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Drawing Tutorial


Welcome to my humble little drawing tutorial! Here you will learn how I draw using Adobe Photoshop (Note that this is version CS (version 8), which some commands may be different compared to your version!). Also note that this is just the way I draw my art. You should try other ways and styles of art, which will lead you to your own special style of drawing. =) My tutorial is only a little guide to show you how it works and how I draw. And I use my tablet through out this tutorial, but you ARE able to do this without one!

Enough talking, let's get started!

First off, here is a little helper of some the most common tools used (atleast, by me) in Photoshop (the tool bar). To change one to the next (such as the paint brush to the pixel brush), right click the button and choose the one you want.

Save your work often. Use the undo button if something doesn't look right (the undo button is the Edit > Step Backward command)! Don't be plain... Be creative and fun! :D For zooming in and out, to see full view, double click the magnifying glass.

Photoshop Brush Downloads


Getting Started

First you want to open your canvas sheet to start your drawing. We will be drawing a little penguin because they are random and cute! Hehe, ok. Click File > New... Name the file "penguin", and make it's dimentions 600x600 (We will probably crop it later). Make sure the background is white so we have a clear background to draw on, and make sure the Color Mode is set to RGB Color. The Resolution may depend on what computer you have, I'm not 100% sure. This is what it should look like: (CLICK). Click OK.

Now the first thing you want to do once that is done, is save! Always save through out your drawing, like every five minutes, or everytime you do something which takes a lot of effort to do, etc. Once your image is saved (as a psd, not a jpg or gif or whatever, because you want to be able to edit your psd file!), create a new layer. This is where the sketch will go. Go Layer > New > Layer... Name the new layer "SKETCH" and click ok. Your layers tool bar should look like this now: (CLICK).

Click the paint brush tool () to sketch. Make it a size 1, 2, or 3 (CLICK). Now you are ready to start drawing/sketching!

The Sketch

The sketch should be detailed, but very roughly. Heh, my sketches aren't too "clean", but they work for me. Choose a light colour to sketch with. Now, start out with circles. Circles are the key to good form. The top circle will be the penguin's head, and the bottom circlish curved drop is the body.

Next, you want to add more circles for other body parts and features, such as the feet, wings, circles for the eyes, and beak. Then add more detail to that again. Also add a bit of hair, maybe some curves on the side of his beak and under his eyes, to make him look a bit chubby, because it's cute. =3

With a bit of editing and fixing up misplaced lines, the final result of your sketch should look something like this, except in your own style. =) (PS: Be sure to save! You don't want to loose your hard worked on sketch!)

The Outline

The outline is the most important part of the image, because it shows the shape of what you're trying to draw, and it's the thing which keeps your image all together and clean. The nicer the outline, the nicer the picture!

Make a new layer after your sketch (Layer > New > Layer...). Name it "outline". On your layer tool bar your outline layer should be above your sketch layer (CLICK).

Now click on your sketch layer. Change the Opacity to 30% or so, so your outline will be more visible when you outline (CLICK). Now you are ready to start your outline! There are many different ways you can outline and many different styles of outlining. I prefer to use the size 4 brush with my tablet (making the edges thin and thick). This is my prefered style, but yours may be using size 1, or maybe size 7, or maybe a sketchy/rough style. Everyone has their own, and hopefully this tutorial will help you find yours. =)

To start the outline, get your paint brush all set up, with the colour black as your foreground colour. Now, click the magnifying glass to zoom in. You want to zoom in when doing outlining so it's more smooth and looks better. Plus it's easier to control. ;) (CLICK) Another tip is to always zoom out to normal view, to see what your picture is looking like, to see if it's what you want. It also helps to see if any outlines look wrong or unclean.

Make sure to follow your sketch pretty closely when outlining. That's why we made our sketch perfect. ;) To make your outline more pretty, add detail, and make lines go from thin to thick. You can do this effect with or without a tablet. Just take the eraser and erase a bit of the end/edge of the line to make it pretty (CLICK). Little details like this: (CLICK) really can add a lot to your image.

Once you finish your outline, go at full view to see if you're happy with it. Make sure to hit the visibility button to hide the sketch layer to see if your outline is 100% perfect. Just click the eye for that layer to do so (CLICK). Once you click save (which I'm sure you've been doing through out the drawing of your entire outline!), you are officially done your outline, yay! This is what mine looks like:


