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Monika Zagrobelna

How to Draw Animal Eyes

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

They say the eyes are the mirror to the soul, and it's not just true about humans. The eyes of animals, no matter how different, speak volumes about the creature's personality and emotions. Because of this, it's not so easy to draw eyes that look both realistic and alive, especially when you can't use a reference. 

In this tutorial, I will show you one method of overcoming this problem by starting with a structure and ending with shading. You'll learn how to draw an eye of a lion, a horse, and a lizard.

What You Will Need

You'll need the following equipment in order to complete this tutorial:

  • some sheets of paper
  • HB pencil (hard)
  • 2B/3B pencil (medium)
  • 4B/5B pencil (soft)
  • 7B/8B pencil (very soft)
  • blending stump (optional)
  • eraser (preferably kneaded)
  • pencil sharpener
basic drawing tools

There are two things I'd like you to keep in mind before we start drawing. First, the bigger your drawing, the more details you can put in it. The epically realistic drawings you may have seen online are usually bigger than a common desk, so don't worry if your smaller drawing doesn't look like this—size really makes the difference here.

Second, most people use references for their realistic drawings. This lets them copy all the shades without having to guess them accurately, which leads to a stunning result. Drawing from structure, as in this tutorial, leads to more "sketchy" results, but at the same time you get more freedom about the pose and details you want to use.

1. How to Draw a Lion's Eyes

Step 1

Before you start drawing the actual eyes, you need to create some space for them, some landmarks that will help you keep the proportions consistent. In the face of a lion, you can find a cross made from the brows and the nose/forehead. Sketch it using the correct perspective.

Keep these lines very light and subtle. I made mine dark for you to see them better, but yours should be almost invisible.

lion head drawing cross
start lion eyes with a cross

Step 2

Keep in mind that the eyeballs are not circles—they're spheres. If you imagine a row of spheres being rotated, they gradually cover each other. This means the eyes look perfectly symmetrical only in the front view; in others, one of the eyes will seem closer to the middle.

eyes in perspective

Draw big eyeballs using this rule.

how to draw eyeballs in perspective

Step 3

Add the iris and the pupil to the eyeball. The irises can be placed anywhere near the center, as long as you follow the perspective and keep both irises the same. Lions don't look around with just their eyes too much (they move their head instead), so don't draw the iris too far away from the center.

iris pupil rotation
lion iris drawing

Keep the pupil exactly in the middle of the iris. It's round, not slit, and it can get very big when it's dark.

lion pupils round

Step 4

To draw the eyelids correctly, add a special guide line across the eye. It goes from the outer corner to the inner corner.

lion eye corners guide line
draw blion eyes guide lines

Step 5

Time for the eyelids now. First sketch the rim of the lower one. If you go over the nose with the guide line, you should achieve a nice rhythm for both eyes.

lower eyelid rim rotation
lower eyelid rim drawing

Step 6

Now the rim of the upper eyelid; keep in mind it's not a flat line, but a rim of something that covers the round eye.

upper eyelid rim rotation
lion upper eyelid rim drawing

Step 7

Close the inner corner. Again, it's not flat—it bends towards the side of the nose.

lion eye corner perspective
lion eye corner drawing

Step 8

Finish the shape of the upper eyelid.

lion upper eyelid rotation
lion upper eyelids drawing

Step 9

Finish the shape of the lower eyelid and a part of the upper one.

lion eye corner dark rotation
lion eyelid lower corner drawing
lion eye corner how to draw
lion eye corner in perspective

Step 10

Eyebrows are a very important part of the eyes, so we can't ignore them. In lions, they start over the inner side of the upper eyelid, and go towards the forehead.

lion eyebrow rotation
lion eyebrow drawing

Step 11

Add more details to this area.

lion eye details rotation
lion eye details drawing

Step 12

Add the eyelashes. Even though cats have a lot of fur here, they have "true" eyelashes as well!

lion eyelashes in perspective
lion eyelashes drawing

Step 13

Outline a side of the eye, showing a suggestion of the eye-sockets.

lion eye bones perspective
lion eye bones drawing

Step 14

The structure is finished! Before you go any further, take a closer look at your sketch and see if everything looks right. This is the last moment to fix anything!

Take the HB pencil and gently fill the iris with pseudo "fibers" going radially in two rows. Leave a band on top for a shine, and press harder in the middle, to make the pupil dark.

lion eye shine

Step 15

Take your softest pencil and darken the pupil much more, along with the area around the eye.

lion dark pupil

Step 16

Take the medium pencil and add some shadow to the top of the iris. Keep the pencil sharp!

lion eye basic shading

Step 17

Use the same pencil to shade the eyelids' corners.

lion eye eyelids shading

Darken it with the soft pencil.

lion eye corner detail

Step 18

Take the HB pencil again and draw some hairs around the eye. The direction matters! Don't draw with the very tip of the pencil, but instead tilt it a little to make the "hairs" thick.

lion eyebrow drawing

Step 19

Take a well-sharpened medium pencil and add some detail to the fur. Draw the shadows between the hairs rather than the hairs themselves. You can learn more about this technique here:

lion eye detailed fur

Step 20

Keep adding the fur around the eyes with the HB pencil.

lion eye details

Step 21

Use the medium and soft pencil to add final details to the area.

how to draw lion eye

2. How to Draw a Horse's Eye

Step 1

Horses have an even more distinct "cross" on their head than lions. Sketch it to create a base for the proportions.

horse head cross base for drawing
start drawing horse eyes
I didn't include the whole length of the head here, but you need to be able to imagine the rest.

Step 2

Horses, like most prey animals, have eyes on the sides of their head rather than in the front. We can use this fact to establish a really nice set of guidelines: just sketch a "tube" across the head, and cut its ends diagonally towards the center.

horse eyes tube

Step 3

Place the eyeballs inside these eye-sockets.

horse eyeballs

Step 4

Add the iris and pupil. The pupil is horizontal and rectangular in shape, though it's not always visible, because the iris is usually dark.

horse iris in perspective
horse pupil in perspective
horse pupil and iris

Step 5

Add a guide line across the eye.

horse eye guide line
horse guide line across the eye

Step 6

The characteristic gentle look of a horse's eyes is created by the "heavy" eyelids. Sketch this drooping line to start shaping the eye.

horse eye in perspective

horse drooping eyelid

Step 7

Add the outline of the eyelids' rims.

horse eyelid rims in perspective
horse eyelid rims drawing

Step 8

The corner of the eye is covered by the nictitating membrane. To place it correctly, just remember it goes down and towards the outer side of the eye.

horse nictitating membrane in perspective
horse what is nictitating membrane

Step 9

Finish the outline of the upper eyelid...

horse upper eyelid shape in perspective
horse upper eyelid shape drawing

Step 10

... and the lower one just after it.

horse lower eyelid in perspective
horse lower eyelid drawing

Step 11

The lower eyelid should be slightly bulging.

horse lower eyelid shape in perspective
horse lower eyelid shape drawing

Step 12

Add the eyelashes.

horse eyelashes in perspective
horse eyelashes drawing

Step 13

Add the bony landmarks around the eye (you can look at a horse's skull to see these parts clearly).

horse forehead in perspective
horse forehead drawing
horse cheek in perspective
horse cheek drawing
horse temple in perspective
horse temple drawing

Step 14

Let's shade it now! Take the HB pencil and gently add some value to the eye: make the pupil and the eyelids' rims dark, and sketch the shine dots on the iris.

horse eye basic shading

Step 15

Take the medium pencil and darken the iris, leaving the shine parts brighter (the lower one darker than the top one). Draw shadows under the eyelashes, but don't draw the eyelashes yet.

horse eye shine dot

Step 16

Take the soft pencil and darken the edge of the iris. Again, add some dark shadows between the eyelashes without adding any other details to them.

horse eye iris shading

Step 17

Take the softest pencil and darken the pupil heavily.

horse eye dark pupil

Step 18

Take the soft pencil again and shade the iris uniformly.

horse eye full iris shading

Step 19

Take the softest pencil and finish the shading. To make the shine on top more natural, smudge its sides and top with the blending stump.

horse eye realistic shine

Step 20

Shade the membrane in the corner.

horse eye membrane shading

Step 21

Use the medium and the soft pencils to add detail to the eyelids' rims.

horse eyelid rims shading

Step 22

Take the HB pencil and shade the upper eyelid.

horse upper eyelid shading

Step 23

Take the soft pencil and accentuate the shadows here.

horse upper eyelid detailed shading

Step 24

Take the HB pencil and shade the area around the eye.

horse area around eye shading

Step 25

Use the blending stump to make the shading more uniform.

horse eye blending

Step 26

Take the medium brush and add more detail to the shading here, tilting it and using various directions to better show the three-dimensional form of the area.

horse eye shading with depth

Step 27

Take the soft brush and add one more level of such details.

horse eye one more level of details

Step 28

Gently blend these shadows with the blending stump.

horse eye blending shading

Step 29

Add the lower eyelashes and make the reflection in the eye more detailed by sketching a suggestion of a horizon in its lower part.

how to draw horse eye

3. How to Draw a Lizard's Eye

Step 1

Lizards' heads are all about these huge eyes, so we can sketch the proportions better by using a "double cross".

lizard head proportions
lizard head drawing beginning

Step 2

Add the huge eye socket roughly between the arms of the cross.

lizard eye socket in perspective
lizard eye socket drawing

Step 3

Place the eyeball inside the eye socket.

lizard eyeball in perspective
lizard eyeball drawing

Step 4

Add the pupil...

lizard pupil in perspective
lizard pupil drawing

... and the iris. Lizards can have a variety of pupil shapes depending on the species, so use whatever you want!

lizard pupil shape in perspective
lizard pupil shape drawing

Step 5

Add the guide line across the eye.

lizard eye guide lines in perspective
lizard eye guide lines drawing

Step 6

Add the rim of the upper eyelid.

lizard upper eyelid in perspective
lizard upper eyelid drawing

Step 7

Add the lower eyelid as well.

lizard lower eyelid in perspective
lizard lower eyelid drawing

Step 8

The eyelids of lizards are usually thick and fleshy. To accentuate it, draw a "coil" around the eyelids' rims.

lizard eyelid thickness in perspective
lizard eyelid thickness drawing

Step 9

Outline the eyelids as the coil suggests.

lizard detailed eyelids in persepctive
lizard detailed eyelids drawing

Step 10

Use a similar technique to draw the brows.

lizard eyebrows in perspective
lizard eyebrows drawing
lizard eyebrows finished in perspective
lizard eyebrows finished

Step 11

Add some wrinkles around the eye.

lizard eye wrinkles perspective
lizard eye wrinkles drawing
lizard detailed eye in perspective
lizard detailed eye drawing

Step 12

Take the HB pencil and outline the pupil, leaving an outline for the shine as well.

lizard pupil outline

Step 13

Take the softest pencil and fill the pupil with dark shading. You can leave the lower part slightly brighter.

lizard eye shine

Step 14

Take the HB pencil again and sketch some details on the iris. Lizards can have fantastic patterns inside their irises, so you can really let your imagination go wild here!

lizard iris pattern

Step 15

Use the medium and soft pencils to shade the iris and its details.

lizard detailed iris pattern

Step 16

You can use the eraser and the blending stump to create a reflected shine in the lower part of the eye.

lizard shiny eye drawing

Step 17

Take the HB pencil and outline the rims of the eyelids again, making sure you know their 3D form.

lizard 3d form of the eyelids

Step 18

Add small scales on the inner sides of the eyelids.

lizard small scales inner eyelid

Step 19

Add more scales, interlocking each row with the previous one.

lizard eyelids scales

Step 20

Take the medium pencil and shade the area between the scales.

lizard detailed scales

Step 21

Take the HB pencil and sketch the 3D form of the area around the eye. You should see exactly which parts are concave and which are convex.

lizard 3d form of the eye

Step 22

Add scales to this area, following the perspective of the surface.

lizard scales around the eye
lizard detailed scales around the eye

Step 23

Use the HB pencil to gently shade the whole area.

lizard eye shaded

Step 24

Use the medium pencil to add more detail to the shading.

lizard detailed eye shading

Step 25

Take the HB pencil and shade all the scales individually.

lizard scales shaded individually

Step 26

Take the medium brush and add more detail to the shading of the scales. You can learn more about this technique here:

how to draw lizard eye

Beautiful!

You have drawn an eye of a lion, a horse, and a lizard! If you want to learn more about drawing these animals, you'll love these tutorials:

If you want to continue learning about drawing with pencils, you may also like tutorials from this series:

how to draw realistic animal eyes

Read More »

How to Draw a Deer Step by Step

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

For me, a deer is the symbol of autumn—the time when the males of this timid species turn into the real kings of the forest, with a crown of antlers on their heads. Of all the deer species, my favorite is the red deer—not as big as a moose, but more regal looking. 

In this tutorial, I will show you how to draw such a deer step by step: from the sketch, torso, legs, and details of the head to a pair of beautiful antlers.

This is a simple tutorial about how to draw a deer. If you want to learn more about deer anatomy and various species, you'll be interested in the tutorial below:

1. How to Sketch a Deer

The biggest problem with drawing real things is that it's very easy to lose proportions. To avoid such a mistake, we need to plan the body before adding any details. Such a plan should be sketched lightly, so that you can fix anything after you finish it.

Step 1

Draw a rectangle. This will be the torso of our deer.

base body rectangle

Step 2

Measure the distance to the ground. It should be slightly longer than the width of the torso.

distance between bpdy and ground

Step 3

Find the points where the limbs start.

limbs slots in body

Step 4

Sketch the limbs.

simplified deer legs

Step 5

To add a realistic form of the chest, add a circle to the lower left corner of the rectangle.

simplified deer sternum

Step 6

Add an oval to the front of the rectangle. This is the simplified form of the rotated neck.

simplified deer neck rotated

Step 7

Sketch the neck.

deer neck length

Step 8

Add the head on top of the neck.

deer head simplified shape

Step 9

Add the muzzle to the head.

deer muzzle simplified shape

Step 10

Add the direction of the ears...

deer ears length and direction

... and their general shape.

deer ears simplified shape

Step 11

Sketch the antlers step by step:

deer antlers how to start
deer antlers basic shape
elk antlers how to draw
simplified deer antlers

2. How to Draw the Legs of a Deer

Once you have the sketch, take a good look at it and see if you got the proportions correct. If not, this is the last moment to fix them!

Step 1

The forequarters of many animals can be drawn with a "6" shape, which includes both the shoulder area and the shoulder blade. Draw it for both front legs.

deer forequarters
deer shoulders drawing

Step 2

Sketch the top of the shoulder blade.

deer shoulder blade

Step 3

Close the whole shoulder area.

deer shoulder area

Step 4

Sketch the hips.

deer simplified hips

Step 5

Add a circle in the knee area.

deer simplified knees

Step 6

The main muscle mass of the thigh can be created by outlining the knee, the hip joint, and the back of the hip.

deer thigh shape

Step 7

Add the rest of the thigh by connecting the big muscle mass to the other end of the hip.

deer complete thigh shape

Step 8

Mark the wrist/ankle area at around 60% of the limb's length.

deer legs proportions

Step 9

Mark the hoof at about one-third of the length below the wrist/ankle.

deer hooves proportions

Step 10

Draw the circle in the joint right above each hoof. It should be quite small.

deer hooves base

Step 11

Sketch a general shape of the hoof. This trick can be useful for drawing horses as well.

deer simplified hooves

Step 12

Draw the simplified shapes of the joints. The lower legs of hoofed animals are not very muscular, so the form of the bones should be accentuated instead.

deer leg joints simplified

Step 13

Add muscle forms to the forearms and calves.

deer simplified muscle masses
deer simplified calves

Step 14

Draw the characteristic space under the Achilles tendon.

deer achilles tendon

Step 15

Outline the whole legs. Keep the parts below the wrist/ankle thinner than the ones above.

deer simplified leg outline

Step 16

Finish the shape of the hooves.

deer hooves detailed shape
deer hooves shape complete

Step 17

Deer are even-toed ungulates, and they have four toes—two make the actual hoof, and two are hanging in the back.

deer hooves four toes
deer back toes

3. How to Draw the Head and Antlers of a Deer

Step 1

Divide the head into thirds.

deer face proportions

Step 2

Attach two ovals to the sides, within the middle third.

deer eye sockets

Step 3

Draw a smaller oval inside, close to the outer edge of the bigger one.

deer eyes proportions

Step 4

Draw a line at about a third of the mouth.

deer mouth proportion

Step 5

Outline the chin and the nose.

deer chin
deer nose shape

Step 6

Add the nose holes.

deer nose holes

Step 7

Outline the whole head.

deer muzzle shape
deer jaw shape

Step 8

Draw two circles to create a base for the ears.

deer ear base

Step 9

Connect the ears to the head by outlining their base.

deer detailed ear shape

Step 10

Add circles for the base of the antlers.

deer antlers base

Step 11

Mark all the points where you want the antlers to branch out.

deer antlers branching

Step 12

Sketch the "branches".

deer antlers sketch

Step 13

Add a circle at every branching. This will help you achieve the right thickness of the antlers.

deer antlers thickness

Step 14

Outline the antlers.

deer antlers outline

4. How to Draw the Torso of a Deer

Step 1

Cross the neck with a line to find its width.

deer neck width

Step 2

Outline the neck, creating a diamond shape for the mane.

deer neck mane

Step 3

Add more layers to the mane.

deer detailed mane

Step 4

The spine of the deer reaches higher than the shoulder blade. Sketch the characteristic "hump" made by it.

deer back hump

Step 5

Finish the neck.

deer detailed neck
deer detailed torso

Step 6

Outline the whole torso.

deer torso shape

Step 7

Add the details.

deer tail

5. How to Finish a Drawing of a Deer

The sketch is finished, so now we can add the final lines. If you're drawing traditionally, it's good to use a darker tool now (for example, an ink liner will nicely cover the pencil strokes), or to place a new sheet of paper on the sketch and draw the final lines on it.

Step 1

Sketch the bulging "eyebrows" of the deer.

deer grumpy face

Step 2

Draw the eyes with all the details.

how to draw deer eyes

Step 3

Draw the nose.

how to draw deer nose

Step 4

Outline the whole head. Not all lines should be outlined continuously—sketch them with short lines to simulate hair.

how to draw deer head

Step 5

Outline the ears. The darkness inside will make them look fluffy.

how to draw deer ears

Step 6

Outline the antlers and add some texture to them.

how to draw deer antlers

Step 7

Outline the mane.

how to draw deer mane

Step 8

Outline the whole body.

how to draw deer silhouette

Step 9

You can add some details to accentuate the anatomy of the deer.

how to draw deer body details

Step 10

Darken the eyes, nose, and hooves.

how to draw a detailed deer

Step 11

Finally, you can outline the whole animal with a darker stroke, and shade it in a simple way using hatching.

how to shade deer

Good Job!

Did you like this tutorial? You may also enjoy other animal-themed tutorials of ours:

Or you may want to check out other deer-related tutorials:


Read More »

How to Create an Animated Character with Photoshop and CrazyTalk Animator 3

What You'll Be Creating

As a graphic designer, you may be very familiar with working in Adobe Photoshop. But Photoshop, though very powerful, isn't good for everything—just try to animate something more advanced than a bouncing ball! Luckily, there are other programs you can use to animate a character created directly in Photoshop, so that you can design in the software meant for designing, and animate in the software meant for animating.

In this tutorial I will show you how to use such a program, CrazyTalk Animator 3, to animate a character created in Photoshop. I'll teach you how to prepare the character for editing, how to add the bones, how to import it to CrazyTalk Animator, and then how to animate its body and facial features—with both simple and advanced techniques.

1. How to Create a Character for Animation

This part is optional. You don't need to follow me directly; you can create any other character or use one you've created before. Just make sure it's layered like mine.

A character is the easiest to animate if it's made of simple shapes. In Photoshop they can be created as Shapes with the Pen Tool. It's not hard to use this tool, but if you want to learn about it, try our super short course How to Use the Pen Tool and Paths in Adobe Photoshop. We also have an older tutorial with a great exercise that will help you grasp the tool in no time:

If you have Photoshop CC, you can also use the more intuitive Curvature Pen Tool.

Make sure you use the Pen Tool in Shape mode. This will color the paths automatically, and you'll be able to change the colors anytime by double clicking the thumbnail.

how to draw shapes in photoshop

Step 1

Start with a torso. It shouldn't be completely oval; try to make the front slightly smaller. Use #acb6b8 to color it. You don't need to copy my shape perfectly—just make sure it's smooth and round.

simple oval torso

Step 2

Create the front leg and the paw separately (on different layers). Use the same color to blend the leg nicely with the torso. This will help us hide any potential inconsistencies in the movement.

simple cat paw

Step 3

Copy the leg with the paw, and place them behind the other layers. Change their color to #919a9c.

cat two front legs drawing

Step 4

Create two other legs the same way.

simple cat hind leg
simple cat legs drawing

Step 5

Create the tail with a simple oval. Color it with #919a9c.

simple cat tail

Step 6

Add the head. Color it with #c1cdcf.

simple cat head

Step 7

Add two ellipses for the patches around the eyes. Use the color of the torso for them.

simple cat eye patches

Step 8

Add the eyes: a black circle, a white oval for the shine, and a dark gray shape in the bottom for the reflection. Keep the eyes on separate layers.

simple cat eye vector
how to draw simple cat eyes in vector

Step 9

Create the mouth out of three circles: two of them colored like the torso, and one colored like the legs in the background.

simple cat mouth

Step 10

Add a simple ellipse for the nose. Color it with #ff7dd1.

simple cat nose

Step 11

Add the ears. Color them like the torso.

simple cat ears

Step 12

We've created all the body parts, but the face is just as important as the legs or tail. You can add some variations of the eyes and mouth to achieve various facial expressions you can use later in the animation. Keep them all in the same place, so you can change the expression just by showing/hiding the layers.

various facial experessions for cat

Step 13

These are all my layers. The basic ones are:

  • Front right leg
  • Front right paw
  • Back right leg
  • Back right paw
  • Tail
  • Torso
  • Front left leg
  • Front left paw
  • Back left leg
  • Back left paw
  • Head

If you want to animate the body only, merge the eyes and mouth with the head (you can merge the ears as well). If you'd like to animate the face as well, you'll need more layers:

  • Left eye normal
  • Right eye normal
  • Left eye closed
  • Right eye closed
  • Left eye smile
  • Right eye smile
  • Left eye scared
  • Right eye scared
  • Mouth normal
  • Mouth open
  • Mouth surprised
  • Mouth smile
  • Mouth teeth
  • Right ear
  • Left ear
photoshop layered for animation

2. How to Add Bones to a Character in Photoshop

To animate our character, we need to assign a "bone" to each body part. All the bones will create a "skeleton" together, allowing you to create a fluid, realistic animation. You can easily add the bones directly in Photoshop by using a special template for quadruped motion.

Step 1

Download the templates pack and go to 01_Templates > Quadruped Template to open the template in Photoshop.

quadruped motion template

Step 2

We need to bring the template into the file with our character. To do this, make both windows visible, select all layers in the template, and drag them over the character window.

how to bring layers from a file to another file in photoshop

Step 3

With the layers still selected, use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to resize the skeleton to fit the character roughly.

how to resize in photoshop

Step 4

The template file contains four types of elements:

  • Images: the parts of animation that we can see.
  • Bones: the parts of animation that direct the movement of the images, though they are not visible during the animation.
  • Labels: they help us assign the bones to the correct images.
  • Pivot: it defines the ground level.

First, we need to replace the template images with our own, part by part. Open the RL_Image group, and then open a folder inside it, and delete its content.

find the folder

Replace it with a body part of your character.

replace the image inside a folder

Do this with all the folders expect the Neck (which we don't have), and, if you want to create facial animations later, also the Head. The ears can be animated as a part of the body, but in the case of a forward-facing cat we don't want them to move too much, so exclude them as well.

layer order ready for animation
Remember that "left" and "right" mean the directions on the body, not how you see them. So the Right Eye is the right eye of the cat.

Step 5

The images for facial expressions should be prepared the same way, except they have their own folders inside the RL_TalkingHead > HeadImage group. Place the "normal" eyes in the Iris group, and the others in the EyeWhite group.

facial expression layers eyes
facial expression layers head
facial expression layers mouth

Step 6

The images are ready, so we can add the bones now. Bones will be created automatically in CrazyTalk Animator; you just need to tell the program where the joints are. You can use the template as a reference to see where the dog has its joints and how they apply to your character.

character in photoshop how to add bones

Open the RL_Bone_Quadruped group. Each body part has its own folder containing the joints' marks. To place the marks correctly, you can hide the other images while working on one. Start with the tail: place the marks along it, staying away from the borders of the shape. These marks will be the points of bending.

how to prepare tail for animation

Step 7

Show one of the hind paws now and find its corresponding folder with joints. Place the Foot_Nub mark almost at the tip of the foot, and the Foot mark in the middle.

how to prepare foot for animation

Step 8

Show the rest of the leg, and add the other joints: Shank for the heel, Thigh for the knee, and UpThigh for the hip.

how to prepare leg for animation

Step 9

Add joints to the other leg of the pair as well.

how to prepare cat hind legs for animation

Step 10

Come to the legs in the front now. Here, Shank is the wrist, Thigh is the elbow, and UpThigh is the shoulder (the names come from the template for a human character; that's why they're a little confusing when you're creating a cat!).

cat front leg ready for animation

Step 11

Finish the other leg the same way.

how to add bones to cat front leg

Step 12

Open the Torso folder to assign the joints for the hip and the spine.

cat hip spine how to animate

Step 13

My character doesn't really have a visible neck, but we still need to show where it is.

add neck for animation

Step 14

If you want the ears to move as a part of the body, add bones to them as well.

how to add bones to ears for animation

Step 15

If you want to animate the facial features, go to RL_TalkingHead and open the HeadBone folder. Place the marks on the corresponding facial features.

how to prepare facial features for animation

Step 16

Finally, place the ObjectPivot directly under the paws of your character (you'll find it in the RL_Bone_Quadruped group) and take a final look at the whole skeleton. You can see it as a complete structure now, so it should be easier to see if something's not placed right. If you spot any mistake, just go to the group and shift the mark to the correct place.

how to add bones to photoshop character

3. How to Import a Character Into CrazyTalk Animator

Step 1

Once the character is done and saved, open CrazyTalk Animator and click Create G3 Free Bone Actor.

create g3 free bone actor

Your character will be transferred into the program and shown automatically in Composer Mode. You can see how the bones have been created between the joints you've assigned in Photoshop. The ears don't have real bones because I've made them a part of the head to stop them from moving (if you want them to move, just place them in their folder in the RL_Image group).

photoshop character imported to crazytalk

Step 2

In Composer Mode, you can play a bit with the character to see if it's ready for animation. For example, you can click Preview to test the joints.

Click preview
test joints in crazytalk animator

Step 3

If you click Edit Pose, you'll be able to adjust the character.

edit pose crazytalk animator

For example, you can move the whole body part along with its bones, if you've discovered a mistake...

how to adjust character pose crazytal kanimator

... or you can open the Bones Editor to move the bones separately.

how to move bones in crazytalk animator
move the bone crazytalk animator

Step 4

If these options are not enough for you, and you want to change something more comfortably in Photoshop, just click Launch to External PSD Editor. Or you can simply open your file again, modify it, and import one more time.

launch to external psd editor crazytalk animator

Step 5

You can notice that some of the layers have been messed up in the process of assigning the bones. We can fix it now. Just go to the Layer Manager...

layer manager crazytalk animator

... and drag the layers where you want them to be. I've placed the ears over the face, and the front right leg and paw above the head.

how to change the layers crazytalk animator

Step 6

When you're ready to start animating, just exit Composer Mode by clicking Back stage.

leave composer mode crazytalk animator

4. How to Add a Simple Animation to Your Character

Step 1

Once you have the character done, it's very easy to animate it! First, open the Window > Timeline editor.

how to open timeline editor crazytalk animator

Step 2

Click Motion to see a typical timeline under your character.

where to find timeline in crazytalk animator

Step 3

CrazyTalk Animator has a set of sample animations that you can use right off the bat. Just go to Content Manager...

content manager crazytalk animator

... open the Animation tab...

animation tab crazytalk animator

... go to Motion...

motion templates crazytalk animator

... and go through the folders: G3 Animals...

g3 animals templates crazytalk animator

... Cats...

cats motion templates crazytalk animator

... Move...

motion templates crazytalk animator

... until you get to the list of the available motions. There are many types of motions. Here, for example, you have a starting motion (1S), a loop motion (2L), and an ending motion (3E). You can use all of them to create a fluid movement.

To add the animation, simply select your character and double click the motion. For a simple walking animation, add one Walk(1S), two Walk(2L), and one Walk(3E).

how to make character walk crazytalk animator

Step 4

To play the animation, you can use the simple controls right over the timeline. To establish the start and the end of the animation, drag the red markers.

animation controls crazytalk animator

It's walking!

If you want more ready-made motions like this, you can find them in the G3-Animals: Cats pack.

g3 animals cat motions crazytalk animator

5. How to Create a Custom Animation

The ready-made motions are universal, designed for the bones but not for the images, so sometimes they may not fit your character completely. For example, the Sit and Lick motion wasn't designed for a forward-facing character like mine. But it's not a problem—we can create such an animation (and many, many more) by ourselves!

sit and lick animation crazytalk animator

Step 1

Open the 2D Motion Key Editor.

2d motion key editor crazytalk animator

Step 2

Move the marker over the frame where you want your motion to happen.

how to start animation crazytalk animator

Step 3

Apply your changes. Move and rotate the bones to position your character.

bend the spine crazytalk animator
rotate the hips crazytalk animator
bend the knees crazytalk animator
put down the tail crazytalk animator

If you play the animation now, you'll see the character change its position gradually from the first frame.

Step 4

So our kitten sits down. Now we want it to move its paw up and lick it. As you've just noticed, the animation happens between the keyframes—the ones where something was changed (as indicated by a dot on the timeline). If you want your character to stay in the pose for a while before getting animated towards another change, just add a keyframe manually by pressing V.

add a keyframe manually crazytalk animator

Step 5

Move the marker to the frame where you want another motion to stop.

move the marker on timeline

Step 6

Position the bones again as you like.

bring the paw up crazytalk animator
tilt the head crazytalk animator

Step 7

Play the animation to see the results! Remember: if something happens too fast or too slow, you can always drag the keyframes to change the intervals between them.

6. How to Animate Facial Expressions

Now you know how to animate the body, but what about the face? It's not so difficult either!

Step 1

Add a keyframe where you want your motion to start.

select the time crazytalk animator

Step 2

Open the Face Puppet editor.

face puppet editor crazytalk animator

Step 3

Select the cat as the Face Animation Profile.

cat face animation profile crazytalk animator

Step 4

Click Preview and move your cursor to the center of your character's face. Press Space and move the cursor around to see the kitten look at it!

make the character look around crazytalk animator

Step 5

There are various default facial expressions available, and their effect will depend on the assets you've used. I've discovered that the "angry" expression is actually pretty good for licking, if I move the cursor to the left, and quickly up and down!

angry animation licking crazytalk animator

You can make the character blink by clicking the left mouse button during the preview. This is going to be useful!

make character blink crazytalk animator

Step 6

Practice for a while with the preview until you are sure you know how to move the head to achieve the effect you want. Then click Record and press Space or Enter to record the motion. Press Space again to finish.

how to record facial animation crazytalk animator

Looking good!

Step 7

After the animation of licking stops, I'd like the kitten to move its paw to the ground again. To do this, place a keyframe after the animation.

add a new keyframe

Step 8

Place the marker some distance from this keyframe...

add distance between keyframes crazytalk animator

... and position the character again.

position the bones of character crazytalk animator

Step 9

After the animation is complete, I'd like the kitten to tilt its head and smile. The first part can be done with the 2D Motion Key Editor...

kitten tilt head animation crazytalk animator

... and the other with the Sprite Editor.

sprote editor crazytalk animator

Step 10

With the marker in the proper frame, select the element of the face you want to change and then select the image you want to replace it with.

sprite editor change eyes to smile crazytalk animator
smiling eyes crazytalk animator

It's smiling!

Step 11

To finish the animation, you can add another keyframe later, with the facial features back to normal.

niormal facial features crazytalk animator

7. How to Finish the Animation

But what if you want to add some animation at the start, where there are too few frames to add anything? No problem! Let's just add more frames.

Step 1

Make sure you have the Project on your list.

how to make project visible crazytalk animator

Step 2

Click Collect Clip.

collect clip crazytalk animator

Step 3

Click Insert Frame.

how to insert frames crazytalk animator

Step 4

Type the number of frames you want to add. Don't be afraid to add too many; it's easy to remove the empty ones.

how to add more frames crazytalk animator

Step 5

The frames have been added! I've decided to fill them with a walking animation.

add walking animation on the beginning crazytalk animator

Step 6

Make sure your two animations both have enough space on the timeline, and that they meet at the correct moment.

how to connect two animations crazytalk animator

Step 7

The kitten is walking in place for now, but it can be fixed. Just go to the first frame and move the character outside of the scene.

move the character outside of the scene crazytalk animator

The motion speed will be adjusted to the distance automatically.

Step 8

I've added more frames between the walking and licking animations to make it all slower. My kitten will now blink cutely and move its tail as well.

cat blinking crazytalk animator

Step 9

When your animation is finished and ready to be shown to the world, go to Render > Render Video.

render video crazytalk animator

Step 10

Adjust the options to your liking. Make sure the Range of frames is correct!

render video options crazytalk animator

Good Job!

My kitten is walking, smiling, and licking its paw! And how about your character? I'd love to see your result, so don't be afraid to share it in the comments!


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How to Use Adobe Photoshop’s Curvature Pen Tool

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Vector illustration is very versatile and beautiful, but for many artists it's too mathematical and unintuitive to create. Drawing with Bezier curves doesn't feel like drawing at all! 

However, the newest update to Photoshop CC has solved most of the problems you could have with the Pen Tool by adding a new variation of it—the Curvature Pen Tool. It's very intuitive to use, and it's still as powerful as its classic counterpart. Let me show you!

1. How to Prepare the Background for a Vector Illustration

Step 1

Before you create anything in vector, it's good to have a sketched background that will be your reference for the whole process. You can use my butterfly from the tutorial below:

Copy the image of the butterfly and open a New File (Control-N) in Photoshop, using your clipboard as a template.

photoshop new clipboard file
photoshop vector background

Step 2

Lower the Opacity to make the reference barely visible.

photoshop how to lower opacity

Step 3

Go to View > Rulers. Click and drag the vertical rule to place it along the middle of the butterfly's body.

photoshop place a ruler

Step 4

Go to Image > Image Size to make the file bigger and easier to work in (later you will be able to make the image as big as you wish, because vector images resize losslessly).

photoshop how to resize image

2. How to Create the Vector Butterfly's Body

Step 1

The reference is ready, so let's start creating! Click and hold the Pen Tool to find the Curvature Pen Tool.

photoshop where is curvature pen tool

Step 2

Place a few points around the thorax of the butterfly. The shape will be estimated automatically.

photoshop how to use curvature pen tool

If you want to change the color of the shape, just double click its thumbnail.

photoshop how to change shape color

Step 3

Create the abdomen the same way.

photoshop create shapes with pen tool

Step 4

Photoshop tries to read your mind when you use this tool, but it's not always successful. You can adjust the shape on your own by simply clicking the path and dragging it. You can do this to any other point as well.

photoshop how to move pen tool points

Step 5

Use this method to create the head. Use a different color for the eye to make it stand out, and place it under the layer of the head.

photoshop vector butterfly head

Step 6

You can also draw lines with this tool. Just draw the start and end points, and then adjust the curve.

photoshop how to draw lines with pen tool

To turn the shape into a line, remove the Fill and add the Stroke. You can also adjust the thickness.

photoshop how to remove shape fill
photoshop how to add shape stroke

Step 7

Add the tip of the antenna.

photoshop vector butterfly antenna

3. How to Create a Butterfly's Wings in Vector

Step 1

Before you start drawing the wings, create a New Layer under the body (you can Group the layers of the body to keep order) and lower its Opacity to see the reference below. Outline the upper wing with a few points.

photoshop create vector butterfly wing

Step 2

Adjust its shape by adding more points and dragging them.

photoshop advanced vector shape
Tip: you can remove the points by clicking them and pressing Backspace.

Step 3

Create the other wing the same way.

photoshop create vector wings

Step 4

The pattern will take a lot of layers, and we don't want to change the Opacity of all of them separately, so Create a new Group and lower its Opacity.

photoshop create a layer group

Step 5

Outline the big cell first. Use a bright, neon color for it.

photoshop vector buttefly wing pattern

Step 6

Add another cell and adjust its shape to keep a thick border between it and the other cells.

photoshop how to create butterfly wing cells
Tip: you don't need to create a new layer for every shape. Just hold Control and click to deselect the previous path, and keep drawing. This will let you use the same color as before.

Step 7

Use this method to create all the other cells. The lower wing may need another group placed under the upper wing.

photoshop create butterfly wings

Step 8

When you're done, change the Opacity of all the layers back to 100% and use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select the half of the butterfly. Copy it as a whole with Edit > Copy Merged.

photoshop copy merged symmetry

Step 9

Paste the copy and go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal and place the half next to the other. Keep in mind that this copied part is not vector—if you want to make the image bigger, repeat this last step afterwards.

photoshop how to use symmetry

Beautiful!

Do you want to create other beautiful butterflies with this method? Try my tutorial about butterflies to find the steps to create four different species, as well as your own wing patterns:

how to use curvature pen tool in photoshop

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Art Therapy: Paint What You Feel

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Do you remember how it felt to paint something as a child? It was a very messy activity, but it was such fun to get creative with all those colors! Well, at least until you started to expect something from your art, for example to picture an object realistically and to get your teacher's approval. The process of painting then became less important than the end result.

Today, you may feel paralyzed just thinking of taking a brush again. It's so hard to paint something, and you don't want to make a fool of yourself! But the truth is, it's very easy to paint. Children do it, don't they? Children don't think about the future so much, and they don't make plans—they just enjoy the moment. This lets them paint without any anxiety and fear of judgment, and this is something you can learn from them!

But what can you paint without analyzing and planning? The answer is: your emotions. It's not only relaxing, but it's also healthy to acknowledge what you feel and allow yourself to feel it without judgment. The best thing about it is that you can't do it wrong. Nobody can tell you what such a painting is supposed to look like—only you. Keep reading if you want to learn how to start!

This tutorial is part of the Art Therapy series. It teaches you how to use art for relaxation and fun, without putting too much pressure on yourself.

