Join me in painting up a delicious custard tart filled with fruit in the open-source painting program, Krita. You'll learn how to render an assortment of fruits and prepare your content for use as a desktop, mobile, or web icon, perfect for an assortment of sizes. Whet your appetite for something fun and get to know Krita, which you can download free!
1. Set Up Your Document
It's important to note that I'm using a graphic tablet during the run of this tutorial, which allows freedom for painting intuitively and pressure sensitivity.
Open Krita and create a New Document measuring 8 inches square at 300 dpi. Use the Fill tool to fill a New Layer (add layers in the Layers docker) with a buttery yellow color. I like using the Advanced Color Selector for choosing colors for my design. You'll also find this docker stores recently used colors on the right side.
Let's review the main brushes I'll be using for this tutorial. If you select the Freehand Brush Tool from the Tools docker, you can choose from a variety of brush types in the top bar going across your window. Select Edit Brush Settings to see this menu.
For my Pixel Brush, I'll be using Basic_tip_default without much of a change in the brush's settings. As you can see, there's a lot to customize for each brush. I'm keeping things simple.
The second freehand brush type I'll be using is a Color Smudge brush. I use these tools to blend colors within my painting. For the most part, I tend to use the Basic_wet brush, though you can always use whatever tools you find to work best for your designs.
2. Drawing the Tart
On a New Layer, use the Basic_tip_default pixel brush to draw a circle with a yellow-brown color. Add scallops around your circle. Continue fleshing out the scallops until you have a sort of flower-like drawing (see below).
Using a larger brush size (you can change brush sizes in the top bar's slider), fill in the edge of the tart with a tan hue and the center of the tart with a light, creamy yellow. Work to flesh out the edges of the tart. You want the crust to connect.
Feel free to Erase (you can toggle the eraser setting in the top bar) the initial sketch as you paint your crust with tan and light tan.
Using a smaller pixel brush, you can better define the edges of the tart with a darker brown. Zoom in (use the slider in the lower right) to work on smaller details within your design.
Using a larger brush, again, and a medium, buttery yellow, fill in the upper left of the inside of the tart. Use a Color Smudge brush to blend these colors in slightly.
3. Painting Kiwi Slices
I'm at the point where I'd like to start adding fruits to my custard tart. Create a New Layer and use a pixel brush to draw an imperfect spring green circle on the tart. We'll be moving the kiwi pieces around, so placement right now doesn't matter.
Fill in your kiwi slice. The bottom edge of the kiwi should be a darker green while the center should be a light green (nearly yellow) hue. I've also started to denote highlight lines in the kiwi itself. It may help you to look at stock images of freshly cut kiwis to get a sense of what the inside of this fruit looks like, or you can work to replicate what I've painted below.
Keep your shapes light and blobby for the time being. We'll build up details as we work.
Using the Color Smudge brush, smooth out the bottom edge of the kiwi. I've also smoothed out the center and bulk of the kiwi slice itself. Since kiwis have a slightly segmented look, draw lines that radiate from the light green center of the fruit toward the kiwi's edge. Mine are a slightly lighter shade of the kiwi's shadow color (like a medium green).
Start drawing small seed shapes with dark green and a smaller Pixel Brush near the center of the kiwi. I've also enlarged the center a bit and given it a slightly scalloped edge.
I've highlighted the tiny seeds slightly and smudged some of the light yellow-green from the center outward to the kiwi's edges. Then, I reduced the Color Smudge brush's opacity to blend the kiwi's segments together a bit. It's a very subtle look, as it's not as segmented as a citrus fruit is.
I want my fruit to look shiny and a bit wet. Using a Pixel Brush, like the Basic_circle, scatter light green blob shapes around each segment, concentrating them around the left half of the kiwi.
As you move down to the lower left, do the same with medium green to add some shadow and really let that highlight color pop. I like to keep my shapes as imperfect circles, ovals, and ellipses when creating shiny, wet-looking fruit. Cover up part of the lower right of the kiwi with the same custard yellow as used on the tart. You want the kiwi to look as though it's been stuck into fresh custard.
