Walk-through of "Windows to Your Soul"

   Halloween is my favorite 'holiday', but I haven't really made much preparations this year since it's on a Wednesday (most unfortunate...) and it's a school night for kids.  I'm not sure how many trick-or-treaters I will get at the house to check out the costumes and hand out candy. ^^;  The weather always takes a radical turn for the cold from a nice long fall for us, and it can be nasty on Halloween night around here.

   Anyhow, here's a walk-through of "Windows to Your Soul" since this piece is for Halloween. ^^

   The first thing I do with all my pieces once the line art is finished and the scan of it is cleaned of cat hair and dust specks is to lighten the lines by adjusting "brightness and contrast" and then add a 'tint' or 'paper color' to my line image by adjusting the 'red-green-blue' in my photo editing program.  I am giving a warm orange foundation to this piece since it will be saturated by orange glow in the end.

   I open my edited line art file in Corel Painter, and this will be the 'canvas' layer at the bottom.  All subsequent colors will be placed on top of the lines.  Most of the colors will be transparent like watercolor.  I set up a 'background wash' layer for the darkest of the dark in the background and the foreground.  Repeated 'washes' of transparent colors are applied to build up the saturated dark brown.  On a separate layer, I do the 'underpainting' of shadows in sepia shade.  This is to set the general idea where the shadows and the dark spots will be, and most of it will be painted over in subsequent applications of color.

   I quickly experimented with the lights and shadows at this point to see how the marbles will be done.  A separate layer of 'highlights' was set up at the top of the stack for the opaque application of 'soft charcoal', which is very much like pastel in traditional sense.

   On a separate layer, I start painting the colors of elements like hair, ribbons, iris of the eyes.  To show the satin texture, I experimented with the highlights layer with the opaque soft charcoal application.  Some highlights were added to the girl's face and eyes as well.

   Working on the 'highlights' layer with the same soft charcoal, I added the highlights on the hair to suggest the platinum blonde.  On the same layer as the ribbons color, the satin sleeves of her dress and satin ribbon trim on her collar were painted.  

   The girl's arms are painted and given highlights.  I also finish painting the highlights on the marbles and add reflected light on the floor to give the illusion of the highly reflective floor.  I decided to apply 'salt' on the background to remove some of the colors to give a subtle texture for a bit of interest.

   Some of the highlights were removed from the girl's sleeves, and bloody trails near the eyeballs were added as the finishing touch.

   The kitten is given some colors on the same layer as the underpainting of shadows, and then given fur on the highlights layer.  The same soft charcoal tool, set at really small size tip and high opacity, was used to draw the fluffy fur.  Subtle adjustments were made throughout, like lengthening the kitten's shadow, adding the reflected colors of both the kitten and the girl's arms onto the floor underneath.

   The total number of layers used in this digital coloring was 8, including the 'canvas' layer, which is the original line art file.  I had lots of fun with this piece.  It's different in many levels from my usual pretty fluff stuff.  It's more shadowy, and the theme is definitely on a dark side, even disturbing, with the juxtaposition of innocence and evil.  It is fun, and I do think it's important for any artist, to experiment and do different things.  Happy Halloween.


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