Angel Drawing Guide: Learn the Process and Techniques on How to Draw an Angel!

An angel drawing requires you to be good at analyzing people, clothing, and wings, before you can bring it to life. It is highly recommended to study these topics beforehand. Other than that, the tips here will give you the necessary process on how to draw an angel.

Angels can manifest themselves into various forms. The most common accepted form is of a human being with wings, a halo, and clothed in loose white cloth. How you want to elaborate on this particular description is up to you.

What I want to illustrate is that an angel drawing is a subject that allows you be just creative. Personally, I am using a female figure. However, you can do a masculine figure if you wish. The type of cloth is entire up to you as well as any other personal preferences.

There may be instances of multiple pairs of wings or eyes. Again, do what is interesting for you. The drawing that I did for this lesson took me a few days to complete. This could take longer or it can be easily done in a few hours depending on the comfort level.

The angel drawing: gesture sketch

Like all drawings, start the angel drawing with a good gesture sketch on a separate layer. I have opted for just a single pair of oversized wings. You can make it smaller if you so wish. I've also included gesture sketches of the cloth dress I am planning.

This will help me get a blurry image of how the clothing will fit on the body as you decide on the action pose. This is also a good time to double check the work with regards to getting the right proportions out of the human figure.

angel drawing step 1 from cgattic.ca

Once you are alright with how the pose and general gesture lines work, create a new layer and fill it in with a neutral color. Now, merge both of these layers into place and then lock the general shape of the drawing.

Block in areas of shading as necessary with simple shading to give it some weight. As you continue to add more details in, you will discover that the proportions may deviate from this sketch just slightly. Use this as an opportunity to experiment.

The angel drawing: cleaning it up

First, smudge in the gesture lines as a method to clean up the drawing as well as add in additional textures. Once you are done with that, start adding details to the composition. Start with detailing the head and move on to other areas.

The tools you will be using will be the smudge tool and the brush tool. The textures to use with these tools would be the chalk brush tip. Switch between different tool sizes and types to get the right color values in the details.

angel drawing step 2 from cgattic.ca

Once you are firm on what simple shading will form the feathers, the face, and certain areas of clothing, unlock the layer and use the erase tool to define the the shape down further. For example, erasing areas around the hand to form rough fingers.

Should you over erase an area, swap back to the smudge tool and smudge the colors out using 100% pressure. This will spread existing values to form the shape you need while creating a solid drawing object.

The angel drawing: adding details

Now is also the time to think about the primary light source direction. As you continue to refine the drawing, make sure to start looking at lighting and shadows from the key light in every detail that you do.

The majority of my time were spent here figuring out the clothing wrinkles. To shorten the time, I have duplicated and manipulated the clothing textures to fit new areas rather than draw them over and over again. You can do the same.

angel drawing step 3 from cgattic.ca

This stage is also a chance to divide the compositions into layers. Personally, I am working with four main layers: the main body, the wings, the arm, and the hat. That way, any major sketching on the body does not interfere with the arm or the hat.

You may decide to split up the characters even further by having multiple layers for clothing. Just remember that the more layers you have, the more complicated it can be. At the end of the day, do what is best for you to maximize the work flow.

The angel drawing: final steps

So far, my angel has only one wing drawn throughout the entire exercise. Since I already have my wing on a different layer, I can simply duplicate it to form the other wing. Other stuff, like a halo, can be drawn in with a circular lasso.

The final step in the angel drawing would be to emphasize the key light. Originally, the drawing should be fairly neutral with no regards to where the light sources are coming from. This is a good chance to try out gradient effects.

A black and white gradient, on a different layer with a soft light blend mode, will highlight how much shading and lighting you can attempt to experiment with. At this stage, you can leave it as it is or try to draw some of those light and shadows on the angel.

angel drawing step 4 from cgattic.ca

One trick I like to use is to put the final drawing in one big layer folder. Then, I duplicate and change the duplicated folder into a new raster layer. Repeat as much as necessary. This will give me multiple instances of my angel drawing to manipulate.

With these extra layers of the same finished drawing, this is where I start looking at refining the lighting, sharpening, and transparency effects. Just remember, you do not need to do this. This is just extra steps to make it look better.

You can also choose to do a background if you wish. Once you are done, do one final paint over on a new layer on top. You will use this layer to link any color discrepancies with the background and the angel. With that, you are done!

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