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Rurouni Kenshin: Process by digitalninja Rurouni Kenshin: Process by digitalninja

This is a step by step process tutorial of one of my fanart works of Himura Kenshin from the anime/manga series Full Rurouni Kenshin.

You can see the full finished version here: [link]


1. Pencils using mechanical pencils on 11x17 copy paper. This is a bit different from my other process tutorials, as you can see the image is VERY sketchy. Sometimes I will do a very organic sketch really to invoke more feeling and motion in the piece. When I do this I don't want to get to involved in details but rather bring it into photoshop and refine it there with color.

2. Scanned into photoshop and digitally inked with wacom tablet and basic photoshop brush and pen tool. Again not as detailed in the inks as other images, I just ink the outlines and no inner lines. I let the paint brush tool define my inner lines.

3. Base colors (Flats) for the character. Used gradients instead of flat colors to get more depth.

4. First quick shading pass for light source reference. I am letting my brush define the edges of the clothing, wrinkles, folds, etc. Rather than relying on the ink lines.

5. Painted in a quick background with a general environment, if you compare to the pencils in the first image you can see I had already added little cherry blossoms around Kenshin, now I just needed to realize it in photoshop.

6. This step was all about defining the background more to set the mood and color. First thing was adding the cherry blossoms, with a bit of motion blur to give the viewer the sense that they are falling off the trees. I wanted the duel to take place at sun down, so you can see that as the clouds fall off in the background it gets darker with more blues. I also wanted to emphasize the cherry blossoms so I added a bit of pink to the background and added a layer of haze to pull Kenshin out more in the foreground.

7. FX and lighting pass. The big thing here was the sword, I wanted to make sure the sword popped the most, so I added a layer of sheen on the edged side (Kenshin has a reverse blade sword). Addjusted the hue a bit, and lastly added in foreground cherry blossoms in front of the character.

Hope this helps some people out there, if you have any question feel free to ask!

Add a Comment:
altacbori Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So our sketch doesn't need to be the result.
Can we call sketching "The way artist seeks best lines."?
digitalninja Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014
Depends on the artist I guess, I would call sketching, how to lay the base image from your mind to the page.
JineruLockheart Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2009
OMG..this is the best kenshin pic ever, bloody amazing.
digitalninja Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2009
Thanks :).
mhunt Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2009
It looks great and it a good process you did. I know little about the character so I got to ask, is he missing a finger ? on the hand that holds the sword.

Good job !
digitalninja Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2009
haha, no he isn't missing a finger, the thumb is holding on to the tsuba behind the sword. It's not wrapped around. I knew someone was going to call me on that :P. Maybe I should just edit it.
mhunt Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2009
I see.. if that's the way he holds his sword, leave it that way, make a quick note on the description for those of us that didn't knew.
lone013wolf Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2009  Student Traditional Artist
wow!!!!!!!!!!!! hey buddy i want a master to teach me how make digital drawings^^
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Submitted on
December 6, 2009
Image Size
2.5 MB


40 (who?)