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Uploaded: February 20, 2013
Artist: Protectin369
Difficulty: Intermediate  Intermediate Skill Level
Steps: 18
Updated: February 20, 2013
P.O.V: Front
Favourited: 8 times
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Hello everyone. I made this picture for a friend, but when i thought a little further I realized how far i've come since i started drawing. now of course, i have much more to learn, but since i started drawing about a year and 7-8 months ago, i've learned quite a bit since then. So I want to help some artists out there who have trouble with putting ideas together to form one central aspect and theme-whether you're a traditional artist or digital, you draw anime or you draw strict realism-i hope this tutorial helps you out.

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how to compose a central idea

How to Compose a Central Idea

how to compose a central idea step 1

STEP 1.

First, as always, become familiar with your palate of choice. For this tutorial, i'll be using Paint Tool SAI. There are a lot of other programs you can use out there, such as photoshop, sumopaint, etc. Anyways, whether you're doing traditional art or you're doing it by computer you can benefit from this tutorial. You first want to get to know your environment on a digital medium. File contains specific commands, such as open, save, save as, recent, export, etc. Edit allows you to edit certain parts of a layer selected, so keep in mind layer selection does matter a lot when you want to change something. Canvas allows you to modify the entire canvas all in itself, increase or decrease its size, even rotate it to draw at a different angle. Filter is a valuable tool, it allows you to change attributes of a layer. If i painted a layer red and changed the hue to blue, it'd change to blue. The program is fairly simple once you toy around with it for a while.
 
how to compose a central idea step 2

STEP 2.

The first step, is seeing what you want in the end. Of course i see what i want here, right? The two females, back to back in some cool pose. I can see this, with my own eyes, but when you start with a drawing you can only ENVISION this concept. No artist is perfect, and as you can see from where i began, this came out a lot more different than how i set up the guidelines. This happens sometimes, because for one artists aren't all perfect, and secondly art's a process, not an A to B kind of scenario. There will be changes along the way, some more drastic than others. So, the first thing i did was make a very very rough outline. Just of the spinal structure, the shoulder structure, arm structure, and the general location of where the head would be.
 
how to compose a central idea step 3

STEP 3.

Now comes a very crucial step in creating any kind of drawing with human figures and/or subjects. Set up the muscle locations, how the character's facing, their dynamic-you want to display emotion in your work, because with any art, you're trying to captivate an audience with something by conveying some emotion. I wanted to convey two badass girls who each in their own had unique and powerful traits. Thus, i gave each a bended, perky and defiant look. FUNDAMENTALS ARE KEY TO MASTERING THE HUMAN FORM. I'm still working at it myself-work at drawing spheres, cylinders, cubes, and cones! Draw them from different angles, master how to draw those because if you do that first, drawing perspectives with a human body become a lot easier than 'winging' it. By winging it I mean just simply going in and doing whatever you feel suits. This sometimes works, sometimes. But mostly it doesn't. Reference pictures are crucial tools at your disposal as well! Don't forget that.
 
how to compose a central idea step 4

STEP 4.

Next, you can create another layer and begin on the actual muscle structure and composure of the character's body. Remember, its your style. Play around with it some, get used to it! Every style's different in its own unique way-art takes time and patience to master. Anyways, the body composure matters very much, whether its anime, realistic, cartoony, or anything in between. You're conveying something to the audience. You want to capture their attention, and if something's curvy, correct, and has variaton, it'll do just that. So don't overlook molding the body of your characters correctly.
 
how to compose a central idea step 5

STEP 5.

Next up is hair. Define what you're doing to the hair, because hair's very...Volume-y. It can go a lot of ways. This picture implies the woman to the right is moving back, because her hair's flowing upward the other way-and from the right's hair, we can see there's no source of wind since it isn't moving in the same direction as the left's, thus making it logically sensible.
 
how to compose a central idea step 6

STEP 6.

Next up is clothing. Now clothing can be very complicated until you master how to draw the flowing of fabrics. There are usually creases where the body tends to bend, whether its bending at a large angle, or if its barely bending at all-the cloth is hanging over a surface, so its going to be affected since said surface has variations all in itself. Add wrinkles, whatever you wish.
 
how to compose a central idea step 7

STEP 7.

