Digital Art for Beginners - Part 3 - The Final Touches
 By T W I   •   9th Apr 2010   •   5,402 views   •   2 comments
Horse Foal ArtWelcome to part three of my digital art tutorial! This is the last in my series, so you should have colored in and added muscle and lighting details to your lineart by now if you have been following along. Today we will be learning how to add those final touches to complete your digital painting.

The eye:
The quote ďthe eye is the window to the soulĒ is certainly true. It will help define the whole character of your horse. I must warn you, it is very tricky to get the effect you are looking for. I never look at the reference to draw the eye since even if it turns out just like the referenceís eye, it never looks quite right for some reason. However, it always helps to observe!

To start, you will need to draw the grayish-black color around the eye. Remember, lighter colors for a ridge and darker colors for a dip. The ďdipĒ is closer to the horseís eye and the ridge is on the outside, so that is probably how you will want to position your colors. Once you have the area around the eye done, you can start the actual eye. There are many methods to do eyes and they all work, but I will share my method of doing them. Feel free to improvise or do it your own way though.

Start with a very light pinkish color and draw the shape that you want the eye to be in. Now, take the main eye color (usually brown) and draw over most of the pink, leaving some at both ends. Once that is done, take pure black and draw the pupil. Iíve heard that horseís pupils usually arenít round, but Iíve always drawn mine that way.

Sometimes I like to take a darker shade of the main eye color and draw it in place of the pupil. Then I take pure black and paint a slightly smaller circle over it, leaving a small band of the darker main color around the black.
Once your basic eye is done, it is time to add the lighting! I like to cheat and use the dodge/burn tool - it makes my life so much easier. Just shade where the light would be blocked out to some degree (usually the bottom) and highlight where the light would hit (usually the top).

Now for the white spot of light! This especially adds life to your digital painting. To do this, just take a fuzzy white brush on about 70% opacity and draw in the little white spot wherever you think it would be - there is not really a right or wrong spot to put it.

Remember, donít be afraid to create your own methods of drawing. This is just the way I personally like to do it.

The mane and tail:
I had to add this part to the tutorial, but to tell the truth I really canít do them well at all. In this section, I am just going to share tome tips and tricks I use. Oh, and this is mostly for the mane but you can apply this to the tail as well.

I like to get the darker color down, and then just goes through the mane adding highlights. Sometimes I take a big, fuzzy burn tool and burn certain sections of the mane or tail that should be in shadow.

This really isnít a good method, but it works for me. Hopefully you can develop your own though.

My main trick that really works however, is to duplicate the layer and then just nudge it (CTRL + one of the arrow keys) up and to the side a bit. That really fills the mane out Iíve found, and it is the technique I use for all my digital paintings.

The background:
There are a lot of backgrounds people like to use, from painted landscapes to textures. If you are looking to draw a landscape. Youíll have to look somewhere else, since Iíve never done one.

The type of background I like to use is a simple gradient with little effects done to it. To make a gradient, just hit the ďGĒ key on your keyboard to bring the gradient tool up. To make a gradient, you just pull your mouse across the screen and tada, there it is! There is more info about gradients in the screenshot below.

Now, about the effects I like to put on the gradient! I love adding text (usually the horseís name), using different methods to make it stand out. Sometimes I duplicate it and put the bottom text layer on motion blur, other times I change the textís blend mode. There is no wrong way to do it.
Grounding the horse is another favorite trick of mine. One of the ways I do this is to make a shadow. To do this, just take the circular marquee tool, feathered to about 40 or so, create a new layer, and make an oval selection underneath the horse in the general place you think the shadow would be. Then, just color the selection in with black and lower the opacity of the layer to about 20% and thereís your shadow! It really does make the horse look like itís actually standing on something.

Another effect I use to ground the horse is to make a reflection. This gives the impression that the horse is standing on ice. To do so, duplicate the horse layer (or if you have multiple layers, merge them all down first) and flipping it upside down, match its feet to the original horseís feet. If you need to flip it around to do this, thatís fine. Then just put the reflection on overlay and mess around with the opacity.

Final statements:
Well, I hope your enjoyed my digital painting tutorial! If this helped you, Iíd appreciate it if youíd comment. If you have any questions, feel free to message me and Iíll answer them to the best of my knowledge. Thanks for reading!
Undesired Humor  
Great article! VERY helpful.
  Apr 9, 2010  •  3,614 views
T W I  
Glad you like it!
  May 5, 2010  •  3,602 views
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