Hello and Welcome to this Concept Art Tutorial on Drawing a Girl and her Monster in the Paint Tool SAI Software with Jarrett Moore!
“Jarrett has great linework and a great animated imagination, when I heard he was using Paint Tool Sai, I asked him if he would be interested in doing a written tutorial explaining his process as well as some SAI tips. Here are the results!” – vonn
Here is the tutorial step by step and for the tips on using the software check on the far bottom of this post!
First I started by coming up with concepts for a pirate like character but that quickly changed as I looked over some of my sketches. I particularly liked the large armed figure and wanted to continue a concept that matched that, after that I thought of making a kind of urban like character that had a twin attached at the right shoulder. That turned into a monster being attached to a girl at the shoulder, turning the concept from a pirate to a urban monster wielding woman.
The first step was doing some basic sketches. These were random and started with a pirate theme in mind. As time progressed that changed into something different entirely. The inspiration for taking it in another direction came as I was looking over the sketches and really liked the large arm concept. I continued sketching but this time on paper. I also had changed the concept and was now looking to do a more urban concept. I also wanted to change the giant arm concept into more than just a giant arm. This led me to the idea of having the character to have a twin that was the giant arm, who’s head would be at the end of the fist or on the palm of the giant hand, but after bouncing some ideas back and fourth with Tim, that turned into a bad thought and changed into a better idea. So the giant arm became a monster, attached to the shoulder. We both liked this concept a lot more so I continued with it.
Next I decided to go back to square one and do a few simple quick sketches for a “dramatic” pose for the characters. After comparing the sketches with Tim, we decided on the pose that showed off the characters more, specifically the girl. I also moved the monster more forward so to have the end of the monster at the girl’s shoulder so to give the appearance of the two being connected more apparent.
After finally settling on a sketch, I scanned the image in and started working on detailing the character more and figuring out what kind of clothes to have her wearing. I used Google images to look up clothing that would match what I wanted the character to kind of look like. I decided on using the word “hipster”, mainly because you can get so pretty fun designer clothing to show up in the search. I also looked up images that I could us as reference for clothes that I already knew I would want to put in. I also looked up some images from “Where The Wild Things Are” and the person who commissioned me, Tim Vonn Rueden’s monster images to us as reference for the monster’s design. I wanted to capture some of the things that he likes into the design for the character.
Once I had found all the references I needed I went strait into drawing out a more detailed rough sketch of the characters. While doing this the idea of adding a leash happened, to give a little information about the relationship between the two characters. After completing the rough sketch I went into doing the more fine line work and figuring out the placement of extras in the picture.
After completing the line work I moved on to doing the flat colors. I started with just a random mix of a large palette of colors. That ended up being a little excessive, so Tim recommended just cutting it down to a small group of colors.
I played around with a couple different colors variations, after making a hand full of different varieties I talked with another friend of mine (not Tim this time) who really enjoyed the blue and pink combination. I looked through the different combinations and liked this one the most as well and decided to go with that one.
Once the colors had been decided I started putting in soft shadows and lighting on the characters. This was to add to the colors as well as make them pop out more. After that I went into doing the hard shadows and lighting. While doing all that I had also looked for places to put pure white shine on areas of the character that would be hard shiny and wet or moist surfaces.
The next step was doing this for the extra stuff that would be in the picture. I started with the drool and then the items. Changing some the items appearance’s and detailing them during their outlining. Then following the same procedures as when doing the colors, shadows, and lighting for the characters.
After all the items were done I experimented on the background a little and messed with the brightness and darkness of it until I found something that worked.
And here is the final outcome of a girl and her monster!
Paint Tool Sai Tips!
While working on this I used the program SAI, I also used a couple of different tools and settings to get the appearance I was looking for. At the beginning I just used the pen tool in SAI to get the sketches , not using any extra settings. Once I had a sketch done that I wanted to draw over I adjusted the opacity on the layer of that sketch to make it easier for my eyes to separate what was the sketch and what was the new line work.
For the line work I used the pen tool in SAI and set the smooth to S-7, it’s highest setting. This allowed me to get smooth line work, I also used a Wacom Bamboo Tablet and had the setting in SAI to allow for varying line weight. This makes it easier to vary your lines on the fly instead of stopping and changing the size of your pen tool. I also used a smaller pen size, around 10-13 for all of the large and more apparent features and a much smaller size of around 5-8 for smaller less noticeable features in the line work. For some of the inside the outer more bolder line that surrounds the characters I used a grey line that was set to multiply for folds in the clothing and some of the monster’s fur and the lines in his horns. When it came to doing the soft shadows and lighting I used the airbrush tool and changed it’s settings to a brush add on I had downloaded called smear. This added a brush bristles like appearance to the airbrush giving it a spotted like look to the edges of where the airbrush had been used. I also flip, flopped between soft and hard settings for the airbrush and turned the smear effect on and off to vary the soft lighting and shadows.
Once that was done I would us the pen tool again with it’s basic settings to paint in the hard lighting and shadows, setting the shadows layer to multiply and the lighting’s layers to screen and overlay, depending on the lighting’s color and location. For each step I would also create a new layer just for that step, soft shadows had it’s own layer separate from the hard shadows and so on. For the hard light white shines I also used the pen tool. I had also used a combination of the paint bucket and pen tool for doing the flat colors, using the magic wand tool to select the space inside the black outline, then using the paint bucket and then the pen tool to get anything that the paint bucket had missed. For each layer involving the characters and items’ shadows, colors, and lighting I also applied a mask around the outline of the character and items to keep anything form going outside the lines.
The drool and items had their own separate layers as well as their shading and lighting. The designs in the background have their own layers as well, with the darker blob coming from the upper right being a multiply layer and the brighter balls of light being on a screen layer. Each ball of light was also created by using the pen tool and just pressing in that one location for a short period of time while having the smooth maxed at S-7. To do both the soft and hard lighting and shadows I would set the magic wand to color select and select the color in the location that I wanted to apply lighting and shadows to, with the soft shadows and lighting I used a darker color of the color that the shadow was located, and for the lighting I used a brighter color.