To keep this painting colourful and playful, we want to have some more refined local colours. (With local colour means the colour of an element such as a green leaf that is not being affected by colour) This is also a good way of clarifying the levels in the painting, foreground, mid-ground and background. A basic rule of thumb when it comes to environmental colours is to have the warmest colours closest, and the coldest colours furthest back. So in this painting we want to have the warmest colours on the characters in the foreground.
To make the shapes read clear in a detailed painting like this is a challenge in it self. In this case we don’t really have a clear dominant shape, it’s more a matter of achieving a symmetry in the painting that makes the intruder – the T-rex – mix in with the two plant eating dinosaurs. This means that we end up having a round repetitive shape that creates a line of action that we want. We also want the surrounding space and environment to support the characters shape language the best way possible.
For a more efficient adjustment of your colour work there are some helpful tools in Photoshop to achieve what you are looking for.
Go to the adjustments window and select Hue/saturation. This will bring up the options of adjusting the hue, saturation & lightness. In this case we want to increase the amount of red in our painting. Chose the drop down menu named ‘Master’ and select your Red channel for adjustment. This is personal preference at this stage so feel free to play until it is right.
): For the same reason when adjusting the colours, we want to have an easy way of adjusting the values of our painting. Go to the Adjustments window and select the Levels. This will bring up the options of adjusting the levels. In this case we want to reduce the amount of whites. Chose the middle icon, and pull the mid-tones to the right to add more black. Again, wait until the picture is updated before saving and click cmd z to undo any changes if they do not look right.
For easy control of the areas of affection for a certain layer, you can use layer masks. In this case we want to work with the previously added Levels layer, in order to decrease the amount of black furthest back in the painting. Select the adjustment Levels layer, and click the white icon on the layer. Now you can start masking out the blacks by painting with a soft edge brush set to black. The advantage with doing a layered mask is that you can always change where is should affect and how much it should affect – by painting black for hiding and white for revealing.
A good way of trying out different colour variations on your painting can be done by using blending modes. Bear in mind to be careful with using blending modes, since the result can turn out quite random if you don’t know what you are looking for.
In this case we want to use the blending mode called Overlay, in order to increase the saturation different places. Create a new layer in your layer window, and click ‘Overlay’ in the menu at the top. Now you can start colour picking from your painting and paint saturated colours in to the different areas.
Sometimes when you don’t like a specific shape, area, or just en curvature that feels wrong. A helpful tool to warp these on place is Liquify. Go to Filter/Liquify and in the appearing window you select the ‘forward warp tool’.
As for all of the mentioned tools, use them carefully. What you don’t want to end up having is stretched areas in your painting, so at this stage you should keep this to a minimum.
An important thing after you have finished your painting is to evaluate thoroughly on what you have created. Give your eyes some rest and get back to your painting with critical eyes, and try to ask your self the questions: “How does it feel? Does it read as intended? Does the adjustment layers make the painting better?” and so forth. Making artwork is a matter of trying out and exploring all the time. There is no recipe to a perfect painting – mostly hard work and a lot of small victories until you eventually master it – Good luck.