Paint an Iron Man’s Helmet Digitally in Photoshop

This tutorial will show how we can paint an Iron Man’s helmet in Photoshop with the help of a Wacom Bamboo. As it is my first time trying out digital painting, may all the experts give me some pointers in making the processes better!

Preview of Final Image

The texts and images are copyrighted to 10Steps.SG and their respective owners. You CANNOT copy the whole tutorial, either in English or translate to another language.

Start off by drawing the outline for the Iron Man’s helmet on a piece of white paper. Then scan it into Photoshop once you are done.

Create a new document with size 870×570 pixels. You can either clean up your scanned outlines or trace your original drawings with the Pen tool. I am using Pen tool in this case because most of the straight and curve lines need to be perfect.

Create a new layer below the “Outlines” and rename it as “Red Base”. Paint within the outlines using color #6a0507 and this shall form the base of the helmet.

Create a new layer above “Red Base” and rename it as “Yellow Base”. Paint within the face outlines using color #f4d3a0.

Create a new layer above the “Yellow Base” and rename it as “Black Base”. Paint within the eyes and jaw outlines using color #000000. Now you have formed the bases where you will add more details on them.

Let us start working on the red areas first. Create a new layer just above “Red Base” and rename it as “Red Shadows”. Using the color #3d090b, briefly paint the shadows where you want the light source to come from. There is no need to be accurate at this point of time since we will be adjusting the areas as we paint along. We just need to get a brief idea on how the final work will look like for now.

Create a new layer above “Red Shadows” and rename it as “Red Highlights”. Using the color #775240, paint on the areas where you want the gloss to appear.

Create a new layer above the “Red Highlights” and rename it as “Red Outlines”. Using the color #672121, roughly paint along the black outlines to enhance the grooves and joint areas.

Create a new layer above the “Red Outlines” and rename it as “Red Glow”. Using the color #ffffff, paint in some white glowing areas. Ok we stop on the red portions for now, let us move on to the yellow face area.

Create a new layer above the “Yellow Base” and rename it as “Yellow Shadows”. Using the color #e1954a and large sized Soft-Rounded Brush, paint in some soft shadows on left and right of the face.

Create a new layer above the “Yellow Shadows” and rename it as “Yellow Curves”. Using the color #985b24, paint around the areas where the curves are to make them look more defined.

Create a new layer above the “Yellow Curves” and rename it as “Yellow Highlights”. Using the color #ffffff, paint at the parts where the glows and highlights are.

Now we are left the eye areas. Create a new layer above “Black Base” and rename it as “Black Inner”. Using the color #31392a, paint the inner areas within the eye holes.

We have a general idea of the final work that we going to do. Let us move on to the details now. There are too much to specify but the basic things to do are to erase some of the access lines and make the edges smooth. Below is the before and after image for the red areas.

Below is the before and after image of the yellow face areas.

Last thing to do is to touch up on the eyes and you are done!

Put red background with a simple shadow to complete your work. I hope you have enjoyed this new tutorial. Thanks for your time reading!

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29 Comments | Write a Comment

  1. Maximillian says:

    Can you do the war machine from iron man two 🙂

  2. Maximillian says:

    I have done the iron man drawing it was fun

  3. jo says:

    thanks u so much Johnson but i dont know how to make the edges smooth :(Can u help me?

  4. Thanks for the instructions. It’s very realistic-looking. Have you thought about drawing the whole Iron Man suit?

  5. deden says:

    great tutorial… thanks man…

  6. Rigo Francis says:

    Waw! this is very fantastic tutorial, it is very advantageous for me. so very very thanks pal.

  7. Childesign says:

    Great work ! I like the final 🙂

  8. free fontz says:

    amazing bro! thanks for sharing!

  9. Amit Kumar says:

    I am quite impressed by your designs and paintings jhonson…..

    Like them very much

  10. awesome thanks for this Johnson – will look out for your further paintings

    : )

  11. Lee Fuller says:

    I might just have to give this a go.. great tutorial!

  12. Ronald Bien says:

    Sweet!!. I’m a big fan of Iron Man. You have made a nice result on this tut bro :D.nice work!!

  13. WebGuide4u says:

    Knowing the photoshop tools you can easily draw it. Instead of drawing it on the paper you can also use the grid tool to make the shape

  14. Cool Tutorial. The final outcome is really Great…

  15. bigjobsboard says:

    Thanks for posting this tutorial. This is so cool!

  16. Bj says:

    Hi, I am a complete novice with all things PS, so decided to look for a tut I could do. I almost finished this one! I got all the painting stuff done, and even though it looked scruffy I was quite pleased it looked similar to yours.

    But when you say do the details, but don’t say what – I haven’t a clue what to do…please help, would love to finish it!

  17. Web Design says:

    Hehe, from scratch to drawn, thanks for sharing.

  18. budicokro says:

    nice work. thanks for sharing.
    i’m newbie, i learn many from you with subscribe email from your web.

  19. Richie says:

    This is cool. Maybe next tutorial, you can complete the entire body …. that would be stunning!!!

    The best part is, this is done without using a tablet, which most of us don’t have 🙁

    • Johnson Koh says:

      Hahaha thanks buddy, this is my very first attempt. Have never tried digital painting before so just want to work on the easiest helmet. Will definitely try on the entire body when I improve further.

  20. designfollow says:

    great tutorial, thank you.

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