Story-Driven Illustration: Drawing Magical Characters in Procreate | Zhi Ling Lee | Skillshare

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Story-Driven Illustration: Drawing Magical Characters in Procreate

teacher avatar Zhi Ling Lee, Illustrator & Licensing Artist

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.



    • 2.

      Class Project & Downloads


    • 3.

      Storytelling & Idea Generation


    • 4.

      Research & Inspiration


    • 5.

      Expressions, Poses & Initial Sketch


    • 6.

      Dressing Your Character


    • 7.

      Colour Thumbnails


    • 8.

      Procreate Brushes to Use


    • 9.

      Adding Colour & Texture


    • 10.

      More Textures & Shadows


    • 11.

      Experimenting with Details


    • 12.

      Adding the Magic


    • 13.

      Recap & Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Do you love drawing characters and want to bring more personality and charm to your characters? If you want to learn how to elevate your character illustration into an endearing one that captivates viewers, this class is for you. As a self-taught artist who has since illustrated for companies like Disney, Netflix, children book publishers, and licensed my art on products sold around the world, I have developed an easy method to illustrate enchanting characters.

Contrary to popular belief, character illustration isn’t only for books and animated films - you can also find them in various products like stationery, greeting cards, home decor, fabric, toys and more. Being able to draw charming characters will open up avenues for your career so I encourage you to add this important skill into your arsenal as an illustrator. 

Join me as I guide you, step-by-step, through my process of creating magical characters that have personality and charm. 

In this class, you will learn:

  • Storytelling and idea generation of a good character story and concept
  • How to find inspiration and use references to develop your character
  • Using expressions and poses to bring your character to life
  • Dressing your character to add more personality to your character
  • Adding colour and texture to enhance your character drawing
  • Tips and tricks using Procreate to sketch and finalise your digital illustration

This class is for beginners as well as intermediate artists who want to incorporate character illustration into their skillset. I will be using Procreate on the iPad Pro tablet to demonstrate the final illustration, but you’re welcome to use other drawing software or pencil and paper. 

Please note this is not a “How to use Procreate” class - you should have some familiarity on how to use Procreate and the different features, although I will be showing some tips and tricks on how to use the tool while illustrating.

At the end of this class, you’ll have a fully illustrated magical character to add to your portfolio, as well as a solid process you can use to continue creating new characters with personality.

Resources Download: Download at Please watch Video 2 for the password. 

Let's get started!

