Step-by-step Leia part 2.

Today, I continue what I started yesterday, if you haven’t seen part 1 you can check out the early stages in my previous post.

Step 5. By this stage I had to choose what type of medium I wanted to work in. I’m comfortable working with both digital and traditional media, but as this piece was to have a “vintage” feel to it, I chose watercolour. I don’t paint aquarelle (unfortunately), but my gouache type watercolours are great for most styles I work with. They’re not fancy at all, and therefore I’m not really careful with them either. But I love them. I only have a small selection, but I find them to be sufficient for all types of hues that I can think of. I don’t pre-mix my colours, I just blend them as I work.


Step 6. I already had a fairly good idea in my head about how I wanted the design to look, so I just started to blend colours and to paint the surfaces. The watercolours I use are semi-transparant but are non-transparant when you add white to the mixture. Therefore, I had to paint carefully, and not overuse them. As this is a tattoo design, I had to remember that the background really isn’t white, but flesh coloured, so I have just added the darker shades to accentuate her facial features and the bones in her hand. I also made sure that I left a little white between the contours and the shading, as this will look better and makes the colours “pop” more then tattooed.

Basic colouring. Watercolour.

Step 7. When I had finished the coulouring I started to paint the contours. There are no contours in real life, but we have to add them in a tattoo design in order to make the design understandable and also in this case, the contours add to the old school feel of the design. I still had a little trouble to choose which colour to use for the Rebel Alliance logo, so I left if blank until the rest of the design was done in order to see what colour that would be most suitable.

Contours. Watercolour.

Step 8. After finishing all the contours I added a little shading in order to create depth and make the painting a little more life-like. Old school tattoos are usually shaded with either black or a really dark grey, so I decided to go with that. As I don’t have a scanner, I photographed the finished painting with my telephone and by using Photoshop I adjusted the brightness and contrast to make it look (almost) as good as it would if I had scanned it. No other adjustments are made. Here is the finished result. The whole project took me about 4 hours.

This is pretty much how I proceed with all my artwork. I usually have a pretty good idea about how it’ll look even before I put pen to paper, but it still takes a lot of effort to acquire enough knowledge about specific styles. I like to vary myself and explore many different styles instead of being expert on one. To have a huge range of styles is good for the profession I’ve chosen for myself, as I can adapt to clients and their needs. I do not aspire to become a great artist, merely a professional illustrator that can design things that works in a context.

This is just one way to proceed with a design project, I’d love to see how others work, so if you’re up for it, please make a similar post and link it in the comments below!

Finished result. Watercolour/Ps.