The Spaniard – Walkthrough

I’ve had the idea for a while, of creating a full character sketch from my local pub’s logo, The Spaniard, since I spend so much time looking at it every week. I always figured her for a bit of a saloon girl/gunslinger type of character, a bit of a party girl but with a hidden agenda and a deadly side. So I started off with a couple of thumbnails and sketches on paper and this is what I came up with.

The only real reference I used for this was a couple of Googled flamenco or wild west saloon girl dresses just to get some sort of style right. I had a vague idea of maybe making it a ‘wanted’ poster, but then I felt the pose I came up with didn’t really lend itself to that sort of presentation. I still wanted to keep the lineart more of a feature than a fully rendered painting, so I started working over the pencil sketch with a custom charcoal brush in Photoshop.

Once I had something I was happy with, I went back over it with a fine brush to define the linework more and to pull out more of the shadows. I then moved back to my charcoal brush to add some highlighting into the character on a different layer.

The next stage was to get some colour in there, I didn’t want the colour to be too strong in the pic, and I wanted it to have a slight watercolour/gouache feel to it. After I added some flat colours on a layer under the lineart and highlights, I applied a Gaussian blur to it to give it a subtle effect of the colour bleeding into the paper. Then I added a new multiply layer and painted some more shadow all over with a dark pink, adding some depth to the whole character.
Once that was done, it was time to move on to the background. I thought about various backgrounds, a street scene, a wild west scene with mountains behind, but eventually decided on a more abstract sunset scene with the sun behind her head to emphasis this area more.

That was pretty much it, until I showed it to a couple of mates, and they suggested a bit of a tweak to her right foot. I twisted it round so that it was pointing forward more and widened her ankle more. The other thing that had been bothering me was that the highlights on her thighs were too strong and were detracting the focus away from her face, so these got pulled down too. Then I was happy. After adding more painted texture to the background, a border and a bit of a colour tweak, she was done. Here’s the final image.


About Alan Henry Perry
Art for heart's sake...

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