Step 1 – Workspace Setup
I have chosen to use a 450*400 pixel big workspace in order to fit this blog space perfectly. You can of course go ahead an choose whatever size you feel fits best for your needs. Also, when starting up you can choose to create the character in “Vector Graphics“, “Smart Objects” or just in plane “Bitmap Graphics“. Depending on your needs you can pick either way to create this. The creation is still the same however you will be using different tools. In this tutorial I will primarily talk about the bitmap way of doing it. However, I will talk a little about “Smart Objects” and how to create them when your character is done.
When choosing the background color you can go with whatever background you like. However “Black” (#000000) wouldn’t be recommended as it will be the color of the outlining of the character. The sketch lines if you will. I am going with a white background to start with. I will work a little on the background when I finish up the character though.
Step 2 – The Head
Alright, let’s start out with the shape of the head. We are going to use a couple of tools to get the right feel without using the “Pen” tool. Even though the pen tool is really useful in most situations as you can modify the lines when you have already drawn them I find the process a bit time consuming and prefer doing things fast and easy. However, when you are creating this character in vector graphics it’s kind of the way you have to go in order for it to become ultimately scalable.
So, before we start adding outlines, create a new layer and name it “Character Head“. Now, pick the “Elliptical Marquee Tool” and create an oval measuring Width: 160 and Height: 190. Fill the oval by selecting the “Paint Bucket Tool”. Fill it with the color Black (#000000). What we need to do now is to take a part of the fill out in order to get the desired outline line we want. So again, with the “Elliptical Marquee Tool” draw an oval measuring Width: 152 and Height: 182. Place the oval in the immediate center of your filled oval and then press the “Delete” key on your keyboard.
We also need to delete the bottom half of the oval as the ehad won’t be an exact oval due to the cheek bones and all. So, with the "Rectangular Marquee Tool" select the bottom half of the bottom cutting it in perfect halfs. When selected again press the "Delete” key to erase it.
Now we should have a half of an oval drawn with just an outline which will in the end make up the top of the head. It should look something like this:
We now have the top of the head done and now moving on to the cheek bones. This time we will be using the “Polygonal Lasso Tool” in order to create a flowing and vibrant line meant to look like it’s hand drawn. With the “Polugonal Lasso Tool" draw a similar line to what I have on the right side of the head. We will go ahead and copy the right half of the head later to the left in order to make it summetric.
After drawing it and filled it, againg using the "Paint Bucket Tool“, you should have a cheek bone outline looking something like this:
Now what we need to do is to copy the right side to the left. But first we need to delete the entire half side of the head. So, go ahead and pick the “Rectangular Marquee Tool” and select the LEFT half of the head and then press the “Delete” key on your keyboard. After doing so, select the right half of the head and press “CTRL” + “C” to copy the selection.
Press “CTRL” + “V” now to paste the copied selection. As you can see we now have two identical halves which we cannot use. A new layer has been created with the new identical half in it. We need to flip this horizontally in order for it to fit as the left half of the head. With the new, un-named, layer selected choose “Edit” -> “Transform” -> “Flip Horizontal“.
Now we have two opposite sides of the head so go ahead an place it next to the right half to make it a complete head. After positioning the left half to the right correctly you should now have something looking like this:
You might think the head looks a little stiff and hard at this point. No worries. When we’ve added a slew of details to it its going to look quite good and the hard lines makes for a great facial appearance.
Before we start of the eyes we need to add some skin to the actual head. Create a new layer underneath the “Character Head” layer and name it “Character Skin“. Again, pick the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” and select the insides of the head. Important here is that you stay IN (actually in the middle of the outline) the outline (not inside the outline). After selecting the whole head fill the selection using the “Paint Bucket Tool” and use either a Brown color or a lighter pink color depending on what kind of skin type you would like your character to have. I am using a brighter skin tone for this character (#ecc0a7). After filling your selection you should have something looking like this:
Step 3 – The Eyes
We now have the head all outlined and it’s now time for us to create the eyes. Create a new layer above the “Character Skin” layer and name it “Character Eyes“. Time to get to work on the eyes.
Select the “Elliptical Marquee Tool” and create an oval measuring Width: 36 and Height: 32. This will become the character’s left eye. Fill the selection using White (#ffffff) as the color.
Now, using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” create a couple of lines outlining the eye which we also can add some eye lashes to in a second. I created these lines to make the eyes more recognizable.
Now when we have the eyes somewhat outlined roughly we can go ahead and add the eye lashes and the eye lid lines to create more details to the eyes before we start to add the iris and the main details.
Pick the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” and add small eye lashes to the left side of the eye attached to the line we just created there. Don’t add eye lashes all the way through the line. Just a few to the left side of the eye as it’s where you usually see them. After adding the eye lashes you should have something looking like this:
We also need to mark the eye lid out so that the character appears more human like. This is accomplished by just adding a small line just above the eye itself. To do this we need to add another layer, This time add a new layer underneath the “Character Eyes” layer (we will later fuse these layers so no need to name this new layer).
Select the “Elliptical Marque Tool” and create an oval measuring Width: 46 and Height: 34 and place the top of the oval a few pixels above the top of the eye. Fill the oval using the “Paint Bucket Tool” and use the color Black (#000000). Now, move the oval down and right just a little bit and then press the “Delete” key on your keyboard. This will delete most of the oval and leave a small line marking the eye lid.
After adding this line you should now have something looking like this:
As you can see, the eye is taking form and giving a more detailed appearance to the face. However, wee need to add the iris and other details to the eye before it becomes entirely believable. Also, if you haven’t figured it out already, I am creating a female character.
Create a new layer (no need to name it). Pick the “Elliptical Marquee Tool” and create a circle in the center of the eye measuring Width: 27 and Height: 27. Fill it using the “Paint Bucket Tool“. Color is entirely up to you. I have chosen a Brown color (#6c2e21) to give the character more depth.
Also go ahead and create another circle in the middle of the circle that you have just created and fill it with Black (#000000) color. This will make up the “Pupil” of the character.
Before we add some gloss to the eye we need to mark out the edges of the iris a little bit. This we can accomplish by adding an outline to the iris itself. Right click the iris layer and choose “Blending Options…“. In the menu to your left choose “Stroke” and insert the following settings:
The color I am using is a dark Brown color (#2f0d06).
Before we take a look at the final result of the eye itself we need to add some gloss to the eye as well. Create a new layer on top of the layer you’re working with (do not name it).
Again, choose the “Elliptical Marquee Tool” create two circles. One at the top right corner measuring Width: 12 and Height: 12. Fill it using the “Paint Bucket Tool” and use White as color (#ffffff).
Create another circle at the bottom left corner measuring Width: 7 and Height: 7. Again fill it with White color (#ffffff).
After adding these details you should now have something looking like this:
Before we continue to the nose we need to bundle up our layers and copy the eye to the right side in order for the character to have two eyes. This is not as hard as it sounds. But there are a few things we need to do in order for it not to look weird. Select all the layers that has to do with the eye except the gloss layer and press the “CTRL” + “E” to merge these layers.
Now, copy the layer you ended up with by selecting it using the “Rectangular Marquee Tool” and pressing “CTRL” + “C” and the pressing “CTRL” + “V” to paste it. Again, we need to flip this new layer horizontally. Choose “Edit” -> “Transform” -> “Flip Horizontal“.
We need to align the eyes just right and position them correctly so I will just go ahead and position my eyes and then show you where I put them. You can just position the right eye on the same distance as I have to the left, merge the layers as we did before and then just position them in the right vertical position.
Also, when you have aligned the eyes just right, copy the gloss layer and without flipping it position it in the right eye.
Here’s how it should look when you have positioned everything just right:
There, the eyes are done and all we have to do is to add some shadowing to create a more 3D like effect. But that we will get to later in this tutorial. Now on to the nose.
