Making of The Royal Assassin
by Roy Stein, London Web:

The Royal Assassin

My name is Roy Stein, and I am a CG artist and Illustrator based in London. In this short tutorial I want to give you a short walkthrough of the way I build up an illustration from start to finish.  This image was created over 3 sessions and took approximately 15 hours to finish.

First stage, a subject matter - My process is to come up with an idea, then a color/mood theme, and then look for references to get my creative juices flowing... I collect images from all over, shoot stuff myself if needed, and then start sketching. Because I have a Wacom Cintiq at home, I paint on one screen, and have my references on the second, which is really nice. :-)

I use a hard default brush in Photoshop, and start building up the form. This stage is the most important to me because it locks the composition, movement and character. The other steps are basically refining that sketch.

royal assassin sketch

Second stage – Color Palette and Basic Shading - Here I chose a few colors that will help me dictate the overall color mood of the character. I was going for a very simple lighting scenario, almost like a diffused light box, that is located slightly to the characters left.

I wanted the character to have pinkish/peach overall color, which would create a very sweet feel. Created a new layer on top of the line art sketch, and with the same kind of brush went in with larger strokes and filled the main areas of light and shadow, using the color palette on the left. I kept a copy of the sketch with a 30% opacity on top of this new color layer to still give me the roadmap to where things are (you can obviously also do this with a multiply mode layer).

royal assassin coloring

Next, I tweaked the contour of her face and hips with the liquify tool, to get a better flowing shape. This step was also mainly tweaking and adding colors, more refinement to the highlights and shadow areas, and smudging it all together to get a more unified result. Slowly adding details of the hair and the face, and trying to keep the balance of dark and light. I decided to keep a very strong outline, to give a more of an old poster art feel.

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