Since many of our fruits will overlap each other, I'm stopping at this point with my kiwi rendering. Using the Rectangular Selection Tool, select your kiwi, Copy (Control-C), Paste (Control-V), and use the Transform tool to move your kiwi copy beside your original.
I find it's a bit quicker to use the Transform tool to move elements versus the Move tool, but your preferences may differ. You can also Rotate with the Transform tool, which is another lovely advantage.
In total, I have three kiwis, two of which were Copied, Moved, and Rotated to form the composition you see below.
4. Painting Blackberries
On a New Layer, I'm going to start drawing and painting a blackberry. Using the Pixel Brush, draw a bumpy, cloud-like shape. If you're unfamiliar with blackberries, you can check out stock photos of them or opt for a different dark berry for your tart.
I'm using a dark plum color for the blackberry with my Opacity set to 50% or so in the top bar. Fill in your blackberry and start drawing larger ellipses all over the fruit. These will form the blackberry's bumps.
Use the Transform tool to place the blackberry, for now, over the kiwis. I'll be moving it behind the kiwis once I'm done drawing the fruit.
Continue rendering the blackberry by defining the center of it (lower right) with a large, dark shape. Give each bump a shadow and outline them and the entire fruit with a darker purple-gray color. My blackberry has bumps of assorted sizes. I'm focusing the shadow on the bottom of each section and will define the highlights in the next step.
You don't want your blackberry to be transparent. I like to work colors up slowly, allowing myself to define shadows and highlights over time. Define all the bumps and fill them in with a dark purple-gray color. Highlights are a lighter purple-gray color and scattered around the top half of the fruit. Note how I've also refined the hole found on the lower right of the fruit.
Copy, Paste, and Rotate the blackberry so you have two of them. Drag the two berries below the kiwis in the Layers docker. It's up to you how far you push the blackberry's rendering. Since we're creating small icons, I find this level of detail to be adequate.
5. Drawing Other Fruits
Let's speed this tutorial up a bit by defining the rest of the fruits within our tart composition. Every fruit I draw is on a new layer. I tend to Copy and Paste similar-looking fruits to save time. You are absolutely welcome to draw each fruit separately for a more realistic design.
Draw dark purple circles for blueberries and a rounded triangle-like shape for strawberries. I've drawn two larger blueberries on the left side and three smaller blueberries on the right. Additionally, I have two strawberries on the right.
Fill them in with quick and sketchy lines (using the same Pixel Brush we've been using this entire tutorial) on their respective layers. This will give us a good base to render the rest of the tart.
To fill in our composition more and to give this tart some more color variation, I've decided to draw some sliced peaches on the bottom half of the tart. Use a yellow-orange color and the Pixel Brush to draw a couple of crescent shapes with their centers cut out a bit.
6. Rendering the Peaches
Zoom in on the peaches. Start with tan and brown on the lower edge of the peaches to give them some dimension. Then, we'll reduce our brush's opacity to 60% or so and use a dark orange to add ellipses, ovals, and dots on the lower half of the front peach. I'm doing this to create texture within the peach.
Zooming in further, I've used a very small brush to define the peach's edges. It's very slight and isn't too far off from the shadow and central colors of the peach. I want it to pop out a bit from the rest of the tart, but not have a bold outline.
Use lighter yellows and oranges to fill in some of the texture of the peach, rendering it glossy and wet-looking. I've also started drawing vein-like shapes with a lighter yellow throughout the peach. I like to build up texture slowly.
You can see my veins and textures more clearly in these images. Light yellow helps show how the peach glistens on the lower portion of it. The veins create triangular shapes that intersect with each other throughout the fruit.
Continue rendering the peach with the same texture style throughout it. Sparingly draw trails of glistening dots, however, as you don't want your peach to be distractingly sparkly. Copy, Paste, and Rotate your peach and place your copy behind the original one in the Layers docker. You may want to add some darker shadow shapes to the bottom peach.
7. Rendering Berries
Back to the berries! Working on the first strawberry layer in the Layers docker, you'll want to concentrate darker reds, red-oranges, and dark pinks toward the bottom of the strawberry. As you lay out shadow colors, blend them upward and smooth them out with the Color Smudge tool.
Draw small orange seeds all over your strawberry. I've placed the highlight in the upper left. It's a light red, slowly moving toward pinks and creamy yellows.
Check out where I've placed arrows below. I wanted to call your attention to certain areas as I describe the rendering process I went through with this strawberry. For starters, I use small dot shapes to highlight the upper left of the fruit.
Then, I give each seed in the upper half a highlight shape and a shadow shape that surrounds it. This way, the seeds look as if they indent the strawberry slightly. Give the lower seeds shadow shapes, but not highlights. There are other fruits casting shadows onto the strawberry at this point, and it's not worth your effort to go that far in your design.
Copy, Paste, and Rotate your strawberry to be placed behind the other berries on the right side of the tart. I've also used a dark red to outline the strawberry slightly.
Working on the blueberries I'm using the same dark purples, blues, and browns from the blackberry. I want to define a scalloped shape on the top of each of the blueberries as well as concentrate shadows on the lower half and highlights on the upper half of each berry.
Since the berries are so small, I've painted each one separately.
Let's take a closer look at the blueberries. The stem shapes in the center of the berries are layered up so they get progressively darker toward their middles. I've also started scattering brown, purple, and gray shapes around the blueberries.
They're not as rendered as the other fruits since they're such dark elements. Use grays and light browns to add highlights. Use dark brown or dark plum to define each berry's edge more clearly.
Repeat the blueberry steps on the left side of the tart. You can, of course, add as many fruits as you'd like to your tart design.
8. Completing the Custard Tart
On a New Layer beneath all of the fruit layers but above the custard tart layer, draw dark yellow and tan shadow shapes beneath the fruit pieces. You want to leave pockets of light yellow to show the custard portion of the tart through the fruit.
Define the edges of the custard, tart crust, and fruits as seen below. Note how refined some of these elements are (see where the arrows are pointing).
I've zoomed in to the lower half of the tart. I want to bring some of the custard up around the edges of some of the fruit. Using creamy yellow and tan tones, I've defined scalloped ridges within the custard. I start with the darker colors, showing how the custard moves, and come in with lighter colors, highlighting the upper portion of each area.
Look to the arrows below to see where I placed shadow and highlight shapes in rendering the custard. This step was done on a New Layer above all of the fruit and tart within the Layers docker.
Details like this prevent your fruit from looking as if it's just been slapped onto the tart.
Feel free to add spots of creamy yellow and white highlights, dotted around your fruit and tart. Next we'll add some syrup.
I'm going to break this down based on the numbers seen below:
- Using a nice, maple syrupy brown, draw dripping blobs on a New Layer above your fruit. You'll want to draw several areas of the syrup (I have about six in total).
- Use a darker brown and a small brush to define the syrup's edges a bit. I want the syrup to be a little transparent, but still have some shadow and highlight. Add lighter brown and some dark orange, keeping lighter colors in the center of the syrup.
- Using creamy yellow, give your syrup some hotspot highlights. The syrup doesn't need a lot of time spent on it. Being a bit shiny and moderately see-through is perfect.
On a New Layer above the background but below the entire tart design, lightly draw light yellow rounded corners behind the tart. It may help to draw an entire rounded rectangle behind it. Fill it in with a very light yellow.
Finally, paint a lighter, nearly white color on the outer edges of the "plate" shape. I've also painted a thick tapered tan-gray color on the bottom edge of the icon design. This will complete it wonderfully.
Create Your Icons!
The final icon process is simply saving your design at multiple sizes. I Merged my layers together, selected the yellow background with the Contiguous Selection Tool, and used the Fill tool to delete the background. I found it easiest to Export my file as a .PSD and save a variety of sizes, ready for the web, in Adobe Photoshop. You can also simply resize your design in Krita and Export it or copies of your document as PNGs or JPGs.
Create a whole set of delicious tart and sweet icon designs, and don't forget to share your icon creations in the comment section below!
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