Meet Your Teacher

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Zhi Ling Lee

Illustrator & Licensing Artist

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: As humans, we love connecting with others. That's why characters in the illustrations speak to us so much more than any other subject. Character art is everywhere. On books, forms, and products like stationery, greeting cards, home decor, toys, and more. Being able to draw characters well will open up avenues for your career. Hello there. I'm Zhi Ling Lee, also known as curiouszhi. I'm a children's book illustrator and licensing artist in London, England. I have been obsessed with character art since childhood, stemming from my love of animated film. In recent years, my character illustrations have opened doors for me to work with companies like Disney, Netflix, Children book publishers, and see my art on products sold around the world. If you think drawing characters requires talent, let me assure you that that's a myth. Over the years, I've developed an easy method to draw cute and captivating characters, and I'm excited to share this with you. In this class, I will guide you through my step-by-step process of creating a magical character that has personality and chow. Step 1, storytelling and idea generation. Step 2, research and inspiration. Step 3, expressions and causes. Step 4, dressing your character and step 5 color and texture. I'll also be sharing some tips and tricks using procreate. This class is great for beginners, as well as intermediate artists who want to introduce character illustration into their work. At the end of this class, you will have a fully illustrated magical character for your portfolio, as well as a process you can follow to confidently continue creating new characters with personality. Why magical characters? This is my signature style, but more importantly, this topic allows for the boost, imagination and fun as you learn and develop your character. Let's get started. 2. Class Project & Downloads: Today we're going to develop and illustrate a magical character of your own. If you're a beginner, set yourself up for success by choosing a simpler idea or drawing along the same character with me. I will be breaking down my process to the following steps. One, storytelling and idea generation. We'll develop a short character story and concept. Two, be such an inspiration, we'll look at ways to find references and inspiration to help you design your character. Three, expressions and poses. We will explore how expressions and pauses help bring your character to life. Four dressing your character will bring more personality to your character, to clothes and accessories. Five, color and texture, and finally, we'll add color to your character illustration and enhance with texture and details. I will be using Procreate on the iPad to demonstrate the illustration, so I will also be sharing some Procreate tips and tricks as we go along. However, please note that this is not a how-to-use Procreate class, of course, you're welcome to use other drawing software or just pencil and paper. I'm using default Procreate brushes and one custom brush, which you get for free as part of this class. You can download the brushes and other resources for this class on the link showing on the screen. In the next lesson, we'll jump right into the first step, by coming up with a character story idea. 3. Storytelling & Idea Generation: Who doesn't love a good story? Illustration is visual storytelling. Let's start with the story behind your character. Before you begin drawing, spend some time getting to know your character. Ask questions like, what kind of being are they? As we're doing magical and fantastical characters, you can be very creative here. Base it off existing creatures, like fairy's, wizards, mermaids, or make up something completely brand new. What's their name? This isn't necessary, but giving a name is fun and can sometimes spark ideas about their personality. How are they feeling? What is your character feeling and thinking at this moment? Describing this will help you determine the expression and body poses for Step 3 later. What adjectives can you use to describe them? For example, are they confident, shy, stylish, spunky? This helps you flesh out your behavior and personality more. What is the story moment? Think about what activity your character is trying to do at this moment and what your current environment is. Again, this will help you determine the expression and body language for Step 3. Here's my example. I'm going to be drawing a little pixie. Her name is Cleo. She's feeling determined and cheerful. She's a very stylish and cute character. The story moment I'm going for is that she's gathering flowers and foliage in the forest to create a decorative arch for her house. Here are two more examples of my characters. As you can see from mine, the story doesn't have to be very complicated. But just having a little backstory for the character, you now have a much more compelling background to pull from when you start drawing. Now, it's your turn to answer these questions. Pause the video and jot down your answers. When you're done, we will move on to the next lesson about research and finding inspiration. 4. Research & Inspiration: Now that you have the story idea for your character, it's time to do some research and find inspiration. The first thing you want to do is expand on your character story by creating a mind-map or word list. This exercise will give you more keywords and ideas to search for when you are looking for references. In my example, my mind-map expanded on the action that Cleo could be doing. For example, holding flowers or sitting on a flower. Also her appearance, for example, maybe she'll have a hat. Next, let's look for some reference images. My favorite place to do this is on Pinterest. But you can also look at books, magazines, Google images, anywhere, really. Before you start doing research though, let's talk about the two different references you should look for. Inspiration and information. Let me explain the difference between this using my reference board. This is the reference board for my illustration. Let's take a closer look at the inspiration section. When you're looking at these references here, you probably notice that there are very few illustrations of pixies or fairies, although that's my character subject. This is intentional. When you're looking for inspiration, try to avoid looking at too many of the same subject drawn by another artist