Tips to save you a lot of hassle.

Visual aesthetics is the study of how compositional elements (value, perspective, staging
and colour) interact and the audience’s reactions to them. It’s not enough to understand
composition and expect to be effective visual storytellers. Rather, it’s important to
understand perception – how the audience reacts to composition.

Improper use of composition will result in an audience’s selective perception. Selective
perception results in selective context. And selective context means the audience will have
different interpretations of the story/idea. With the proper use of visual aesthetics, the
compositional choices become intentional and directional towards intended perception.

When the artist controls selective seeing, the visual message becomes subjective. Subjective
means controlled perception. Controlled perception results in controlled context, and this
means the audience will have a singular interpretation of the story idea.

In designing what’s supposed to be repetitive patterns, such as bricks on a wall, or organic
patterns like rough textures on rocks, always apply the economy of lines and simplify
without the compromise of information. This can be done through the less-is-more approach.
This is either the simplification or purposeful removal of details on some sections. By
doing this, the designer leaves room for the viewer’s imagination to fill in the missing details.

13. Add a hand-drawn touch
Hand-drawn textures will give your work extra charm

Hand-drawn textures will give your work extra charm
This tip doesn’t intend, in any way, to look down or undermine the direct use of photos in the
digital painting process. If it’s needed in production, then go for it. But the heavy reliance
and dependency on photos should not become a designer’s priority. Your goal is to learn how to
create simplified textural patterns and concentrate on the design essentials first and foremost.
There’s a charm added when hand-drawn textures are applied.

14. Add history and story
The statues indicate that penguins inhabit this island

The statues indicate that penguins inhabit this island
Research plays a big part in this process. The believability of a world doesn’t come from a
literal application of a photo. The designer has to find a way to design the history and
story of an environment that personifies and supports the personalities in it.

So in the image above, we’re creating an island that’s inhabited by penguins. Just designing
from a photo wouldn’t be convincing – what makes it believable is applied history and story.
Adding the two penguin monuments made sense in establishing the penguin world.

15. Use Lasso painting
This is the technique I use when I’m pressed for time. I coined the name from the Lasso
selection tool in Photoshop. Its simplicity and ease of use enable me to drop the values,
carry out speedy colourisation and paint over highlighted surfaces. With practise, this
process is very effective for a quick turnaround of art. At this point the heavy lifting
has been done and all I need to do is a bit more painting over the image to create a refined,
final version if needed.

Create thumbnail and line work

I create a very quick thumbnail idea for composition and direction, then lay down the line
work. The column and the character are on two separate layers. Then I drop and separate the l
ocal values using the Lasso tool. I also use a little bit of Airbrush to soften the edges.

Duplicate the layer

Next I duplicate the desired layer to be colourised, then select it. I pick the desired brush
and then from the Brush Mode drop-down menu, I select Color (and I make sure to bring it back
to Normal mode after this step).

Keep lighting consistent

Using the Lasso tool, I select the cast shadowed surfaces. I soften the mask for the columns
but keep it sharp on the character. Consistency in lighting is the key for this step. I create
separate new layers for shadowed and highlighted surfaces and I increase the cool tone, then
darken the layer with the shadowed surface. I increase the warm tones and contrast on the
layer using highlighted surfaces.