[ARTWORK] Releasing Dreams to the Universe

If you read my last post, you know that I started to tweak my illustrations once again by keeping my sketch lines. I only had one gripe with this style and that was colouring it using Clip Studio Paint’s pen tool was taking a bit longer than I liked.

When I would do line art in Clip Studio Paint, I would just use the paint bucket to fill in the base colour. However, with the sketch-line art, I couldn’t do that…or could I?

A Thought and Some Doodles

I had this idea pop into my head: what if I kind of did line art for the base colour?

At first I dismissed the idea, but then I realized that 1.) it did not have to be perfect and 2.) I could just draw matching colours in one big block, if I wanted to.

That’s what I decided to try, as you can see in the video at the top of this blog post.

However, I didn’t really know what to draw to test out the style once more. I first tried to browse my older artwork, as sometimes I like to redraw older pictures as a warm up and practice, but couldn’t find anything to redraw. Any of the characters I wanted to draw were too new or none of my older pictures from my deviantART fit the ones I did want to draw.

That meant I had to come up with something…NEW. *GASP*

To figure this out, I doodle a bunch of thumbnails of some potentially cool illustrations.

From that, I decided to go with the simplest one: Kelly from the side, with her hands open, releasing dreams into the universe.

The Illustration – Part 1

For this illustration, I decided to record it! I was so excited and kind of nervous. It’s been a while since I even attempted to do that. Recording the footage meant I couldn’t get distracted and had to stay on task. No watching YouTube videos for me!

I found myself pretty easily speeding through the illustration. Even the base colour! I used my modified g-pen in Clip Studio Paint to outline the colours, which I did so in one huge shaped blob, as you can see in the video.

Did it solve the cumbersome issue I had before?


I honestly did EXACTLY what I wanted! My process had FINALLY been simplified and became rewarding AND satisfying! I LOVED what I was doing!

So, I saved the image and went to Affinity Photo (what I use instead of Photoshop now) to start the background & effects layers when I realized…I forgot Kelly’s necklace.

Then I realized I forgot her headphones.

I debated in my head for a bit whether or not I was to fix the illustration. Was it worth it? Nervously, I thought so.

I clicked the Clip Studio Paint file and waited…and got told by my computer the program crashed.

I tried again and…crashed.

And again.

Still crashed.

I tried for quite a bit to get the image to open, but nope.

The file was corrupted.

All I had was a PSD file that I hadn’t saved properly, so everything was just in one layer, as well as a barely-even-shaded version of the Clip Studio Paint file.

Obviously, I wasn’t happy about the file being corrupted, but I decided that, hey, maybe I’ll just do a second version later on with the corrections.

I proceeded forward with the illustration.

Since Kelly was going to be releasing dreams out into the universe, I wanted a starry background. If I recall correctly, I had to look up a tutorial on how to do that in Affinity Photo (which is not the easiest thing to find, trust me on that). Eventually, I managed to get the starry background to work. However, it looked super plain and I felt unsatisfied with it, so I added Kelly’s white music bar, with the concept being that she is coming out from her room to the universe to release the dreams.

After that, I began my usual layering: a light adjustment, a dark adjustment, a brown gradient overlay, a bunch of other overlays of colours and gradients and stuff, and eventually, the image turned out…really, really pink.

Kelly the Dreamer blowing dreams into the universe

And really, really washed out.

As you can see, you can’t even see Kelly’s mouth.

I mean, yeah, okay, it looks okay. But it’s so pink and washed out.

The slight dissatisfaction with the first version made me go, heeeeey, you know what, I think I’ll do a second version with corrections now.

The Illustration – Part 2

The first thing I did was opened up the version of the file that wasn’t corrupted, drew Kelly’s headphones on her shoulders (IT HID THE NECKLACE, YEEEES), removed the tiny bit of shadows that was started from that version, redid the shaded sketch lines, and quickly redid the shadows. I then exported the file and opened the PSD version of it in Affinity Photo.

I opened up the first version and the second version. I copied and pasted (I think…that’s what it looks like in the video and if I vaguely remember) the second version over the first, clipped the level adjustments, and started to rearrange, add, and remove layers. I changed the blending on them. I did some additional adjustments.

Kelly the Dreamer blowing dreams into the universe

The second version completely blew me away.

I have to admit, I’m not even sure how I got it to look so different from the first. I mean, I do, but I also don’t. I’m not sure how I managed to rearrange the layers to really bring a better atmosphere to the image.

You can see her mouth.

The subtle rainbow colours compliment the scene. The darker, but bright overlays really help to give it an atmosphere of space.

If you can’t tell, the second version is clearly my favourite.


For me, my experiment was a SUCCESS! The artwork still is beautiful. It was faster than before (definitely 2.5 hours or less…minus the mishaps and the insane saving times because my canvases were huge). I didn’t feel like I was struggling through the process (again, minus the mishaps, which are not a part of my usual illustration routine).

This left me with three questions though: 1.) how do full-body shots do in this style, 2.) how do bust shots do in this style, and 3.) how do more detailed backgrounds do in this style?

I answer that first one next.

Year: 2018
Programs Used: Clip Studio Paint, Affinity Photo

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