as you may be overly influenced and unintentionally copy what they did. Inspiration reference should consist of images that provide you inspiration of things like art style, color palette, and more texture rendering techniques. If we take a little look at mine. These ones at the bottom, these are potential color options, so you have more warm color tones here, something a little bit more green, something very funky with these neon colors. Then on here. I really liked this because it gives me the warm summer day that I really want my illustration to have and some other things here, just a really interesting colors and shapes that's being made by these artists here and on the corner, you can see that I do have two images of pixies and fairies, but these are vintage imagery and the style is so different from mine that I'm not worried about accidentally copying this style because it's so different. Sometimes your research for looking for inspiration as well could really spark for the idea that you may not have gotten until this point. For example, I really like this image of this girl in this ladybug costume. When I saw it, it just made me think, oh, maybe my character can have ladybug wings. It will be something different to your average fairy wings. It could be a little bit more interesting. Now, moving on to the right side of my reference board, this is where I collect information reference. These are images that provide specific information that you may need to draw something such as an expression, a pose, or an item that it's going to appear in your illustration. In the next two steps, we'll be talking more about poses, expressions, and accessories clothing. Be sure to look for those references. I know we are working on something magical and fantastical, so it will be very tempting to just draw from imagination, but having references will help you draw better because it becomes a way for you to understand how something looks like and you use that as a base before you then use your imagination to bring it further. With my character story example, her name is Cleo. She's the stylish little pixie who is gathering flowers. Looking at my information part here, I have various images of girls holding flowers, for example, but in different positions. This girl is looking back. This girl is also standing still holding flowers. This girl has a basket, and they all have slightly different expressions as well. While they're all smiling, it's all slightly different. It's just a way to really spark some idea. At the bottom here, these are outfit ideas that I think are quite interesting and it fits my story of her being quite fashionable, stylish little pixie, which I can use as a starting point. Now it's your turn to do research. When you're done, we'll move on to the next lesson where we talk a little bit more about poses and expressions and then we'll start sketching. See you there. 5. Expressions, Poses & Initial Sketch: Before we start sketching, let's talk about bringing your character to life through expressions and poses. Never keep your characters in a static pose. Even the slightest gesture and expression will breathe life into them. Let's look at some examples. Go back to your story idea and let's explore the emotion your character is feeling. For example, if they're sad, you can show this in multiple ways. Downcast eyes or a single tier trailing down. Also, think about body language. What would their pose be like while experiencing this emotion? Let's look at some examples to illustrate this further. Here are two characters I drew called Mochi and Mei. On the right-hand side here, they're standing still and they look fine, just not very interesting. But on the left, they are just so much more compelling because of the different facial expressions and poses. Now, taking a closer look at our illustration here, you can tell that made the fairly is up to something because she has a mischievous smile and she's trying to cover up her smile here. On the other hand, Mochi is not happy with her. Look at his body language. He has folded arms, he's tapping his foot, and the way his eyebrows and mouth is set gives you the impression that he's just not very happy with her. The middle illustration here gives you an example of how you can use features of the characters to enhance the emotion. Mochi here has really large ears. When he's having a really bad day here and he's not very happy, I've used his ears in making sure that it flops down here and it just really reinforces that he is sad. Pauses can be quite subtle or more dynamic like the one at the bottom here. Mei is laughing here and she could just be sitting down and just laughing. But by having her in this position where she's lying on the floor with her hand on the stomach, with her mouth wide open, and tears coming out of her eyes, you can really feel how hard she's laughing here. Now, let's look at a different example. This is a Halloween illustration that I did last year. The poses and expressions here are a little bit more subtle than the one on the left, but it still gives you enough of a storytelling element to the illustration. This witch on the left here, she looks like she's just really confused or very deep in thought. Because look at the way her eyebrows are and she's just looking at her book here with her hands on the chin, so she's probably deep in thought. Here, on the right, she's concentrating very hard with her tongue sticking out. I hope these examples help you think about how to incorporate posing and expressions on your character based on the story you came up for them. Remember, if you're not sure how to draw a specific emotion or pose, look for photo references because they will always be a really great way for you to learn how to do them. Now, let's do some drawing finally. See you there. Now, it's time to do some sketches. Before we start on that if you want to be able to see your reference on the side, one way you can do that if you've saved down your reference as an image is to go to "Settings", under the Canvas, turn your Reference on. Here, you can just import an image in there. I'm just going to import my reference board and put it more on the side. For the drawing brush, my favorite brush is the default 6B Pencil brush in Procreate, which you can find under the Sketching section. I use this brush a lot, and if you look under my favorites, you'll see that I've actually modified it in different ways that I can use it for different purposes. If you downloaded my brush style, you will get it in