In this tutorial I will be showing the process and some techniques I generally use to create my artwork. Starting at how I approach sketching my initial designs, I will detail the steps I take that lead to the final rendering, I hope you can apply this method to a variety of your art projects and achieve consistently good results. Having been influenced concept artists the likes of Harald Belker and Scott Robertson when I first got into this stuff i'm sure you will see some of those influence in my process.
I usually start off with a pencil and paper to work out my idea before heading into Photoshop. For this illustration I looked at a lot of different photos of kitchen appliances in deciding how the robots in a kitchen could look. It helped to draw some juicers and toasters from reference to warm up and to better understand my subject matter before I jumped into the designing the bots. One of the design problems I faced was how to make plain kitchen appliances look like menacing, lively robots. After looking at some picture of animals I decided that a frog and a crab stance would work well for the toaster and the juicer respectively. Whenever I design I always focus on the subject having a great silhouette or outline so the frog and crab design elements just complement that.
Before I add any light or dark tones to the image I set the sketch layer to multiply and lower the opacity. I then create flat base colors on a layer to block out the different parts of the subject and I then place it under the sketch layer. It also works as a selection mask for when we begin to add value to the image. This is how I start almost all my illustrations.
Next, I pick where my light source will come from and I create a layer where I begin shading. I am aware that step seems like a big jump from the last one. All I did in this step was simply mask out one part at a time and shade the robots while working only with a soft black brush. If I am shading a complicated part I will create a new layer to work on the tricky part and merge it down to the main shadow layer when I'm happy with it. While you are working on this layer remember that shadow consistency is the key to realism. Consider your lighting; is it soft light or a direct hard light so that it creates sharp cast shadows? Where is the most of the light coming from? In our case the scene is back lit. And don't be afraid to be generous with your shadows here, its OK to start dark as we move onto the light layer.
Much like the previous step, here in the light/ reflection layer you slowly buildup definition by masking out the parts one by one while working only in white this time. As with the shadow layer is helps to work in multiple layers for more control before merging it all into the light layer. The bots have highly reflective chrome and glossy surfaces so it is helpful to think of the robots as reflecting the light in their surroundings and not as a matte form reflecting the light of a singular light source. Don't forget that light will also reflect off the brightly lit counter top and onto the bots. Use a hard brush for the most part in this stage and not a soft brush because the nature of glossy materials call for hard edged reflections.