In this tutorial we’ll go through the full process of drawing a piece of Hermione Granger fan art from scratch, coloring it in greyscale and then enlivening the illustration with bright colors.
Hermione Granger is my favourite character from the Harry Potter series of novels. I’ve decided to draw her in a cartoon-stylized manner, based on her image from the movie. At the same time, I tried to portray Hermione’s clever and quick-witted personality in her facial features and pose.
Let’s follow the process of creating this illustration together!
1. How to Draw a Head in Black & White Values
Let’s create a New Document. I prefer working with an A3 format so that I can print it out later. You can find the A3 template in the Print section when creating a New Document.
I like to experiment with various brushes that other artists share or that I find on Envato Elements or GraphicRiver, but most of the time I use standard Adobe Photoshop brushes that are available by default—hard round brushes and soft round brushes.
By the way, if you’ve already updated to Adobe Photoshop CC 2018, you will get a bunch of brush sets by Kyle Webster that are widely used by professionals in creative industries. You can get them by opening the Brushes panel (right click when the Brush Tool (B) is selected), Options > Get More Brushes. From here, you can also load all the brushes from Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 by clicking Legacy Brushes. All the brush sets will be added as separate folders at the end of the list.
If you delete something and you want to add it back, you can always do it by clicking Restore Default Brushes in the same menu.
Let’s fill the Background layer with a 50% grey color. We’ll be drawing everything in black and white, using only greyscale values. This will help us to focus on the shapes, creating dimension with lights and shadows without getting distracted by things like hunting for the colors with the Eyedropper Tool.
Once we’re happy with our black and white result, we’ll move on to the next stage and color everything. In this case, we’ll already have all the highlights and shadows that we need, so that we can pay all our attention to the color zones and color palette. I find this workflow convenient and consistent, and it helps me to understand a lot of things about shapes and materials in the process of drawing. Let’s try it out together!
Create a New Layer (Shift-Control-N), take the Brush Tool (B), select the Hard Round brush from the General Brushes collection, and let’s make a rough sketch of our character. I don’t pay too much attention to details at this stage, trying to focus on the whole silhouette instead. I make sure that the whole composition looks balanced and the pose is interesting and dynamic, the lines are flowing, and the proportions are correct.
In the Layers panel, select the sketch layer, set its Blending Mode to Multiply, and lower the Opacity to about 30%.
Let’s create a New Layer (Shift-Control-N), take the Lasso Tool (L), and select the head shape together with the ear and neck.
Pick a lighter grey color in the Color panel and use the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to fill the head shape with flat coloring.
Now Deselect (Control-D) the head and use a textured brush to fix the edges of the head. I’m using Kyle’s Ultimate Charcoal Pencil from the Dry Media Brushes set.
We can always select the shape again, if needed, by Control-clicking the layer which contains the needed shape.
Tip: As you may notice, in Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 some brushes can’t be set as the Eraser Tool (E) anymore. However, you can head to the control panel on top and change the Mode of the brush itself to Clear. This way, you can draw and erase using the same tool by switching between the Normal and Clear Modes.
Let’s make the head shape darker than the background. Keeping the head layer selected, go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and play with the sliders, setting the Brightness to -48.
Now let’s Lock transparent pixels of the head layer—this way we’ll be drawing only inside the filled area, without crossing the edges of the head.
Pick a soft round brush and start making shadows along the jaw with a darker grey color. Move along the right side of the head, making it more three-dimensional.
In the Layers panel, turn the sketch visibility on and off to see where the main facial features are located. Add soft, dark shadows around the eyes.
Darken the ear and use the same soft brush to add details to the inner part of the ear. Decrease the size of the soft brush to add minor details and thin lines around the eyes, adding the eyelids. This way we can add distinct lines while preserving the softness of the shadows.
Now let's draw a mouth. First of all, depict the main shape with a very small soft round brush and dark grey color. We can also use a hard round brush, but make sure that the edges don’t become too jagged and rough.
Secondly, increase the size of the soft round brush, pick a lighter grey color, and add a soft shadow along the top lip, adding volume to it.
Finish off the lips by adding subtle highlights and shadows to emphasize the contrast of the darkest lines.
Let’s create a New Layer and move on to the nose. Start forming the shape with a small round brush, using the dark-grey color. Depict the nostril and move along the bottom of the nose, making an arched line.
Increase the size of the brush, pick a lighter grey color, and add a subtle shadow along the edge of the nose.
Next, let’s form the top part of the nose by adding a highlight with a light grey (almost white) color. Make a distinct light edge along the top part of the nose, and then lower the Opacity of the brush to add a softer and broader highlight, emphasizing the roundness of the nose and its volume. Increase the contrast of the darkest and lightest lines, and then finish off the nose by adding a semi-transparent drop shadow beneath it.