there, it's just the default brush, and I like to use it in a smoother line, and that's what the 6B Pencil smooth is. The only difference that you have between these two is that I've increased the streamline so that the pencil is smoother. If you want to do that yourself, just go into the "Pencil Brush" and you can just increase this so that you get a smoother drawing experience. At this point in the process, I encourage you to draw them small and draw as many as possible. The reason why I say to draw them smallest is that you won't get too precious about what they look like because at this point, you just want to lay down a few different ideas. We'll start refining the one that we like the most later on. I'm going to start drawing. I'm just going to think about maybe she's just standing here, maybe she's just holding a little basket of flowers. Maybe she's holding a bigger flower here as well. As you can see, this is not a very pretty sketch, but, we're just coming up with ideas. Or maybe she's trying to pick something like that. Let's look at my reference there is something here I like. I quite like this. It'll go here. Let's see. We're going to do something like this. She has that basket here, she is walking, and she's also carrying this. That's quite nice, but it's a little bit too static. But what about that one? That's a cute pose. She's looking at the front, she's got a hand just facing outwards. All right. Maybe she's dragging this little trolley here that's just filled with all the flowers that she's already gathered. If you remember when we looked at my work list earlier on, I had an idea as well that maybe she could be sitting on a giant flower, so could that be something good? We're going to have like a really big flower here. She just sitting down. She's reaching up to another flower, maybe. Now it's your turn, do a lot of sketches. But before that, let me quickly show you. These was some of the other sketches I've done before the classes. As you can see from here, it's very rough sketches, just like the one that I just did. They're all very rough. There's not a lot of detail in them. Just mainly getting the poses, getting the idea, and trying to see which one is my favorite. But I look at both of these, this is the one that I like the most. This one. This is the one that I'm going to refine. Enlarge this, and refine, and just make it a more clean sketch. We're going to start refining the sketch. From all of the different sketches, I did about 20, this was my favorite one. I've put them here and just enlarge it on the screen. I'm just going to draw over and add a little bit more detail. A quick tip if you are wondering how to make your characters look cuter. If you're going with each hall or toddler-size character, a good guidance to follow is to make your character height about two-and-a-half to three times the size of its head. Using this as an example, consider this is her head, and her body is basically about two-and-a-half. That already automatically makes it look quite cute. That's an easy tip if you want to try it yourself. Let's start drawing. I'm just going to draw it slightly more refined. I was debating with the hairstyle when I first came up with this, but I thought she's a pixie, so she's going to have a pixie hairstyle, really short. Draw her eyes. When it comes to the eyes, you can either just make them dot eyes like my original sketch here, or my own personal favorite is to actually, draw eyes that have visible white of eyes. This is very much a stylistic choice that you should make. But I would say that the reason why I prefer the eyes that shows the white is that it's actually a lot easier to show emotions. For example, if you're someone who's smiling widely, the way the cheeks will go up, and your eyes is going to get a little bit smaller. Then you can also play with the way the eyebrows fall against your eyes. These are slightly harder to show on these dot eyes, but really it's a stylistic decision that you should make. If you've been following my work for a while, you probably noticed that I have this thing about characters that are really tiny carrying giant things, or living among giant surroundings, is just something that I like. That's the beauty of doing magical characters. You can be imaginative and go a little bit more crazy, and fantastic always the ideas that's not going to seem very normal if you're drawing your everyday scene and character. The other thing I wanted to mention as well is that you've noticed that my idea, in the end, wasn't really that dramatic. She doesn't have a very dramatic or dynamic pause. Really, it's quite subtle. She's just, I suppose, walking with purpose as she's carrying this giant flower that she has found. That's fine. You don't always have to make everything look very dramatic. It depends on what you are trying to show. Obviously, if your character story is they are doing something like they're fighting a dragon or they're often on a quest or something like that, then the pose might need to be something a little bit more dynamic. But mine, she's just walking around and she's collecting flowers. It's a pretty normal pose. She's not going to be doing anything too crazy. But you could just really experiment. I'm going to just keep repeating this process, and keep redrawing it until I come to a much cleaner sketch. I'll come back and show you the final sketch that I've done. This is the final sketch that actually I'm going with. You notice that it's not a super clean sketch. This is just because that's the way I draw. I tend to clean it up a lot when I'm actually doing the color in detail. But if you're someone who likes to draw in really clean sketch where you don't have all of these feathery lines and things overlapping, feel free to do it your way. I've basically just refined a little bit of how her expression and her posing is. I've decided to make the flower bigger. It's just curving here. There's a little bud here because it made me think, I want it to look quite magical. Maybe this bud seems glowing or something like that. We'll see when we start to do the color. But that's where I've got to. I hope you've done your sketches here as well. We will shortly be moving on to the next lesson when we're going to be talking about adding more personality to your character by adding clothing and accessories. See you there. 