Learning Photoshop

Hello to anyone out there Β πŸ™‚

Lately I’ve been learning a few more tricks in Photoshop, so I thought I’d share my most recent digital painting and some snapshots of it from beginning to end. I’ve been looking at tons of amazing concept art and it’s gotten me so inspired to start making some of my own! Studying a fine art degree wasn’t wasted after all – although there’s a huge jump going from traditional to digital and it’s taking me some time to get my head around it.

I’ve been moving away from using a reference image when digital painting, and have tried more and more to paint from my head – picturing where light and shadow would fall, and building up depth first. This one I approached quite differently to the previous portrait of the warrior girl, where I focussed on the skin tone first (and had to try really hard not to overdo it). I’m learning it’s a fine line between knowing when to finish and overworking a painting, and it was a similar concept when I used to paint traditionally. When do you step back and decide you’ve finished? It always seems like there’s more to do, more detail to put in.

I used to love drawing dragons as a kid, and spent hours of many an afternoon and night coming up with different types. I decided to do a water dragon after seeing a really lovely image on Deviantart.com, and started by sketching out the head which was going to become the focal point in the centre.

Here’s the first few details being done:



Once I’d done the details in the face, I sketched out the body and added in some light coming out of the mouth. I was quite flexible at this stage and knew that anything I wasn’t happy with was easily fixed, so I didn’t stress too much. I wasn’t super happy with the expression so far, but I had more layers to go and just had to play around with making some changes until I was ok with it!

It was my first go at adding in light, and I’m definitely going to keep playing with this in future. It added a whole new level to the image and I’ve underestimated its importance for way too long.


From here on I started experimenting with colours – I’ve always loved greens and blues for a mysterious, ethereal quality, and I also needed it to look like a deep-sea setting so I added in some glows and reflections from the light source of the mouth.


The final touches added and I ended it here, with a little shark silhouette to give some scale to this enormous beasty.

I’m planning to keep working on some more of these, and hopefully will continue to improve. There’s so much to learn but it’s heaps of fun; the night I started working on this one I’d had work all day, had been stressed out from life and wasn’t feeling my best – but imagining this new creation along to a good soundtrack completely turned my mood around and it was cathartic in the process.


I’m heading off to Melbourne tomorrow to celebrate my birthday with all the family, so any more art will probably be in the form of sketches until late next week.

Have a good weekend!


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