Running Horses, Part 2
For this image, I started with the sky. Usually I finish an image with the sky, but I knew what I wanted the sky to look like, and I hadn't decided on the horse breeds yet, so I began with the sky. If you want to see another tutorial on coloring sky, you can check out this older post on coloring clouds.
I used B32 and feathered out from the horse cluster. Then, I took a really juicy colorless blender and pushed the color back towards the horses. I specifically wanted the sky to feel more like an illustration than a realistic sky, so I pushed the colors around irregularly to give it a mottled look.
Once the colors were pushed, then I let the base dry. I took the colorless blender and added the spots in the sky. Then I went back and touched up with the B32 around the edges of the horses and added a few spots. I was not too worried about going over the edges of the other images, as I can always clean up the edges.
Gray Base Tones on Horses
While I was still deciding on the horse breeds, I added base grays. When you look at the final image, you can't tell that I used warm grays to plan my shadows.
All 3 horses were colored with W1, W3, and a hint of C1. This helps me get all my shadows correct before I start adding other colors. The middle horse I started toning brown with E31. The base tone of grays makes the E31 look like it has a lot more color variation than just one simple layer of light brown. At this point I knew it would be a brown horse, I just hadn't decided on breeds yet.
Notice that I have not done much blending with the base colors. Since I will be layering lots of other colors over the grays, it is more important to just have tones in place, rather than worrying that they all look perfectly smooth at this point.
It finally came to a point where I had to decide on a breed for the middle brown horse. Once again, I ran a google search and looked up brown horses. I saw some beautiful Spanish Mustangs that I liked, so I decided to color him as a nice, rich brown that darkened into almost black accents. Since he was to be the focal horse, I put the most work into him so he would stand out more.
He is colored mainly with E31 and E35 to go with the base grays. I like the E30's sequence because it is a good, neutral brown family, without too much red or other tones in it. The more you layer browns over the base grays, the more the grays will be pushed out of the way, so be careful not to layer too much or you may lose the original shading. If this happens, just darken it more.
The areas that darken almost to black are colored with E47 and hints of W7. No black! W7 is as dark as you need to get. Even the darkest brown has a value of 7, so it is not black. In the final, you can see that it looks almost black, but still retains the feel of brown.
To soften the colors on his face, I went back over his head with the colorless blender. This added highlights back in, and allowed me to tone down the deepest areas a bit.
His foreleg that is in back, I added W3 to dull it down and make it less intense. This helps with the illusion of depth. I colored his teeth with W3 and his tongue with E04.
You can see that I went over the edges a little bit, on the knee of the front horse and under his chin, but that's what the colorless blender is for.
Tomorrow I will continue the tutorial, and finish up the other two horses and the markers around the edges. Have a great day!