If you want to follow my process you can download the sketch from the link below:
0. QUICK DESIGN TIPS
Here are some tips for designing an original fantasy creature:
-- Pick at least 3 animals (or plants) as your foundation to create a brand new creature. Why 3 and not 2? Because there are already a lot of fantasy creature that created by combining only 2 animals (or plants). Pegasus, Unicorn, Mermaid, etc. So if you want a brand new one starts with at least 3 animals (or plants). In this tutorial I pick cat, spider, and scorpion as my foundation at the beginning.
-- Combining some animals (or plants) who have different behavior/character/appearance will end up with a unique creature. Yet, combining some animals (or plants) who have similar behavior/character/appearance will strengthen their characters. In this tutorial I pick some animals who have different characters. Cat with its cuteness then spider and scorpion with their creepiness.
-- Designing process is fun if you've already chose the 3 animals (or plants) at the beginning. The simple way is by adding, removing and combining their body part. As you can see on my design I decided to replace the cat legs with spider legs and replace its tail with scorpion tail.
1. BLOCKING THE FORM
Blocking the form or silhouette at the beginning will make the painting process easier later on. The tool I use for blocking is DEFAULT G-PEN.
DEFAULT G-PEN has a unique and perfect tip to represent the fur form.
I decided to separate the form into 3 layers. The first one is for the head, torso and right legs.
The second one is for the left legs.
The third one is for the tail.
Now, change Sketch layer blending mode to Overlay and bring down the opacity to 25.
Make Folder Layer for each body part. Layer management will help us for the next process.
Now click the Head-Torso layer and turn on Lock Transparent Pixel. After this we're going to shade the silhouette.
For the brush I choose DEFAULT OPAQUE WATERCOLOR. This brush may be hard to use for the first time, but its dynamism gives us a nice shade texture.
Here is the process. I decided that the light source come from top right corner. So the bottom left of the body part will be darken.
Do the same for the Tail layer and the Left Legs layer.
2. PAINTING FUR
Now we're ready to paint the stylized fur.
First thing first, create new layer above the base layer (Head-Torso layer) and turn on Clip at Layer Below. This will be the layer for the fur.
I found out that DEFAULT WATERY is the best brush to paint stylized fur.
Start from the edges so we can keep a track of the fur direction.
I decided to separate the layer for the head and the torso.
The result will be look like this.
Repeat the process for Tail layer and Left Legs layer.
I create one more layer for blocking the eyes and the teeth.
Create new layer, put it on the bottom and fill it with 50% grey color.
Now create new Folder Layer and put all the body part painting layer inside it. Remember to not put the sketch layer inside. Let the sketch layer outside the Folder Layer. We name it Painting layer.
Click Sketch layer and turn on Lock Transparent Pixel.
Now we're going to start to add the color. First right click on Sketch layer. Choose Gradient Map.
Adjust the gradient similar to this.
Now turn on Clip at Layer Below for that Gradient map layer.
Then change its blending color to Color.
The result should be similar to this.
Applying gradient map as the color base will remove any black-white information from the painting. If we skip this process and jump right into coloring then the color will be look muddy and desaturated.
Next, we're going to adjust the color and the lighting. Create new layer above, turn on Clip at Layer Below and change the blending color to Color Dodge.
To strengthen the light area. I choose DEFAULT SOFT BRUSH.
Paint the area that mostly will be hit by the light like top of the torso, top of the legs and right side of the tail. Don't forget that the light comes from the top right corner.
Create one more layer. Turn on Clip at Layer Below and change its blending mode to Color.
For this process I'm still using the same default soft brush. You're free to choose any colors at this stage. Be crazy with your imagination.
Now back inside the Painting folder. Choose Eyes and Teeth folder. Turn on Lock Transparent Pixel because we will paint inside it.
I add shadow at the bottom of the character as finishing touch.