What You Will Need

For painting:

  • A set of paints—you can use anything you can get, but the best, in my opinion, are acrylics. You can usually get a set of 12 tubes in a stationery shop quite cheaply, as it's considered a beginner's set. They blend nicely, dry fast, and can be applied thickly on the paper. Watercolors can be more easily available, but they're not so easy to play with.
  • A few brushes—at least a big, wide one, and a smaller one. The big ones are really expressive, so they're perfect for this exercise.
  • Two sheets of thick paper—you don't need to buy special, expensive paper for painters if you don't want to. An art pad with thicker sheets should do just fine, though if you want to keep the painting afterwards, you may need to put it inside a clip frame to straighten it.
  • A glass of water—water makes the acrylics smoother, and you'll also want to clean your brush every time you switch to another color. Just make sure to keep it away from the glass you drink from!
  • Paper towels—to clean your brush after taking it out of the water, as well as for emergency cleaning.
basic painting supplies

For the tutorial:

  • A pencil
  • A drawing compass
  • A ruler
drawing supplies

Before you start creating, make sure your workspace is not prone to staining. Place some spare sheets of paper under your "canvas" to have full freedom of painting—you won't have to slow down close to the edges. Children don't care about these things so much, but it may be hard for you to fully enjoy the activity if you're worrying about making a mess!

Colors and Emotions

Although emotions are not visual and they don't have any colors, we can associate certain colors with certain feelings. Some become linked by our experience, while others may be programmed in our mind before we're even born. Synesthetes also find it very natural to describe feelings as colors.

I'll show you a popular description of the meaning behind the colors, but keep in mind that various cultures assign different meanings to colors, so it's not really a universal description—just a popular one. You can use this list to confront your own notions about colors and feelings, which can be especially useful if you've never done that before.

Black

It's the color of mystery, but it also symbolizes all the darkest feelings: grief, despair, sorrow. Just as black can't get any darker, these feelings can't get any deeper. Black covers everything just as these dark feelings can stop you from feeling anything else. Black can also be used to hide what you really feel—emotions you're ashamed of or the ones you don't want to acknowledge. It's the color of domination and isolation.

the meaning of black

Grey

It's the color of neutrality, dullness, but also apathy, numbness. Grey is more neutral than white, because it's neither dark nor bright. It can symbolize indecisiveness, the fear of choosing a side, of appearing too bold or even of being visible at all. It can be a symbol of depression, of all the colors-emotions reduced to similar shades of grey—a state not as dark as the sorrow of black, but a constant tiredness of not feeling anything at all. On the other hand, grey can symbolize stability and rationality, especially when put next to vibrant colors.

the meaning of grey

Red

It's the color of energy, passion, ambition, but also desire and love. It symbolizes fierce feelings that come quickly and overwhelm you with their power, guiding you towards a certain goal that becomes more important than everything else. Red is about feeling "with all your heart", be it love or anger. It also symbolizes sexual attraction and danger.

the meaning of red

Orange

It's like a more rational, calmer type of red. It symbolizes joy and optimism; it can be about motivation, but without the blinding effect of red. It's about cooperation, social activities, the power of working together, and also extrovert energy. Orange can also symbolize instinct and reckless acting.

the meaning of orange

Brown

Brown is really nothing else than dark, desaturated orange, but because it's the color of ever-present dirt, humans tend to treat it as one of the main colors. Brown, like the ground, symbolizes stability, permanence, reliability, and conservatism, but also dirtiness and foulness.

the meaning of brown

White

It can be considered a default color. It symbolizes spiritual purity, light, perfection, innocence. A white sheet of paper is perfect before you put anything on it; it's good and complete on its own. Therefore, white is all about feeling confident and calm, without any stress to be something else. Every color can get neutralized by adding white to it, making their feelings calmer and less overwhelming. White is the color of enlightenment and spiritual awakening; a symbol of perfect contentment and balance between all the other colors (which create white when put together).

the meaning of white

Yellow

It's the color of joy, enthusiasm, happiness, and general cheerfulness. Yellow is the brightest of hues, and as such it symbolizes the optimism that brightens everything put next to it. On the other hand, yellow can also symbolize stubbornness and cowardice.

the meaning of yellow

Green

It's the color of hope, youthfulness, spirit, and also balance, calm, and safety. Green is the color of natural growth, of doing the things the right way, of harmony and peace. It's the symbol of life and being alive in general. It also have negative connotations like jealousy, spite, and maliciousness.

the meaning of green

Blue

It's the color of rationalism, wisdom, loyalty, and stability. It symbolizes calm, faith, and trust. It can be associated with conservatism, dutifulness, and introversion. It represents the mind rather than emotions; following logic rather than the gut. But it's also associated with sadness, "feeling blue", melancholy.

the meaning of blue

Purple

It's the color of magic, mystery, of the extraordinary. It can symbolize creativity, independence, going against the flow, spirituality, imagination, but also pride, immaturity, narcissism.

the meaning of purple

Pink

It's the color of recklessness, lightheartedness, of being silly and immature, but also of kindness, caring, gentleness, romantic love, and femininity. It symbolizes delicate, "quiet" feelings, as well as being detached from reality.

the meaning of pink

How to Create Your Emotional Color Palette

What colors do your emotions have? Let's find out! There are so many emotions that it may be hard to tackle them all, so we're going to use a simplified model—Robert Plutchik's wheel of emotions.

This exercise helps understand the emotions you may not even be aware of, and get a better insight into your inner state.

Step 1

Take one sheet of your thick paper. Place your drawing compass in the middle and draw a circle.

draw a ciorcle with compass

Step 2

Put the compass on the circle and mark the same distance outside of it. Then put the compass in the center again and draw a bigger circle through the mark (if you do it properly, it will be twice as big, but it's not really necessary to do it so precisely).

draw a bigger circle

Step 3

Repeat the previous steps to create one more circle.

three concentric circles

Step 4

Take the ruler and pencil, and draw a line across the smallest circle. Sketch it lightly—it's just a guide line!

draw line across circle

Step 5

Draw another line, perpendicular to the other.

draw a perpencidular line

Step 6

Draw two more lines to divide each quarter into halves.

divide quarters into halves

Step 7

These were guide lines for the lines we actually need. Draw them now by cutting each triangle in half. These are the final lines, so you can press harder.

draw final lines
draw eight parts of cricle

Step 8

Connect each end of the triangle with the outer circle using the ruler.

cross the circle
draw more sections

Step 9

Time to put the emotions in there! In Plutchik's model, the center is taken by the most intense emotions, and they get gradually weaker towards the biggest circle. Fill the center with:

  • Rage
  • Loathing
  • Grief
  • Amazement
  • Terror
  • Admiration
  • Ecstasy
  • Vigilance

The order is important!

basic intense emotions

Step 10

Now add the secondary emotions:

  • Rage → anger → annoyance
  • Loathing → disgust → boredom
  • Grief → sadness → pensiveness
  • Amazement → surprise → distraction
  • Terror → fear → apprehension
  • Admiration → trust → acceptance
  • Ecstasy → joy → serenity
  • Vigilance → anticipation → interest

There are also tertiary emotions, combined from the two others:

  • Annoyance + interest = aggressiveness
  • Interest + serenity = optimism
  • Serenity + acceptance = love
  • Acceptance + apprehension = submission
  • Apprehension + distraction = awe
  • Distraction + pensiveness = disapproval
  • Pensiveness + boredom = remorse
  • Boredom + annoyance = contempt

Notice that in this model the antagonistic emotions are placed opposite to each other—for example, joy-sadness, anger-fear, etc.

wheel of emotions

Step 11

Time to color the emotions! take a look at the primary emotions in the center and try to feel what color they have to you. You'll probably find some that you can get straight from the tube. Put them in their place.

colors of emotions

Step 12

Other emotions, especially the secondary ones, may need mixing to get the proper color. Fill the whole wheel, coloring each emotion as you see fit. Don't worry if some get repeated, or if you need to guess others because you don't feel the color clearly—it's your wheel, and you can fill it any way you want!

color wheel of emotions

How to Paint Your Emotional Landscape

Now you know something about your emotions and the colors you assign to them. Time to start painting! Painting your emotions has many benefits:

  • You don't need to feel pressure about being "good enough", so you can fully relax.
  • You can better understand your emotional state at the moment.
  • You can change your mood by using the colors for emotions you want to feel (especially if you're susceptible to suggestion).
  • You can experiment and have fun, with no expectations about the outcome.

Obviously, I can't tell you exactly how to paint such a painting, but I can suggest a direction. See how I've created my own mood painting to understand what it's about.

Step 1

I've started in the center with something optimistic and pleasant to my eyes. I didn't paint anything specific—just a few strokes that felt nice under my brush, to better understand how it works and what to expect from various movements.

how to start an abstract painting

Step 2

I've added another patch of color, this time playing with the shape of the strokes. Their direction and thickness can be just as expressive as the color itself. Keep in mind you can adjust the level of blending by controlling the wetness of the brush.

You don't need to stick to the colors you've placed on the wheel. You can use it as a palette, but after that exercise you should simply feel what colors are pleasant to you, and which have negative connotations you'd prefer to avoid.

how rto add colors to abstract painting
abstract colors strokes

Step 3

I've added a huge blob of yellow, painting "waves" and covering the previous elements with it. Because why not? Nothing can stop me!

thick strokes abstract painting

Step 4

You can get very expressive by adding the paint directly to the "canvas". This will force you to use the whole amount, and you can create nice, strong strokes with it.

add paint directly to canvas

Don't be afraid to paint over the edges—even if you limit yourself all the time, allow yourself to feel more open here and now.

paint outside of the edges

Step 5

You can blend various patches of colors with a wet brush.

acrylics blending

Step 6

Using two colors at once can give you fantastic results as well!

painting with two colors at once
pretty strokes with two colors

Step 7

You can paint on a previous patch of color. The effects will be different depending on the wetness of the surface—play with it to see for yourself!

painting on wet paint

Step 8

There's no happiness without sadness, so I decided to add a pinch of negative emotions to this landscape. It may look out of place first...

color composition balance

... but you can balance it with other colors. This reminds me that we can't be happy and enthusiastic all the time—negative feelings are just the way our body says something's wrong. Sadness is normal—it's just a part of ourselves, not an enemy to fight and get rid of. If you feel "black", don't be afraid to add it—instead, see how you can make it a natural part of the landscape.

how to balance warm and cold colors

Step 9

Fill the whole scene this way, playing with colors, the shapes of the strokes, and the amount of paint.

fill the whole painting

Step 10

A smaller brush will let you add interesting accents here and there.

add accents with small brush

Beautiful!

