This is not a "how to draw and do cool shit" thing
I USE PAINT TOOL SAI! Please feel free to ask questions in the comments, I'm not the best at explaining things because I do them a bit mindlessly, but I TRY HARD. Again, I'd like the remind that this is my own methods and this isnt like.... this isnt the only way to do things, and all the stuff I say is pretty much my opinion haha.
I have also kept track of the time it took me in case anyone is interested. The TIME at the end of each part summarzies the time taken for that individual part, and not the time taken since the beginning (you would have to add them up for that). I hope you enjoy!
I - SKETCH
Anatomy and references - I'd just like to clarify that although I do not use references, I do recommend them if you have access to them, and if you know how to use them properly (I dont use them out of blockage - if I use some stock pose, I will only see the stock image through the finished drawing and it kind of makes me stiffen in my work). I was asked if I do anatomy studies, and to be honest I do in the sense that... I like drawing from pictures sometimes? But I never really focus entirely on anatomy only. I'm not someone who does tons of studies of things, I like observing and taking things in mentally instead. Like I said, I believe feeling right > looking right - concentrate on the flow and feeling of things more than the numerous anatomy theories floating around in your head and paralyzing you.
Breaking down - A lot of people break things down into shapes when they draw (as do I when lacking pose ideas), and I think it's cool to see how everyone does it - but remember that adopting.. someone else's way of breaking things down might not benefit you as much as you think. Like, breaking things you see in your own way will further your understanding of what you're doing more. I am saying this because, I see so many people not really getting how to use random circles or squares to sketch, and that's okay? Take a step back and take a look instead of putting too much importance on the random, individual shapes. In the end I guess you'll realise that it doesnt matter as much as you think.
Accuracy - I dont bother myself with things looking on point. I know a lot of people fix their sketches over and over until they are perf, but in general I fix everything as I line (for example, the neck/shoulder line here) I do, however, do minor corrections - I recommend flipping the canvas or rotating it around in order to check on it. If you are struggling, taking a break and coming back later can help as it will maybe let you have a more refreshed look on the image~
Composition - I'm not here to tell you some composition theory or rules, mostly because I do not know them. BUT i can tell you things I think would be good to keep in mind: overall balance, and focal point(s). Ask yourself if your image is balanced element wise - is one side heavier than the other, or is one kind of empty? (This also goes for color, later.) Focal point. What is it? Are you directing the gaze properly? Is something distracting or catching the eye a bit too much? Is it a placement issue? ~ you know.
Frames - I get asked a lot how I make these. To be honest, I do not know. I like to see them as feeding into the image thematically, so often the inspiration from them comes from the character, or things I read about the character, OR, just a selection of elements and symbols that I appreciate a lot. I dont use any kind of method or rules, it is more of a random thing that is added at random times (here, added all at once before the main details... other times, sometimes randomly blobbed at the end). I love flowers.
II - LINEART
Two layers - Main lineart and "unofficial" lineart (green). New parts of the main lineart are done on new layers, then cleaned up and merged down to become one with the mass.
Brush settings - There are two brushes I use, though recently I've been using one more than the other. Pen tool: gyazo.com/1b509e749c25a534fc2e… , softer brush tool: gyazo.com/0d50c4cf96aa69af73ed…. The first is sharper so maybe cleaner, and is the default Pen tool with some fiddling. The second is an airbrush tool modified to work like a softer edged pentool~ In this walkthrough, I used the softer one.
Line Quality - Nice lineart = nice line quality = confidence in your strokes. Dont hesitate, go with your quick, long strokes, not your tiny dotty ones. CTRL+Z if it's not what you want. REPEAT!... as my method goes. Confidence rhymes with speed, meaning less of a shaky hand. If you are really shaky handed, SAI has a stabilizer "Smoothing" at the top here (gyazo.com/2dbb3a8fae6d3a6ceaef…), which can help smoothen your strokes.
Clean lineart - I personally dont put much effort in cleanliness depending on the areas (the further away from the focal point it is, the less i care for little imperfections in the lineart). HOWEVER if you are someone who does care, be sure to go in and clean up those little mistakes and extra lines you need to remove. It'll be worth it.
Line weight - applying varied pressure to your strokes can give your lineart a more overall... niceness. to it. Thickness of lines can accentuate different sections. Use them wisely heheehehehhe.
omgoshh i'm so excited to see your process!! cause your paintings are always so clean in the end ahhh I love it *7 *~~ so lineart is probably a key element for that!! *continues to next part* <3 thanks for compiling this!! the guide looks beautiful and neat and easy to read ; 7 ; )))) <333333
Can I just say that amazing artists like you taking the time to make tutorials is really kind. I appreciate the tips and tricks you have to offer (you're so admirable! *o*) So thank you for taking the time and effort to provide this helpful info to everyone c:
ahhh I really appreciate it ;_; To be honest I get frustrated often because people always ask me to make tutorials or things, but when i ask what they want, they hardly answer, and when i give it to them, there is hardly any feedback (which I do love knowing because I like to see if something is helpful or if I'm just wasting my time) I appreciate it when people say thanks haha, SO THANK YOU!
omg okay when I use SAI and I do a lineart, when I want to change the colour it won't change. I tried using the filter and stuff, but like if I want to change from black to another colour, it won't work.
... Omg, Alexia, did you break into a Three Days Grace moment there at the end? cx On a serious note, thanks for this~ I usually carry on the same way you do, but I ALWAYS use a ref. Mainly 'cause my anatomy's not good anymore. u3u Practice is all I need, I s'pose.
+ Yeahhh, i just find using a ref (for a pose) like mega bothersome, I dont got time for both searching it up AND using it. Plus it makes me work look stiffer than usual. If i need help, id just go infront of a mirror and check things then come back and fix my problemos. I dont like having to rely on things heaily because i feel like it influences the way i myself see the final artwork at the end