In this section I am going to go over my process from initial concept to "finished" piece.
Hardware A PC running Windows XP and a Wacom graphics tablet.
Programs Painter in conjunction with Photoshop
Step 1: Drawing... Lots of Drawing.
Once an idea pops into my mind I start sketching. Depending on the piece there could be dozens of drawings. Most of the time this step is done
on paper with a 4H pencil (I use a hard pencil because I tend to smear with softer ones) or a fine tipped pen. On occasion I have sketched in the
digital realm.
Step 2: Scan It
Now it is time to scan the drawing into the computer. I scan at a higher resolution then the final piece is going to be so I can bring the image
into a larger dimensional form ( i.e. original 8.5"X11" to 17"X22" digital painting) and retain all the details. I scan at 600 dpi, with the printing
norm of 300 dpi.
Step 3: Decisions, Decisions
Now I decide on what my color pallet is going to be. What are going to be my dark darks and bright brights, and every tone in between.
My pallet might get revised as I am painting but I try to stick to my initial choices.
Step 4: Background Love
I try to keep digital painting as close to traditional painting as possible, so I start with the background. In Photoshop I make a new layer under
the sketch layer and switch the sketch layer to multiply. I start with base colors for objects and a dark to light gradient for skies. Each image is
different so I refine it until I am happy and then onto the next step. The beauty of digital painting is that I can always go back refine further if I
feel the piece requires it.
Step 5: Blocking in the Focus
Moving from the background I make a new layer for the focus of the piece, for most of my work it would be a character of some type. I block
it in using the darkest color already in the image. This allows me to see the silhouette and I can make any changes for a more defining design.
Step 6: Mid Tones Galore
Next are the mid tones for whatever material is needed. At this stage I try to keep in mind what the light source(s) is doing, keeping the dark
shadows were they need to be. I also start blending at this stage. My blending technique stems from charcoal drawing where you are taking a
dark tone into a light one. I use Corel Painter to blend because it feels more natural than in Photoshop, but Photoshop blending methods can
work for different problems so it is good to save as PSDs for easy switching between the two programs.
Step 7: Hi Highlights
The highlights finally make it to the party. Blending continues with much more thought to what material the objects are made of. Different
materials react to light differently. Are the highlights defused? Is this material reflective and if so to what degree? Questions to keep in mind.
Step 8: God is in the Details
Now I focus on the details, the stuff that no one notices unless they are not there, like good seasoning in food. This is where the digital realm has a
leg up -  the ability to zoom in on an image and tweak the smallest pixel is great. Do not jump to this step prematurely because once you get
wrapped up in the details it is easy to lose site of the image as a whole.
Step 9: I Just Need Some "Me" Time
This step can occur throughout the process but it is necessary towards the end. Step away from the piece for a day or more so that when you
come back to it you have fresh eyes and can see the big mistakes. Some times because of deadlines you do not have the luxury of doing
this to a great degree, but even a good night's sleep does wonders.
Step 10: Separation Anxiety
Calling a piece done can be difficult. Sometimes you just can't stand the sight of it any more, other times the deadline cuts you off; in any
case it is time to stop. Some people say a piece of art is never finished, just abandoned. That might be true but the only question that needs to be
asked is, "Are you ready to let it loose in the world where it can be ridiculed or praised, loved or hated?"