Next i did a line drawing in pencil that I will use a painting guide. I"ll keep it on a separate layer in photoshop while I paint, and then remove it at the end (or keep it to maintain that cool sketchy element to the painting)
Using the palate that i created from the colour of her wall and a picture she has on her walls, I dropped down the flat colors. This is just a base and can be changed later in the process. Its a good idea to just throw colour down 1st, then build off of it later. I wanted to use the purples, reds and blues for the darks and the whites and yellows for the lights. Later I can mix these paint colours together to get other tones that i need. (explained in the ctrl+paint vids)
Next i add the soft highs and lows with (mostly) a soft bristled brush with a low opacity and low flow. This way you can start to get a little bit of depth to the flat graphic tones of the flat color pass. I also had a chance to darken up the reds at this stage, because they seemed a little light at the initial pass. BUT be careful at this stage because things can look really mushy and airbrushy if you don't clean it up after this point. You'll need to add some darker and lighter contrast points with a hard brush to get a bit more of an illustrative result.
At this stage I had the chance to take a hard bristled brush and add some details to the eyes and reins, nostrils and mane. This is where you can sort of noodle around and cover all your previous mistakes, and have a little more freedom to get the result you are looking for.
This is the final result. By now I hid the line drawing and threw in a gradient background with purple to compliment the wall that it will be hung on, and blues that I grabbed from the reins to make it pop a bit. I decided to only render the head, and go for the floating horse head portrait. That's how George would like it if he could talk.
I also did a portrait of Rudy the dog using the same techniques. IF i get around to it i'll blog the process later. Stay tuned.