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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Billy Bones Character Design Process

Pencil Drawing, Watercolor, and then Watercolor and Digital

This was a brief experiment in working more opaquely than I usually do. (Both in the watercolor and in the digital.)  

The digital work is very minimal.  In CS5 it is just one Color Balance layer and a few normal layers. 

Usually I will use hundreds, nay thousands, of multiply and screen layers to finish even a simple character when I am working over a much lighter watercolor.
As for the brushes themselves, they were mostly Photoshop standards and a few pencil brushes of my own.  Nothing fancy since the traditional watercolor does most of the texture work.

I didn't do very well getting bright colors in the original watercolor.  But if I ever need to paint something so that it looks like a complete mess, then I am pretty confident that I will knock it out of the park. 


  1. Lovely character and thanks for sharing the process!!

  2. This is so intriguing Justin. I wonder, do you have MORE fun doing the pencil work, the watercolor, or the digital work? I'm also curious about the change of colors from watercolor to digital. Do you ever do "preliminary" color studies before painting or do you paint as you feel the colors should be, then make changes to the color digitally? Thanks in advance..and thank you for sharing your process here!

    1. Hey Shirley,
      I like them all, but I'd have to say that I enjoy pencil the most. I feel most at home with it. But the digital part is always fun too. (The Watercolor can sometimes be a bit of a fight.)

      I sometimes do preliminary color studies, especially on the larger, more complex scenes with more color. It is easy for me to get lost otherwise. I think they are really helpful.

  3. He seems so gruf and adorable at the same time.

  4. Justin,

    I have little doubt that you may have already answered this somewhere, but what type of digital software do you employ? In a past life I was an architect and made a promise to myself that I would never go near digitally created artwork again, but I happened upon a posting at conceptartworld.com and then here, and to say that I'm impressed is an understatement. I'm very much a pencil and paint artist, but to see your work and work like it has me more than little curious. In any regard, I was wondering if you would mind discussing what programs you use.

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Bryan,
      It is all Adobe Photoshop CS5 on a Wacom Intuos 4 Tablet. Desktop is a Mac. Scanner is an Epson GT-15000.
      I haven't made the upgrade to CS6 yet, but I may soon.

    2. Thank you for that. I'll look into it.

  5. Thousands of layers? That's interesting. You make it look so effortless. Beautiful work.