One Approach to Concept Art, by Ricky

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Hello, I’m Ricky and today I want to share some tips about concept art. There are many different ways to do it, from the beginning to the final piece, and mindset can help a lot in the process. I’m learning about this subject too, hope these tips can help you in some way.

To me, the first and most important thing is freedom. Don’t put pressure on yourself to make something great in every drawing. There are many situations where our drawings ended up very different of what we wanted and that is ok! You will surprise yourself if you continue to do it and let it flow. So, let’s learn together, are you ready?!


The size of your document, at this point, it really doesn’t matter, because it can be changed later. So, I usually roll with an A5 Size, 300 dpi to every new document that I create. You can choose the size that fits you better and it doesn’t need 300 dpi. It can be 72.

About brushes, when I’m sketching, I like to do it really loose and texture brushes are great to this! Here some examples of brushes. You can find them on sites, like deviantart, and in the clipstudio library. Try search for “clipstudio brushes” on your browser.

Using the Marquee tool, you’ll be able to define a specific space on your canvas. The idea behind this is mimic a full-page illustration, but on a small size. It can be on vertical too. In fact, you can use any shape you want. Today, we are going to stick with a rectangular one. After making the shape, fill the space using the paint bucket tool or a brush. I like to use the shortcut ALT + TAB. It fills with the color on the foreground.

You can fill your entire canvas with copies of the rectangular shape, if you want, and do a different drawing on each one. For now, I’m going to stick around with one, because I want to show one way to build a composition.

We are almost ready to start our drawing!! Only two things to keep in mind! The First one is the Navigator window. You can enlarge it by clicking and dragging the menu down. When I’m painting, I alternate my focus between the canvas and the navigator. If it looks nice on a small size, it can be great on the larger canvas!


The Second, and last, thing to keep an eye on is Clipping Mask and Locked Transparency. These are two ways to don’t let your drawing get away from the initial shape that you built. In my case, the rectangle. Clipping masks are layers above your shape that can receive different elements and filters. Locked Transparency is almost the same, but on the same layer. In both cases, you won’t be able to paint outside the shape.

So finally, drawing time!! (yay lol) From the medium tone, you will add a darker one and a lighter as well. Try to avoid going to deep on black or white. You will stablish a pattern of dark, medium and lighter. Keep your mind clear at this point. Let it flow. Don’t worry about what you are drawing, just think about shapes.

Now is the funny part. You will start to make these isolated areas infiltrate on each other. At this point, some shapes will start resemble objects, like trees, clouds and mountains. I didn’t have anything in my mind when I was making this drawing. Use references! They can help a lot!! I’ll link some short clips, so you can watch the process in video too.

To me, this is the most amazing thing that happens when you’re sketching something that you don’t know exactly what it is. By allowing yourself to have more freedom while drawing, and controlling the blend between tones, your piece will start to tell you the next step. I try to avoid undo and redo in this stage. There’s no right or wrong here. Just shapes.

As the image takes form, I start applying more tones. Don’t be afraid to use brushes. They are digital representations of the real world and can help as you go through your drawings. Many of the digital art tricks do exist on traditional art, like masks, brushes and even undo oO.

This technique works for objects and characters too. You can put your initial tones wherever you like and the amount of each tone will give you a hint if the final image will be darker or lighter.

You can play with Tonal Corrections, by going through these steps: Edit – Tonal Correction. There are a lot of options here. I’m using Brightness and Contrast. You can see the difference between the images and this is one of the reasons to keep our tones away from the too dark or too light ones.

From a gray image, it is a little easier to add colors. You can use clipping mask at this stage if you want. Play with the layer modes, because they can interact with each other. It’s very helpful. My favorites are: Multiply, Color Dodge, Add Glow, Overlay, Color and Linear Light, but don’t keep yourself chained to them. Try mixing :)

On the beginning of this tip, we talked about making copies of the rectangular shape. I did one here to test different colors on it. The tonal correction used is Hue Saturation. Crtl + U

And there you have it! I hope this tip helps you to do your own art and always remember to keep a positive attitude. You will get better as you move and I hope to improve myself too. Feel free to leave a comment and share with your friends. Hope you have a wonderful day, see you later :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmzQ_RBhQfs

Oh, by the way, here it is the video showing the process :)
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