First, let's take a gander at how I begin my pieces, using this Pernese blue dragon as our guinea pig:
Now, back to the sketches. Generally I start pretty rough with a medium gray to black coloration (though the color isn't a major concern at this point), laying down the basic pose in large, general shapes. Legs can appear in this stage simply as scribbles and not a lot of detail is given overall. Once I've got my concept down, as well as the composition (for this is probably the most important consideration to creating an appealing piece of art), I will take the opacity on my sketch layer down to anywhere between 20% to 50% and then I will create a new sketch layer above this. Using my rough first layer as a guide I will begin to flesh out the piece on the second layer, adding musculature and details such as claws, fingers, spikes, horns, fur, bristles, fins, and so on. A piece can take only a few sketch layers or it can take many. I simply keep lowering opacity on the less-detailed ones and adding new layers until I feel I can get a good set of lines from it.
You'll notice in the video at around 33 minutes that I have to adjust the size of the wing. That's the great thing about digital that a person should not be afraid of taking advantage of: you can edit anything at any time without fear of ruining a piece. And as a general rule of thumb in any sort of art, If something looks off, make sure you fix it sooner rather than later so that there isn't a lot of mess trying to alter it later.
The next step after this is lines! I again choose a hard round brush, similar to the sketching brush, but this time with the minimum opacity raised to somewhere between 80% and 90%. Rarely do I use the exact same brush settings between two pieces, as certain things can be subtly different (such as the amount and size of detail in a piece). Line width is a very important thing and varying the line width in a piece adds interest and shows control. The width of a line can also denote things, such as the distance of a "part" in the piece from the viewer, or a gradual shifting from one plane (such as the forearm) to another (such as the chest) in a piece. I try to end my lines in soft, controlled, thinner ends.
The video ends before the lines are completed, but don't fret! You can watch the second part (and thrilling conclusion) of this piece right here if you don't want to wait for my next blog entry. :) But, if you can, the next installment is coming soon.
Thanks for stopping by!