Hey guys! Alf here with the latest tutorial on creating an Art Nouveau painting. I’m doing a series on Seasons, with Spring being the first completed painting. I said that I was going to do Summer next, but I changed my mind and did Winter first so that I could give it as as birthday present to my boyfriend. It made him chuckle but he loved it. Let’s get started!
Winter is ‘fuyu’ (冬) in Japanese. I looked at the kanji and designed the appropriate frame beforehand. In fact, I also created Summer and Autumn, too, to get them out of the way. After that, I assembled the figure.
1) I’m using bf’s head, so I had to make sure that it’s the correct size to fit the rest of the body. Assemble in Photoshop.
2) Sketch some contours first in Photoshop. Then, use a brush with low opacity and flow settings to shade in the muscle details (on a separate layer). Use the original collage to determine your shadow and light areas.
3) Once finished, take your sketch and create shapes in Illustrator. This time, I used the Divide and Unite tools in Pathfinder to create more accurate shapes (so that shapes that don’t overlap). Example: looking at the above image, the right arm (your right) overlaps the cloth shapes. After Dividing the shapes and ungrouping them (Shift+Command+G), take the overlapped shape and the main shape you want to add it to and Unite them together while they’re both selected.
4) Once you have all the shapes created, change the strokes to fill (Shift+X), then Release all Layers to Sequence (top right menu option within layer panel). Then, save as a Photoshop file.
5) Select all the shapes in Illustrator and copy into Photoshop. When you paste, paste as a Vector Object, then add a thick stroke to it.
6) Using your sketch as the guide, start painting your skin and cloth tones using a textured brush with a low opacity and flow.
7) When you feel like you’re done, you can mess around with Adjustments (Levels, Curves, Contrast, Saturation, Colour Balance, etc.) to make the image the way you want it to be. I was aiming for a Final Fantasy/King of Fighters look.
8) In Illustrator, I created some plum blossoms. The difference between these and cherry blossoms is that cherry blossoms have a little notch in their petals. Cherry trees bloom in April, while Plum trees bloom in February. I remember seeing some Plum blossoms while the ground was covered in snow (February in Japan), so I thought it would be good scenery to use in the Winter frame.
9) I’m recycling branches used in Spring and changing the orientation for Winter. Paste the branches as a Vector Object in your Photoshop file. Create a clipping mask (Command+Alt/Option+G) right above the frame layer.
10) Paste your blossoms in front/behind of the branches. Create clipping masks and add strokes to the branches, blossoms and frame.
11) Paste in some more landscape elements created in Illustrator (the snow-covered ground and the moon).
12) Add some snow; use the motion blur filter to create some movement.
13) Utilise some more filters (or Topaz Labs) and image/colour adjustments to perfect the tones and mood of the piece. Then, emulate the winter emblem at the bottom right and add a signature to finish it off. Once you stamp all visible layers (Command+Alt/Option+Shift+E), Add Noise (depends on the canvas size you are working in) to achieve that gritty film look.
That’s it! One part, 13 steps. If you need to look at the Spring artwork for reference/inspiration, visit Part 1, Part 2 or the finished product. This Art Nouveau tutorial should be quicker to complete because we’re reusing assets and doing a lot of prep work. If you have any questions, please hit me up on Twitter, @alfonspardo.
NOW I can start on Summer, haha. ;) Until next time!
Tada! It’s all done and I’m very proud of it. What I really like about it is how I was able to create and incorporate an abstract kanji emblem into the frame, and then build my scenery around that. For a look into how Japanese towns incorporate their town kanji into their town emblem, visit this: http://pinktentacle.com/2010/04/50-japanese-town-logos-with-kanji/
To view my Spring season tutorial, visit Part 1 and Part 2. Up next: Summer!!