David Bowie | Drawing One

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Today I took my first David Bowie drawing digital. I want this drawing to be as precise as it possibly can as I have taken inspiration from Helen Green’s David Bowie illustrations. To start off I have created the lighting bolt this is a simple red, blue and dark brown at first I thought what could be so hard about this but then I realised theres a little more to it than that. Using a hard brush I began to draw however using a wacom tablet for the first time this made me realise how I dont have as much control as I do with a pen from this I worked out the way to fix this problem is to hold shift which helps to draw a perfect straight line this didnt fully solve the problem however was a big help into making the lightning bolt be done quicker.

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Once I completed the lightning bolt I began to do the eyes knowing Bowie has different eye colour I used the picture which I referenced from to draw to use the eye drop tool which colour picked the eyes which then allowed me to paint it in I did this with another hard brush tool and it worked quite well I didnt want a realistic eye because at the  I dont want my drawing to look really realistic I just want it to look like I’ve taken from the photo and been exact with colours what I’m using.

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Once I did the eyes I moved onto the eyeshadow which varied in colour quite a lot and this was especially because the photo has a shine on it which could be from the make up David Bowie’s wearing in the photograph.There was a lot of pinks and purples therefore I used the eye drop tool a lot and the hard brush to create the eyeshadow however this wasn’t most likely the best decision as later on I changed this.

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The reasons I changed the way I did the eyeshadow is because eyeshadow should blend easily my faults where I used a hard brush tool and the colours which quite varied in what I eyedropped therefore it would have been a pain to blend.

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However I did do the eyeshadow on both eyes which without the skin doesn’t look bad but I knew once the skin would be added it wouldn’t look right.

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With this happening I didnt delete the layer but turned it off so when i did come to doing the skin I could switch it back on and see if it did fit in with my drawing however as you can see I decided the next bit to do was hair I downloaded brushes from Shadi Safadi and Jonas De Ro this helped widen the brushes I could use and gave me more of a preferred brush for what I was doing next.

Using the hair brush I colour picked from David Bowie’s hair and used the brush to make sweeps on his hair following the direction in which his hair went from the reference picture I didnt concentrate on this area and by concentrate I mean zoom in and do the hair in small sections as hair isn’t something which is massively concentrated on within a picture therefore the brush strokes can be bigger and it looks better than what it would if you did them in detail. However in the end I was able to look at the hair and then focus on smaller areas which I thought needed a different colour or the hair line was an area I zoomed into to make sure I didn’t overdo it and the colours where mixing in accurately. From colour picking using browns, reds and blacks I had the final hair however on places like the forehead there where loose strands because of this I changed the brush to Hair strands and started to fill these in using the eye drop tool I was able to select my colours and fill this in this had to be slightly more focused therefore I did zoom in and do this with more precision but I didn’t do it so it fit perfectly with the picture because that would take a while and the way my brushes flows onto the head looked fine it didn’t look out of place or odd to be there.

I have now completed the hair, eyes and lightning bolt on my drawing as you can see this was the simplest parts to do however now I was moving onto what I was most worried to do.

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I began by using a skin brush at 100& opacity and colour picking from an existing David Bowie picture which I referenced from when I was traditionally drawing this to me was looking harsh but I figured this was the part which was most harsh with colour therefore I carried on…

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I carried on colour picking and filling the face in so that I could end up with the skin working out but from what I was seeing some colours looked too harsh and others looked too light because of this I needed to work out another way to do this at first I thought about just picking skin colours in photoshop and using them to create this however that was also a challenge to me as then I would have to make the pink go in and blend it correctly and most likely in the end it would still look odd.

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With this  problem occurring I colour picked from the face created a new skin layer and painted all over the face using the large skin brush. I then changed my opacity to 30% as this meant the colours I picked now would go on and I could use my wacom tablet and set the pressure brush tool icon to be on this meant that when I was filling in the skin I could be harsher with it if need be and also I was less likely to make a mistake but I could still see the difference in colours slightly however it no longer worked like before where they looked too harsh and different from one another. If I now try to blend it it will blend a lot better and not look as harsh.

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From what you can see the right side of the face now looks more highlighted and instead of the blusher looking like a complete rough mess it looks blended in with the other skin whereas before it didn’t. However I still had in mind that by the end of this drawing the drawing was going to look too pink and not like the skin you normally see on a drawing nonetheless I carried on and kept colour picking from the picture which I had referenced from in the beginning to carry on further and see the outcome in the end.

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Once  I had completed my skin I still wasn’t happy with the colour as it looked way too pink because of this I created a new layer and changed it to overlay. I chose the large skin brush and set the opacity to 20% and then began to go over with the colour  (RGB) R:253 G:230 B: 215. This was a light tone to the skin which didn’t see too harsh yet I knew would brighten up the areas which needed it most. From the screenshot above you can see the difference instantly within the completion as it now looks less harsh but theres still areas which need to be fixed.

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To be critical of my work there is still areas needing to be fixed I noticed that the jawline wasn’t centred the right eye wasn’t the same as the left. Therefore I made the changes to finalise the drawing using the free transform tool I was able to copy and flip the eye so it went onto the right side correctly I then fixed the jawline so that it was more equal and centred rather than quite rough I also changed the neck and the chest area the add more shadows to look more realistic there was still areas of the skin which looked slightly too pink because of this I changed the opacity to 40% and the areas which where really light I went over and made even lighter however I did this on a separate layer so that it wouldn’t effect any of the layer below this means that if it did look too harsh I could get rid of it without effecting what I have already done this worked quite well and I was now content with what I had done and was ready to move onto my second drawing.

From doing this drawing I have realised that drawing digitally is a lot harder than it looks. This has tested me to my limits as this is far from the way I’m used to working however is good for me as I am becoming more independent in learning the software on my own and I am learning further skills as I am developing with the way I work digitally. This drawing has also been a challenge for me to do as I am normally quite creative and free with the way I work as I work quite rough as well as colourful therefore I’ve had to be strict in how I work but this has also took more time than I planned in my brief but I am now working out of college to complete my drawings as this is what needs to be done in order for me to complete my work on time.

I have now saved this so I am ready to print this off large-scale for exhibition.


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