Just looking at my mood painting makes me feel good and relaxed, and the thick strokes are so nice to touch. I hope you achieved the same pleasant effect with my guidance! If you want to try other relaxing art activities, don't forget to check the other parts of the series:

You can also enjoy simple tutorials created for people with little or no experience at drawing:

how to paint abstract painting emotions

Read More »

How to Draw a Fox Step by Step

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial I will show you how to draw a realistic fox step by step, without any reference. You'll learn how to sketch the pose to avoid proportion mistakes, how to add proper anatomy, and how to make it look real with details. You can also use this workflow to learn how to draw other similar animals.

This is a tutorial for beginners with a single, simple pose. If you want to learn more about foxes, their species and their anatomy, try this tutorial instead:

1. How to Prepare the Basic Sketch

Step 1

How often have you noticed that your drawing went wrong only when you were finishing it? To avoid such a situation, it's good to start with a very general sketch first, and add the details to it later. The general sketch is easy to fix and quick to draw, so you don't waste so much time on it if something goes wrong.

Start with a rectangle for an elongated fox body.

draw rectangle for fox body

Step 2

Measure the distance to the ground. Foxes are long-legged, so make it one body width long + some space for the paws.

fox body height drawing

Step 3

Sketch a very general rhythm of the legs on both ends of the rectangle.

simple fox legs drawing

Step 4

Add a thick neck. It should be slightly shorter than half of the body.

fox neck length drawing

Step 5

Attach the head to the neck.

simple fox head drawing

Step 6

Draw the long, tapered muzzle in front of the head.

fox muzzle drawing

Step 7

Sketch a bushy tail on the back.

fox bushy tail drawing

2. How to Sketch the Legs of a Fox

Step 1

Take a good look at your basic body plan now and try to see if anything's off. Fix it, if necessary.

Add a "6" in the shoulder area. It's a very easy way to create a form of the shoulder for many animals.

fox shoulder drawing

Step 2

Draw a line across the back side of the rectangle. This is a symbolic femur (the thigh bone).

fox thigh length drawing

Step 3

Add a perpendicular line to it. Its length will create the width of the thigh.

fox thigh width drawing

Step 4

Outline the thigh using these two guide lines. Don't worry if the thigh looks too fat—it should be fluffy!

fox thigh shape drawing

Step 5

Add some details to both the shoulder blade and the hips.

fox shoulder blade hip drawing

Step 6

Time for the lower parts of the limbs. Sketch the length of the paws.

fox paws length drawing

Step 7

Add the wrist and the heel.

fox wrist heel drawing

Step 8

Draw the forms of the wrist and the ankle.

fox wrist ankle shape drawing

Step 9

Outline the paws.

fox paws shape drawing

Step 10

Connect the paws to the wrist and ankle.

fox hands feet drawing

Step 11

The forearm and the calf both need some muscle masses. Add them in the form of an oval along the "bone" lines.

fox limb muscle masses drawing

Step 12

Add more details to each leg: the elbow, the knee, and the bony landmarks of the ankle.

fox body landmarks drawing

Step 13

Gently outline the forms to create the whole form of the limb.

fox legs outline drawing

Step 14

Let's make the paws complete, too. Add the other visible toe.

fox toes drawing

Step 15

Draw the tips of the toes.

fox toe tips drawing

Step 16

Add short, blunt claws.

fox claws drawing

3. How to Draw the Head of a Fox

Step 1

The head is a very important step, because we pay more attention to the proportions of the face than to the other parts of the body. Even if you sketched the body nicely, a tiny mistake in the face may destroy the whole impact of the drawing. So be very careful here!

Draw a high forehead for the fox, smoothing the step between the head and the muzzle.

fox high forehead drawing

Step 2

Draw a curve across the face—this will help us find the location of the eyes and define the sides of the face.

fox eye line drawing

Step 3

Draw an oval in the front of the head. This will be a symbolic eye socket. By drawing the eye socket first, you get a nice reference point to properly place the actual eye (thus solving the biggest problem in drawing a face!).

fox how to draw eyes properly

Step 4

Draw the round eye in the middle of the eye socket (or somewhere near, if you've noticed the eye socket has been placed wrong).

fox eye drawing

Step 5

Draw the nose bridge along the muzzle.

fox nose bridge drawing

Step 6

Draw the nose at the tip of the muzzle.

fox nose drawing

Step 7

Lead a line from the forehead to the chin.

fox muzzle shape drawing

Step 8

Draw an oval here.

fox muzzle mouth drawing

Step 9

Draw the lips along these guide lines.

fox lips drawing

Step 10

Draw a line across the head, halfway up the forehead.

fox how to draw ears

Step 11

Sketch the height of the ear. Foxes have them very big!

fox ear height drawing

Step 12

Draw the outline of the ear with gentle curves.

fox ear shape drawing
how to draw fox ear

Step 13

Draw the base of the ear.

fox ear details drawing

Step 14

Draw the cheek-mane on the side of the head.

fox cheek mane drawing

4. How to Draw the Body of a Fox

Step 1

Draw the lower side of the fluffy neck, creating a step between it and the head.

fox neck drawing

Step 2

Draw the rest of the "mane" on the neck.

fox neck mane drawing

Step 3

Draw the line of the belly.

fox belly drawing

Step 4

Draw the line of the back, curving towards the hips.

fox vack drawing

Step 5

Add some furry landmarks.

fox shoudler cape drawing
fox rib cape drawing
fox breast drawing
fox tail cover drawing

Step 6

If you want to make the drawing more interesting, you can add the second pair of legs.

fox second pair if legs drawing

5. How to Finish the Drawing of a Fox

Step 1

The sketch is finished, and now it's time to add the final lines. If you have been drawing with a pencil, you can now take a darker tool (like an ink liner) to make the final lines more striking. If your sketch is too dark for this, you can put another sheet of paper over it and draw the final lines on it.

Create the final shape of the eye by adding the eyelids.

draw fox eyelids

Step 2

Add the pupil and the eye corner.

draw fox pupil

Step 3

Outline the nose.

draw fox nose

Step 4

Outline the general shape of the head and the lips.

draw fox face

Step 5

Add the whisker holes.

draw fox whisker holes

Step 6

Add special features over the eye to make it more expressive.

draw fox facial expression

Step 7

Add the details to the ear. It should be very fluffy!

draw detailed fox ear

Step 8

Draw the cheek mane and the outline of the bone under the skin (along the nose bridge and on the cheek bone).

draw fur on fox face

Step 9

Add more details to make the face really fox-like: the marking between the eye and the mouth, the whiskers, dark nose, and dark ear.

draw fox face markings

Step 10

Outline the paws.

draw fox paws

Step 11

Outline the legs, paying attention to their anatomy.

draw fox front legs
draw fox hind legs

Step 12

Cover the whole body with fur. Whatever method you use to draw it, remember to keep the style consistent over the whole body.

draw fox fur

Step 13

Finally, you can add some basic "coloring" and shading.

shade fox simple way

Beautiful!

That's a beautiful fox! If you want to try other fox-related tutorials, check out this list:

You can also try other tutorials about drawing animals in a simple way:

how to draw fox step by step

Read More »

Art Therapy: How to Draw a Stick-Figure Comic

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Most people are creative in one way or another. Even though not all of us become artists or writers, it doesn't mean we can't create some stories in our minds. We just usually don't feel confident enough to share them with others, or even put them to paper just for us to see. We feel they're silly, not good enough, just a piece of garbage in comparison to what some other people produce.

But creating a story, no matter how silly, can be very fun! We can't really fathom the whole potential of it until we let it unwind. The characters become alive as the story moves forward, helping you create it along the way. A new world appears before your eyes, full of unique people with their problems and desires. They wouldn't exist without you, and it gives you an amazing sense of power.

I believe anyone can create their own story. Writing is difficult, but there's a medium that works in a more intuitive, visual way: comics. And you don't need to be skilled at drawing to create them, either!

This tutorial is part of the series Art Therapy. It teaches you how to use art for relaxation and fun without putting too much pressure on yourself.

What You Will Need

You can use any tools you have lying around, but I recommend:

  • some sheets of paper
  • pencil
  • ink liner/fineliner
  • colorful felt-tip markers
  • long ruler
  • eraser

Why Everyone Can Create Comics

The world we see is full of details, but we rarely notice them all. It's more efficient to think in symbols: a quick representation of an object including only the most prominent features of it. So you can draw a human by carefully rendering every angle of their face, every shade on their hair, and every muscle bulging under their skin, but you can also draw a few roughly straight lines—and both will be recognized as a human.

Yes, the former requires more skill, and thus is certainly more impressive. But it doesn't mean that a stick figure is "wrong", "ugly", or "not good enough". It's perfectly good enough for so many purposes!

Look at these ancient drawings of people. They have no visible human anatomy, not to mention the ridiculous proportions of barely recognizable body parts. But it doesn't matter. The point of these "artworks" was to picture a certain scene, and that purpose was fulfilled. Giving these humans more detailed features would maybe make them "prettier", but it wouldn't really make the scene any better.

petroglyph ancient human stick figure
Petroglyph of a human stick figure on the Leo Petroglyph
cave drawing humans stick figures
Rock paintings from the Cave of Beasts

Being praised for your skill certainly feels great, but it shouldn't be the point of everything you create. Just as you can play basketball with your friends without striving to score like a professional, you can also draw without being good. It's you who decides what the purpose of your art is: proving your value as an artist, sharing a story, or simply having fun.

Web comic strips are a great example of using this medium to share a funny concept. In the strip below there are three different characters, some objects, and some environments, all drawn in very symbolic ways. The characters don't even have eyes! Yet we can easily understand the context of this short story and completely ignore the lack of realistic features. Realism is not important here, and making the characters more realistic wouldn't be an improvement in any way—it would actually draw the attention away from the message.

comic strip by xkcd
Comic strip by xkcd

The beauty of symbols lies in their simplicity. The simpler they are, the clearer. That's why they are, and must be, easy to draw. Just stop here, take a pencil (or any other tool you have laying around), and sketch symbols for:

  • a cat
  • a car
  • a spoon
  • a smartphone
  • a tree
how to draw symbols

See how easy it is? Once you stop thinking about making the drawings as good as possible, and instead focus on making them as simple as possible, drawing becomes almost effortless and far less stressful. Yes, these sketches are neither "pretty" nor "realistic", but they weren't supposed to be, so that's not a flaw. They're good enough to show the concept, and that makes them good.

The Production of a Comic

All right, so you know that you can draw, but you may be anxious about one more thing. Comics are created in a certain way. There are grids, panels, speech bubbles, and whatnot... How do you know how to create them?

To be honest, you don't have to know. They all have a certain function in the comic, but they're a tool, not the goal. You can use them as you see fit, using other comics as inspiration rather than as a template. Just look at the xkcd strip again—there are no speech bubbles, just symbolic "arrows" pointing to who's speaking, and one panel doesn't have any frame. Yet the concept is perfectly understandable.

There are no "comic creation" laws that you need to obey when drawing your strips. There's only one rule: the message must be readable to your readers. The means of reaching this goal are completely left to you. 

Of course, there are better and worse solutions (good "accessories" should be transparent for the reader), but this is something you can solve on your own while working on your creation.

basic construction of comic strip
Each panel presents a frozen moment in the story, and the speech bubbles show who's saying what. That's basically all you need to know.

How to Plan the Story

In theory, you can start creating a comic right away, spontaneously, letting your inspiration show you the way. However, in my opinion, creating certain limits is good for creativity—you get some solid ground under your feet, something to build upon. You also get a chance to experiment without any sense of finality, which gives you full creative freedom. Use this guide as you will—these aren't strict rules, just a set of helpful tips.

Of course, the simpler the story, the simpler the plan it needs. If you want to write a short comic strip with two characters talking, or you simply hate planning, just skip to the next section.

World

First, you need to find out what kind of environment you want to use as a background for your story. It could be simply a location similar to yours, in modern times, but you don't need to limit yourself to what's real. Post-apocalyptic Stockholm with people mutated for superpowers? Medieval village in the middle of nowhere? Magic city in the clouds? No matter how crazy it sounds, if you like the idea, go for it—who can stop you?

You can describe your world in a few sentences to verbally sketch the environment and inspire the ideas for the actual story. For example:

  • A college with a dormitory.
  • The dormitory is said to be haunted.

Or, if you want a long and complex story:

  • Medieval-like world, but not historical.
  • A village in the middle of nowhere (five days' horse ride to the closest town).
  • The small community is very traditional, conservative, everyone knows each other.
  • Children are not educated, they are trained by parents to work in the field only.

Premise

You don't need to create the whole story at once, but you need to know the "seed" of it, something that lets you start. The easiest way is to create a change in the world you have described earlier, something that forces the characters to act. It can be a dramatic event, or a discovery, something that happens after "... but one day...".

Ok, so what could happen one day?

  • Monsters started to come from the forest.
  • The protagonist's father died, leaving him with debts.
  • A message came from the world under the clouds.
  • A student went missing after entering a room.

Don't be afraid to use any clichés; they are popular for a reason—they practically write themselves. And when you're not writing to impress, but for fun, you don't need to worry about being original.

Characters

The characters are obviously the most interesting, but they're still a tool—they make the story go. You can start with a character and create a story for them, but it's usually easier to go the other way around.

You need a few characters:

  • The main character: we see the world from their perspective (there can be more than one).
  • The secondary characters: they affect the actions of the main character in some way, helping you shape the story.
  • The background characters: they can be described collectively, e.g. students, villagers. They fill the world to make it less empty, but they do little to the story as individuals.

This is a very simplified explanation, but it should be enough to start writing without getting caught in technicalities. Describe your characters in a few words, trying to capture their role and relation to each other rather than looks. 

In the story about a haunted dormitory, for example, the list may look like this:

  • The main character: a new student, cheeky, prefers acting over thinking.
  • The secondary character I: best friend of MC, rational, emotionally stable.
  • The secondary character II: a fellow student, the crush of MC.
  • The background characters: parents, other students, teachers.

How to Plan the Style of the Comic

This is the most pleasant part, because you can have fun with drawing without any pressure to reach any specific goal. You just need to create something that will let you present the story.

You don't have to worry about creating your own style—you already have it! Drawing style, in its most basic definition, is the way you simplify reality. You can make the style more unique by working on it consciously, but then you need to remember about consistency—the style must be repeatable, not accidental.

The Base

You don't know what you're capable of until you try. So try! Sketch a few instances of:

  • a human
  • an animal
  • a plant
  • an inanimate object
  • a vehicle
  • background elements

Don't stop on the first sketch. What can you modify to make the objects clearer? How can you distinguish the characters? Make sure you can easily replicate the results; nothing should be created by accident.

how to create simple drawing style

Motion

Your characters are going to move during their adventures, so you must invent some way to show their movement. See how you can draw these basic poses:

  • turned to the side
  • walking
  • running
  • sitting
  • lying
how to design simple poses

Expressions

To better understand the story, the reader must be able to read the emotions of the characters. Although human expressions are very complex, they can be easily pictured with symbols. See how you can show the basic emotions in your characters with both facial expressions and gestures:

  • blank
  • happy
  • angry
  • sad
  • ashamed
  • suspicious

It helps if you make the same face yourself while drawing!

how to design simple human emotions

If you want to use more emotions, this tutorial will be very helpful:

Speech Bubbles

Although speech bubbles are almost invisible to the reader, you, as a creator, must draw them in some way. Experiment to see what's easiest for you—what shape the bubble should have, and what font should be used for the captions. What happens when a speech bubble and a character overlap? Or is this not allowed to happen? Decide it all now.

how to design simple speech bubbles

Style

Another thing: what style do you want to use in a technical sense? Is everything going to be drawn with a pencil? Or do you want to use a simple way of inking? Are you planning to use colors or shading? Test it all to see the effects in practice, and choose the best way for you.

how to find perfect style for comic

Characters

Once you have chosen the style for your comic, design your characters using it. Make them clearly recognizable, and use the elements of their looks to accentuate their personality and role in the story.

how to design characters for comic

1. How to Sketch the Comic

Step 1

Time for the actual story! To create it without caring about the layout, we can sketch it first. This way you'll be able to create without any pressure to make it look good right away.

Don't start with a grid. The panels will have various sizes depending on what's happening in them, and you don't know it yet. So instead, draw the panels side by side, step by step.

But enough with technicalities. The problem with writing a story is that it usually starts before any exciting thing happens. So your first panel is supposed to lead to that big thing, even though you may not be sure exactly what that big thing is going to be yet. So don't get stuck trying to create a perfect setup right from the first panel—start with the big event!

how to draw first panel in comic
Focus on the story for now, not on the visuals. You can differentiate the characters by adding short labels to them.

Step 2

Let the story unravel for a moment, to get to know the characters better through their actions and interactions. Keep in mind that you don't need to follow your plan strictly—if you get a better idea in the process, go for it!

how to start writing a comic
It doesn't need to be clean, just make sure you can understand what's going on

Step 3

Now, go back in time. How far? It depends on you. You can present the world in a "normal" setting, or go straight to explaining what has led directly to the event. Starting with an establishing shot can be a good idea for the first panel:

how to start drawing a comic

Step 4

You have the beginning, you have the starting point of the story, and now you can simply write it! You can go continuously from there, or keep jumping from event to event, filling the spaces by going back in time. It will depend on how complete the story is in your mind.

2. How to Plan the Comic Layout

As I said before, the panels are simply a tool for presenting the story. They show the flow of time, the actual events we should pay attention to one by one. But their shape and size have a function as well, so they shouldn't be ignored.

Go back to the comic and analyze each panel. What elements are the most important? What do you want to make the readers see first? Crop the panels to accentuate the message. When you're done, number the panels.

how to crop comic panels

You can learn more about the power of composition here:

3. How to Draw the Comic

Step 1

You have the whole story, but it's just a sketch. To make it easier to follow, redraw the whole thing on a new sheet of paper.

First, sketch the grid according to the number of panels you need. You can adjust their shape and size depending on what's happening in the specific panel.

how to plan comic grid

Step 2

Now, sketch the characters, this time including their full visual side and the facial expressions. Make sure the speech bubbles have enough space for the captions.

how to draw comic story
Notice how the old cropped panels fill the whole new panels, changing the scale of the content

Step 3

Time to add a pinch of finality to the whole comic. Inking is a great way to make the lines clean and definite. You can use a simple fineliner to accentuate the lines and text.

how to simply ink comic

Step 4

Take an eraser and carefully remove the sketch. Make sure the ink is dry before you start!

how to erase sketch from ink

Step 5

If you decided to use colors as well, this is the time to add them.

how to add colors to comic

Step 6

Finally, add borders to the panels.

how to add borders to the comic

Good Job!

Your very own comic page is finished! Isn't it great? No matter how it looks, you can be proud of yourself—you've created something personal, something nobody else could create. You let your story come to life, become real. Maybe it's not a masterpiece, maybe there are prettier comics out there, but who cares? This is your creation, and you had fun!

If you want to share it online, don't forget to change the size of the scan/photo to something smaller than the original. The comic page should be viewed as a whole, without scrolling too much to the sides or up and down. If you want to learn more about creating comics, you'll love these posts as well:

how to create simple stick figure comic

Read More »

How to Create a Cerberus Photo Manipulation in Adobe Photoshop

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Cerberus is a three-headed dog from Greek mythology, the guard of the gates of Underworld. While he's usually pictured as a furious, blood-thirsty beast, I like to think of him as a good dog just doing his duty. Today I'll show you how to create Cerberus using the techniques of photo manipulation in Adobe Photoshop.

