Hello, my name is Figaro and I will show you my process to illuminate and color a character, in this case a creature with feathers!
1. The Creature (sketch)
To give color first we will need a creature, we make sketches until we find the shape that we like the most.
Use anatomical references of animals and humans and look at their form and mix them to get something original and fantastic but at the same time it must be credible.
Try to be as clean as possible and use the layers to preserve the parts that you like, if you want when you are satisfied with the result, combine them in a single layer.
The background darkens a little, this will make the background more neutral and there is not so much contrast, everything will be more organic.
It is convenient to use a pencil tool to make the sketch since it facilitates the process of shaping our creature
Make more than one sketch and try other things, postures, etc ... until you find the one you like best
I have a clear posture but something is still missing, it needs wings.
Finally we make our choice and put an element where our creature is supported and at the same time give us information about her, such as where she lives, what she eats, or what she likes to do.
We chose the real color that our creature would have if there were no lights or shadows, that is, imagine that your creature was a figure and tried to cover it with a spray. If you think of lights and shadows this will only confuse you, focus only on the color.
To do this, use a layer below where your sketch is located. Be as clean and tidy as possible.
In this way we will continue to see the pencil line at all times and this will not deviate from the original drawing.
Choose a brush that helps you cover the surface without leaving any unpainted spaces so that it is as uniform as possible
One trick I do is point all the colors that I am using next to the area that I am painting, this will make you go faster when using the "dropper" tool.
Do not worry about the appearance, use an extra layer to make these color notes and then erase them when you are interested.
You can take advantage to correct the shape and proportion if you don't like it after all
3. light and shape
This step is the decisive one, the one that makes the difference and the one that requires the greatest skill.
It is about shaping through light and color, and success will depend on your abilities, if you have done the anatomy duties well this will be much easier, since you will not have to correct erroneous forms in your process all the time
First we need the right tool, in this case I use this configuration.
It is very important that now the brush has texture and that we like the effect to feel comfortable with it, personalizing the pressure of the brush, the tip, texture inclination, etc,
Select the area to not get out of the way!
Before giving light and shadow, mark the colors you are going to use.
Create your own color palette from the color you have previously painted leaving it in the center of the palette this will help you make a mistake with the colors.
Use the "color mixing" tool to mix, degrade and shape the light and shadow as if it were oil, so it will be more organic.
It is interesting that the "mix color" tool also has texture, otherwise the shapes will lose sharpness and texture, giving the impression that everything was out of focus.
Go creating the volume of your creature as detailed as possible, let your imagination fly.
What helps me most is to put the shadows first and then the lights as you will see better explained in a video at the end of the tutorial.
4. Tutorial Video
Here I leave the video technique so that the process of adding color is interspersed much better with the "mix color" tool.