In Photoshop, I use the sketch as an overlay while I paint. I use an Intuos4 medium tablet, which now has a nausea-inducing swirly pattern from endless brush strokes (I’m considering sticking some book contact over the tablet’s active area so it doesn’t scratch so much, if it doesn’t affect the sensitivity).
Scattered around are images used as reference for colour, texture and lighting. At top right is a screenshot of Spartan helmets and armour from the Atlantic Productions Empires series, The Greeks: Crucible of Civilisation (go watch it, one’s life can only improve as a result), which served as reference for the Guardian’s helmet, the bronze scales embedded in the linothorax (body armour), the rim of the aspis (shield) and the hilt of the kopi (recurved sword – a well of delightful facts, am I).
In Photoshop I tend to use the standard round brush or a flat calligraphic, with opacity varying as I go – usually around 30, sometimes dropping to lighter tones for subtlety. The College I studied at didn’t teach digital painting, so what I know is drawn a lot from books, online blogs and workshops. One of the best sources available is Doug Chiang’s book, Mechanika: Creating the Art of Science Fiction with Doug Chiang.
Whilst in the painting stage I like to see how the overall form works in terms of shape, so I make a selection of it and create a silhouette. Here I can see whether the form is distinct enough on its own, without detail. As time went on the wings would be fleshed out more and more, so they would seem more convincing and functional.
Previous posts on the Ion Nibiru Guardian: