Master and Servant 2D Entry: Michael Dashow


You certainly did Mike and this thread is a wonderfully educational experience! I would even say it’s the most thorough and informative thread in the contest. I learned from reading this…really…however- I would love one little tip on how to achieve these wonderfully smooth lines…forgive me, I typed hastily when I asked for a tutorial!


yea me too! :bounce:



runs off with tips while Panu looks around hehe…


lol … crazy …

and Mike, i hope u don’t mind lending your pic a bit in my “making of”
slideshow on my thread … :smiley:


Hey, no problem, Panu, that was really funny!

theresa - pardon my density, but do you mean the line art part of the pic that I colored in? Or the pinstripes on the suit? Or something else altogether?



Yes, the line art part! I know you’re really busy, but as a god, you have to look after your unworthy subjects.:smiley:


Freaky picture, great job! COngratulations with your final entry!



A ‘god?’ Geez, let’s not get hyperbolic, Theresa!

But anyhow, the “smooth” line art? Oh, well that’s easy enough. The real secret is that the lines aren’t smooth at all! I work in pencil and never bother to ink any of my lines. I just happen to have very tight pencils, and I scan them in at high enough resolution that you can’t really tell. Here’s how it works:

step 0, not shown: I do my roughs in paper, scan them into Photoshop, and rotate and resize and scribble on them more 'til i’m happy with them. You can see these comps earlier in my thread. When I’m all satisfied, I print them out onto a tabloid sized piece of paper.

step 1: I redraw the image on 11x14 Tracing Vellum, placed on top of the tabloid print out. I tend to favor a Staedtler Mars Lumograph 4B pencil, especially for the thicker lines, but I also use a PaperMate American Naturals HB for the thinnner detail lines - We’ve got tons of them in the office, and they feel a softer than the average HB but sharpen well. As you can see, I go for a pretty tight line.

I scan that in at something like 300dpi, so I’m working on a pretty large image. I adjust the levels to remove the greys but I’m not shooting at making the line itself solid black: That removes too much of the character of it. Image #1 is the actual scan at 100% actual pixels. This appears larger than I actually drew it, but once I’ve scanned it into Photoshop, this is it at 100%. This line art layer is set to Multiply and placed on the top layer. Almost everything else will go underneath it.

step 2: Basic color. I color in the skin and everything else in basically solid colors, in a lot of seperate layers beneath the Line Art layer.

step 3: Adding layers for shadows and hilights and depth which go on top of the solid color layers, I get a basic idea of what color things will actually be in the final painting.

step 4: I flatten all those layers together and start detailing… but note that I DON’T flatten the line art layer in there. It always remains seperate. Anyhow, several weeks later, this is what the image looks like with all of the detailing and shading and stuff. Here’ I’ve just gone in and painted everything, with a combination of the brush and airbrush tool. The rim light, as it started out as an experiment, was on a seperate layer.

step 5: This is actually not a seperate step, but I wanted to show what the line art looks like by the end of the process. Two things have happened here: First, I found that there were places that I needed to soften or eliminate the line art. Like on the right side, where his cheek is: It looked too dark to have a solid line there against the ceiling light and the rim light, so I airbrushed some of it out. Secondly, the grey/black line isn’t always the best “color” for the line, so there are places where I use the Hue/Saturation controls (click the checkbox labeled ‘Colorize’) to colorize the lines. A warm color in this case complements the skin much better, and as most of the picture is cool, it helps the warm areas (like the man’s skin and tie and the boss’s skin, which you can see a hint of in the upper right) stand out a bit more. Now the warm lines are working with the skin tones instead of against them.

And that’s pretty much it for how I incorporate the line art! :slight_smile:

Hope this is helpful!



Perfect!! That is a wonderful tutorial Mike, you should be proud of yourself!
Great and in depth. You sure are good at explaining things. I learned a lot from this, esp. the line coloring thing…you got me thinking for sure.
I really thought you’d painted the line art in- but this way seems so much more facile and clearly works to great effect!