Step 4 – The Nose
The nose is fairly easy to create. However, there is a bunch of different ways to create a nose depending on what you want it to look like. I am going for a somewhat small noise slightly bent upwards. After you are done with this tutorial you can go ahead and experiment with different ways of doing it.
We need a new layer for the nose so go ahead and create a new layer and name it “Character Nose“. Select the “Elliptical Marquee Tool” and create a circle measuring Width: 13 and Height: 13. Fill it using the “Paint Bucket Tool” and use the color Black (#000000).
Without deselecting your selection, move it slightly to the right and then press “Delete” on your keyboard to delete most of the circle leaving only a simple outline which will be the left side of the nostril wing.
We need to add the nostril itself before we copy the entire left side of the nose to the right side. Go ahead and choose the “Elliptical Marquee Tool” once again if you don’t already have it. Create an oval measuring Width: 5 and Height: 7. Fill it using the “Paint Bucket Tool” and again use the color Black (#000000).
We also need to rotate the nostril a little bit to get the right angle of the nostril. Select the nostril alone and then choose “Edit” -> “Transform” -> “Rotate“.
Rotate the nostril “-75 degrees” and then positioning it about 3 pixels from the nostril wing and 3 pixels from the nostril wing bottom.
Now, copy the left side of the nose by selecting it using the “Rectangular Marquee Tool” and pressing “CTRL” + “C” and then pasting it by pressing “CTRL” +”V“. Now position the right side of the nose to the right side of the left side of the nose. The length between the two sides is entirely up to you to play with. If you want to do it exactly as I am doing it then just check the result hereunder and try to duplicate the length.
After positioning your right side of the nose then merge the two layers into one nose layer named “Character Nose“.
When you have positioned the right side of the nose, merged the two layers you should have something looking like this:
There, our nose is in place and again we will add some shadowing to it later in this tutorial to give it more depth. But for now it serves its purpose quite well.
Step 5 – The Eyebrows
With our nose in place we can now move on to the eyebrows in order to give the character some…err…character. This one is quite simple however probably the one that makes the biggest differents as it’s with the eyebrows we determine what kind of mood our character is in. Angry, Sad, Happy or just neutral. I will go for a more neutral look but you are free to experiment all you want to try and bring out the feeling you want your character to have.
Create a new layer and name it “Character Eyebrows“. Choose the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” and draw the eyebrow you feel most represents your character. If you’re going for the same as I am this is how I have decided to draw it:
Now all we have to do is to copy the left eye bro to the right side and align it correctly. Select the left eyebrow and copy it by pressing “CTRL” + “C“. Paste it by pressing “CTRL” + “V“. Now position it correctly and aligned with the left eyebrow on the right side.
After positioning it correctly merge the two eyebrow layers so it is one layer named “Character Eyebrows“. After doing so you should now have something looking like this:
There, our eyebrows are in place and we can move on to the mouth. Later on we will work on some shadowing to give them more 3d depth but that again comes later in this tutorial.
Step 6 – The Mouth
Here is the second hardest phase of the facial features. The mouth is such an important piece of the face that we really need to pay attention to the lining of it. We could go for a moth with big luscious lips or we could go with a more normal one or really, there’s a million choices here. I however, will go for a more normal mouth.
Create a new layer and name it “Character Mouth“. Using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” I draw the left side of the mouth in order to copy it and use the same for the right side. All to make it more symmetrical. However, you can always freehand both sides to make it more "sketchy" and "cartoonish". I am doing it this way to make sure it stay symmetrical. While adding shadows later we get a chance to make it more free hand sketched looking anyways.
When free handing a mouth, remember that you are only drawing the outlines of the mouth and lips. If it would have been a male character we would have only worked with lines in order to give it a little harder features as a male almost never have luscious lips and so forth.
