photoshop creative

How I Made: The Morning Star

Posted in:
How I Made, by Mark White
March 21, 2017

Adam Spizak shows how to combine 3D, paint and photo stock to create esoteric digital artwork

1. Sketch the concept

The initial sketch of the lion’s head was done after researching the best possible pose. The sketch was created using a 2px hard brush, added on top of a neutral grey background.

2. Colour thumbnail

The concept began with a base doodle in a small (400 x 400px) document. I worked at this size because it helped me to block out the basic form and establish initial colours.

3. Refine the image

I resized the thumbnail sketch to around 3000 x 3000px, so I had enough definition to work in detail. I started by applying a medium soft 10px brush, creating the eyes and base detail.

4. Clean shapes

I then applied a small hard 4px brush and a medium soft 6px brush, working in the details and defining areas of fur. I established light and shade on the face then used Smudge (K) to soften my strokes.

5. Tweak colours

I applied Curves and Color Balance adjustments to tweak colour and contrast. Using the Liquify filter I tweaked the eyes and front of the face, then I painted in some braids with a 10px hard brush.

6. Going HD


Using a small (1-3px) hard brush, I zoomed in to 400% and worked on hair detail, eyes, tears and nose lights. The necklaces were made in Zbrush and stock images of feathers were added as well.

7. Cloudy backdrop

Stock photography was used to create a cloudy backdrop. A small (2px) hard brush was applied to create the stars and particles that surround the lion. I used a large 30px soft brush, with Opacity set at 10%, in order to add colour to layers set to the Overlay blend mode.

8. Final touches

A Color Balance adjustment layer brought the image together. Rectangular selections were added to new Linear Dodge (Add) layers, filled with a light blue colour and then treated with horizontal Motion Blur – thus creating lens flares.

  • cha0sssss