1. Making a Rough Draft



▼This is my finished illustration.

・ Artist profile: siro


I am a freelance illustrator mainly for social games, card illustrations, and book illustrations. I love fantasy and fairy tale motifs.

[1] Making a rough draft

I wanted to create a fantasy-themed illustration, and I was inspired by the famous classical symphonic poem called “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Paul Dukas.

(1) Create a layer for rough sketching. When sketching, I decide what kind of background and characters I want to draw, and I draw as many things as I can think of without worrying about drawing well.

(2) Once I’ve decided the basic composition, I duplicate the sketch layer and separate the sketch into an “apprentice” layer and a “background” layer.

▼ To duplicate a layer, right-click the sketch layer and select [Duplicate Layer] from the pop-up menu. You can double-click the duplicated layer’s name to rename it. You can also drag the layers within the palette to change the layer order.

(3) I use the eraser tool and layer masks to delete any unnecessary parts on the “apprentice” and “background” layers. I don’t need the original sketch layer anymore, so I click the eye icon on the left side of the [Layer] palette to hide the layer.

▼ Layer masks hide some or all parts of a layer.

Note: Read the following TIPS article to learn how to use layer masks.


(4) I sometimes change the [Layer color] or opacity of the sketch layers, depending on what I am doing.

① You can change the opacity of a layer at the top of the [Layer] palette.

② You can change the [Layer color] by going to the [Layer property] palette > [Effect].

[2] Setting up the perspective ruler

As this is a fantasy-themed illustration, I decided to use a perspective ruler to add a slightly unrealistic fish-eye effect.

The fish-eye perspective makes the image appear as if it’s bulging forward, and will help to emphasize the chaotic atmosphere of the room created by magic.

I prioritize the overall impression when making the sketch, so I draw a rough version of what I want and then add the perspective ruler later.

(1) I select the [Layer] menu > [Ruler - Frame] > [Create Perspective Ruler] > [3 points perspective], and draw the perspective ruler on the canvas.

Note: Read to the following TIPS article to learn how to use perspective rulers.


(2) I use the [Object] tool to adjust the location of the eye level and vanishing points of the perspective ruler.

I need to use several vanishing points for this illustration, so I add more using the right-click context menu.

I make sure not to delete the perspective ruler until I’ve finished all of my line art.

▼ I select the perspective ruler with the [Object] tool and right-click the canvas to display the context menu.

(3) I draw the foundation lines for the background while snapping to the perspective ruler.

I want a dynamic composition, so I use an exaggerated perspective even if it is slightly unrealistic.

▼ To snap to a perspective ruler with a drawing tool such as a pen or brush, go to the [View] menu and turn on [Snap to Special Ruler], click the [Snap to Special Ruler] icon on the command bar.

(4) After I’ve finished drawing with the perspective ruler, I hide the ruler so that it doesn’t get in the way. To hide a ruler on a layer, right-click the ruler icon and turn off [Show Ruler] in the context menu.

[3] Creating a 3D effect

I’m not very good at line art, so I use grisaille painting to paint in monochrome and check the overall design before I draw the line art from the sketch.

Grisaille painting is a technique of creating a three-dimensional effect by painting in a single color such as gray or brown.

It’s easier to drawn the line art when the shapes are clear, so I recommend this method for people who aren’t so good at line art.

I make a fill layer in brown and place it below the sketch layers, then set the blending mode of the sketch layers and grisaille layers to [Multiply].

▼ You can change the blending mode by changing the option in this red box at the top of the [Layer] palette while selecting the layer.

The [Multiply] blending mode multiplies the color of the layer with the layers below.

Note: To learn more about layer blending modes, refer to the following TIPS.


As the last step of the draft, I put all of the draft layers in a single layer folder.

To make inking easier, I reduce the opacity of the layers in the layer folder, and change the [Layer color] to a light blue.

To make the layer folder, I click the “New Layer Folder” icon at the bottom of the Layer palette.

Then, I drag all my draft layers inside the folder.

Now I’ve finished making the rough draft.


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