Now, copy the right side of the mouth to the left side and align it (you should know how to copy and paste by now). Don’t forget to merge the two layers so you have the whole outline of the mouth in just one layer.
After free handing the mouth it is looking like this:
There, our outline for the mouth is done. We need to color it as well in order to make it fit with the character itself. Create a new layer underneath the “Character Mouth” layer. Using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” again select the lips by following the lines setting the point in the middle of the stroke itself. After having selected the lips fill it using the “Paint Bucket Tool”. You can use any color you like whether you want lipstick colors or something in that direction. I am going for somewhat natural lips so I am using a darker Pink / Brown color (#cf9679).
Time to add the teeth. It’s rather simple and we are of course using White (#ffffff) as color. Again using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” select the inside area of the mouth again setting the points in the middle of the outline line. Fill the mouth using the “Paint Bucket Tool” once again.
We need just a couple of lines more to accentuate the teeth correctly. With the “Character Mouth” layer selected, in the left side of the mouth, add a small triangle (somewhat of a triangle, almost lines) using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool“. Fill it using the “Paint Bucket Tool” and use the color Black (#000000).
You can now go ahead and merge all the mouth layers by selecting all of them and then press “CTRL” + “E“. Remember to name the layer “Character Mouth” if doesn’t already have that name.
All you have to do now is to align the mouth to where you want it. I have decided to position the mouth quite close to the nose to give the character a more Manga influence.
After you have done all the above to create the mouth you should now have something looking like this:
There, our mouth is now in place and as you can see we are starting to get quite an interesting face despite the hard head lines we first started out with. We will further smoothing these out later with even more details making the viewer unaware of the rectangular facial outline. However, first we need to add the ears.
Step 7 – The Ears
Now comes the most tricky part. Not so much the creation of it but the description of each step. However, I will try and explain it the best I can and with the including images I am sure you will be able to follow the process.
Create a new layer and name it (yup, you guessed it!) “Character Ears“. Choose the “Elliptical Marquee Tool” and create an oval measuring Width: 30 and Height: 46. Fill it using the “Paint Bucket Tool” and use Black (#000000) as color. Create a new oval measuring Width: 22 and Height: 38. Position this new oval selection in the middle of the newly created and filled oval and press “Delete” on your keyboard to delete the selection.
Select the new outlined oval and choose “Edit” -> “Transform” -> “Rotate“. Rotate the outlined oval “20” degrees. Move the “Character Ears” layer underneath the “Character Skin” layer and position the ear’s oval top approximately aligned to the top of the eyes on the right side of the character head.
It should look something like this when aligned:
Now comes the tricky part. Using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” create the ear lines to give it more detail and depth. By looking at the image below add the necessary lines to make your ear look exactly like mine.
Here’s how my ear looks after adding the inner ear details:
Alright, so the details for our ear is now there and all we have to do now is add a little bit of skin and then copy it to the left side of the head. Add a new layer underneath the “Character Ears" layer (no need to name it) and again using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” select the ear by adding the selection to the middle of the outlining of the entire ear.
After you have your selection all done fill it using the “Paint Bucket Tool” and use the same skin color as you used for the face. In my case I am using a kind of Pink / Brown (#ecc0a7) color.
Merge the skin and the ear outline layer and name it “Character Ears” using the “CTRL” + “E” command.
Alright, our ear is colored and now we need to copy it to the left side of the head. Using the “CTRL” + “C” to copy and “CTRL” + “V” to paste copy the ear to the left side and align it to the same position that the right ear has.
After doing all this you should now have something looking like this:
Now, merge the two ear layers and make sure the layer is name “Character Ears“.
Alright, our ears are in place and now we can move on to the hair. We are now very close to add some shadows to the face and the up-coming neck so hang in there.
Step 8 – The Neck
Let’s add the neck before we start adding the hair. As the hair will be in a ponytail we need to add the neck in order to know where the ponytail is going to end up showing. The neck is one of the easiest parts to add to the character but again, there is a slew of choices you have when creating it. Either you go for a thick and larger sized neck which then will make the character look either fat or muscular. I am going for a fairly normal/slim neck to fit my character just fine.
