Allo. I is from teh Labatt bir brooer-y, I is here to kuality check yur broos.
Further experiments in the land of Photoshop paintery. I'm still sticking pretty closely to a photographic reference, but I'm adhering to it less slavishly. Things I've learned so far:
-Choose a color palette. It's easiest to pull colors from a reference photo. For every major color in the photograph (the bear's fur is one, his nose and ears are another, the table is a third) pull between three and seven colors, trying to work from lightest represented tone to darkest. Paint those in little dots on their own layer, and only use those colors.
-Do at least two passes. In the first pass, lay out the colors only in the areas where you know they're right. In the second pass, hide the reference, and fill in the rest of the form in a layer underneath your first pass layer. Addendum: for more color variation, play with the saturation, hue, and contrast on that second pass layer.
-Choose a big brush. Resist the urge to spend lots of time on little finicky areas. (In this case, the claws.)
-It's easier to go back and tone it down than go back and ramp it up. Be high contrast, use bold strokes.
-Bears love beer. No, really.