Hello again! absolutelybatty asked me to write something about an icon I've made for the june activity of tmfaction community and since I'm a sucker for angst I decided that I was going to write a tutorial on how I poured angest onto a canvas.
So, onto the icon!
I started out with that Sherlock cap, expression wasn't the best ever, but I knew I wouldn't need it so whatever. I prepared the caps my usual way (curve layer on screen) and then copied it onto a new layer since I'll be cutting the background and such.
I went to look for a nice background and, to be quite honest, I picked a sea one because sea is sad for me and I wanted it do be quite sad or better, melancholic.
I've used this texture (click to enlarge)
that I saved under "Stewark@tumblr" but I wouldn't bet my money on it (also, I tried to reverse-google it but couldn't find anything. If you do know the right maker let me know please!)
I've used the lower part because it was a bit more dynamic than the top.
I've added a curve layer to darken out the texture a lot, I don't really know why I went with it, it's only that I knew I was going for a dark red/orange colors and it was a bit to washed out with the original texture.
I've then added this gradient map on soft light, don't ask me why, it's probably an afterthought because it was too dark in it's entirety
And added the famous gradient map I've taken up from naginis and left it on normal with a very low opacity.
Then, finally, went to pick up that great orange I fell for; I'm pretty sure while I was working on it (and yes, when I was making the icon I had Sherlock's cut out on the canvas to check for contrast), the colour wasn't this king of orange. It took me a while to be satisfied with it.
Before working on Sherlock, I've added a white colour layer on top of everything and set it on a low opacity on soft light, it dulled the shadows a bit.
As I mentioned, cutting Sherlock out was done in early stages, but since I didn't color him up with the background I didn't mention him at all; once my background was done, tho, I went and picked him up, to erase his face i used a hard round brush picking colour from around the zone i was erasing, but I still kept the shadow where the eyesocket is, just to still give the impression is a face.
The splatter were made using a "freckle" brushes I made a while ago playing with the scatter and the size dynamic. Nothing too fancy really any kind of splatter brush will do the job if you play a bit around with the settings. Anyway, my idea was to give Sherlock a "broken/to pieces" appeareance, so I drew the splatter in a diagonal line. I also picked a lighter and brighter pink for the middle splodge. Oh, this all was made on a new layer.
At this point, I merged my Sherlock cutout and the "particles" and used some gradient maps clipping them onto the layer, the first one is the one from naginis again, this time with a higher opacity, then I played with the curves to change the colours a bit, boosting up some nice greens and yellows
Last part, or so I thought, is to use a #3e1515 -> transparent gradient on softlight, coloring the lowest part of the icon.
So, this is when I noticed that the icon was a bit too... empty? So I decided, since yes, I ship it like fedex, to add in a bit of John in the background. I picked a cap from episore 2.3 when John's talking with his terapist and boosted the light that comes from the window and darkened all the rest, so it looked like a shilhouette, then pasted this cap onto the layer just above the background, before the coloring, and set the cap on lighten, just to keep the shadow all the same. And then it's done.
Angst on a canvas.