Digital Painting: Underwater Exploration

This week I made a digital painting using my computer and bamboo tablet. I’ve been looking to improve lately with that medium so I thought that making some more space-art would be a fun way to do so. This time, however, the crew (Michael and GG) aren’t in space, they’re underwater!

To be more specific, they’re on a planet covered in deep oceans. Michael is scanning a species of seaweed while GG whirls around in the water.

Below are my process pictures and the steps I took to paint the scene. I used the art program Paint Tool Sai.

Step 1: Rough Sketch

Uh Oh process pic 1

First I made a really rough sketch of the general idea and shapes of the drawing.

Step 2: Linework

Uh Oh process pic 2

After the sketch I created a new layer to draw the lines. I also made the sketch transparent to make it easier to draw on top of.

Uh Oh process pic 3

Here’s the finished linework.

Step 3: Background


Uh Oh process pic 4

After linework I created the background using a couple of different brush textures. I imagined the environment to be a deep, expansive ocean, and a little mysterious.

Step 4: Coloring the Foreground



I wanted to experiment with the textures a little bit so I chose a brush that looked kind of like pastel or crayon.

Uh Oh process pic 5


This is what it looked like after most of the coloring. This was the most time-consuming part of the whole process XD.

I tried very hard to fit the colors to the background/environment and learned a lot, I think. For example, what is brown over a white background looks orange when over a blue background!

Why? My guess is that the way we see color is very much based on the lighting of the environment surrounding it, rather than the true color.

I just realized now that the tanks kind of look like hot dogs. Let’s move on.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Uh Oh final (2) (2)


I made quite a few small changes to finish up the painting: I changed the color of the lineart to match the colors a bit more, colored in the bubbles, added some more rays of light, cleaned up edges, and blurred some of the plants in the background to create depth. And, of course, I put a little signature on the bottom. 🙂

Overall this was very fun to draw/paint and I hope to do more digital art in the future. Thanks for reading!


8 thoughts on “Digital Painting: Underwater Exploration

  1. sammulhern says:

    Really cool to see your progress through to the finish product (which looks great too!).
    Now prepare for a tl;dr 😉

    My takeaway on why the brown looks orange when it’s on the background is twofold: I think you’re on it with your theory of the background skewing our perception, but also because there are “transparent” areas in the brown layer which show the aqua colour behind it. Just like how each pixel in a screen is made up of three colours close together (red, green, blue; but we see them as one mixed colour) when we see the brown with the aqua around and through it, the brain blends them. When you increase the green level in an RGB mixed brown, the new colour moves through the orange band. By removing the white background, you also decrease the contrast, so the initially darker brown now looks comparatively lighter with respect to the darker background.

    (sorry for my long winded theory, haha)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tori J. says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by! I totally agree with your explanation, although I would’ve never thought of that XD. It’s so interesting that you point out the nature of the pixels in the screen- that must definitely play a role. It’s very cool how it all works, and I’m looking forward to exploring color in the future. Thanks again for the comment!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s