From sketching to painting

Posted: January 31, 2011 in ball-point pen, digital art, sketch, Tribute Series
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Some people have been asking me about my approach to digital painting. So I thought to take my last illustration as an example. First thing you should know is that I love drawing, specially black & white: pen, ink, pencil, charcoal… it doesn’t matter. There is something about drawing that I find very appealing, it just connects… and makes me lose track of time 🙂

We can say everything starts with a mental image. I like to take mine to a piece of paper (though many artists start sketching straight away on the computer using a Wacom). I sketch freely on pencil, sometimes I decide to shade the drawing with a ball-point pen (that is my favourite technique), sometimes I just leave the drawing as a line art. Either way, once I’m happy with the results, I scan the image and take it to Photoshop – like the picture below.

The next thing I like to do is to get rid of the white space. I use a plain colour as a background and this is going to dictate the mood of the artwork. Then I start placing solid blocks of colour to separate the different elements. On the image below I’m still keeping the line. At this stage I was still deciding if I was going to paint this “comic style” (keeping the line and airbrushing the artwork) or to lose the line and go for something more complex.

On this occasion I decided to lose the line. I started working on lights and shadows to give the piece some volume. I also started amending or changing things here and there, like for example, on Malakai’s goggles – see if you can spot the difference 😛

Lastly, my favourite part. I work on all the details, correct the colours and add textures. I’ve to be very careful or this stage would be never-ending! I could spend an eternity just messing around with the artwork. At some point I require of some mighty willpower to let it go…

This was just a very brief explanation about my approach to digital painting. I haven’t mentioned any technicalities: how many layers I use, what kind of brushes, etc. But if you have any questions please feel free to ask. 🙂


  1. Bullbeard says:

    …mmmh…let’s see…Malakai’s goggles have littles sun visors? ;D
    You know, what i like the most are the beards..they really looks like real! i wish i could stretch a hand and ruffle them a bit…even if should not be advisable to play with the beards of Dwarfs like those ones! 🙂

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