems properly haunted. So, I think it makes sense to go back to him, and give elements of this colours to his outfit. So, I'll see what happens if I use a good deal of water. So, here I can test it, and see that it does in deed overlay quite decently. All right, here's some toilet paper, and before I had something out of a pillbox, and now I have this, not very professional, but it works. So, I think the point of this improvisation is to make a lot of mistakes, and usually, one thing comes out good or whatever. That's enough, then you can just remember that, and use it for the work. But if you're always striving to make everything perfect, then you don't really allow yourself any room for failure, and any room for improvisation. I think I overdid it on the figure, but, something I can learn from that. Yeah. So, I think everything should have been done like this, instead of doing so many lines here. Well, this bit I like, everything else not so much. There's no space, so maybe I can improvise there really quick, alternative version, since there is some paint left. Maybe this one can be friendly, it would be kind of a cuddly creature, like a giant cat. So, it looks a bit sinister. Well, I guess I can't help it. Yeah, definitely doesn't look cuddly. Oh well, I guess it's a nightmare again. Well, I had good intentions. So now, at the end of this, I have three different sets of drawings that I can combine together, and get three different variations on the same idea. I'm pretty sure I will go with this one. The other ones are okay. So, at the end of the day, you do end up with one illustration, or maybe two variations. But I think it's good to allow yourself to do different things, and even if you're going to dismiss most of it, it's still a good experience. 8. Photoshop I: Okay. Now, I've scanned everything and put everything on file for the sake of convenience and I'm going to adjust layer levels. I'm going to do the white side first to make sure that the paper is white. Then, something like this one, I will go separately and keep the values pretty light still, maybe even this light. Something like this, I would go much darker. Okay. So now, I'm going to separate the black from the whites through channels, and talk more about that in my first class if you're interested. Let's start with this one. So, this is now again, more to solving the puzzle rather than making artwork, which I think is fun. Yeah. I think I should have also scanned the sketch in. Otherwise, it's a little hard to do all this but it would be interesting. Okay. I'm going to try out some colors. I'm only going to spend too much time on this, I'm sure that I normally do. So there, we only have two colors now. This kind of looks like a hat, which I like. I don't think I need these shoes, I'm better without them. Okay. So I can clean it up a little bit because I was pretty messy when I was drawing this. This are very cosmetic changes but I noticed them. So, if I want the arms to be parallel-ish, not too parallel. So, I'm going to do that a bit. Now, we have this shape made out of overlayer shapes, which is fun. Still don't really like her hand. I think I should not have hesitated, and should have used the smaller brush. Or rather, should not have hurried and used the smaller brush. So now, I'm going to pick the colors again, because I don't like them. So, I'm going to say, I just go to panthone and pick something semi random just because they're going to be not the colors I would normally grab. This could be good. Then, I can go back to the picker and then give this 20 percent capacity and add some more there. Make the other one a little more orange. Okay. This process, I can do for ages. So, I'm just going to try to wrap up. Okay. How about I go the other way and do them very light and also very low contrast. I think this might be a moorish than a solution. Yeah. This is more subtle. I think it's also relevant to our theme as well. All right. Not quite like this, I'm going to do curves a little bit. There is this screen tone that I made. Sometimes, I use it just for extra lightness. 9. Photoshop II: I'd say for this one we need a border. So, I'm creating a rectangle the same size and then doing that, which is a little clunky. But I don't mind. Then I inverse, then I make a new layer, and make this one wide, which gives it a wide border. So, for our so-called bed, I think the color should also be quite light, or perhaps, this time maybe I would go a little more grey. I wonder if there's something I can do with this mistake. Let's leave it here and then see. Okay, I think I do need to do something with that. So, it doesn't look like a bed at all, which I like. Because we started with something concrete and ended up with something far more abstract. Sometimes it's good to do the opposite of what you would. Because normally, I wouldn't pick colors quite so close. But here I think it creates and added tension, which for our purposes may be a good solution. So, this really shouldn't be wide. Move like this, just a bit wider. Maybe that's where I use this one. Okay. All right. Now, the difficult part. So, we have a lot of drawings for this fellow and none of them quite work, and we need to figure out how to make it work. It can be a combination of this very sharp digital lens and hand-drawn penciley shapes. Okay. This fits not too bad. Let's see what happens when I put the other ones. Okay. I like that it doesn't fit quite right. I mean, I was just drifting now which is amusing. So, I can delete some of them or move some of them and leave the others to be a bit wrong. Okay. Let's see how it will fit with the other shape. I don't really know where it's supposed to go, to be honest. Probably here. Normally, when you want a good overlay, you don't pick the same color. But here, I want to have a slightly subtle effect. So, I might even been pick the exact same color just to see what happens. Yeah, it's maybe a little too much. What if I pick something like this? It'll be quite more visible. Maybe that's better. Although, it might look like he sort of wet himself. Hopefully, no. No. Maybe. Let's go with something like this. Now, this was an accident, but