Raka Jana: Ornate Illustration Using the Symmetry Tool

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One of the handiest tools in SketchBook is the symmetry tools. When illustrating things that need to be exactly parallel or mirrored, it can help you draw twice as fast and with the accuracy of a god. Today, we’re sharing a tutorial from Raka Jana, who hails from Indonesia. He drew something very much like a god for this tutorial — some very cool demon mask line art. What’s astounding to us about his work is that he can draw beautiful and ornate illustrations using just a finger on his phone. It’s meticulous work, but he proves that you can make art in even the smallest of spaces — thanks to the ability to zoom in.

demon mask art tutorial

The process I follow for creating elaborate sketches on my phone is all about sketching in progressively more detail. Using layers is necessary to keep your work clean on such a small screen, and approaching it in an organized way like this will help you, especially when you need to zoom in and do very detailed work.

Step 1: Initial Sketch

A global sketch is needed to determine the overall look of the image. You do not need much detail with your first layer. This process really only serves as a placeholder for future work. It will help you pin down the areas like the location of the eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth, etc.

bali demon mask art

I use the Symmetry tools extensively, and I have one brush I use that is my favorite, and that is the basic pencil. But, I use the brush editor to adjust it. I slide to the left to make it smaller and slide to the right to make it larger.

sketchbook mobile symmetry tool

For me, the ideal settings for my work are between 1 and 2 in size and maximum opacity. I start with 100% black.

choosing right brush in sketchbook

After I lay down the first layer, I can develop a more detailed sketch. I try not to limit myself. I want the ideas to flow, and I want to explore the spaces between the lines. If lay down an experiment with filling space that you don’t like you can simply delete it and start over. When drawing a new layer, you can adjust the opacity of layers you’ve already drawn to guide you.

drawing in layers from outline to sketch to line art

Step 2: Line Work

I want to refine my sketch and make my line work stronger. I strive to make the overall outline with a thick line. I want firmness.

tracing over sketch to make stronger line art

But for detail, I use a small brush. The goal is to produce a harmonious combination of lines and give the image a more dynamic look — not simply one-dimensional and flat. Obviously, this takes patience on a phone. The zoom and rotate commands are very helpful in this process.

combination of large and small brushes

Step 3: Color

Color is one of the most important things to make my illustrations lively and interesting. I use very strong, often bright colors. If you also desire this kind of dynamic look, you’ll need to make sure you use proper shading techniques.

color and shading techniques in asian art

You can do some blending of your colors, but you will want to make sure you choose colors that work well together. One thing to keep in mind is that you have a light source and shadows, but remember this is not a realistic drawing. You have some leeway to draw shadows and highlights in creative ways. Just stay consistent in the way you detail your coloring.

shading demon mask

The more shading you add, the more volume you are adding to your final illustration. And here is my final illustration, a drawing that is parallel and full of scalloped details and shading that make this Bali demon mask look rounded and full of detail.

bali demon mask indonesian art tutorial