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This is simply an account of how I painted this particular picture:

Tyrannosaurus Rex

The techniques used can be applied to any number of other pictures. I certainly use them regularly.

I opened a large file 4000 px square and 96 ppi (for printing it would be better to use 300 ppi) with a white background. On a new layer, using a small, black brush, I drew a fairly detailed image of the T-Rex (it took a bit of time to get right!):

Tyrannosaurus Rex

I then filled the background layer with the colour that would set the general tone for the picture rather than paint on stark white. On a new layer below the line drawing, I filled in the whole creature with the base colour for the body using a hard-edged, round brush. I then used the Burn tool to create a suggestion of the main shadows and merged the line drawing down onto the painted Body layer:

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Almost everything else was painted using a home-made brush based on an ink blot:


Making your own brushes is great fun and, if you don't know, there are lots of tutorials out there telling you how to do it. This one is quite large (around 500 px square) but can obviously be resized right down to very small.

Above the Background layer I created a Multiply layer and above that a Screen layer. Using the same colour as the background I then used the very large brush to dab on some light texture on the Screen layer and a suggestion of shadow on the Multiply layer. I then merged them down onto the Background layer:

Tyrannosaurus Rex

On a layer above the body I painted in the eye using a small round brush.

I then switched back to my home-made brush and used that for almost everything else. I used a graphics tablet with pressure-sensitivity turned on so that I could vary the strength of the brush-strokes. On a new Normal layer I painted in the colour for the tongue and inside the mouth and when I was happy with them I merged them down onto the body layer. I then created a Multiply layer on top of the body layer and a Screen layer above that. Using the same colour as the body I started with the head, painting in the shadows and texture of the skin on the Multiply layer, and the highlights on the Screen layer:

Tyrannosaurus Rex

I realise that the same effect can be achieved on one layer by changing the mode of t he brush itself - I just find doing it this way is less trouble.

I continued working in the same way over the whole body until it was complete:

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Once I was happy with the T-Rex I merged the layers onto the body so that I had only the Background and Body layers.

I used the same process to paint the log in the foreground on a layer above the T-Rex, then very loosely blocked in the landscape elements on a layer above the Background. Then I added a purple to green Gradient layer below the T-Rex, changed its mode to Soft Light and reduced the opacity to add just a slight hint of those colours to the overall image:

Tyrannosaurus Rex

At each main stage I saved the file anew before working on the next stage, which is why I still have all the stages to use for this tutorial. And that's it! I realise that there are many other ways to do the job - this just happens to be the way I worked on this picture. I hope it is of help.