6. Dressing Your Character: [MUSIC] Think about your character as an actor in a phone, and get clothing and accessories as costumes that support the story you're trying to tell. As this is symmetrical character, you can be as imaginative as you like for the clothing and accessories. Think about what your character is doing that may inform their clothing and accessory choices. How will their clothes affect their movement? Get inspiration from children fashion magazines or just even natural elements like leaves, flowers, trees, the sky's the limit here. Now let's start sketching our fit choices for our character. Now we are at my favorite part of the character illustration process actually, which is coming out with fashion choices for our character. I would suggest that you leave your sketch in its own layer and come up with additional leaves, like I've done here. I come up with four because I want to do four different choices and select a color that's contrasting. The reason why I asked you to do this is so that you don't draw on your original layer, and it's going to be very difficult to keep erasing and redrawing when you do that. By doing this, you're not destroying your original layer. That's half of the thing. Let's maybe look at my wood board again. Let's bring the basket back in. Let's say she is carrying these we call basket and this is just lots of flowers. If the basket is going to be covering most of her dress, I might just leave her dress quite simple and just leave it there and maybe give her something on her hair instead like a little flower clown maybe. This is option 1, very simple nothing too dramatic here. Let's see number 2. I really like these girl's hairstyle and this thing here. Maybe no pixie. Let's give her this giant, blobby, great thing that's quite cute. When I look at this image here, I don't know why, but I guess this is [LAUGHTER] how my mind works. I look at this berret, this head here and I'm just thinking, oh, it's almost like it's a little hat she's wearing. There's like a life head if you have mushrooms, maybe. [LAUGHTER] Mushroom and little flowers and just little things growing out of it. Could be, a mushroom for this three. Something silly like that. This one. Maybe she has even more floral leafy elements in this outfit. She's very inspired by nature. That's an option. Let's try the third one. You see that I'm referencing my reference board a lot. You don't have to do this, you can be very imaginative and just completely create what you want. But sometimes it's quite helpful to have something as a base and then you can just expand on it. I really love this dress. How about this one? Maybe it's going to be like a darker color. We can split out the two things, almost just like little flowers or just something like that. So far we haven't given any of the options. She hasn't had any wing. She doesn't have to have wings, but let's see. Let's give her wings here. Let's give her fairy wings. I'm still thinking about that little mushroom head. [LAUGHTER] Let's give her some hair decoration, some hair accessories that's has mushrooms on it. [LAUGHTER] That's one option. Oh, remember earlier on we were looking at my reference board, I was talking about this girl with this Halloween costume with ladybug, and I really liked that idea. How about we do that here for our four options. She's going to have a fairly wing, but it's also like a ladybug style. Then she's going to have this little ladybug piece in like that. I think that's quite cute. Maybe the dress is just going to be, almost just have all these set of ruffles. Set of ruffles or maybe leafy ruffles, if that makes sense. Yes. Here you can see, I came up with four different options. You can just do the same. Come up with more options as many as you like, and then just select the one [MUSIC] that you like most. I think my favorite is this one so I'm going to use this one as a base. Yeah, I think that's the one I'm going to go with. 7. Colour Thumbnails: We now have a final character drawing and it's time to finalize it with color and texture. Before deciding on the final color palette of my illustration, I like to do a few quick color thumbnails, which I will show you. I've done some of them in advance. Color thumbnails are a great way for you to explore different colorways and also check the contrast and harmony before deciding on the final color. Doing this in advance will save you a lot more time than trying to work out colors of the individual elements of illustration as you're doing it. How I do it is I just pick a few different colors that I like and I just roughly color over my sketch and then I just repeat the process a couple more times. As you can see from here, I tend to come up with a pellet of 4-8 colors, which includes tints and shades of the base colors. For example, these light blues here are basically just lightened versions of the navy, same thing with these yellows and the greens here. I would caution that you try not to use more than 8-10 colors because it gets really difficult to create harmonious schemes and the colors may look a little bit muddy if you have too many of them. The way I come up with color schemes is quite intuitive and it usually is based on colors that I like or the boot that I'm trying to evoke in my drawing rather than following specific color theories. If you struggle with developing your own color palettes, this is where the research comes in handy. If I just take a look at my reference board again. For example, these bits at the bottom, these are examples of color palettes that you can quite easily find on Pinterest and online. They can be a very good starting point if you're not as good as coming up with your own color schemes. Another way, as well is to look at how someone else uses colors in their illustration. You can pick and choose the colors here and try to use it as a base and maybe expand on it, or just change the tints the shades and it may give you a new combination. Color is an effective way to communicate feelings and mood. Think about why you're choosing a color and how it can help your character look and feel a certain way. You may have already heard of the psychological associations with colors. For example, purple tends to be more magical and mysterious, whereas reds are more energetic and powerful. Looking at my examples here, the one in the middle with this blue and pink, probably it gives you a more mystical feeling than the other two. However, when I look at all of this three, I am going to go with the one on the left because it's my favorite and it also matches the story that I was going for, and how I wanted it to look was it's going to be something like a sunny, warm day in the middle. The colors