Location: Colorado, USA
Profession: Digital Artist, Illustrator
Noah’s Drawing process for creating his depiction of the fabulous Harley Quinn from the film, Suicide Squad.
Step 1: Rough Sketch. This first step is all about conceptualizing and finding the right pose for the character. I knew I wanted to capture Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn which is equal parts sexy and silly, but also wanted some of that Disney innocence. I started working on this sassy pose, one knee out, baseball bat draped on her shoulders, and eyes crossed looking at a massive bubblegum bubble.
Step 2: Refined Sketch. Once the pose feels right, I lower the opacity and start on a new layer on top of the rough sketch, in a different color. I don’t focus on the details, but rough in the clothes, arms, legs, gun, holster. I repeat this step as many times as necessary until I feel like I am ready to ink.
POINT OF NO RETURN Since the next step is Inking, you want to make everything is in it’s right place before moving on. If a body part size needs adjusting, or tilted or moved, this is the time to do it, because I want the inked lines to be the same weight and flow nicely. With this one, the pose just seemed flat and boring, and I wanted more personality and character. You can see in the left the red cross lines are almost all at the same angle, and the vertical line is almost straight up and down with very little curve. Making use of bending at these pivot points makes for a much more dynamic pose and adds more life to the character.
Step 3: Ink. I lower the opacity of the refined sketch and use a hard brush with shape dynamics to ink in my final lines. Once I’m done, I hide all of my sketch layers and move forward with the clean crisp line art.
Step 4: Flats. I create a new layer and place it directly below the Ink layer. Now I color in all my flat colors, just like a coloring book.
Step 5: Shadows. My shading technique looks complex, but it is a simple trick. I create a layer in between the Ink layer and the Flats layer, and bring the opacity down to around 20%. Now with a black brush I can lay down the shadows all on the same layer, and whatever color the shadow is over, the color you see is a darker version of that. Once finished with this step I will play with the opacity or layer type until it is the right level of darkness.
Step 6: Final details. Edge lighting, shine on the belt, necklace, and hair. As well as her tattoos, freckles, and of course the bubblegum bubble. These are all done with separate layers with a lower opacity so you can still see the color underneath. Last, I add in a textured background color to make it pop and that’s it!