What You Will Need

You'll need the following resources in order to complete this project: 

1. How to Prepare the Assets for the Photo Manipulation

Step 1

Open of the rottweiler photos in Photoshop. Take the Magic Wand Tool (W) and select the area outside its body.

photoshop select outside
Tip: hold Shift to add more areas to the selection

Step 2

The automatic selection is rarely perfect, so let's fix it. Go into the Quick Mask Mode (Q) and use a brush to paint the unselected areas.

quick mask selection

Step 3

Go out of the Quick Mask Mode (Q) and go to Select > Inverse to invert the selection. Then grab the Magic Wand Tool (W) again and select Refine Edge on the top.

photoshop selection refine edge

Step 4

Change the View Mode to On Black to better see the edges.

photoshop refine edge on black

Step 5

Check Smart Radius and increase the Radius. Then play with the other settings until you're satisfied with the result.

photoshop refine edge settings

You can also use the Refine Radius Tool (E) to make the edge detection more accurate, especially where the fur is visible.

photoshop refine radius tool

Step 6

When you're done, press OK and invert the selection again to remove the background, or simply copy the selection to another file.

photoshop remove white background

Step 7

Do the same to the other dogs. Use the Quick Mask to remove the parts from the neck down.

photoshop quick mask select
photoshop quick mask remove
photoshop background removal

Step 8

Gather all the dogs in one file.

photoshop manipulation assets

Step 9

The main dog is illuminated in a different way than the others, so let's fix it quickly. Select its layer and go to Image > Auto Contrast, then Image > Auto Tone.

photoshop auto contrast
photoshop contrast fixed

2. How to Merge Various Photos Into One

Step 1

Use the Lasso Tool (L) to select half of the front of the main dog. We need to make the chest wider to place all these extra heads.

photoshop lasso tool

Step 2

Use the Move Tool (V) to drag the selected half to the right, creating some space in between.

photoshop move tool drag

Step 3

This space must be filled. Select it with the Lasso Tool (L).

photoshop select empty space

Step 4

Go to Edit > Fill and select Content-Aware.

photoshop content aware fill

The chest should get filled nicely!

photoshop conent aware fill empty space

Step 5

Let's make the body more muscular and intimidating. Go to Filter > Liquify and use the Forward Warp Tool (W) to "sculpt" the body. Use a small brush and be very careful—you can use Undo only once here, and it's hard to fix a modification. To be safe, press OK after each successful modification and go back to this filter to continue.

photoshop liquify filter

Step 6

After the body is done, remove the head with the Lasso Tool (L) (no animals were harmed in the production of this tutorial!).

photoshop remove head

Step 7

I decided to flip the whole image with Image > Image Rotation > Flip Canvas Horizontal. This isn't necessary; it just looked better to me.

Time to add the heads of the dogs. Drag one of them over the main body and use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to adjust the size of the head to the body.

photoshop free transform tool

Step 8

Use the Eraser Tool (E) or the Layer Mask with a soft brush to subtly blend the overlapping parts. You can learn about the power of the Layer Mask from the quick tutorial below:

photoshop layer mask blending
photoshop layer mask effect

Step 9

Add another head on the side. Adjust its size...

photoshop size modification

... and then use the Liquify filter to reshape its neck. You can show the Backdrop of the body to see the changes better.

photoshop liquify backdrop

Then use the Layer Mask again and continue with the last head.

photoshop layer mask how to use

3. How to Add and Adjust the Background of the Photo Manipulation

Step 1

Let's add the background now. Drag the photo to the file and adjust its size with the Free Transform Tool (Control-T). Make sure the ground fits the perspective of the dog's body. Then use the Crop Tool (C) to crop the whole scene.

photoshop add background

Step 2

Open Window > Adjustments and select Hue/Saturation from the panel (with the background layer selected).

photoshop adjustments panel

Step 3

Play with the sliders to make the background dark and mysterious.

photoshop hue saturation adjustment
photoshop dark background

Step 4

Add another Hue/Saturation adjustment, and this time make everything hot orange.

photoshop hue saturation hot
photoshop hot fiery background

Step 5

Use the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to fill the Mask of the adjustment layer with black. Then paint on it with white to "paint" the light coming from the lower right corner.

photoshop fill layer mask

Step 6

This bright light has flattened the ground, so let's adjust it. Right-click the adjustment layer and select Blending Options. Hold Alt and drag the lower black marker to the right. This will remove the effect of the adjustment over the darker areas of the background.

photoshop blending options how it works
photoshop blending options effect

Step 7

To make the light brighter, change the Blend Mode to Linear Dodge.

photoshop blend mode linear dodge
photoshop linear dodge effect

Step 8

Duplicate (Control-J) the adjustment to make the effect stronger. Then modify it to better fit the environment.

photoshop blending options experiment
photoshop stronger light

Step 9

Add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment.

photoshop brightness contrast adjustment

Step 10

Use it to make the whole scene darker.

photoshop darken the scene
photoshop dark background

Step 11

Use the Layer Mask to remove the darkness from the foreground and keep it in the background.

photoshop selective darkness

4. How to Make the Scene Consistent

Step 1

Let's go back to the dog now. Select its layers and group them (Control-G). Then add the Hue/Saturation adjustment to the group. Don't forget to clip it (Control-Alt-G) to exclude the background.

Use the adjustment to fit the lighting on the dog to the background without any lights.

photoshop light adjustment
photoshop manipulation light adjustment

Step 2

"Turn on" the lights again, and paint on the Layer Mask of the darkening layer to reveal the light on the dog's coat.

photoshop reveal light

Step 3

Add another clipped Hue/Saturation layer. This time make the fur bright, as if illuminated by the orange light source.

photoshop warm highlights
photoshop warm light adjustment

Step 4

Use the Layer Mask again to affect the illuminated side only.

photoshop selective warm light

Step 5

Go to the Blending Options and drag the lower black marker to remove the light from the darker parts.

photoshop blending options selective
photoshop textured light

Step 6

Duplicate (Control-J) the adjustment layer and make it affect an even smaller area...

photoshop blending options advanced
photoshop bledning options selective texture

... but make it stronger with Color Dodge Blend Mode.

photoshop blend mode color dodge
photoshop color dodge light

Step 7

Let's make the eyes glow! Add another Hue/Saturation layer and make it red and saturated.

photoshop bright saturation

Use a Layer Mask to apply it to the eyes only.

photoshop red glowing eyes

Step 8

Change its Blend Mode to Linear Dodge to make it better fit the details of the eyes.

photoshop linear dodge glow
photoshop glowing eyes

Step 9

Duplicate the layer and use this stronger effect in the darker parts of the eyes. If you want to learn how to animate glowing eyes, check out this tutorial:

photoshop red eyes manipulation

5. How to Add the Final Touches to the Photo Manipulation

Step 1

A nice trick to make the new elements a part of the background is to blend some of their parts with it. Add a Layer Mask to the group of dog photos and gently paint over some shadowed areas that still stand out too much (especially on the backs of the heads).

photoshop blend with bakcground

Step 2

The whole dog is also very sharp, and thus still quite flat. Go to Filter > Convert for Smart Filters and then Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Make the dogs blurry, but not too much.

photoshop gaussian blur

Step 3

Smart Filters have a Layer Mask, too! Use it to leave the blur only on the edges.

photoshop selective gaussian blur

Step 4

Let's add a glow to the sky. Select it with the Magic Wand Tool (W)...

photoshop select elements

... create a New Layer and paint the colors...

photoshop paint into selection

... and then use a Layer Mask to clean the effect off the arches.

photoshop clean layer masl

Step 5

Finally, you can add some adjustments to the whole scene. Levels will help you adjust the contrast, and Vibrance will make the colors more vivid.

photoshop final adjustments
photoshop adjusted scene

Step 6

When you're done, right-click the layers and select Flatten Image. Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise to unify the whole scene with a slight grain. Finally, go to Image > Size and make the image smaller before you publish it.

photoshop add noise
photoshop noise added

Good Job!

If you want to try other dark photo manipulations, try these tutorials:

how to create cerberus in photoshop

Read More »

How to Draw a Spider Web Step by Step

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

A spider web is one of the symbols of Halloween. It's very simple to draw, but it takes a lot of time to do it well. However, you can treat it as a form of mandala drawing, to have fun and relax.

What You Will Need

In order to complete this tutorial, you may need to use the following equipment:

  • sheet of paper
  • drawing compass
  • ink liner/fine liner/ballpoint pen
  • ruler
  • eraser (optionally)

How to Draw a Spider Web

Step 1

Draw a dot in the center of the sheet.

spider web drawing center dot

Step 2

Stick your compass in the dot and draw a big circle around.

spider web drawing compass circle

Step 3

Take a ruler and draw a lot of lines coming radially from the center. The angles don't need to be equal. Always start from the center, instead of drawing one long line across it—this will make it look more natural.

spider web drawing radial lines

Step 4

Draw a spiral around the center, with one loose end on the outside.

spider web drawing central spiral

Step 5

Use the compass to draw a smaller circle at some distance from the spiral.

spider web drawing smaller circle

Step 6

Draw a gentle arc between two "arms" of the web.

spider web drawing first arch

Step 7

Continue along the circle.

spider web drawing arched circle

Step 8

This part will take some time, so don't hurry. Fill a whole section between the arms with arcs. Some of them may be stuck together, creating a natural effect.

spider web drawing first section

Step 9

Continue all around the web, taking your time to keep it clean and neat.

spider web drawing secdond section
spider web drawing done

Step 10

Finally, you can use an eraser to remove the guide circles.

spider web drawing cleaned up

Good Job!

Did you have fun? Then you may also enjoy drawing other radial designs:

how to draw spider web step by step

Spider Web Resources

Do you need some spider-web-related resources for your project? Check out these:

3D Spider Web

spider web 3d

Spider's Web

spider web photo green background

Cobweb with Dew

spider web photo dew

Read More »

How to Draw a Spider, Step by Step

What You'll Be CreatingArachnophobia is probably the most popular phobia: the fear of spiders. In a sense, it's not an irrational fear. After all, many spiders are venomous! However, most of them are not harmful to humans, and they do not actively seek...

Read More »