This is the image that spawned the series of Postcards From The Zone, although at that time I didn't plan for that. I just wanted to make a landscape picture and experiment with my technique a little bit.
I like to combine painting and drawing techniques in the same work. I love the speed, freedom and richness of early painting gestures on paper but for fine control over details I prefer ditigal medium far more. The idea was to use what is best in each medium - do a quick underpainting traditionally and then work it up with digital tools.
The image started from an A4 size drawing on paper. I used a mixture of acrylics painting and drawing with pen and ink as well as with a fine point marker.
For digital painting I use Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter. The split is simple - Corel Painter for all the painting (because you can't beat Painter's brushes) and Photoshop for simpler touch up painting and all editing/post processing.
I prefer to keep my digital files simple - which means as few layers as possible. If PSD gets too big I flatten the image as I go. Ideally, I would have a single layer, just like real painting. It makes things much simpler - especially in Painter as it doesn't support things like adjustment layers.
In case of Postcard From The Zone I I used two paintover layers to enhance the image. One was "beneath" the drawing (the drawing is applied in Multiply mode in Photoshop) and one on top.
The "beneath" layer includes sky and simple brush strokes to darken some areas. The sky is a combination of linear gradient in Photoshop and a gradient created manually with airbrush tool in Painter.
The "top" paintover layer adds more details to the image.
Postcard From The Zone I, paintover on top of the drawing.
And that's it.