In this demonstration I will be showing you how to draw a Halloween themed Zombie using Sketchbook Pro for the iPad. I am using the iPad 1 for this but you can easily follow along with any generation iPad. I am doing this with my finger but some of you might prefer to use a stylus and that's fine.
Keep it simple
Sketchbook Pro might look complicated at first but I will show you that without much technical knowledge you can use this app to paint creative illustrations. There are many different things you can do with brush settings and layer modes but I will not get into that this time. All the brushes I use here are in their default settings and layers will only have their opacity adjusted.
Tip: Along with Sketchbook Pro I recommend that you pick up Dropbox as well. This app allows you to easily share what you paint on your iPad with your Desktop or Mac. It links directly to Sketchbook Pro for easy exporting of both PNG and PSD file formats.
Step 1: Getting Started
First open up Sketchbook pro after downloading the app in iTunes. In the bottom right hand corner you will see a “+” touch that to create and open a new canvas.
If you are not familiar with the app then I recommend that you touch the “i” inside the white circle on the top menu bar. Here you can access an online user manual to help you navigate your way around the app easily. It will only take a couple minuets and it covers everything you need to know about the tools and where they are located as well as touch and tap shortcuts. I have tagged areas of the screenshot to help you but don't let this take the place of looking over the user manual.
Need to knows
* Touching and holding your finger on the screen will bring up the Color Picker which allows you to select any color on your painting and then paint in that color.
* Save often by touching the Gallery button in the top left hand corner. It will take you back to the gallery, but touching the back tab also in the top left corner will quickly bring you back to your painting. This is a must because the app does not save your work automatically. I like to do it every time a create or merge a layer.
Step 2: Gesture Drawing
Tip: Doing this as fast as possible puts life into the final painting. If you don’t like it, redo it. It should take less than a minute to do this so don' hesitate to do a few of these. A good way to practice gesture drawing like this go to the park and draw people who are moving around
It looks good at this point so add a new layer on top and save the painting.
Step 3: Begin Refining the Drawing
Once you get it the way you like it merge the second layer down and reduce the opacity of the flattened layer. Save your work.
Note: The app will only support a maximum of six layers so as the painting progresses I will be merging layers pretty regularly. But we will keep the important ones separate.
When I took digital painting classes back in the mid 1990’s computers were considered high performance if they had a 40 megabyte hard drive and don’t get me started on the RAM. So, working in a minimum amount of layers back then was a must. This is reminiscent of those days to me.
Step 4: Details
When you are finished do not merge this layer but do save your work.
Tip: I like to draw with the pencil tool at 30% to 50% opacity. That way it feels more like a natural pencil because you can darken the lines in by going over them again. I personally like to make the line outlining my objects darker that the ones inside the objects.
Step 5: Put in Some Value
Now quickly take a large low opacity brush and scribble in your figure with black paint. Don’t worry about staying in the lines they will only get in the way. I know this might be hard for most of you that graduated Kindergarten but trust me it is the best way to do it.
Step 6: Clean and Continue
We are about to get into the real meat of how to work a painting in Sketchbook Pro with minimal layers. Everything being done will be done on a layer above the object. After which, that layer will have it's opacity adjusted and merged down. Always save after merging two layers together.
Step 7: Start to Apply Color
So why do it this way?
By adding multiple transparent layers on top of each other you achieve depth in your color. Also be sensitive to the textures that you will be creating spontaneously. Some of these textures can be developed into details that you may not have planned for but, that add to the total impact of the painting.
Tip: To develop the new details you see coming out use the color dropper tool to pull out the color you are seeing and adjust the value dark or light then paint in the emphasized color on top of the new detail.
Step 8: Background
Note: The zombie is not going to be fully opaque so painting behind him will effect the way he looks. This is not necessarily a bad thing but use your judgment and erase any color behind him that drastically changes the way you want him to look.
Step 9: The Pumpkin
Note: Many oil painters like to lay down a thin layer of dark warm color and then paint thicker light valued color over top. This is a good technique that translates well in to the digital medium and deserves exploration.
Step 10: Add Gradients
Next lock the opacity of the layer. That means any color you paint on to that layer will only be applied to the pixels you have already painted in that layer.
Now, paint in a blended layer from light to dark of your desired color on the layer with the opacity locked.
Next, unlock the opacity and fade out the light color with a transparent eraser.
Merge the gradient down and save your work.
Now repeat this in the sky but make the sky line lighter and fade up it to the blue of the sky.
Step 11: Add Shadows
Note; When putting in shadows pay attention to the edges. Sharp edges and soft edges can be used together in harmony with each other.
Try to avoid placing shadows directly up against the edge of an object because this makes the object look flat. Cast shadow are an exception to this rule.
Step 12: Add Photographic Texture
Tip: When putting in photo texture do not over do it. Less is more in this case.
Step 13: Ground the Objects Into Their Enviroment
Step 14: Final Touches
Things to do: Clean up edges you want to be in focus, give textured areas a once over, add final details like strains of hair and, show the painting to others to get a quick reaction and ask them what they would change.
The end: This concludes the "how to" and I hope I was able to give you some valuable pointers or show you a different way to do things. Thank you for your time, now go and draw something.