This stage is all Photoshop. I’d almost consider it cheating if it weren’t such a pain in the ass to pull off; if I weren’t going to paint over it; if I hadn’t done everything by hand under it; and if this weren’t an exercise using professional digital painting for illustration techniques.
Here, one has to go find a bunch of images of appropriate textures, and attempt to superimpose them on top of ones image in semitransparent layers. You have to stretch them, erase parts, overlap them, and so on. It’s a kind of skill of its own. There were at least a dozen layers involved, which I kept sandwiching for convenience. The purpose of this phase is to add realism.
Keep in mind that because I have the texture, the shading, the lighting, and color on separate layers, I can adjust them all interdependently.
Just a reminder to people who don’t know my work, this isn’t my style, it’s an exercise to help me learn techniques from professional illustrators that I can ultimately incorporate into my own my fine art purposes. That said, it’s my character concept, and I throw in my own tricks and knowledge as well. But this is as much a reflection of my individual style as if I did a plein air landscape oil painting, which I’d love to do (it’s one of my fantasies to take a class one day).
There are several more stages to go in order to achieve a kind of hyper-realism.