A friend asked me to help him design a dragon for the bottom of his longboard. It was fun to try and figure out how to fill such an unusually shaped space.
I started out painting a grayscale dragon in Photoshop making sure to keep the dragon and background layers separate to make masking easier later on.
(Please note that I do have kind, wise, wonderful friends who care about my sanity and advised me not to worry about painting all the scales. But, as is usually the case with the recipients of good advice…I listened and did just the opposite)
Once I had all the detail I wanted I added color using gradient maps which is something I’ve never tried before. I color sampled from a couple images of copper coins and was able to get pretty good initial color in a relatively short time.
After several (and I mean SEVERAL) layers of this I went back to direct painting and finished it up! Which took forever. But it was probably faster than it would have been without gradient maps.! I’ll definitely experiment with them again in the future. Here’s the rectangular version: