Aug 30, 2016

New Christmas Birds Digital Painting - WIP2

In my previous post on this topic I started out showing you the general composition changes I'm making for this painting, and the modifications to the male cardinal. In this post I'm showing changes I've made to the female cardinal.

Here she was originally.

Now in this image you can see the changes I'm making to this bird. I'm rotating the body to face the viewer more. This means showing more belly and less wing. It also means changing the angle of the tail to show the underside instead of the top. I've blocked in the basic colors here.

I sketched a black outline on a separate layer in Photoshop to help me out. If you're modifying an actual oil painting you can draw this out right over the dried paint with a pencil. I like to draw the sketch on a piece of graphite paper or double-siding a piece of tracing paper (To double-side tracing paper, draw on one side, then trace it on the other side. Flip it back over and put it over your painting. Then retrace the first side and it will leave a graphite imprint on your painting.) I like to do the graphite tracing so that I can use it again and again. This is good for creating a painting from scratch as well as modifying. Often, when you are painting over your graphite lines, you lose track of where you're going. Being able to place the tracing over your painting again to remark the areas can be helpful for getting back on track.

After blocking in the shape I start fixing the details. Here's a closeup of the body feathers.

Body feathers have a texture similar to fur so I'm using my fur brush for this part of the bird. My fur brush is a regular teardrop image I created added to the brush presets with the following settings.

For wing and tail features I use a regular round hard PS brush to block in the basic colors and shading. Next I switch to the Mixer Brush and use a soft round brush to add more transition shades.

After you have enough shades of color turn off "Load the brush after each stroke" at the top menu and just spend some time blending the colors. Switch to a 50% hardness and turn on "Tablet pressure controls size" to give the feathers some texture. Move your brush strokes in the direction of the feather's natural texture which is outward from the center at an angle downward toward the edges. Do an image search of bird wing feathers if you're not sure what the feather detail looks like.

Here I'm done with the female cardinal for the most part other than some minor touch-ups.

I'll be moving on to the chickadee in my next post.

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