You may already know that on my commissions sheet I include chibis for just 1EUR per piece. But why? Well, these tiny cuties are worth the 20 minutes of my life that they are created in. The idea on these kawaii portraits is different than usual. While they still look sweet and cute, the main reason for me to draw them is to simplify any character: Lowering details, coloring, and not caring that much about realistic anatomy, or if the lineart still shows. Plus the quality is notably lower due to the canvas size. The sillier the character, the sillier the result (unless it's a commission, I take 'em seriously), so I will show two characters, one representing dumbness and the other supposed to be cute. There's not much that I can say for 20 minutes of work,so having said that, hope you like this...
(1) Chibis have a really basic body shape. So I draw one circle, for the head, and make two copies out of it, connected one below the other. (2) Now that I have three circles that will separate head, torso and legs, I proceed to draw the angle of the head, marking where the character will be facing to. (3) On a new layer, using small circles, I mark where arms and legs will be. To have an idea, shoulders are placed on the top of the bigger, central circle, while elbows will be in the middle area, and the hands would be on the bottom. The same format as with the legs, on their own base circle. I also outline the eyes position. I differentiate between masculine and feminine traits by drawing the male ones slightly more rectangular.
(4) Once the pose is set up, I create a new layer, then I start the lineart, while making sure that the bodies keep at least some correct anatomy besides the size of the head. The color I choose is a dark grayish brown. Usually it helps me when I paint, since it stays visible. (5) Time for the sketch layer to go away. Now I only have plain, basic bodies that need to be decorated. (6) I always start sketching the outline of the hair, since I find it easier. (7) Afterwards, I design the clothes or body features with not too many details.
(8) On a layer behind the lineart it's where I start coloring. Since it's the most comfortable part to paint for me, hair is the first part of the process. Usually only three colors are used, for base, shading, and lighting. (9) I blend them, with a self made brush for hair and fur, using the natural direction of the mane. (10) A really similar process for the clothes is used. Three colors, blending. (11) For the skin, which has the exact same process, I tend to be really careful where the light comes from, which is guided by the other two colored layers. The shadow of the nose, cheeks and hair depend on it, and it's what gives most volume to the portrait. (Optional) To reforce the shading, sometimes I duplicate the skin layer, I convert the new one to Multiply, and soft erase the lit areas, and lower the transparency settings until I'm satisfied with the result -then I merge it to the base one.
(12) I paint the eyes (there will be a tutorial on eyes, including the chibi ones!), and on a new layer, I strenghten the lit parts with a soft brush and pale yellow. (13) This layer will be converted to Color Dodge. (14) Soft erasing the excess of light, I make sure that the volume of the portrait makes sense, and only then I merge everything except for the lineart layer. (15) The reason why I didn't merge the lineart is because only now I convert it to multiply, and accordingly soft erase or blur the parts where it's no longer needed. This helps the lighting, and the weight of the piece. On every character, choosing between soft erasing or blurring depends on the colors that the lineart is casting shade on, and if it needs to separate areas. Lastly, I add the remaining details that must look shiny.