Some artist might know this feeling. When you are reaching the end of a painting or drawing but you still want to do all the details. Adding more contrast, cleaning up the whole thing etc.
It is a matter of balance. Will this make it better or will it be and overkill?
I used to hate this part because I was impatient and just wanted to be don with my drawing, When I was very young I didn’t even want to colour my ideas because I was already on to the next one.
And still I have lots of drawings laying around that I might never finish.
But when I do that the time to do those last details my drawings always turn out even better.
Let me take you through the final hours of my drawing.
This one is called Wind on Fire. (I am not sure why, but I like it)
A big part of my process is cleaning up some things. This mostly means the colouring and lines. I am a messy worker but part of the mess makes my work look alive. I have often gone too far with polishing my images making them look almost plastic. The line is quite fine.
In the hand, I absolutely overdid it for the thumb. Luckily this is such a small detail that it doesn’t matter that much to the whole picture!
Adding the last details
This is something I mostly do for the face and in particular the eyes; adding much more detail. In the outer left image, you see that the eyebrows are just dark shadows and so are the lashes. Fixing this is something that makes the eyes look more soulful.
I gradually try to add more depth to the face by adding subtle colour and shades. For example; I darkened the shadow under the lips makes it look fuller. I also added shadows between the eye and eyebrows making the eyes look less flat.
My favourite tool, however, is the move tool that allows me to alter the face (like the height of the eyes) to fix mistakes and make the face look more realistic. With this tool, I don’t have to repaint the whole face to make it look better.
Final Colour correction
The final colour correction helps my colours go from just okay to magical. Sometimes I loose my intended colours through too much blending and evening out the colours.
I tend to use the colour balance sliders to give my shadows, mid tones & highlights slightly different tints.
In the image above I made my colours slightly warmer. I think this mostly really beiffited the skin. The girl looks much mor alive like this!
The finishing steps are for me where the details make my drawing look a lot better. I am still working on my skills but I know that the final hours in my paintings tend to be important. (I should also spend some more time on the designs and drawings in advance as well, but that is for a different post.)
What is your final step when finishing an artwork?