This artwork was a personal project, an abstract representation of “Rasa Leela”. The ‘Rasa Leela’ or ‘Rasa Dance’ is a part of the traditional story of Krishna (Incarnation of Lord Vishnu), described in Hindu scriptures like “Bhagavata Purana” and literature such as “Geet Govind”, where he dances with Radha (His beloved) and her Sakhi’s (friends). This piece was created in Adobe Photoshop 7 without a graphic tablet. It was completely done with mouse and took me a little more than 10 days to complete.
Since I wanted to render a 2D image of a dance form, the biggest challenge was to depict the rhythm and motion of the dance. So I hunted for reference for quite sometime before I came across some beautiful paintings by Shu Mizoguchi. His work is immensely inspiring and a great contribution to the digital art community. You can visit his website here: http://shu-littlebit.com
In this tutorial I will share my techniques and will walk you through the many steps taken from initial concept to the final rendering of the image.
Background and Body Color
Once I had the reference image it was important to decide the background colour of the final image. Deciding the final background colour helped me to select the colour of the main image. In this case I decided to keep the background colour ‘black’, thus I had a greater colour palette to work with as far as the main image was concerned. Since this is a traditional dance form, colour ‘gold’ was chosen for the ornament and the dress. However it was important not to outline the figures with any colour and stick to ‘black’ to differentiate the hands and feet.
I sketched the figures on a piece of paper to get the proportions right. I then scanned it to my computer and kept it as the base and reference layer. This is how it looked.
Note: If the background colour is dark, the image should be drawn in lighter shades so as to make the main image prominent and vice versa. If the background of an image is black, it’s important to put the background in a ‘layer set’ and turn it off clicking the ‘eye’ on the layer window while working on the main image.
I then outlined the figures with black brush strokes. I used hard round brush, diameter 3 px and also filled the body colours. Krishna is traditionally painted blue and Radha in flesh tint. Also painted the eyes and the lips.
Note: To fill an area with colour, draw a path using the pen tool Right click on the path and select ‘make selection’ and use the paint bucket tool to fill the colour. Then hit Ctrl+D to deselect the path.