Sam Tyler caricature walkthrough

1A – After downloading a few pics of John Simm, both in his Sam Tyler costume and some normal photos, I made a few quick sketches then settled on this one. I keep my reference pics onscreen most of the way through the process.

1B – I switched the sketch layer to Multiply and added a new layer below, then painted some rough flat colours using a hard round 100% solid brush.

1C – I then added a Multiply layer above that, picked a reddish-brown colour and roughly added in some shadows, using a hard brush with pen pressure set to opacity, and flow at 30%.

2A – I added a Screen layer on top and painted in some highlights with a slightly lighter version of the mid colour, again using a hard brush with pen pressure set to opacity, and flow at 30%.

2B – I then used the Median filter to soften the brushstrokes a little. (This works similar to a blur but still retains some of the brush strokes. It’s good to use at this stage when the painting is still in a rough state. You may need to play with the settings a little to get the right effect.)

2C – I added another Screen layer and pulled out the highlights on the face more, still with a hard brush with pen pressure set to opacity, and flow at 30%.

3A – I started adding details at this stage, working on the eyes, wrinkles and frown, mouth, and some more work on the highlights of the jacket. I’ve pretty much painted over the line sketch by this stage, but you should keep a copy of it on another layer so you can refer to it at any point. I also added another Multiply layer at this point so that I could paint some blue-grey colour with a rough brush for the five 0’clock shadow on his chin and neck. On a Soft Light layer I laid down a reddish-pink on the nose and cheeks, very lightly. I then colour picked that same colour and used it to paint the lips on a separate Normal layer. Then adding a Screen layer used that same colour to paint some rough highlights on the lips. When I’m happy with all this, I save and flatten everything except the beard and background layers, leaving me with three layers again. (I’m keeping the beard layer separate since it’s difficult to paint around a texture.)

3B – When working on the wrinkles, make sure and think hard about three things, highlight, shadow and self shadow, the third being a something many people forget.

I’ve also added some rim light to bring the edges out. I also did a lot of blending of the colours all over, using a soft edged round brush, pen pressure set to opacity, with opacity set to 100% and flow set to 30%.

3C – After a slight tweak to the colour to bring the saturation out, I used the Liquify filter to tweak the mouth to make Sam more pouty, which I thought tied in with the character better. I also painted over the shirt since I wasn’t happy with the collar.

4A – More detailing on the jacket.

4B – Final highlighting on the leather jacket and pinstripes, shadow and highlighting on the shirt.

4C – Final details on the hair using a hard fine brush with pen pressure on both the opacity and size. I also added more contrast to the whole image, and made another slight colour tweak, and we’re done.

You can see the final full image here.

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