The colouring part is fairly easy, once you get used to it. ;) Choose the colours you want for your penguin. Click on the sketch layer. Make a new layer and name it "white". Delete the "sketch" layer (Right click the layer, then click Delete Layer, because this layer isn't of any use now) (CLICK). Now, making sure you are still on the "white" layer, colour the entire penguin with any colour which is visible enough to see if you are colouring inside or outside the lines. I choose #23B0B0. On the "white" layer, colour him in that colour (CLICK). Now, to turn it the right colour, hit the transparency button (CLICK), and click Edit > Fill... , then change the Contents Use the colour White, then click ok. This should have JUST filled the part where you coloured that turquoise colour, white. To double check if that's what it did, click the background layer, then Edit > Fill, then choose Color... Choose a dark colour. It should look like this: (CLICK). Look at the white which went outside the outline durring the colouring process! We have to get rid of that, because we want our colouring to be perfect as well! To do that, click on the "white" layer again, and hit the transparency button again, so you will be able to erase the colouring. Remember to save your work frequently!! I can't stress that enough! =)

Now, with your eraser, carefully erase the colouring outside the outline, so your colouring job is perfect. ;) Once you finish erasing the messyness, change the background layer to white again. Now, click the "white" layer and hit the transparency button, so we wouldn't do anything to that layer to mess it up. Now, when colouring, I find it MUCH easier to make EACH colour on a SEPARATE layer: ei: white, black, orange, eyes, pupils (Imagine if you were colouring something rainbow!). Now, to be nice and clean and stay inside the lines, you want to high light all of the "white" layer (Select > All). Click the Move Tool (), then with your arrow keys, hit 'up' once, then 'down' once. It should then have selected everything on your "white" layer. It should look like this: (CLICK)

Create a new layer and name it "black". For your colour, don't choose and exact black, because it's better if you can see your outline when colouring. Choose a dark grey (I chose #585858) (CLICK). Now, colour in everything that should be black on a penguin. Don't worry about going outside the lines, because you can't! That's why we did the selection thingy. =) This is what it should now look like (right).

Now, make a new layer again, and call it "orange", and colour in everything that is orange on that layer. Then make another layer, call it white eyes. For this layer, colour the eyes in another colour so you can see what you're colouring in, then click the transparency button and then fill it in white again. Just a safe way to draw the same colours on the same colours. The reason we make the main white colour and the eye white colour on different layers is for the shading, to make it easier. Then finish the job with the pupils (new layer). Once you finish colouring it all, click the Selection Tool (), and click anywhere on the canvas to deselect your image. Your picture should look like this now: (CLICK). (Tip: Remember to zoom in and out for small areas, and to SAVE OFTEN! Oh, and nothing should EVER be on the background layer, because you can't do anything with it there (the transparency and visibility buttons don't work and everything))

And that finishes off the colouring section! =D


The next step is shading. One main tip in shading is have one light point. Make your shading all the same through out the entire picture, from the same point. Don't just put random shading, make it look realistic, even if it's a cartoon! There are many different styles of shading you can do. The style I'm going to use is a more realistic style. It involves the soft brush, a dark of the colour and the light of the colour.

We will start by shading the white part of the penguin. Click the "white" layer. Now hit the transparency button. Now change your foreground colour to a light blue (you don't want too drastic shading colours, because this penguin is going to be outdoors, were light is everywhere (provided by the sun). If you want a big contrast between your main colour and darker, it would show the penguin is standing against a light at night). Light blue has a better shading effect then a light grey. Adds more colour for a plain black and white penguin. =) Click ok (CLICK). Now, change your brush to a size 27, soft (CLICK), and make the Flow 15% (CLICK).

Now, zoom up close to your penguin. And start shading! Remember, one light source. The more you shade over a section, the darker it will get. You want variations, to make it look pretty and realistic. And maybe you would want to use a smaller soft brush to get fine details. (CLICK) Notice the light source is coming from the top left in this picture. Can you tell? I hope so! This is what makes simple cartoons with shading look almost real-like. Now, to make it look like he has some feathers, you want to smudge the shading. Click your Smudge tool () on brush size 4 or 5, and smudge a bit around the feathered parts, or anywhere really. Just make it look nice.. (CLICK). It's kind of hard to tell, but if you chose a darker blue, it would probably show up more.

Now, for the highlights, since the main colour is white, the most highest highlight colour you can get, we wouldn't put a highlight colour for the "white" layer. Now that you finished your white layer, you may move on to your next layer, your black layer!

Do the shading similar to how you shaded your white. Choose a darker colour then you already have as your main "black" colour. To do so, hit the Eye Dropper tool (), and click the colour of the black on your penguin. Then you can easily change the colour to something a bit darker. When picking your darker colour, don't pick exact black. You want to be able to show your pretty outline off, so, make sure your black isn't so dark you can't see your outline. Shade in your black, and it should look something like this (left).

To add some highlights where the light is mainly hitting your penguin, choose a colour a bit lighter then it's main colour. Do the same as when you chose your darker colour, except just put it a little bit higher. Not too much, or then the shading will look wrong. Now, when highlighting, don't put it everywhere. Just in some places to add a lighting effect. Notice there is hardly any difference, but it does show up in the end result (right)! (Random tip: SAVE YOUR WORK!)

