Never stop learning.

I just could not fall asleep last night.

So I got out of bed and was sitting at my computer, when I came across a series of videos from former Disney animator Aaron Blaise and I was immediately engaged.  One of his videos was simple start up tips for working in Photoshop.  As is always the case, that I have found, with Photoshop you learn something new simply based on how each individual person uses the program.  Aaron's video was no exception really, plus it does not hurt that he is so incredibly talented. 

I mean, I already do a lot of the same things he does when working in Photoshop, but perhaps in just slightly different ways - so I sat down with my Wacom and just went through the same exact steps/motions he was doing in order to get a better understanding of his basic process to see where it might lead me.  I even did my best to draw the boy character who is the subject matter in the demo as close to how he had done it as well. 

First thing I found interesting was how Aaron starts out with a gray background.  So that as he builds up the sketch layers he can understand how the values are working which is not always as easy to see against stark white.

Then once the boy was to my liking I moved onto the next step which was to lay down the local color for the main shapes in the image.

After the base color was in place it was time to start adding some life and dimension to the character.  First we added some rosy checks/nose/ears and then we worked on the shadows on the side of his head that was not getting the main light source.

From there it was time to work on adding some highlights onto his features, a bit of a shine on his nose for example and subtle details near his eyes and mouth.

After this was done we got to go to one of my favorite parts to work on in any image I am creating, the eyes. 

Next was something I will admit I have not really done much of in any of my work.  And that was to add in a secondary light source coming from the opposite side of his face.  Aaron suggesting a light blue/green color to add some creative drama and I loved how it suddenly transforms the image and adds so much more depth and personality.

The final step was to add in a simple color wash type background to place the character in. 

Funny how just a few broad strokes of a deep blue can help create so much depth and interest and let the features of the boy really shine. 

Shortly after I finished this at about 2am I went to bed and fell right asleep.  And it's funny how I woke up today feeling much more positive and energized about the projects I am juggling and the challenges that I have been facing with them.  I think just being open to learning something new, or a new approach is so valuable.  And also a bit of a confidence booster as it shows you have the skills or can continue to work on the skills needed to take you where you really want to go.