Learning when to say “enough is enough” with a piece you’re working on is extremely difficult. Perhaps even more so, is knowing how to go about finishing your artwork. There’s no right or wrong for this process, but below are some processes I undertake to finish designs.

1. Flip your artwork.

Simply flipping or mirroring the canvas can offer you a new sense of perspective.

2. Use the Selective Colour tool.

This tool can help you bring out opposing colours to add depth to your piece. It works by targetting sets of colours (e.g. “Reds”, or “Blues”) and manipulates the colour by increasing, or decreasing sections of their CMYK value.

For example, if we target the “Whites” and move the Magenta slider to 100%, they begin to have a slight pink hue.

Pencils before and after a change of colour

It can be found by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Selective Color.

3. Create different versions.

If it’s a digital piece, then you don’t have to worry about “ruining” your original. Go crazy and try several different techniques – even if you don’t think it will work. It might spark some inspiration in you for another way of finishing your artwork.

Once you’ve made a few variations, put them together and decide which you like the most. Always compare them with the original.

4. Desaturate it.

By desaturating it, you can test the contrast of your piece. If it all fades into similar tones of grey, then you need to consider increasing the contrast.

Pencils showing the contrast of different colours in grey scale

Notice here how contrasted the colours are? The background is clearly separate from the foreground. This means that our original piece has a good amount of contrast.

5. Add texture.

Do your clouds look a little flat? Is the mood of your piece lacking a little?

Something as simple as adding a bit grunge texture can help improve the mood of a piece. Texture is also important for understanding the texture of an object; an orange could look incredible smooth without its little dimples.

6. Walk away.

Leave your artwork for a little bit. Come back to it a day later with a fresh pair of eyes. It’ll help you notice flaws you didn’t see before.

If you do something different, please let me know in the comments below!

It’s always interesting to read how you finish your artwork :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *