Finishing the stage
First I’ll add some finishing touches to the stage.
I’ll paint some layered shadows.
For the first layer, I use a yellow-toned green, imagining the yellow light blending with the light blue of the stage.
For the second layer, I use a bluer, less saturated color.
I drew an overall shape for the shadows of the foliage and painted the characters’ shadows coming forward due to the light from behind.
■ Light reflections
Next I will paint the light reflecting on the stage.
I imagine the stage as being made of a solid, reflective material.
① I create a new layer underneath the two shadow layers and paint vertically with a soft yellow color as the light hitting the stage.
I add a gradient to the stairs so that the light fades gradually from the highest step.
Then I create a new layer above the shadow layer to paint some reflective light in the shadows.
I use a slightly dimmer yellow than the lights and softly add reflected light under the flowers, at the characters’ feet, and under the stairs.
Now I’ve finished painting the stairs.
 Finishing the foliage
Next I’ll paint the foliage.
I paint the shadows of the flowers on a [Multiply] layer so that the petals look slightly transparent, and paint the shadows of the leaves on a [Normal] layer.
Again, I layer up warm-toned shadows and cool-toned shadows.
 Finishing the lights
I paint in some extra details to make the lights look like they are softly shining like moonlight.
I add a layer above the “lights” layer and use a brighter color to paint a blurred circle at the center of each light.
 Coloring the line art
Finally, I paint the line art of the background.
To make the background look further away, I use colors that look more faded than the characters.
I use lime-green for the lights and the light parts of the stage, turquoise for the dark parts of the stage, and a brownish orange for the flowers. I clip each of these layers to the line art layers to change the line color.
 Overall finishing details
Now I’ve finished painting the background, so I’ll add some final finishing touches to the overall piece.
I’ll make the characters a little bit darker so that they look like they are being lit from behind.
① In the [Layer] palette > “girl” folder > “ef” folder, I make a new layer with the blending mode set to [Color Burn], then move this layer to the bottom of the folder.
On this layer, I paint with a faint violet color, then use the transparent watercolor brush to paint a gradation from lime-green from the girl’s head. The gradation also adds a sense of distance.
I thought it was a bit dark like this, so I adjusted the opacity of the [Color Burn] layer.
I reduced the opacity to 20%.
I added a color burn layer for the cat in the same way.
▲ This is how it looks when only the “bg” layer and line art are visible
When painted like this, the cat looked very dark, so I adjusted the color of the dark blue background and raised the brightness and saturation.
Finally, I added an [Add (Glow)] layer at the top of the layer palette and painted some little firefly-like lights around the illustration.