Now erase all of your guidelines. With a digital program, this'll be very easy. In traditional format this might prove a challenge.
 
how to compose a central idea step 8

STEP 8.

The 'folder' button creates a new folder. From here, i just put the layers in this folder and dim the overall opacity of the folder itself to dim all the others. This serves a good purpose because now, i can have a rough sketch of what i want, i can see slightly what i want, and now i can trace it with whatever tool i desire.
 
how to compose a central idea step 9

STEP 9.

Now, we have a nice outline. This is where people become moderately confused as i've seen in a few drawings here or there. The key is to add the color without causing it to over-lap with your outline, and this can be executed in many ways.
 
how to compose a central idea step 10

STEP 10.

Click the image and read what's there, its very important information. Coloring-you want to keep it below the lineart layer.
 
how to compose a central idea step 11

STEP 11.

Where'd our image go??? Don't fret. What i did on this step was i added a BACKGROUND to the entire thing. Right above the folder i used for sketches, i added a new layer, and made it this nice color. From this color, i'll be creating a background.
 
how to compose a central idea step 12

STEP 12.

Add a few layers above the black background and begin to experiment with brushes, see what works, what doesn't. Don't be afraid to make ideas and pitch them. Art is a learning process, and the more you learn from a project, the better.
 
how to compose a central idea step 13

STEP 13.

Now, add color. You can either do it all on a few layers, or many. Just try to set up a system of how you do it because if you use a lot of layers, its going to get complicated. Now, it looks fairly decent, but it doesn't have detail. The thing that pushes pieces to be magnificent is DETAIL, COMPOSURE, EMOTION, CONVEYANCE. I'm not caps raging here, i just want you to keep these in mind as an artist! Don't forget, you aren't just creating art to better your own style, though that's extremely important; You're conveying a message to people! If you went to listen to music and the entire song was flat, would you want to keep listening to that song? No! As artists, we desire complexity in things. It brings out their true beauty to us, and the first steps to true beauty is learning how to create it. So now comes the fun part.
 
how to compose a central idea step 14

STEP 14.

This is a very crucial step. In red highlighted on the picture, is 'layer clip.' i chose to make each color on separate layers. 'Skin', obviously was the layer with the skin color on it. To add a layer clip, you click the layer you want to add it to. Click 'new layer', then make sure the box that says 'layer clip' is check-marked. Now, its attached to this 'Skin' layer. This means anything made on the 'Skin' layer, or their skin, will be visible in the layer clip layer. Anything outside that's painted/drawn will not be visible. With this, i can add nice shadows and textures without having to worry about going outside the lines or messing up.
 
how to compose a central idea step 15

STEP 15.

Now, do this to the rest of the layers. WARNING-this is probably the most trickiest steps because you could mess up and not even realize it. Define your light sources. As you can see, the light source here is coming from the left. Never forget to define light sources.
 
how to compose a central idea step 16

STEP 16.

So you're probably worn out asking 'are we done yet?' Not just yet, but we're almost there. Add details, add lighting, add add add. You want to make an impression with what you make, so take pride in how you make it, even if you don't complete it in one day. Take frequent breaks if you need them when working on a long and tedious piece of art. But i added the gun, i added some lighting to the strains coming off the woman's arm to the right, and the lighting.
 
how to compose a central idea step 17

STEP 17.

Now i added a layer above everything and set it to multiply. With the brush, i just applied some black around the entire picture, and used the 'fuzzystatic' on my eraser, and cleared it up to give it a grainy feeling to it.
 
how to compose a central idea step 18

STEP 18.

And finally, add a few special things into it-multiply, overlay, screen. Layer effects go a long way if you use them properly. This is it, you're finally done with your piece after you've toned it up and created it the best possible. Just remember, improving your own art doesn't happen overnight, its a long and tedious process that requires patience, but with patience you can make your art extraordinary. I hope this tutorial has helped some of you, and if you ever have questions about art, you can message me over dragoart's IM system. Thanks for your time, and have a great day.