Diamonds

by chrisrussodraws

DIAMONDS_RESIZE

I recently read an interesting New Yorker piece on Rihanna, and the illustration that accompanied it made me want to make my own! And of course I ended up animating it, because I’m a dork.

I also recently showed a friend my coloring process in photoshop, and going through it was really satisfying for me, so I thought I’d document my process for this entire piece in this post! I made it over the course of about two or three days. The first thing I always do if I’m doing something involving portraits is do a bunch of quick sketches, to give myself a space to mess up and get a feel for a specific person’s face:

These are kind of like Rihanna's failed clones she keeps locked in her basement.

These are kind of like Rihanna’s failed clones she keeps locked in her basement.

I’ll usually do a few thumbnails of the composition I want, too. Then I lay out the final sketch to ink over, which still usually ends up being pretty loose:

I didn't get a photo of it before I started inking, but this should give you a pretty good idea of what the sketch looks like.

I didn’t get a photo of it before I started inking, but this should give you a pretty good idea of what the sketch looks like.

A lot of times I’ll make some minor changes while I’m inking. Rihanna looked a little more distressed than I intended, so I changed her expression.

process3

process4

Once inking’s done, it’s just a matter of scanning it. Once in a while if I haven’t got access to a scanner and I’m in a hurry, I’ll use a photo of the inked piece instead of a scan, and then using photoshop to up the contrast and put it as close to pure black and white as possible. That way I can remove the white and color the linework itself:

screenie3

I don’t usually recolor all the linework at once – most of the time I’ll do it as I lay color down in the image to see what works.

screenie1

I usually keep the color flat and then add an extra layer or two later to shade it.

DIAMONDS_STILL

Once that’s done, it’s just a matter of adding extra layers to animate the image.

In this case I ended up with a lot of layers.

In this case I ended up with a lot of layers. Just the sparkles required about fourteen or so.

Photoshop’s not the most elegant program when it comes to animation, but for simple gifs like this it works just fine.

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