In other words: :love:
Thanks for posting…mr. demi god…hehe…hyperbole worked for me didn’t it? Look what I got!


Michael, this is great, thanks for sharing!


Nice technique, Michael; thanks for sharing. :slight_smile:


its very nice of u to have share this mike.drop by and congrate u for completing this challenge.very awesome work and wish u best of luck on the finals.see ya again in the next challenge!:thumbsup:


Let me get this right- you remove the white from the pencil drawing by using a ‘select white’ mask & anti-aliasing?


No, I actually don’t remove the white at all. When you set a layer to “Multiply,” it only makes things darker. So something 100% black will affect lower layers 100%, and something 0% black - in other words, white - will affect lower layers 0% - meaning, not at all. Parts that are, say, 50% grey come off as 50% opaque over the layers beneath them.

Think of using the “Multiply” ink like drawing your image from that layer on a piece of acetate or Saran Wrap and then placing it over your image. The areas where you drew in black will be obscured and the areas with no drawing are completely see-through.

So if you set a layer to “Multiply,” the white in it does nothing at all. I don’t need to make any effort to remove the white or cut it out or anything, becuse it’s not affecting anything anyhow.

“Screen,” btw, is the exact opposite: Black is transparent and only the white affects things.

Does that help?



So you flatten all the colors to a single layer?
im too scared of changing my mind to do that. :smiley:

Very good tut, easy to follow and outlining your workprocess nicely.
(and for me personally its very close to mine, which is sort of a relief, i hate finding ive been doing things the “wrong” way)


Thanks for sharing. That’s what this fourum is all about.


Aahh, I see what you mean there. I thought ‘multiply’ just made it darker- I didn’t know it effectively removed the white. Silly me. :blush:

Thanks for your help- this has really inspired me, believe it or not.:arteest:

I really, really hope you win something- because you have a great piece that I’ve been rooting for from the beginning and also because you aren’t afraid to share your knowledge, that’s a hard thing to find in artists, usually people are rather secretive about how they do things.
Once more…thanks! :smiley:

Judges, give this man an award!! Can’t you see he deserves it!? :surprised


Yeah, what she said, judges! :smiley:

Anyhow, hey, it’s no problem at all, it’s one of the things I love about these CGTalk Challenges: Sure, it’s a contest, but almost everyone is being open and sharing with processes and techniques. (I’ve found the same thing with pro artists I’ve met at conventions like WorldCon, where we’re all doing the same thing, but in our own stlye, and people have been more than willing to share techniques, leads, contacts, the works!)

Anyhow, it makes sense, even if we all knew all the same techniques and tricks, we’d all be doing our own personal images anyhow. No one else was going to come up with an image this weird but me even if they knew every Photoshop trick that I did. In the end, nothing can guarantee you a prize, but at least I’ve grown as an artist and maybe helped others grow too, and that’s important.

Just came back from a walk, during which the correct metaphor for the Multiply ink occurred to me: It’s like drawing your outlines on an animation cel, and then putting the color underneath. But the lines are on the top face of the cel so they always show up on top of the colors.

E.T. - I flatten pretty late in the process when I’ve had several weeks to work with things and be sure that I’m not going to need to back up a few steps. And I never completely flatten things. For example, even my final working copy has seperate layers for the skin, the shirts & suits, the miscellaneous objects, the cubicle walls, and the background. (And a few more for effects, like the rim light and the ceiling lights.) Later in the game it’s less of an issue of changing my mind on things and more just the convenience of having things on seperate locked layers so that I can easily paint without going outside of the lines. If I do need to do something like redesign a minor character, as I did in this piece, I don’t want to also have to repaint the background behind him. So it helps a lot when he’s on a seperate layer. But at a certain point, yeah, you have to just commit to flattening some fo the stuff. At least in a contest like this, you have several thousand pairs of eyes telling you, yeah, it’s okay, you can move forwards, it looks fine! :slight_smile:

anyhow, thanks Theresa (and everyone else) as always, for your kind words and encouragement and vote of confidence! Cheers!



excellent detail and concept…


i’d hate to get attacked by him.
awsome creature modeling