Pixel Forests - Illustration and design by Paul Jacques Morgan
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The art of Paul Jacques Morgan

Trust The Process #1 Digital painting

I'd like to take a moment to give back and share some tricks of the trade.  I've always been fascinated by peering behind the curtain into any artist's craft.  This is how I learned, and I hope you'll appreciate the insight. 

This is a digital illustration for my upcoming children's book, "Dash's Dog Show!"  This image, titled "Exposed", is the scene in which a character's cover is blown. The first image is my original graphite pencil sketch.  I begin every project by doodling out a series of thumbnail sketches.  Once I've got the composition is nailed down, I will refine and hone the idea into a paintable first draft.  


Next, I use a Wacom Tablet for the digital painting in Adobe Photoshop.  To do this, I scan the original sketch in the computer at a high resolution of 300DPI.  I always begin by creating a new workable layer.  I do this by duplicating the master layer, and then lock the original.  I will then go to into my new workable layer and adjust the blending options. In the layers panel drop down menu, go to blending options.  Set the blending mode to multiply.  This will darken the image a bit, and let you paint into it without losing the original lines of the sketch.  Here I am simply painting into the original sketch, using  variety of brushes.  (In another blog post I will explore the wonderful world of brushes, of which there many!)


In the final phases of the illustration, I'm fine-tuning and honing the formal elements of the composition such as texture, lighting, and other details.  As I work, I will periodically continue to duplicate the layer I'm working on.  And lock up the old one.  This way, I have an archived series of layers, which I can return to at any time.  Later in the painting should things suddenly go sideways on me, I can always back track by selecting previously saved layers. Here is the late-stage illustration with more details.  




Paul Jacques Morgan