This skull drawing was a work of trial and error - both in the drawing process and digital painting. This was one of the drawings that helped me cement what some illustrators call "style." I finished drawing this in January 2013 and worked on it on and off for the past eight months.
Feel free to check out my Society6 account for prints and things.
A bit of a warning... The first four WIP pictures were taken with my iPhone. I drew most of this in a public library in New York City, so I couldn't quite whip out the DSLR camera!
I first established the lines that define this drawing as a skull - the eyes, nose, cheek bones, and overall outline of the skull shape. I implemented some of the skills I learned in my industrial design drawing class in terms of creating a more 3D image.
I was happy with the direction of the jaw, but still had hesitations about the forehead. I felt that the visual flow wasn't as smooth.
This is how the image looked when I scanned it in. Luckily I didn't have to piece separate scans together, so I blocked out the background and retouched some pencil marks. I suggest working in layers to avoid permanently changing the scanned image. I frequently go back and tweak old work as I develop better work habits and skills.
After five layers of level edits. I prefer to tweak the image slowly both by hand and color range.
The final black and white version. I try to stay true to the original pencil drawing when presenting my black and white version.
These are my first two digital manipulations - first attempts at digitally painting my pencil drawings, really. There are things I like about these, things I cringe at. Overall I wasn't satisfied, so I set the files aside and focused on photography and worked on about a dozen different drawings.
I enrolled in a photography course in the continuing education school at School of Visual Arts and I have since realized that I can utilize the Photoshop skills I learned in my digital paintings. My work process is akin to digital decoupage - there are layers and layers of colors, textures, and color alterations.
One of the neatest tricks I've learned is to change the layer properties in Photoshop. For example, create a new layer and set it to overlay. Any paint strokes or texture you apply will only adhere to the image or drawing in the layer underneath.
Two other versions I worked on before I decided to use the third version (in the blog header.)