Hello, for this months tip I will be showing you how I go about making my pieces with lineless art!
Whether it's on your computer, mobile device, physical sketch pad, etc. rough out your idea to your liking.
I tend to work on a canvas of at least 3000 x 3000 px at 300 dpi. This one is 5300 x 3000 px!
I like to get the background out of the way right off the bat so that it doesn't feel out of place later. For this piece I quickly made a mock pop up window, with a simple grid & some flat assets referencing the official site for the Digital Stars project!
With the sketch set to multiply & at a lower opacity, I go in with the marker pen to get the silhouette blocked in, & to save time I like using the the tool shown in the image to help fill in colors.
To make the rendering easier later on, I like to have each section separated onto different layers & then organize them from back to front.
For the hair flats I take the extra time to block in the shapes manually since I like to add a lot of fine hairs.
Before doing any major shading, I always decide on the light source before I get into it. I make a mental note of where it's coming from & then I go around and do a quick pass with the airbrush for the shadows before doing any detail work.
I then shade the skin and eyes first, followed by the hair, and lastly clothes & accessories.
For multi-colored hair, I like to render it in blonde to make the transition smoother!
Once I'm satisfied with how it looks, I play around with various blending modes to get the look I want.
Clothes can be tricky, so I like having a lot of references on hand to help me figure out where shadows would fall.
When it comes to iridescent or holographic materials, I like using gradient maps to help me along. For this piece I made one using the colors from the pinafore in the official design.
I like to lay down a black & white pass to get the values I want in, then play around with the gradient maps settings.
At the very end I play around with overlays & make tiny adjustments to the piece until I'm satisfied. The changes are often minimal & at first glance you can't really tell what they are, but I still like taking the extra time to make sure I like how the piece turned out!
Usually I like to duplicate the final image, throw a gaussian blur filter over it & set it to soft light or overlay. Afterwards I add a few other layers full of super saturated colors to match the piece & play with blending modes before lowering their opacity to around 15-20% for subtle color changes.
Exporting and posting to multiple platforms
I always work on a larger canvas because I like to look back at all the little details that I put into it, but not all sites allow upload sizes that big (unless you pay for those permissions).
What I like to do in these instances is to have the original file/fully exported png set aside, uploading it where I can so that other people can see the details as well. For other sites that have a size limit, I compress the image and have duplicates of that saved as well, with the change noted in the final name (ex: Miku_compressed)
I also like working on a larger canvas in the event that I would like to make prints later on down the road, and this helps prevent any issues I would have "sizing up".
Remember, this is just how I like to go through making art. If you have a process that works for you, that's wonderful! Some of these steps may seem like too much, and some may have provided a little help. In the end I'm just showcasing how I go about rendering a piece in a way that I have found to suit my style the best.