Shadows have always been a weak spot of mine. I’ll be sitting there thinking, “Man…that’s definitely not enough shadow on his face,” and the next thing I know, my figure’s head has turned into a giant black blob of ink. It’s more than a little disheartening when you have to redraw entire frames because of something so seemingly simple, yet so damn tricky! To ensure that this stopped happening, I hopped on my pathetic excuse for a computer and surfed through the net, looking for some awesome shading tutorials.
The first one I found was this Youtube video by Tumblr user Ribbitcow about using cell shading and other Photoshop techniques. The step-by-step way she takes you through the labyrinth of Photoshop’s infinite menus is a lifesaver, especially if you’re still as “intro level” as I am. This is one of the best things about Youtube tutorials – that you’re able to just dive right in alongside the video and work through each step in real time, watching each move made by the Youtuber, making sure that your clicks are right on track.
But I didn’t want to limit myself to Photoshop tutorials. Shading theory is as important as the act of shading itself. That’s when I came across Brian Duey’s shading tutorial, a crash course in the different techniques used when shading photorealistic sketches. The way he breaks down the techniques into their most basic components (Circles on circles? It’s that easy?!) is what really struck a chord and made me realize what an important resource this tutorial is for starting out. The small exercises he outlines in his post are most definitely the groundwork we artists need to strive to build upon.
Finally, I needed some help with anatomy – my weakest subject. I turned to DeviantArt and found a really wonderful PS/Gimp tutorial made by Kiwi-RGB. This tutorial is so succinct and so clear, I couldn’t help but love it. It outlines everything from layer work to adding dimension to the art at hand (which, in this case, is a wonderfully steroid-induced arm). The tutorial was short, image heavy, and took me from A to Z in a way that left enough room to improvise on my end and feel for my own kind of style.