- Software: GIMP (or any other raster graphics software)
- Level: Intermediate
- Subject: Tomato
Digital painting, is not much different than painting in the traditional media. It is almost as good as oil painting with the additional benefit of having nifty digital features like undo, layers, and what not.
Start of with a small size canvas – around 420×300 should be fine. Create a transparent layer, and block out the red flesh tomato shape. This would be a medium tone.
Be vary to choose a tone that is not too saturated. Even though a tomato does look quite bright, you should tone it down a bit.
In another layer, shape the stem/leafy part of the tomato. Use a dark green color, that is slightly desaturated, and is on the yellow side.
Now, decide on where you want the light to be. I choose it to be on the left top, and in between the viewer and the subject.
You do not need to draw a fancy lamp like that. But it is good to mark something out on a separate layer, so that you always have a proper reference of where the light is. This will assist you in the steps to follow.
In a separate layer, draw the shadow areas of the tomato.
Try to define the shape with the shadow area.
Next, do the same for the green part.
The red shadow layer must be below the layers containing the green parts.
Now comes the interesting part.
On a new layer, take a very light, almost unsaturated red color, and mark out the areas where the light would be reflecting. Draw a bit more than exactly where the light would reflect – we would be coming back to the layer again.
Do the same for the stem/leafy part on a separate layer.
You may give those finer touches to this layer now, as it is quite small and there wont be much to do for it.
Before you proceed, ensure that the layers are in the following order from bottom to top:
- White canvas background
- Tomato Color Block
- Tomato Shadow
- Tomato Highlight
- Stem Color Block
- Stem Shadow
- Stem Hightlight
- Reference (light)
Having so many layers for a small subject like tomato may seem like an overkill – but practicing the process helps you keep organized when you are working on larger projects.
This is a step where you will be visiting each of the shadow and hightligh layer with the smudge and the blend tool. Work over it with the smudge tool, stroking in the direction of the flesh of tomato. Once you are done with a layer, smoothen it with the blend tool. Having them in separate layers, also helps you work on them one at a time without messing the other layers.
To give a sense of depth, you may draw the table. I did not bother to have different layers on them, since it would be a flat surface. I just picked up different shades and painted, lighter near the light and darker, where it is farther from the light.
It has a eerie look to it, as though it is floating. That can be easily fixed by including the shadow of the tomato in another layer between the table layer and the set of tomato layers.
Again, while drawing the shadow, be aware of where the light is – and then smoothen the edges of the shadow a bit. There is nothing more than a sharp edged shadow that makes an artwork look unnatural.
Not much of a step actually in terms of painting. Just delete the reference layer that contains the lamp scribble and any other reference lines you might have drawn.
First save your work in the native format of your application – XCF in case of GIMP. After that, merge all the layers and save it as BMP, PNG or JPEG.
Do let me know your experience digital painting tomato or something similar.
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