I quite like it. Maybe have a nice movement to it. Let's see if this is necessary at all. Maybe no. It might be better displaced image like this. Misplaced rather. I know this one shouldn't be just purely black. Maybe I can get this one again, which wouldn't make any sense but it might look cool. Actually, we don't have that much space. Although, we can of course, simply move everything down. Say, like this. Here we have a dream. Let's see if we can just put it in wide. Yeah, that's probably the best option. Of course, it can be something more colorful. I want to say an overlay. Yeah, I think I like this better. It can even be something a little crazy like a gradient. Maybe no. Certainly, I didn't want that. Okay. So here, we have another awakening scene almost. Might be good to duplicate the borders and just do a little bit of that. Make them a bit ghostly. Okay. So, this one is probably done too. 10. Photoshop III: Then we have the last one which is just the way it is. Actually with loops, much better when you scan. You can even adjust the curves a little bit to make it even lighter. But even here, you can make a second layer and just go and do some edits if you like. For instance, you can make this horn to be, make this horn a little sharper if it is a horn. I don't really know. Or, make these little adjustments that don't change too much, but just tightening it up slightly. Again, this is for the best part of it. If I had more time, I would probably delete quite a lot here. Well, this side definitely will do it. I'm thinking, let's call this one finished for art purposes. Okay. So, now we have three different options. There's one, two, and three. I think out of this, I still like the first one best. It has a nice dreamy quality to it. I can go and do more adjustments. I can see what it would look like if it was a little sharper. Do even more curves, maybe make it almost invisible, or I can take one of these layers and make that one much more visible than the other, or the other way around. Okay. 11. Final Thoughts: Yeah, so when I was working on the illustration with shapes, I used this really old beaten brush that didn't allow me to have nice clean edges and nice pointy lines. So, then I was forced to make shapes rather than lines. So, in this way the medium informed the style in a huge deal. Likewise, you may want to try out something uncomfortable like this huge brush and see what the medium says about it. If you use a mechanical pencil, you will probably be more inclined to do line work rather than shading. So, for the one that's collaged out of a lot of different little things, I use the graphite first of all just to make an overall texture and then I use the watercolored pencil to do the lines on the top. So, watercolored pencil I used in a really blunt way by just dipping it in water which gives a very unwieldy fat tip which I quite like but, it's not great for precise drawings obviously. Then I, put everything together, mainly the demonstration. I think personally this is really overkilled so I wouldn't use it for my own purposes, but it shows how much you can achieve by just layering things over and over again. But the last one, a strange thing happens when you draw without a sketch or without any planning, suddenly you can arrive at solutions that normally wouldn't come to you and it's almost like you're tapping into a part of your brain that is sometimes suppressed by the necessity to plan everything ahead and moving, measured steps. So, I think that's good to do every now and then. Of course, for professional projects it might be a little nerve recking to do this all the time. So, when you work with negative space there are no real rules as such other than looking at a lot of art that uses that kind of artistic trick and questioning yourself, what do you like about it? What you don't like? I think if you're going for clarity then it's certainly good to break things down and to have the figure first like I had in my picture, although it might be good to just go with the other way and start playing around with shapes and seeing if you can make a puzzle for yourself and then solve it. So, if you want something to be more clear, you can start with the finished picture and then remove elements, or you can go the other way and make little elements and then compose something out of them. There is a question that is often asked whether an aspiring artists should just develop one style? Or should try different things? And opinions on this can be completely different by professionals and teachers and whatnot. My personal opinion is that it's better to try a lot of things. I think there's a certain quality in the human brain that tries to make sense, so it tries to come out and propel your own personality and whatnot. So, you can't really suppress it too much. It's nearly impossible to make completely anonymous art. So, if you've put yourself in the position that it's not entirely comfortable and you don't really try to express yourself, you will inadvertently do so. I think by exploring different mediums you will invariably fail in each one of them, and through that failure there will be something interesting and something very peculiar and something of yourself and this little bit is what eventually constitutes what people call a style. Of course, it can be a number of styles, or it can be just a general approach to doing things, or it can be more of a, not to sound too pretentious, a general outlook and philosophy when it comes to picture making. For those of you who are confident with your tools and want to try something different, I would recommend looking at your work and thinking what would be the opposite of that. So, for instance, if you only draw with lines and hatching then, you might want to take a big sick brush or maybe a pair of scissors and do cut outs. Just to go say, from line to shape, from color to black and white. Just try the opposite and see what happens. Thanks so much for watching this class, I hope you enjoyed it. Please do share your work, specifically I would love to see your process and your failures as well as your successes. 12. Explore Creative Classes on Skillshare: