Steampunk Owlgirl - Color and Chat using Clip Studio Paint on a Wacom Cintiq 27 QHD

So this design came from something my wife and I were
talking about a while back. I ended up taking the design to paper and have had
this copyrighted for quite a while, actually. I decided to take this piece,
finish it in color, and release it as prints, t-shirts on my store, and make a
video out of the last tail end of the process of it.

The setup: this piece was already finished as part as the
flats (see my flatting tutorial for what flats are), and the skin highlights were
done already. So where this picks up is at the claws/talons of one hand, the
nails, the wings, and then the head highlights.

Along the process, I'll sort of lay out target areas and in
what order I'll tackle them. This wasn't really done by any real necessity, but
out of a habit that if I don't make objectives about where I want to go next,
sometimes I find myself just wandering around the piece from place to place
with no real urgency or speed. So I counteract that with identifying what needs
to be done, then going after it.

Here's how I did what's in the video: I started off with the
task of having to have her wing, which is inked black initially, be visible on
white, gray, and black merchandise; like t-shirts, towels, mugs, etc. I used
the lasso tool to select what I had traditionally inked black, and make it a
different color on my ink layer.

Then I decided to set it apart on its own layer and color it
to help it stand alone because I knew I'd be changing the colors of the other
wing as well as the other parts of her feathers and didn't want to have to keep
coming back to the back wing. As it turns out, I only came back to the wing
once during the ending to help fade the color back and give some depth to the
wing and help sink it into the background.

Next was the front wing which took some experimenting to get
the right mix of a base color (flat) and the highlights. If I start at too
bright of a flat, the highlights just don't show, too dark and the base color
and highlights create too much of a contrast. But after finding that sweet
spot, it wasn't too long before the blend looked good. I also used a
combination of hard pressure on the Wacom Cintiq 27 QHD to vary the intensity
of the highlights in various areas around the front wing. This helps to keep
things looking a little more lively. There was a mistake on this part, however,
I put the color highlights on the flats layer instead of my highlights layer.
For this reason alone, I always make at least two flats layers so that if I
have to sacrifice one for a mistake, or keep the mistake on it and still use
the rest of the flats colors as my selection for the color samples, I can still
always have one or two "flats" layers that have never been touched.
Even if you don't want to go by that rule, at the very least create your flats,
copy that layer and lock the original flats layer. Then you're always sure to
save yourself from accidentally coloring over your flats.

I tackled the fingers or talons, next by selecting the
entire talon area on the flats layer, then I went to my highlights layer to put
down two highlights. Usually my rule of thumb for this is one half shade
lighter, and then another half shade lighter than that.

The claws came next and for that I sampled the flat color,
then went to my highlights layer to throw down two layers of highlights. I then
went back and changed the flat color to a little bit darker of a tone to make
more contrast between the highlights and the base come out. The end result
worked pretty well.

I then went for the head. The way I did this was similar to
the wings. I had to first change the color to something I knew would work with
the highlights. After that, I experimented with which way to tackle it - by
using the shadowed areas to my advantage? Or by using the highlights method
that I used with the front wing? I didn't like the result of using the shadows,
so I chose to do the same thing I'd done with the wing, which was to grab all
highlighted areas, and hit it with various levels of pressure to make some
highlights brighter than others.

The ribbon cables were probably the easiest, though perhaps
the most time consuming part as I was hitting many of them from different
angles but I was only using one color of highlight because the three-tone
process won't show up on such a small area. The lines are too close together,
and though certain other highlight processes could be used to make the folds of
the cables show up more, I chose to stick with the highlights on each cable as
it was the desired effect I was going after.

For Owlgirl's eyes, I chose to make a yellow glow in those
deep eye sockets of hers. With a little bit of experimenting using the
"bright colors emit light" action in Clip Studio Paint, I was able to
get the glow effect that I wanted and her eyes now have even more of a haunting
For those that aren't familiar with the "actions"
in Clip Studio Paint, they are pre-determined or pre-created actions that you
or someone (in this case the Bright Colors Emit Light action comes with Clip
Studio Paint) creates, and you hit "play" on the action and it then
loads all necessary steps that it takes to create that action, including
creating any additional layers that may be needed.

That about wraps this project up! For more detail, please
check out the video on the process. This will be available on my store, in
upcoming conventions that I'll be frequenting, and prints! If you'd like to buy
a shirt with her on it, as mentioned in the video, please let me know on any of
the various social media outlets that I'm on usually as @KennONeal.


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