Merry Christmas - Magical Forest Walkthrough

Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone! It's Sam here with a bonus surprise post for today! I'm an elf in a group on Deviantart called Santa's Workshop that gifts artworks to others, and here's the piece I did for MagicIsLove on Deviantart:


Thought I'd take the time to write a little walkthrough about my explorations with the grass. Digitally painting, and well, any kind of drawing really, haha, with grass has always been a struggle for me. (Might be related to me never practicing...hmm, we'll have to check back with that later to see for certain ;))

I think this one came out the best so far in any attempt I've done, so let's walk through the process!

I started off with a base flat layer of green. I had picked some random green colors as a palette to work off of (that I ended up mostly not using, but it helped me get into the mindset at the very least, haha). Basically you just want to cover the "white of the canvas", so to speak.

Next is just filling in more colors. You don't want things to be flat. Everything you see has a multitude of colors in it. (A great way to emphasize that is to take a picture of something, import it into a digital art program or an online color picker, and click around the image and see what you find.) Adding in lots of different colors gives it a nice variety and makes it more appealing. I also added the shadow from the tree. Always keep in mind your light source!

Next is experimentation for me. I hand painted all of these. You can use a grass brush here an there, but it can start to look artificial and really show you used a grass brush if you over do it. Getting a nice mix of strokes helps it look more natural and interesting. I started in the darker areas and brushed outward, thinking I'd work my way from the darker patches first.

I spread outwards, coloring picking from existing areas already painted on, mostly. I almost did this like a fur texture, building stuff from the back to the front, allowing things to overlap.


Next is the highlights. I go in with a lighter green and start from the tops of the blades and work inwards. I don't go all the way down on already painted blades, since I want the shadows in there too. It's like the light is just touching the tips of the grass. I also bring out more highlights in the emptier areas.


I noticed things looked off, less so with the blades of grass and more so with the underlying textures. It was too horizontal which conflicted with the grass's vertical texture. I had made two separate layers already, one for the ground, one for the grass blades. Going back to the ground layer, I tried to add more of a variety of textures, aiming to try and get more vertical ones in there. I also flipped the canvas, which can help you find mistakes more easily!


More textures, adding in some highlights. Trying to be a bit subtle with the difference in contrast. Again, this is all 100% experimentation, but it helps to use a reference! If you're struggling, look up images to help you.


Turned the grass layer back on. It's an improvement. Still could use some work, but that's for future Sam to figure out. Don't stress too much on one drawing. If you can't get it right, learn what you can and move on to the next one!


Here I duplicated the grass layer, flipped it, and moved it behind the big tree. (It's easier to see in the video at the bottom.) This just helps fill in more space and saves my wrist from drawing so many grass blades!

I added some yellow on a soft light layer to bring in some nice glow from the sun. I also added a few specks of yellow in the grass to act like little flowers. Just breaks up the green and adds some interest.


More yellow soft light glow from the sun, more yellow flowers, some sparkles, and blue flowers to match the character. The blue from the character was out of place in this yellow and green world, so to help balance that, I added a couple flowers matching his colors. Just gives it a nice subtle touch to help the character fit into the scene.

Hopefully you found some of these tips helpful!

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