In Winter - Walkthrough

Hope ya'll are staying safe and warm (or cool, for those Southern hemisphere folks!) so far this year! Here's a little throwback to a few weeks ago when I drew this piece of an original character of mine :)


I had an idea in mind of what I wanted to do for this piece, though the end result is quite different xD Walking into this, I imagined my two OCs from my wip comic sitting together in a winter scene with a forest behind/around them.

With that in mind, I wanted to look up some references of a snowy forest to help me better ground my idea and let me visualize things more accurately.

I ended up finding this picture which struck me right away! (So glad I found it :D) I ended up using it as the basis for the entire background ^^

1 - Using the reference, I started building up my piece. I laid down my background, using the image as more of a guide to help me with what I had in mind. I also wanted to test out choosing my own colors for this as well, so it was a bit of guess work in accuracy there :)

2 - After putting down the base layer, I went in with the trees. I blobbed down some wavy shapes, trying to keep things loose and organic. 

The great thing about nature is that, even if it's not exact, it can still pass given the wide variety there is. Nature is super flexible that way. I definitely recommend trying it out if you haven't. Can be a lot of fun to scribble around and still produce something cool and fun :D


3 - I lightened up the back atmosphere since it was way too dark my tastes. I also added in a little texture at the top and bottom which I'll blur out later for more variation in atmosphere.

Also, more trees! :D They're getting darker, larger, and more detailed as they get closer since there's less air molecules between them and the viewer. I talk more about this in my space fundamentals video. Definitely check it out if you haven't already! :D

4 - Put in the biggest and closest trees as well as some rocks for the foreground. I didn't want to leave that area empty since, one, I wanted something for them to sit on, and two, to help strengthen the composition. Now instead of your eyes trailing off the artwork at the bottom, you have things to help you linger and pull you back up.

I also went ahead and added some snow onto the trees and rocks to help place them in the environment.


5 - Zooming in on Zeph! I ended up going with just her. (rip Lil xD I'll draw her again eventually, she's a main character after all, haha.) Used a blob for the base, just thinking about shapes for her pose. I got in the pose myself to get a feel for it and asked Alex for help as well, to get a better idea of some positioning and whether or not he found it comfortable. :)

Then I outlined her body in a bit more detail to get some of the more specifics mapped out.

6 - Sketched over that with a new body, then did her clothing, and bam! We got ourselves a final sketch. xD If you're struggling with anatomy, I definitely recommend doing some figure studies.


7 - Filled in the base colors under the sketch layer. (I cleaned things up and refined things a little more, as well as hid the body under the clothing.)

8 - Kind of a big jump here, sorry! I got too into it x'D But basically, keep in mind your light source and the underlying forms. Two more important things.

If you wanna see this sort of painting style in a little more detail, you can watch the video below, or also check out a different video of another drawing in a similar style that might help give you more of an idea of what I did here.


9 - Back to the background! I like to try and jump back and forth between the scenery and character to help them feel more cohesive and connected. Often times I feel like if I do them separately, they look like they were done separately, like the character and the background don't go together.

I added some shading onto the trees and rocks. I also added cast shadows from the sunlight. (Don't forget about that detail! xD) 

I added some more branches in the back as well to help fill in the space. Saved a lot of time by using premade branch/tree brushes. I definitely recommend utilizing little tricks like that when and where you can. Can make a huge difference in ease and time. (I hate drawing branches @_@)

Of course, from a learning stand point, I recommend trying to do things yourself first, but definitely no shame in doing little "cheats" like these. (Since, you know, you can't cheat in art xD)

10 - Added more details on the trees and rocks. Also refined some of the snow patches on them.

I used the same branch/tree brushes for the top to help bring the composition to a closed...rounded rectangle sort of shape xD (I also really loved the look in the reference photo.) I locked the layers and painted in the white snow on top.


11 - Darked the shading on Zeph (the girl). Added more of a texture on the rocks. I liked the look of the trees on the ref photo, so I tried to emulate that. I used a soft brush, drew a line up the tree, then used the smudge tool (NOT set to scatter, just the normal smudge tool) to get that jagged look. Then just duplicated it and warped it to fit the other trees.

12 - Final! :D I adjusted some of the colors to bring in a little more life and light. Some yellow glow from the sun and blue in the shadows. I also added some more snow on the branches at the top.

The falling snow was made by:

Choosing a soft rounded brush. Setting it to max scattering and spacing. (You can find out how to do that in my sparkles tutorial.) I then painted it everywhere. I then went to Filter -> Blur -> Motion Blur and angled them the way I wanted, set the distance that looked best, and hit enter. I then duplicated that layer at a lower opacity just to make it stand out a little more. And there you have it! :D Easy falling snow ^^

Note that this video was previously only for patrons on my Patreon page, and also contains additional content for other artwork.

Hopefully you found some of these tips helpful!

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