here just evokes more of that feeling that the other two, and that's the one I'm going to go with. 8. Procreate Brushes to Use: Before we start doing color, let me quickly show you the brushes I'll be using in this section. Except for one custom brush, all the other brushes are default brushes. You can download just that one custom brush or the full set of brushes if you don't want to look for them yourself in all the different folders. But let's go through them now. The first one is the 6B pencil, which is in the sketching section. This is my favorite pencil, and it basically behaves like a pencil. So you can have these really lovely color pencil effect. Because it does behave like a real pencil, when you tilt it in a different way, you get a different texture, which is really nice. The next brush is my slightly adjusted version of the 6B pencil. I call 6B pencil smooth. I wouldn't recommend this for filling in colors. Instead, use it for line work when you just want a really smooth lines. That's what it's for. The next brush is dry ink, which you can find in the inking section. Again, this is really good for line work, but what I like to use it for mainly is actually to fill in a color. You draw that line and then you just call a drop in there. Just get this nice little edge. You may notice that sometimes it's not the cleanest edge on the side and you can just fill it in with maybe a pencil brush if you just want to make it really smooth. So this is a stylistic choice. If you are someone who like really clean and crisp edges on your illustration, you could use a different brush or even this selection tool that for example, using this free hand here you draw this in and you would just fill that and you can see the difference here. This is a really clean edge, and this is more textural. So I personally prefer this way just because I like my work to have a more handmade, textured look. But again, it's a stylistic choice that you should make. The next brush is the shale brush, and this is under calligraphy. Another really good brush for line work. You can have a lot of effect depending on how thick the brush is, and when it's really thick, you can just see how you have all of this effect here is just really lovely. The next one is the custom brush that I created called the pastel shader. I use this mainly to add texture and shading. You can also use it to fill in large areas of color. If you want a little bit more of a textured look rather than a solid thing. These next two brushes, I'm not entirely sure yet if I will use it in this illustration, but I do use them very often for different reasons. I thought I would include them here and tell you about them. So the next one, artist crayon, you can find these in the sketching section. This has a really lovely texture. It's very grungy. So you can use it for different areas when you're just shading and you just want this more heavy grunge texture. I like to use it for things like the tree bark, for example, you just want this rather than having it so smooth, it's just like a really nice effect. Finally, the noise brush, which you can find under Materials. This just gives you a really nice, little noise effect, can be a circle if you want bigger. These are the brushes. 9. Adding Colour & Texture: [MUSIC] Let's start adding color to our illustration. I have my favorite color thumbnail left on the left side here in a smaller size so that it's easy for me to refer to and also pick the colors. Going to my base layer, I'm just going to change the layer mode to multiply and then reduce the opacity down. We're still visible but it's going to interfere too much with the color selection. Going onto the new layer, I'm going to make sure I have the right brush selected. In this case is dry ink, the right color, the skin, and then I'm just going to start filling in the shapes. This is my least favorite part of the process just because it is so mundane. But at this point, that's when I always have some music on or podcasts or just something interesting to keep me motivated when I'm doing this. When I'm erasing my lines, I like to try to keep it with the same brush that I'm using to draw. In this case, when I'm drawing using the dry ink, I still make sure that it's erasing using dry ink. A very quick way to make sure that it's the same is that when you have dry ink selected here in your painting and you want to erase something, you just hold the erase brush and it will select the last brush that you were using while you're painting. I'm going to go down to one layer below and start drawing the other parts of the body. I tend to work in a lot of the layers just because I find it easier to texture in that way and it's also a lot easier when I have to make corrections and color changes that clients requests for. But it's up to you if you want to work in layers, that's up to you. But I definitely recommend it, especially if you are going to add a lot of texturing and patterns and it's easy to just make changes. That's the skin tone done and now let's do the hair. I probably I'm not going to let you watch this whole thing in real time because it would just be so really boring. I'll either speed this up or just jump straight onto the end when I've had all the flat colors leading and we're going to start doing some texturing in detail. [MUSIC] You see here, the dress is actually overlapping the hand. A very quick way to just erase that part is I go to the layer where the hand moves and I'm just going to click "Select", then go back to my dress layer. I'm just going to take a bigger brush, maybe that one and I'm just going to erase it. As you remember I said earlier about how I like to do the color thumbnails in advance and this is what I mean. When it comes to this coloring process here, it's just so much easier because you're not now trying to decide does this color go with this, is the harmony right right then you're going to be switching it around. It's just a lot of effort and at this point, you're just picking colors and you're just filling in shapes. I'm going to keep doing this and I'll come back with all the flat colors done and then let's continue to talk more about how we're going to add more life and texture to it. Now I have all the flat colors already put down on this piece, so it's time to start adding some details and texture just to really finish this off. Before I do that, I try to be as organized as possible. As you can see here, I have two groups of layers. The bottom group is where the fairy character is and then the flower