Let’s use the Lasso Tool (L) to select the inner part of the ear and fill it with darker grey color on a New Layer. As you’ve already noticed, I create a separate layer for every element. It helps me to stay more flexible with adjustments, and I can always Merge (Control-E) the layers later if the file becomes too heavy.
Now create another layer, and let’s depict the eyes. Use the Lasso Tool (L) to draw out the eyeballs and fill them with light grey color using the Paint Bucket Tool (G). Keeping the selection, use the soft round brush to add shadows along the edges of the eyes, making the eyeballs spherical and three-dimensional.
Deselect (Control-D) and pick a hard round brush with a darker color to draw out the lashes along the edges of the eyes on a separate layer.
Use the same hard round brush with dark grey color to draw the iris. Then Control-click the eyelashes layer to select them, and Shift-Control-click the irises to add them to the selection. While the shapes are selected, draw inside with a soft round brush to add overtones.
Another way to select multiple shapes faster is to use the Magic Wand Tool (W) and simply click the desired areas while holding Shift to add more selections.
Use the hard round brush to draw the brows. Try to make the lines flowing and the shape of the brows interesting in order to give a certain expression to the face. Hermione is a smart, cunning and quick-witted character, so I try to portray her personality with the help of facial features.
Switch the brush Mode to Clear and make a few strokes across the brows to add separate hairs and make the brows more detailed.
Click the brows with the Magic Wand Tool (W) or Control-click the brows layer to select them and use the soft round brush with lighter grey color to add a subtle highlight closer to the inner part of the brows.
Let’s add more life to our character by working on her eyes. Use the Lasso Tool (L) to draw a few rounded shapes above the iris and brighten them with a soft round brush. Add smaller and lighter highlights, using a smaller brush with white color.
2. How to Color a Character With Black & White Values
Now that the face is ready, let’s add more elements. Create a New Layer for the hair on top of the head and use the Lasso Tool (L) to draw the fringe. Fill it with darker grey color. Then switch back to the head layer and add a subtle shadow on the forehead using the soft round brush.
Make a New Layer for the sweater and fill its silhouette with dark grey color.
Turn on the sketch visibility and use a darker color to add shadows along the edges of the sweater and along the edges of the book that she’ll be holding in her hand.
Now we’ll draw the hands on a separate layer. Use the Lasso Tool (L) to draw the silhouette of the hands and fill them with a light grey color. Then either Lock transparent pixels of the hands layer or keep them selected and add shadows, highlights and details to the fingers, varying the size and opacity of the brush.
Tip: Always use references when drawing body parts. Even if it is a cartoon character, all the stylized features are always based on real anatomy and then simplified. There are plenty of photo references on the web and on PhotoDune, but the best real-life reference is you, so keep a mirror at hand.
Use the Lasso Tool (L) to create the wristband of the shirt sleeve on a new layer. Make it more three-dimensional and add the inner part of the wristband on a separate layer, placing it beneath the sweater layer. Make this part darker to emphasize the depth. Finish off the wristband by adding a round button to it.
Now create a layer for the book and place it between the hand and the sweater. Create a square silhouette, and let’s cut out the part where the arm hugs the book.
Keeping the book layer selected, click the Add vector mask button at the bottom of the Layers panel. Now that the mask is selected, use the Lasso Tool (L) to draw a silhouette of the arm and then fill it with black color using the Paint Bucket Tool (D). The black color on a white mask makes the filled area disappear. We can adjust the created shapes on the mask using the Brush Tool (B) and switch between black and white colors to draw or erase.
Click on the book layer (a checkered thumbnail) to switch back to drawing and continue adding shadows, highlights, and details, using the round brush.
Add the top part of the book, filling it with light grey color and adding darker and lighter lines for pages. Create a New Layer and decorate the book cover. I’ve decided to draw the word “Charms” in hand-lettering style, using the hard round brush. I’m making the letters more three-dimensional by painting some of the parts with darker color.
Now let’s use the Lasso Tool (L) to make a silhouette of a wand and fill it with a very dark grey color. Create the ornamental elements and use a soft round brush to add dimension to the details.
Find a reference of a floating feather and try to depict it as simply as possible. I’m not spending too much time on this element, because it will be very small and partly covered with a light effect that we’ll be adding at the end.
Switch on the visibility of our sketch layer and draw a skirt, placing the skirt layer beneath the sweater and book layers. Add the folds using the hard round brush and finish up by adding shadows and highlights.
Move on to the legs and use the Lasso Tool (L) to draw the leg shape. Add subtle shadows with a soft round brush and then, keeping the leg selected, use a harder brush with dark grey color to draw a shoe.
Once we’ve finished the leg, let’s Duplicate (Control-J) the leg layer and press Control-T to Free Transform. Rotate the leg copy and attach it to the body according to our sketch.
Now let’s add the hair, placing a new layer beneath all other layers.
Return to the layer with the fringe and Control-click to select it. Create a New Layer and, keeping the selection active, use a hard round brush to add dark and light lines for separate hairs.
Use a textured brush and draw over the fringe layer to make it more detailed. I’m using the Graphite Control brush with low opacity from Kyle’s Drawing Box set to add a gentle textured touch to the hair.
Do the same for the rest of the hair—add texture and then add separate light and dark hair strands on top.
The last but not the least detail we can add here is rim light, which is going to make our character even more three-dimensional and ensure that she stands out from the background.
First of all, select the layers of the same parts (for example, all the hair details or all the layers that refer to the head—eyes, nose, etc.) and group (Control-G) them together in the Layers panel.
Next, select the hair group, hold down Alt, and click the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel. The New Layer window will pop up; make sure that Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask box is checked, rename it for your convenience, and click OK. Now we have a linked layer that is marked by a tiny arrow. Such layers allow us to draw inside the linked area; it works the same as the Lock transparent pixels function but for the whole group.
Use a soft round brush and white color to add a rim light along the right edge of the hair.
Add linked layers to every layer or group of layers that needs a rim light. I’ve marked the direction of the light with small sun icons as a reminder to myself.
Finally, use a soft round brush and create a shadow at the bottom in order to place our character on the ground.
Now we can add a new Adjustment Layer on top of all other layers. Click the Add new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and add a Brightness/Contrast layer. Increase the Brightness and Contrast of our image to make it look better.
3. How to Color a Black & White Image
Now that our black and white illustration is ready, let’s add colors! We’ll start with the background. Open the Color panel and select purple for the foreground color and peach pink for the background color by clicking the squares.
Now grab the Gradient Tool (G) and drag a vertical line across the background to fill it with vertical linear gradient. You can check the gradient options in the control panel on top.
Create a New Layer on top of the grey group of layers and switch its Blending Mode to Color in the Layers panel.
Find the head layer and Control-click it to create a selection. Hold Shift-Control and click on the hands and legs layers to add them to the selection.
Fill the selected areas with pinky-orange color on our new Color layer.
Let’s do the same for the eyes, hair, book, clothes, and all other elements. Control-click them in the grey group of layers and fill the selection on new layers in the Color Mode.
You can either use a single Color layer for all the elements or create a new Color layer for every single element that we have.
Here, I use the Gradient Tool (G) to fill the book with a gentle purple-pink color.
Now create a New Layer in Overlay Mode and let’s increase the vividness of the colors, adding more life to our character.
Tip: If we look at the human face's color map, we can notice that our face is divided into color zones—yellow for the forehead, red for the cheeks, nose and ears, blue for the lower jaw and a bit around the eyes.
Keeping the selection around the head, use the soft round brush to create color zones. You will notice how our image becomes more realistic and vivid when switching to Overlay Mode.
Proceed to the hair and add a touch of brownish-red in Overlay Mode.
Now let’s work on the book cover. I want to add a touch of gold to the lettering elements, so I use the Dry Brush from the standard M Brushes set and paint over the selected area with dark orange and bright yellow colors, creating a golden surface.
Duplicate (Control-J) the hand-lettering layer and move the bottom copy down and to the right. Fill it with dark purple color to create a shadow from the letters.
Finish the lettering by adding bright yellow highlights along the edges of the letters with the help of the hard round brush.
Let’s make our character cute and add personality by depicting some freckles on her face. Use the Spatter Bot Tilt Brush from Kyle’s Special Effects Brushes set and adjust the Opacity of the layer to make it semi-transparent.
Now it’s time to make the feather glow! Create a New Layer for the glowing effect and switch its Blending Mode to Screen.
Use a soft round brush of a large size and draw with circular movements above the feather to create a white glow. You can add small sparks around it or use some other brushes for special effects.
Now we can add some Adjustment Layers on top in order to fix the brightness, contrast, colors and everything that helps to give a harmonic look and preserve the proper color palette.
Here, for example, I added a Selective Color layer and played with dark colors, making the shadowed area cooler by adding more blue tints to it.
Our Magic Illustration of Hermione Is Finished!
Great work—we’ve made it to the very end!
I hope you’ve enjoyed following this tutorial and discovered some interesting new techniques that will be useful for your future artworks.