Create a new layer and call it “Character Neck” directly above the “Character Skin” layer. Using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” go ahead and create a line on the right side of the check bottom looking similar to what I have created underneath. Try keeping your outlines the same size all through the creation of your character. If it should differ from time to time and in various locations no worries. They can actually add to the feeling that the character is hand drawn using a pen.
When you have drawn the line, approximately the same size and length that I have done you should have something looking like this:
Now copy the newly created neck line using the “CTRL” + “C” command and paste it using the “CTRL” + “V” command. Also flip it horizontally the new layer choosing “Edit” -> “Transform” -> “Flip Horizontal“.
We have to fit some skin to the next as well before we go ahead and add the hair. But let’s first merge the two neck line layers. Select the newly created layer (if not already selected) and then merge the two by using the “CTRL” + “E” command. You should now have one layer named “Character Neck“.
Select the “Character Skin” layer. Using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” trace the neck line (again set your points in the middle of the line) all the way down and then imagine the invisible line where the neck would go until you again trace the right neck line all the way up to the position you started from. Fill the selection with the same skin color we used for the head. In my case the Pink / Brown (#ecc0a7) color.
After doing all this you should now have something looking like this:
There, our neck is now finished and we can move on to the hair. As you can see we are getting closer to a whole character and with a little bit of imagination you can create so many different faces just by adding different eyes etc. to your character.
Step 9 – The Hair
So it’s time to add the hair. As you can imagine there are quite a lot of hair styles we could choose from and you are free to pick whatever style you feel fits your character. I am going for a simple and stylish ponytail with a few streaks of hair hanging in front of the face.
Remember, here’s where your creativity comes in. You have the freedom to create a cool hairstyle so work on it a little and make it your own personal flavor. For references just look at pictures, your own hairstyle or come up with an entirely new on. Not an easy task but you are welcome to try.
Create a new layer directly above the “Character Head” layer and name it “Character Hair“. As always, use the “Polygonal Marquee Tool" to create the outline of the hairstyle. Make sure you’re keeping the lines flowing and in the same size as the rest ot the character outlining. This will ensure a way more unison character in the end. You are free to copy my hairstyle but praxtice is the best thing to do to learn.
After outlining the hairstyle you should have something looking like this (if you chose to copy the hearstyle that I did):
As you can see, the result get significantly more interesting after adding the hair. The hair does so much for the face that without it the face sometimes looks plain and uninteresting. As you probably also noticed the lines as way more “hand drawn” in their appearance. This is to give the hair a little bit more depth and life. Hair is never straight even if it is a short haircut.
We can now go ahead and add some color to the hair. I think I am going for Yellow (#ffd131) as it will add alittle bit of detail to the face. Create a new layer above the "Character Skin” layer and name it “Character Hair Color“. We do this in order to be able to change the color of the hair at a later stage if we so would want to.
Using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” (and having selected the newly created layer) trace the hair outline (again setting your points in the middle of the line) until you have selected the whole hair area. In order to add more areas, if your hair should be in several pieces just like mine, hold down the “Shift” key on your keyboard when you start a new selecting a new area and the old selection will still be selected.
After selecting your hair, fill it using the “Paint Bucket Tool” and your desired hair color. After doing this you should now have something looking like this (you might have to trace the excess hair color with the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” and delete it if you’re going over the head and ear outlines):
As you can see we’re getting somewhere however the hair looks kind of flat and odd. We can change that by adding some shine to it.
Create a new layer above the “Character Hair Color” layer and name it “Character Hair Shine“. Again using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” go ahead and trace up the patterns (if you’re creating a hairstyle just like me. If not…then your imagination have to work a little) that I have created in the image below.
After tracing these selections the fill it using the “Paint Bucket Tool” with a brighter shade of the color you are using, in my case I am going for something in between Creamy Yellow / White (#ffeba5).
As you can see I modified the hair a little bit making sure it was flowy enough. I also removed any overlapping where the hair disrupted the flow of any outlines. After doing this you should now have something looking like this:
We’re getting closer and closer to a neat cartoon illustration don’t you think? Well, a few steps left until we’re at the end of this tutorial so hang in there. Next is the shadowing.
Step 10 – The Shadowing
Time to add some depth to the face. Now we are going to add some shadows to the skin to make it appear a little bit more 3d. How you shadow your character is essential to the end result. Off shadows could make it look weird and throw the view off. Imagine a light source and work from there.
Create a new layer directly above the “Character Skin” layer and name it “Character Facial Shadows“. Using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” (and the newly created layer selected) start tracing out where you want your shadows to be. If you’re are unsure just take a look where I put mine and you can work from there.
After selecting where your shadows should be use a darker color of the skin tone you’re using. In my case I am using a darker Pink / Brown (#dfb096) color.
There you have my selection as well as the shadowing. These shadows are meant as facial feature shadows. To bring out the features of the bones underneath it as well as a little shadowing for the hair. Now you’re wondering why I have only made shadows on one side of the character. Well, to simplify the process again we’re going to copy the left side cheek shadow to the right. Us the “CTRL” + “C” and “CTRL” + “V” command as we’ve done so many times before.
We still have a few more shadows to add to the face before we move on. Now we have to switch the color to an even darker skin color as we will be working with more distinctive features of the face. Again using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” trace exactly what I have traced and fill it with the darker color of your skin color if different from mine. I am using an even darker shade of Pink / Brown (#cd9a7d) color.
After adding these shadows and copying the left side of the cheek shadow to the right you should now have something looking like this:
OK, there is a few things to point out here. As you can see there are a few shadows added. The eyes, hair, neck and the ears I used the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” to select where the shadows should be. However for the nose I chose to use the “Elliptical Marquee Tool” and just created a little oval spanning from nostril to nostril to create that depth of the nose.
Our face has now been completed and we can move on the clothes now. However, there are a dew things you could do to enhance the face even more. You could for example add some shadows to the eyes to create a more round feeling. You could add a darker shade of yellow to create even more depth in the hair. Also on the teeth you could add some shadowing but we’re not going to do that this time around.
Step 11 – The Clothes
Time to put some clothes on our character before we are done. Yup, we are that close. As usual we have a ton of options here to choose from. What kind of clothes to put on your character is entirely up to you. I will go ahead and add a shirt just for fun.
The “Polygonal Marquee Tool” is one of the most used in this tutorial and it is exactly what we’re going to use once again to create the outline for our character clothes. If you’re creating your own clothes the remember to keep the line flowing and the same size as always before.
If you’re copying what I do then just look at the outline I have done below and just take your time and perfect your outlining skills.
Create a new layer on top of all the other layers and name it “Character Clothes“. This layer will be the target layer for all your clothes outline layers. Sometimes one need a few layers to create several pieces of clothes in order not to mix them up. At a later stage we just merge them all and we’ll have one single layer containing all the outlines for the character’s clothes. So, if you need additional layers to create your clothes never hesitate. Go ahead and add as many layers as you need.
After outlining your clothes (if you have done what I have) you should have something looking like this:
As you can see I have only created the right half of the shirt. It’s because I am going to copy the right half to the left side and just make minor changes such as adding buttons instead of the holes etc. You can go ahead and copy the right half (first make sure all your clothes layers are merged into one layer called “Character Clothes” with the “CTRL” + “E” command) to the left side of the character and then align it just right so it looks like a complete shirt.
Time to add some color to the clothes. I say clothes as there is a couple of lines in there that will make out the t-shirt this lady is wearing underneath the shirt itself. Again you can go ahead an pick whatever color you’d like for your character but I will go for something more colorful such as Red (#b00000).
Create a new layer underneath the “Character Clothes” layer and name it “Character Clothes Color“. This is the layer we can add the colors for the characters clothes. Remember to use the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” to trace the outline before filling in your clothes with the “Paint Bucket Tool“.
After you have done this you should now have something looking like this:
Our shirt is now colored and as you see there is still some painting to be done. I want the edge of the T-shirt to have a Pink (#ff9e9e) color and we need to paint the rest of the neck as well. It’s easily accomplished by again tracing the outlines using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” and the filling it using the “Paint Bucket Tool“.
Don’t forget to switch to the “Character Skin” layer when you are adding the color for the skin and then back again to the “Character Clothes Color” layer when you are adding color to the clothes. It’s a lot easier to keep track of everything if you stick to your layers and keeping it tidy and neat.
Now go ahead and add the colors and after you have done that you should now have something looking like this:
Clothes are colored and so is the character’s skin. There is only one part left now and that is to give the clothes some shadows to make them look even more 3d.
Step 12 – The Clothes Shadows
Only one thing left to do and that is to give the clothes a little bit of shadow treatment. We need to shadow the skin a little bit more where the shirt is. We also need to highlight the sides of the shirt as the light source seems to be coming from somewhere above and behind. We also need to add some shadows to the shirt where the light is fading. And lastly, we need to add some shadows to the shirt that is underneath where the shirt is blocking the light. All simple and straight forward really.
Let’s add the shirt shadows first. Create a new layer above the “Character Clothes Color” and name it “Character Clothes Shadows“. Using a darker shade of Red (#8c0000) just go ahead and add shadows where you can imagine the light can’t reach. Or, just copy what I am doing. Look at the result below after I have added the shadows:
Don’t forget to add shadows to the back of the collar as well. Really easy to forget that place as it’s already red. However adding a darker red there can sometimes do the trick of making it look 3D like.
Let’s move on to the high lighting of the shirt to accentuate the light source a bit. Again using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” and this time a brighter shade of Red (#d63737) create the spots that your clothes needs or just copy mine for simplicity. You can always get ideas from looking at other cartoons or just look yourself in the mirror and try and spot the highlights and shadows on yourself.
Still use the same layer and if you want change the name to “Character Clothes Shine & Shadows" to know eher everything is. Not a must just in case you should forget where you put your shines.
After ading the high lights you should now have something looking like this:
High lighting is a great way to make something look a little bit more real in terms of 3 dimensional space. Only a couple of things left to do now before we are done.
Lets add the shadows on the neck skin to make it look like the shirt actually blocks the light from coming through to the skin. Again using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” (this you all know by now) use the same skin shadow color as before, the Pink / Brown shade (#cd9a7e) we have under the chin.
Make sure you imagine the light coming from behind and above. The shadow under the chin could work as a guideline here. After adding the shadow you should now have something looking like this:
Already making much more sense doesn’t it. Alright, let’s hit the last hurdle and add the shadowing on the T-Shirt. Let’s go for both colors at the same time. You should be able to handle it by now.
The colors I am using is a darker shade of Pink (#db7676) and a brighter shade of Gray (#cacaca). Make sure you keep the shadows in a straight line from where we left off with the skin shadow. A broken line can easily create some odd effects if not careful. Add these to the T-Shirt and when you are done you should have something looking like this:
Our character is all done and as you see we have come a long way from the edgy and clunky head shape that we started out with.
As you probably understand there is a lot you can still add to this character and this way of creating an illustrated cartoon. You can add additional details to the eyes, work more on the shadows, create several sets of eyes, eyebrows, hairstyles etc. in order to make your character look even more pimped out.
In this composed and finished image I have added a background to give the image some additional depth. Your imagination is the limit and whatever you feel would fit your character just go ahead and add it. Create a full scale character if you want to. Adding the rest of the body shouldn’t be that hard now when you have completed the hardest part in creating the entire upper body. And in detail as well.