on the top. The first thing I want to do at this point is to add a little bit of the linework detail onto her features and her limbs just to make it very clear the separation between things like for example head and neck or her limbs. Let's do that. I'm going to use the 6P pencil smooth here. Let's just do that. When I'm doing this, I usually just think about where things are overlapping each other that I need some definition and also where there's probably a darker area where its light not hitting it. For example, this area below the hairline is probably a little bit darker. Let's turn off the sketch layer and see what it looks like. We're going to look at the layer where it's just mainly her skin and this hand in the front. A very easy way to do shading quickly is to use a clipping mask. If you're not familiar with how clipping mask works, it's basically just whatever that you draw in this layer that's clipped. It will be clipped to the previous layer, so it will only appear in that layer. Let me just take a very different color to show you. Because it's a clipping mask, it only affects the layer that it's being clipped too. But if I remove that clipping mask, you'll see they actually extends beyond that. That's what a clipping mask does. I'm going to use my pastel shader for most of all of this light shading. I'm going to pick the same color at the skin tone here and a very easy way to determine the color that will work quite well when you're shading is to use the same color but change your layer mode to multiply. We're going to leave it at 100 percent for now. It's probably a bit too dark, but we can adjust it later on. Having the pastel shader brush, I'm just going to increase it and I'm just going to add a little bit of shading here. It's probably too big. Let me reduce it. I'm just shading below the hairline because that's where there will be a little bit more of a shadowing. Let's do that and here going closer to this leaf. I'm just going to repeat that on the other layers of her skin. [MUSIC] I always like to add a little bit of blush on my character so let's just try it here. I'm still using the same brush. A little bit of a blush there. 10. More Textures & Shadows: [MUSIC] Let's now do the texturing on the hair. So the hair is quite a large area and I want it to have a little bit more linebook so that it shows movement. So what I'm going to do is create another layer. I'm going to sample this brown color here just because I think if I keep with the pink, it's going to look a little bit too red. Using the six piece smooth pencil. I'll come back to that. I actually think that I should probably add another layer. This time, I'm going to use the same pink and I'm going to use the artist crayon and just make it really small. So let's see now, there's some really nice texture on the hair. So let's go back to redoing those definition lines again. This is just the way the style of my rendering, which you don't have to follow. It's just I'm just showing you how I do a lot of my shading and texturing. So obviously, do it your own style. Or if you're still trying to discover your style, you can follow mine just for inspiration, but I always encourage that you do a lot of experimentation and do lots of different illustrations, trying out different ways of rendering and you'll eventually find a style that works for you. [MUSIC] I'm going to leave the hair for now. I might come back to it later. Let's do something with the dress. [MUSIC] Instead of using multicolor this time, I'm just going to pick the green color here, and just try and manually go to a slightly darker color and try to just add some line work just using the normal layer mode. [inaudible] the base sketch again, just to give us a bit of a reference. I just wanted to have this almost like leafy. I'm actually going to turn off the clipping mask because it's very unnatural if the ruffles stay within the confines of the dress. So just turn it off so that I can actually draw beyond it. [MUSIC] The important thing at this step is to just have fun, try out different techniques and see what it looks like and you sometimes discover new ways of working. [MUSIC] Whenever I do all this thing, I do a lot of just little fun detailing which I think will be quite cute to look at. So for example, let's say her wing is attached here with a little ribbon. Because, why not? We decided to go back to the original dress layer and just slightly adjust the shape because it seems strange if it's just a straight, the bottom is just completely straight when it's supposed to have this leafy texture, so let's just make it a little bit more natural. [MUSIC] I am looking at this piece, not just the character itself, and is there anything that I feel still needs work. What I can tell you is that the hair just doesn't work, so let's just make a little bit more changes to that. Also, the areas where the light is definitely hidden, there should be some stronger shadows. So for example, these areas where it's right below the sleeve and the dress. So we'll add a little bit more shadowing there. But let's work on the hair first. I'm going to go back to multiply. [MUSIC] Let's work on the shadows. Usually, when you're doing shadows, I would recommend that you look at a bluish or purplish tone. So I'm going to use purple just because it would probably go better with a lot of these reddish tones. [MUSIC] You can see this is a bit too obvious. Let's use the smudge tool and we'll just smudge it to soften the shadows a bit. We're just going to reduce the opacity, so it's not so intense. I'm going to repeat that as well on the other layer with the head and the hand in the front. [MUSIC] I think we can leave our fairy for now and we'll come back to it and let's work on the flower. 