Now do the exact same for the orange, eyes, and pupils. You are now officially done the shading and highlighting process! Yay!


Now, to really make your penguin look realistic/3D, you want to add a drop shadow to it. There is no actual button to press to do this (atleast not that I know of), so you have to do this manually.

Click your outline layer (What you're about to do is going to be undo-ed later, so don't worry). Go Layer > Merge Down. Do it as many times so the penguin is all on one layer above the background layer. When it's all merged, the layer with all the penguin on it should be called "white" (CLICK). Don't worry about changing the name, because we will soon undo it all. Now, being on the "white" layer still, click Select > All. Now hit Edit > Copy. Now undo everything until you are back with all your layers (your outline should be your last layer to be undo-ed), by going Edit > Step Backward.

With your penguin now copied, create a new layer above the background layer, and below the "white" layer. Name it "shadow". Now, paste your penguin on (Edit > Paste, or Ctrl + V). It should look something like this (CLICK).

Now, click the transparency button for the shadow layer. Fill it in black. Now hit the transparency button again so we can edit it and make it blurry and stuff. Save! Now go to Edit > Free Transform. We are now going to squish the black penguin's shadow down, so it looks more like he's standing up with a shadow, not floating on the floor. When you click that, a box appears around the figure. Make sure that your shadow corresponds to your light source. Take the top center little white box and drag it downwards (CLICK). Now click the right center white square and drag it outwards to the right (CLICK). Now go Edit > Transform > Distort. Take the bottom right white square, and drag it upwards and to the right at the same time, just a bit (CLICK). Then take the top right square and move it to the left a bit (CLICK). Now click your Move tool. Photoshop asks you if you want to apply your transformation (what you changed with it's shadow), click Apply. Save your work!

Now, some of the shadow may be peeking out there. You don't want that, because that doesn't look natural. So, take your eraser and erase it so it does. Now, click on your Blur tool (right click your smudge tool, and choose Blur). Set the brush to size 35 soft. Now, blurr the penguin's shadow. Make it the most blurry the farthest away from him. Now set the opacity level to 75% (CLICK). And there you have your shadow!


Almost done! Since we are just focusing on drawing the little penguin, I'll try to make the background part easy, heh heh. What makes some pretty nice backgrounds are pre-made brushes. You can go all over the internet and download brushes. And some of the best backgrounds are just simple ones, or maybe none at all!

To start out, make a new layer above your background layer, and below your shadow layer. Name it "background" (CLICK). Here you can pretty much go crazy. Do any type of background you like! Some backgrounds require you to crop your image the way you want it first, so then you wouldn't have to draw any extra stuff which really wouldn't be there in the end. So, let's crop our image now. Take the Crop tool, and crop it something like this: (CLICK). To crop, double click inside the cropped part. Save!

I'm just going to do a random background. I just filled it a light blue colour, took a huge soft brush and dabbed light and dark colours here and there, then fooled around with my filter gallery to get a cool effect of a background (Filter > Filter Gallery...). Before filter gallery: (CLICK). I decided to make ice cubes in the background, and here's the filter gallery I used: (CLICK). I'm going to crop it some more to make it a bit smaller. And here's our final background!


To add some fine details would be nice, such as the shine in the eye, a nice border around your image, and maybe a signature or two. To add the shine, click on your outline layer and make a new layer and call it "shine". Take your size 4 brush and add two little dots on the eyes (with the colour white) (CLICK). To add a border (I prefer just a plain 70 pixels all around black border), make your background colour black (CLICK). Click Image > Canvas Size... Then add 140 to each of the width and height, making sure that it is on center (Before: CLICK. After: CLICK). Click ok and SAVE! To add your signature, make a new layer above the "shine" layer and name it "signature", and draw in your signature (if you want to), then make it a bit faded (again, if you want to). To add your other signature with text, click the Text tool, and make a box with it (drag). No need for a new layer, because it creates one for you. Choose a font and size and colour, and start typing! I type my deviantart URL as my signature. Once your done typing, click the Move tool, and move your signature where ever you like (just click and drag).

And that's the end of the tutorial! :D Just keep in mind that you still have to find your own style of art and the way you draw things and the layout of it. You don't want to completely copy my tutorial, or that wouldn't be any fun! ;)

If you would like to download the psd file of my finished version of this penguin picture, you may by clicking here: DOWNLOAD. Save it to your computer, then open it in your photoshop (hopefully it will open in a version less then 8!). Have fun!

If you have any questions about the tutorial, or anything you would like me to add, please e-mail them at tropic_butterfly@hotmail.com! Thanks!

This tutorial is copyright © Kaykaykit www.kaykaykit.com
Go here to see her gallery on Deviant Art

This tutorial is copyright © Kaykaykit www.kaykaykit.com
Go here to see her gallery on Deviant Art: