This tutorial will guide in a step-by-step procedure on how to paint the character Nemo from Pixar's animated movie Finding Nemo. We will use a simple outlined blue print and the above picture as a reference. This tutorial does not require a massive amount of skill, but requires you to take great attention to the little details. Our other tutorial on Basic Painting in Photoshop should be a good exercise for you to start with if you have never tried painting in Photoshop.
Start a new Photoshop canvas, set the width to 800px, the height to 600px, the resolution to 300px/inch and you can leave the background colour as white, we will change that one later.
Now that you have the canvas ready, use the Paint Bucket Tool (Hit 'G' on your keyboard) to colour the background, I have used the colour # 304987 to colour it in dark blue. You will then have to create a new layer and name it Blue Print, we will use this layer as a guide for our painting. Copy and paste the image below into your canvas.
Create a new layer and name it "Face", this layer and will hold the eyes and the mouth of Nemo. Use the "Magnetic Lasso Tool" (Hit "L" on your keyboard) to select the eyes and mouth. The Magnetic Lasso Tool is easy to use, simply move the move the mouse pointer over the outlines of the eye and the mouth, your selection lines should automatically snap to the outlines. Start first with one of the eyes, once the whole shape is selected, hold shift when making your first click on the other shape to start another selection object. Once you have the two eyes and the mouth selected, use the Paint Bucket Tool to colour them in white.
We will now create another layer that we will use to colour the body of Nemo, name this layer Body. Use the Magnetic Lasso Tool to select the body outline this time, colour the selected object using this shade of orange FF642A. You should notice that this covered up the face features that we made a while ago, to make these appear above the face, you will have to drag the Body layer below the Face layer in the Layers panel. Just simply pull the Body layer down one level. You should get something similar to the picture below.
Delete the Blue Print layer for it no longer is needed. We will now start colouring our painting on bit at a time. while using the original image as a reference. The first thing to notice from that image is that the light source is located on the left side of Nemo. We will start by adding the darker shades and then the lighter shades. Lock the transparency of the layer by clicking on the Transparency Lock icon in the layer panel. Select the Brush Tool ('B' on your keyboard), set the colour to # B11119.
We will try to apply darker colours in accordance with the reference image that we have. We will only make some very draft lines that we will later on smudge. I added two colours for the dark areas, the second colour that we used is # FC5425. Try to do something like the image below.
It's time to smudge, use the Smudge Tool to mix the two colours and blend them together with the original colour of Nemo. Take your time and try to smudge is a circular manner when colouring the face, the fins should be smudged by starting at the middle of the body and ending on the sides of the fins.
Add the lighter colours now using the Brush Tool, the colour to use is # FD954E
We will now add some small texture details around the eyes and the mouth. Use the Zoom Tool (Hit "Z" on your keyboard) and add the small details you see in the image below using a small brush.
We will now use the Smudge Tool to soften and mix the lines. Add some wrinkles on the forehead using a small brush in this shade of dark orange. # BF371C.
And once again, soften the lines using the Smudge Tool. See the result in the image below.
It is time to work on the fins. Using the original photo as a reference, we will add some details using some shadows in dark orange and some lighting using bright orange.
Using a small 3 pixel brush, we will start drawing the lines in the fin. Zoom in to the fin to have a greater control over your brush strokes. Then start drawing the lines using the reference picture as a guide. I felt that the fin needed some yellowish orange, so I added some between the dark orange lines. The colours code is # fc7d21
Add the black colour around the edges of the fin. Draw the outlines first using a small brush and then you can quickly just colour it.
You will have to repeat the same process for the fin on the right side, we'll use the original photo as a reference and start with a small brush to add the small details, touch them up with a bigger brush and finally soften the whole thing precisely using the Smudge Tool. We'll do it together, step by step.
First of all, I think that the fin looks a little bit too dark.
Use the Eyedropper Tool (Hit 'I' on your keyboard) and select a moderately bright orange colour from the fin itself. Use a 3 pixel Brush to paint the area that we have specified in the image above. Blend this area with the rest of the fin using the Smudge Tool.
Now that colour has been tuned, continue with the rest of the details using the same process we used in the first fin.
By now you should have some experience since you have done two fins already. Use a small black brush to draw the outlines of the black area and then colour that area in black. Add some details using a darker shade of orange and then blend the whole thing together using the smudge tool.
I will leave the two upper fins, and the tail for you to do. I will show some images of how I did them. After that we will move to the eyes.
Repeat the process for the tail.
Moving on to the small two fins at the lower part of the body, we will colour the tips of these first in white and then add the black strips using a 1 pixel brush. I also darkened the outer part of the fin using a light grey brush which was finalised by a little smudge.
This is what we have until now that the fins are done.
We will place the details of the mouth and the eyes in the layer named "Face"; make sure you select this layer for this part. Use a white 3px brush to fix the unsmooth parts of the eyes and the mouth. You will have to zoom in to do this properly. (Hit "Z" on the keyboard)
For the eyes, we will start off by locking the transparency of the layer by clicking on the Transparency Lock icon in the layer panel. Nemo's eye has a somewhat 3D look, we will achieve this look by using two shades of gray that we will smudge in a circular manner. Check the images below.
We will now draw the pupil of the eye. Start with any of the eyes, select the "Ellipse Tool" (Hit "U" on your keyboard) and then draw a circle while holding down shift to get a perfect one. Colour your pupil in dark grey # 6E646D. Once you're done repeat the process for the other eye
I will walk you through colouring the iris of the right eye, you should do the second on your own. Start off by zooming into the iris. Select it by using the Magic Wand and then use a small dark maroon brush (colour # C33825) to colour the lower part of the iris as seen in the image below, smudge the colours once again in a radial manner and the small light reflection using a white brush which you will have to smudge as well. Make sure you repeat the process for the other eye and take notice of the light source that should make the left eye a bit brighter.
It is now the mouth's turn, which is already coloured in white as you can see, we will only have to add some shading to it. First off, get a small brush, set the colour to dark grey ( # 4A312A ) and use it to colour the upper part of the mouth. Add some lighter shade of grey shadows to the lower left part of the mouth using a 3px brush.
Here is another preview of what we currently have before moving on to the final stages of our painting!
Having reached this stage means that you have already acquired the experience on how to draw and colour these strips. Check the reference image above and draw the white strips in accordance to that. Start with white only and then add the black edges. Use grey for shadowing and then smudge this colour to get the required effect. Check the images below to see how easy it is.
Repeat what you have done above to draw all the other white strips on the body, make sure you follow the details of the reference image.
Our job could be said to be complete however, there are some parts that I did not colour properly and look to me a bit too messy.
I used the Eyedropper tool to get the required light orange colour ( # FF682D ) and then over coloured these parts using a small brush. I used the Eraser tool to smoothen the lower part of Nemo's face.
Finally, we are done! I added some small touches and here is my final artwork of the day!
Thanks for reading this tutorial. I hope that you learned something new.
-End of Tutorial