Thursday, November 17, 2011

Digital Painting: Retro Pinup

It took countless hours, tons of layers and a shortcut here and there before I finally finished my Retro Pinup digital painting! I followed a tutorial by super talented digital artist Jeff MD and I have to say that my finished pinup looks nothing like the end result that Jeff created. But, I guess that's what makes it uniquely mine! And, I'm cutting myself some slack since it's only the second digital painting I've ever done. :)

As is usual with tutorials from magazines, not every step is shown or talked about and it's up to the artist to figure it all out on their own. This was the case with the "details" of the painting...the eyes and hands. Being a member of Doll Dreams benefited me immensely in that I had learned through Adriana's teachings how to paint eyes and I've always been able to draw and paint hands so I didn't have to worry to much about that. I had the hardest time with the mouth and teeth and by the time I got to the log, shoes and background, I was tired of working on it and took a few shortcuts so I could finally call it "finished". 

As with the digital Phoenix I painted some time ago, the steps are pretty much the same. I started with a sketch on a grey background and on a separate layer blocked in shadows, mid-tones and highlights using the dodge and burn tools.

Once the shapes have been defined, I hid the sketch layer and began working on blocking in colors. I used the smudge tool quite a bit to blend in colors as well as the dodge and burn to add in lights and darks.

Next up was to blend in even more colors. This was done on a new layer set to Soft Light and clipped to the base layer. I used a Skin Blender Brush and painted yellow onto highlights, pink to mid-tones and violet to shadows. Orange and pink were used on bounce light areas. I kept merging layers and repeating the process until I was satisfied with the look. At this point, I also repositioned the leg to make it more natural. This was done using the lasso, select and rotate tool and then just repainting the areas as needed:

Now it was time to add in details. At this point, I showed her to my grandmother who said she "looks like she's smelling shit". Uh-oh! That's not good! haha! I worked on one area at a time, starting first with the face, hair and bust and trying to get her so she doesn't look like she's smelling something horrid!

 I loved her hairline and nose but had such trouble with her mouth and teeth!

I kept adding in detail such as dots on the top, adding texture and detail to the shoes, log and sail cloth as well as working on the hands:

Hand detail. I used my own hand as a model and kept looking at it repeatedly while painting.

I have to admit that by the time I got done with the face, hair, upper body, hands and top, I had no enthusiasm left for the shoes, log, sail cloth or background. This is where I decided to take shortcuts. I used a texture over lay on the shoes and log and decided to leave out detail on the sail cloth. In the original tutorial, the background is painted in but I decided to use one of my own sea images:

Using the Paint Dabs Filter, I changed the background into a more painterly image and added it behind my painted pinup. A second texture by Jewell was added as well which helped make everything cohesive. I then adjusted levels, contrast and saturation until I was happy with the final image. Voila! A sailor's dream!

There are areas (those hideous shoes!) that could have used more time and care but I was ready to move onto something new and I was happy with what I learned overall. I learned how to create an instant color palette using filters, what the bloat tool can do and how to blend colors. This was done completely in Photoshop CS3. Maybe now, I'll learn how to use my Painter XI software! :)


Nichole Renee said...

She turned out wonderfully!! I read through your tutorial and I still wouldn't know where to start! You're a talented lady!

(And so glad she doesn't look like she's smelling poo!)

Alex said...

I am exhausted just reading what you did. I would be overwhelmed with such a project.

What a great job you did with her!

Samuli said...

First of all: lol at your grandmother! I really think that every great artist needs a good critic with a "no bullshit" attitude (lame pun intended :))

Also: wow! This is very cool work. It's always quite amazing to see how you are able to transition from one visual art to another - I couldn't do this if my life depended on it! But it's still very inspiring and makes me want to brush up my sucky Photoshop skills :)

Laura said...

Thanks everyone! It was daunting but I did learn a lot while working on her.