4. Painting: From the Background to the Foreground (2)

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[1] Painting the riverbank

■ Roughly drawing


I use the [Round Brush] set at an opacity of 60%~70% and paint the stones and grass on both sides of the river.


It is challenging to paint clear, defined stones and grass shapes all while keeping them balanced in the image.

The foreground scenery is being hit by light, but if I overdraw the details around the bridge, it will no longer stand out, so instead of detailing each part, I draw detailed stones and blades of grass here and there.


Keeping in mind how the light is hitting the grass, I paint all of the stone's shadows that are lying about near the river.

As for the grass, I draw several kinds to avoid monotony.


I also vary the stones in both size and placement so that they don't become linear.


I will paint the finishing touches later, at this stage, I continue to pin down the overall image.



■ Finishing the foliage


Now that the riverbank has been fleshed out, I will begin adding its finishing details.

Since the division line between stone and grass looked too uniform, I painted some stones into the grass so it would feel more natural.


Drawing foliage one by one helps enhance the contrast between light and shadow, but it is risky because overdrawing it can also drastically change the final outcome of the illustration. For this reason, I suggest blending the grass in the surroundings instead of drawing it with precision.


Once I've drawn in the majority of the details, I add some highlights here and there on the leaves and stones and do an overall image check.


[2] Finishing Touches

■ Foreground grass detailing


Here I put the finishing touches on the grass in the foreground. The grass is not a central focal point of the image, so I just roughly draw it in.

The light source here is diffused light from the sky so I paint with a pale blue-white color the parts hit by the sunlight.


Like with the grass by the river, I draw both round and elongated leaves randomly so that the grass does not become monotonous.

Instead of relying on imagination, I refer to photo references in order to add a sense of authenticity.



■ Water surface detailing


I finished drawing the river bank so now I will add the finishing details to the river's surface.

The surface is mostly finished, so at this point, I just add a bit of fluctuation where needed and some water splashes where the ground level deviates.


If you overdraw on the water's surface, you lose a sense of transparency, so in this area, it's better to leverage the underpainting.

In this case, you might want to make any additions on a separate layer until you get the hang of it. This way you can easily make adjustments such as erasing if you do overdraw.


[3] Painting the bridge

I will now paint the bridge I skipped over earlier. First, I finish up the underpainting.


With the [Round Brush] set to about 30% opacity, I apply browns and whites to add more variation to the stones of the bridge.

If any of the stones seem to float on the page, use the [Eyedropper] tool to pick up neighboring colors and blend them into the stone's color. Doing this helps to cement them to their surroundings.

*Blending procedures for the underpainting can be seen in Part 2, No.4 of this tutorial.


After finishing the underpainting, I paint the gaps between the stones. With the [Eyedropper] tool, I pick a color for the shadows, set the opacity of the [Round Brush] to 50%, and trace the stone's lines.

Again, to avoid creating monotony, here and there I draw some of the stones popping out a little, having large gaps between them and so on.


For details, I reference photographs.

I usually color everything pale when I begin a painting, and then deepen the shadows and colors as I go while keeping an eye on the overall image.

I like to paint masonry and bricks, more than anything, so I paint the gaps between each of the stones, but if you think that is too troublesome, you can apply textures or use [Materials] instead. Choose whatever method you enjoy most as it’s important to have fun while painting.


After coloring the gaps and shadows, I then add highlights.

To emphasize the uneven surface of the stones, I highlight them sparingly.

As always, I go back and check the whole image to decide where to place the highlights.


I have completed painting the bridge.


Next time, we will begin the finishing process.

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