• I started off by looking for a suitable image of Eddie Van Halen.  I needed to have him in a classic pose; one I can ‘play’ with, and to accentuate the great wild fun he seems to have on stage.   That was an easy task.  There are a lot of great shots of Van Halen on the web but for reference, I cannot go past the great David Plastik.  Have a look at his site in related links for this article.

    I started first with the background: 26 x 34cm @ 300dpi.  I paint bucketed the black plain color and a purple blurred matte. For brushes, I chose an Oil Brush – Detail Oils Brush 15 variant, with an opacity variation between 20 and 40).  I started painting with a large size (around 200) brush to provide a good mix between the purple and red and the background dark. To ensure a smoother finish, I used the soften effect - effect/focus/soften - I think the value was around 70/80 which I then applied three times. Maybe even more to get the color transitions smoother.

    For the lighting effect besides Eddie´s head, I used the same method using only the white color in a separate layer, changing its opacity to 22%.


    Here I just painted plain colors to define the main areas, on a separate layer. The brush used was ‘Oil’ / Detail Oils Brush variant , 100 opacity -  and next (below) I defined the bodies ( Eddie and Guitar´s body) using the same brush but 20-30 opacity and the dark color variations.


    Most of the entire process I used from checking out Linda Bergkvist´s Hair Tutorial. This is a tremendous lesson to follow and it really works.

    I began the hair in a separate layer and in this case I had to change the brush types to simulate the same results. For brushes I used again my preferred Oil Brush with opacity between 30-40 and light skin tones. I think the Medium Bristle Oils can produce nice textures also.

    I started with the non-scanned drawing layer non-visible.
    Here the process was blocking the hair.

    The next images show how I improved the blocks using low sizes (around 60-70) and low opacity brush( 20-30).

    I chose the area that I´d like to improve the details and maintain the main focus. Then I began to define the hair blocks. In Corel Painter I created a layers group called Hair.
    There I can create as many layers as I needed for each step of the process.

    For each different stage of the hair detailing I used a small sized brush and a higher level of Opacity (always using the same Oils Brush): for the samples above the opacity was around 30-40 (Hair Figure 1) and 50-60 (Hair Figure 2) but smaller size. For greater detailing I used smaller brush sizes.

    For each new step I created a new layer (inside the group).

    After creating new lines of dark hair color, I smoothed each one a little using the Blender brush with a Blur Variant at 50% opacity of around 20 size), following the hair direction. 

    Texture, texture and texture (wow Linda, what a job!)

    For the high detailing I used a very small brush size of #02 -#03 and opacity between 50-70%. In the shiny parts, I used a lighter hair color and a small brush size and between 20-30% layer opacity – always using the Alt/Option to pick up the color. After each group of lines I smoothed them further by using the Blander brush at size 20.

    After many textures, lines and blurred lines I flattened the group layers.
    Here I created some path lines to define the guitar stripes.
    With the paths complete I convert them to selection and fill with white plain color. The next step was to fill some stripes with black colors and the broken scratch plate.  I didn’t use the feature when converting to selection. I only used the Blender brush with a Blur variant, to smooth the sharp edges to give to them a more natural look.

    For the Guitar arm I put on some details on the headstock.
      I then painted over the guitar with more red variations/tones to lower a new layer using the large size Oil brush.

    Note that I painted using a blurred white color behind Eddie´s hair to simulate the top light, painted with a large size brush, Soften/Blur effect, maybe three times, and low opacity layer.

    Image A, below: I then added further details and noise on the STRIPES and for the headstock I blurred a little the details (preparing it for the Focal Length effect).

    I increased the Guitar´s arm details: first the dots on the frets then the frets themselves (I began with a focused one and for pasted one I blurred it a little). More Blurred noise using the Oil Brush on stripes and details on Eddie’s left hand. For the tape glued down on the guitar I used paths converted to selection to isolate it and to improve the details. The clothes were increased with more shadows and light effect. I maintained the idea to work in separate layers (every one named to avoid confusion) for each step and group the related ones. I had a group called Cloth, which included shadow, light and noise layers.

    Right: To give to the guitar the kind of ‘old and very used’ look, I simulated it using the Chalk brush to put white, red and black speckles. Next I used the Blender brush with Diffuse Blur of 25% stretch and 13% grain.

    Image B, below: Next I started using Floyd Rose Tremolo base colors. I made a point of working exaggerated features into Eddie’s right hand and the left hand.

    With the guitar almost finished, I always check back to see if I can do anything more to improve, balance or lighten the illustration. The focus is now on the right Arm/Hand details.
    I paid particular attention to the shadows and to smooth the transitions. I prefer to use opacity between 20% or 30% and to give a smoother look, I even go to the 10 % value, always using the Alt/Option key to pick the neighboring color and mixing smoothly.

    Image C, above: Here I duplicated the dropped Hair group and move it over the face to cover it.

    Image D: I then made paths to the strings and the stroke selection used different sizes of brush, to simulate the different guitar string sizes, in perspective and caricature.  I then selected the guitar arm and headstock with the Lasso tool and feathered with 30 value.  Applying the Soften/Blur effect and selecting only the headstock, I added the Soften/Motion Blur effect. I used the same Motion Blur for a copied selection from the right hand fingers.

    Marcos Aurelio has been working as a professional illustrator since 1990, specifically detailed artworks for school publishers, design companies and scientific magazines.
    His real passion is doing caricatures and improving his skills. His main idea is do funny realistic artworks but not as distorted as the master, Sebastian Kruger.

    “My main influence is the Mort Druker style. I think my work relects his influence: to get the main characteristics of the person and magnify it. These days, I have no traditional art studio. Everything now is digital. In fact only the drawing is traditional. The rendering is totally digital.“


    Related links:
    Ed, Eddie!!  CGTalk thread
    Reference: David Plastik [Photographer]
    Marcos Aurelio site

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