11. Experimenting with Details: Now I have the flower group of layers turned back on, so the first thing we want to do here is you notice that the way the hand is hidden behind the plant, and that's wrong. You could just go into the flower layer and just start erasing, but I would always prefer to do it as a mask. The reason for doing that is so that you're not destroying this original layer for the stock, because if later down the line, you decided to change the position of the head, you're going to have to redraw and fill in those areas that you've erased. What you can do here is go into this stock layer here which is overlapping with the hand. I would just click on it and then click ''Mask.'' In Mask, go to Eraser and pick a small brush, in this case, I'll just take the 6B Pencil and then I'm just going to erase where the hand should actually come out in front. I'll do that for both hands. This is where the thumb should come. Let's do some shading. I'm going to use the artist crayon here because I like having a little bit more texture when it comes to plants. [MUSIC] As you can see, I'm just pretty much repeating the same process again from when we were working on the fairy. It's just multiple different layers of adjustments always starting with just the base shading first and then adding some line work for a bit more detail. Now, if you remember from earlier on when I first finished the initial sketch, I was talking about how I might turn this little flower bud here into some kind of a glowing orb. Let's try and give that a go. A new layer below that. Go back to that yellow. I'm going to use my shader brush and just lightly add that thing. It's almost like this. It's a glow. When you want to have lighting effects normally, you can just have take a look and just experiment with all of these different layer modes. For example, here's a hard light, pin light. I'm thinking hard light might be a possible option because it has that bright glow here, so it's a little bit more interesting. Then we will go back to the flower layer. Let's add another layer. Let's try hard light and see what it looks like. Let's lighten it a bit so that it's a little bit more intense. It's going to have a little bit more of a shiny. I think we are actually almost there. I'm just going to take a look at this and see is there anything that's really bugging me that I feel like it needs improvement. To be honest, I could go on and redo this all day long, but we do want to actually finish this illustration, so I'm not going to be too pedantic about it. I think the plant looks fine. I will probably go back and do a little bit more adjustment on [inaudible] my fairy instead. I'm just going to do that and then I'll split this section up and then we'll come back and I will talk about how to add a little bit of lighting to give you a little bit more of a magical glowing feeling. I'll see you in a bit. [MUSIC] 12. Adding the Magic: [MUSIC] Right now we're pretty much done with the illustration but I want to add a little bit of a glow onto the fairy just to show where the light is hitting her from the going up here. Because Cleo has so many layers, it will just be quite difficult to have to go into all these different layers to add that light effects. What we'll do is actually duplicate her as one single layer itself. How we can do that very quickly is just hide all the layers that's not her including the background. You should see this transparent background. Then use three fingers and swipe it down and you should see that and just click "Copy All". Then let's go up there and we're going to do the same thing again, three fingers down and do Paste. Now you can see that she's coming out as a single layer. Now we can just hide the group here. You could also just flatten your whole layer but I rather not do that because I prefer to still have all of these saved as a backup if I need to make any more changes later on. Let's just turn back all the other layers now. I just name this Cleo flattened. Now we can just create a new layer that we clip against her and we can start doing the lighting effect. I'm going to select that yellow. Let's try using the hard light layer style again, which we did for that glowing effect. I'm not going to go into too much theory about lighting because it's a very complex subject, but so we're just going to do something that is very basic. We're just seeing here that how this light is hitting her here. There should be a little bit more of brightness in this part of her face and her hair because it's so close to the light source. Let's just try and do it and see what it looks like. I'm just going to lightly shade it. This step is absolutely not necessary. I just always like to add a little bit of lighting because I feel like it gives it a bit more of a glowy, magical feel and it's quite nice. [MUSIC] If I turn it off and turn it on again, that's just a very slight lighting. It's going on there. Maybe you want to do the same with the flowers, where things are in these areas that they actually hit the leaf. Maybe it should be a little bit brighter, so we don't need to flatten this because we know it's just a leaf and this is actually ready on its own layer. Let's just create a clipping mask of where the leaf is and I'm going to go over to overlay. I think we're done. You can just continue and add a little bit more effects to it if you want but I think, for now, we're done. I'm quite happy with this and honestly, if I don't stop now, I can just continue doing this for hours on end. [MUSIC] There you have it, the final illustration is done. Don't forget to upload your work in the Projects Tab, so keep that for me and your fellow classmates. Next, join me in the final video of this class where we do a quick recap and explain the next steps today. 13. Recap & Final Thoughts: Congratulations on completing this class and illustrating your own magical character. If you're not 100 percent happy with your character yet, just remember that you will get better with practice. You've taken the hardest step by finishing this class, so keep going on illustrating your characters with this process and I promise you will see improvement with every new one you draw. Let's do a quick recap about the process we've gone through together. First, we started with storytelling by coming up with a short character story. Then we expanded on our story and start doing research and finding inspiration for our character design. Next, we start drawing and incorporate expressions and poses to bring our character to life. We then move on to add more personality by dressing and accessorizing our character and finally, we finished illustration with color and enhance with texture and details. I hope you've enjoyed this class. Please leave a review I would love to hear your thoughts. If you'd like more advice and tutorials about the crop and business of illustration please join my curiouszhi letters list for follow-up emails and free resources. You'll also be the first to hear when I create new classes. Finally, don't forget to upload your art in the class project tab and share them with me and your fellow classmates. If you're your work on Instagram or Twitter use the #curiouszhiclass and tag me. I can't wait to see your lovely characters. Thank you again for joining me in this class. Bye.