Software: Adobe Photoshop CC
Completion Time: 8 hours
Images Used for This Tutorial
Image ID : 13451878 © Steve Byland
Image ID : 8032643 © Sergii Telesh
Setup the Document
Create a New Document in Photoshop at 600×600 pixels with 300 dpi. Gather some references of your favorite angry birds and pick one as the star. Here I’ll be sketching the main red bird. Use a Hard Round Brush to create a quick sketch of the outline of the bird on a layer separate from the background.
Fill the background layer with black. Use a Soft Round Brush to paint one spot of white in the center of the background.
Now let’s add some color. Use a Hard Round Brush to paint flat colors for the base of the painting on a New Layer underneath the sketch. To help the sketch blend into the base, simply set the sketch to Soft Light.
To make this bird look more realistic, we’ll be taking clips of feathers and hair from other photos to build the bird. First gather the references that’ll help you do this. Since the red bird is based on the Red Cardinal I’ll be using one as a reference as well as a cat. The areas where the arrows are pointing are where I’ll be grabbing these textures.
Let’s start with the cat references. Copy and paste them onto the document and set them as Clipping Masks to the colored base. Use the white hair for the belly of the bird. Clean up the edges with the Eraser Tool (E).
Now use the black sections of hair for the eyebrows. Again, use the Eraser Tool (E) to clean up the edges.
Do the same with the red feather references from the bird. In order to form the stock around the bird and make it look round, Control-T to Free Transform and select Warp.
Now it’s time to incorporate digital painting techniques to make this manipulation more 3D. Use a Hard Round Brush with a crisp edge of 100% Hardness to paint solid colors for the beak and eyes.
Continue painting on more new layers set as Clipping Masks to the base. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to create small selections around each feature. Use these selections to help you paint more shadows. By doing this, you keep the shadows within the selection and you don’t have to worry about creating a mess!
Time for highlights! Set a New Layer above all your shading to Linear Dodge (Add) and use a light tan color to paint highlights on top of the bird. Bring some of those highlights down onto the brows and it will really push them forward.
Elaborate on the texture of the feathers by painting highlights all over the bird on the same layer. Use tiny white strokes in the direction of the feathers to make them pop out.
Almost finished! Merge all the layers together and continue to refine your awesome fan art. Add some dramatic shadow underneath the beak for more character. Use a Hard Round Brush to make sure your edges are crisp all around the bird.