Introduction: How to Draw a Grim Reaper
Third Prize in the
Halloween Draw & Paint It Contest with Sketchbook
I few months ago I decided that I wanted to learn how to draw so I got some books out of the library and started at it. I have been learning with mostly pen and paper. But when I noticed that this Halloween Draw and Paint contest came up I downloaded the trial version of Sketchbook Pro to give it a try. I found it difficult to draw with a mouse but I really liked the brushes and textures in the program. So what I ended up doing was sketch my grim reaper with pen and paper, I then imported it into Sketchbook Pro and added colour and a background.
I still need a lot of practice drawing. I think his head is a bit too small and his robes make him look fat, but I really like the way the ground and sky turned out and it was a lot of fun to play with. Maybe this will encourage others to pick up pencil and paper or mouse and drawing program and try it out.
Step 1: Pencil Sketch
- With an HB pencil and an eraser nearby I started drawing the head and the drape of the hood.
- Then I drew the hollow of the hood where his face would be.
- I continued by drawing the shape of the robes and sleeve where the right arm (his right) will be.
Step 2: Pencil Sketch
- Next I drew in the sleeve of the left arm and the more of the robes
- With a ruler I drew a line for the pole of the scythe.
- With the pole in place I drew the hands.
- Next I fixed the sleeves and drew the bottom of the robes. I added some lines to suggest the draping of the robes. I didn't bother adding much shading since I will be doing that on the computer.
- Finally I drew the blade and darkened the inside of the hood and hands with a 2B pencil.
Step 3: Starting Sketchbook Pro
- To begin I started with a blank Sketchbook Pro page and from the file menu selected Add Image...
- When you import an image you can resize, tilt and move it using the little tool.
- I then increased the transparency of the image to about 30%
- I then added a new layer over top
Step 4: Begin Tracing
- Make sure you are working in the new layer
- Select the pencil tool and set to HB size1.6
- Begin tracing the bottom image, use short strokes so that if you make a mistake and click undo, it won't take you back too far. Also the eraser tool comes in handy.
- I decided to do the scythe on a different layer.
Step 5: Scythe
- Add a new layer for the scythe
- I used the straight edge (ruler) and aligned it with the pole of the image below. With a felt pen and brown colour I drew the pole of the scythe.
- I used the french curve and a black felt to draw the blade. You can rotate, move and resize the french curve to get the shape you like.
- I coloured the rest of the blade black with flood fill.
Step 6: Colour Robes
- Add a new layer for the robes
- To colour the robes I used a Copic Medium Broad Nib felt size 13 of a bluey grey colour.
- With the pen I just coloured inside the lines, the pen looks like a real felt pen in that it gets darker when it is layered.
- I used the eraser to clean up where I coloured outside the lines.
- I then used the Smudge Web Brush size 3.2 to smudge the grey colour to look like the folds of the fabric, I added more colour as needed to darken certain areas (like under the arms).
Step 7: Details
- I went back to the first layer where I traced my sketch.
- Using the Smudge Web Brush I reduced the size to 1.6 and smudged the black pencil lines around the edge of the grim reaper and in the robes themselves. (I left the hands as they are).
- Add a new layer
- Using a grey felt pen draw along the edge of the blade.
- Blend in the grey with the Smudge Web Brush.
- I did this on the same layer as the scythe details
- Add some grey felt on the hands and blend in with the Smudge Web Brush.
Step 8: Ground
The ground was a lot of fun to draw, but it is hard to describe exactly how I did it. I started by adding a new layer. I used the airbrush to layer some black and dark blue paint along the bottom. I then smudged it with the Smudge Web Brush (set to a larger size). I kept adding paint and smudging it to get a dense layer and then added texture with the Thorny texture tool and smudged it in a bit until I was happy with the overall look.
Step 9: Sky
I added a new layer for the sky and airbrushed with blue and black and smudged it with the Smudge Web Brush. I didn't make it as dense as the ground and when I was finished I adjusted the transparency of the layer so that it wasn't so prominent.
I didn't like how the sky colour overlapped the colour of the robes so I erased those areas on the sky layer.
Step 10: Finish Up
Crop the image with the crop tool. After looking at the final result I thought that the robes should be darker so I adjusted the brightness and contrast on that layer, as you can see the robes are now more grey. I also cropped it again to have less ground.
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