Here's a small example of how I use the ArtRage program for my illustrations. My style is quite straight forward, I'm mostly using the oil brush tool and not much else; the eraser and palette knife, and sometimes, like in this particular case, the air brush. Typical for many digital illustrators (or any other media) I start with a drawing. It's not necessary, though, especially if you are using a tracing image (it can be a "real life" drawing too, of course). At first stages, when I start painting, I'm painting on a layer below the layer with the drawing, keeping it intact. I don't mind color going outside the lines, it can be erased later. And that's about it, I guess, just adding more paint and details, making changes required (like the reflections in this painting, which were a bit disturbing on the axe in reality) and finally cleaning up to finish. I will try to explain more abut my painting techniques, and give some practical hints on how to get started, in upcoming posts.
I actually posted this one on my Facebook page last winter, but picked up the paintings again now in order to complete them. The original sketches were made almost twenty years ago during an unusually impressive waxwing invasion. The largest flock reported was one of approximately 14 000 birds, and throughout the winter (which too is exceptional - they normally leave before Christmas) there seemed to be waxwings everywhere. I was then living in Liljendal, a Swedish speaking rural community east of Helsinki and made occasional birding and sketching trips in the surrounding countryside. This time I was heading to a small stream (called Ålhusbäcken) where my intention was to find and draw dippers (which I did too). On my way there I spotted a flock of waxwings resting in a bushy spruce and just had to try to sketch them. The temperature was about -26 (-14,8 F), not extreme but my hands freeze easily so I could draw only a few seconds at a time. After 18 years, I decided to do something of the sketches. By the end of the winter the waxwings had emptied all the rowans and ate whatever looked like berries or fruits. I got a bag full of old apples from the grocery and hang them in a lilac bush in my garden, and could thus draw the birds comfortably sitting at my kitchen table.