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Exercise 49: Leatherworking Step by Step by CGCookie Exercise 49: Leatherworking Step by Step by CGCookie

Check out and Download the Step by Step and Original Practice Sheet .PSD HERE.    

Artist: Tim Von Rueden (vonn)

Here's the Downloadable 49 Exercise Template:  Exercise 49 Practice Sheet: Leatherworking by CGCookie 

After  completing the exercise myself, I’ve realized how much detailing and precision can go into leather works. So take your time with this material and be patient with the execution! For the step by step I created, I went with the same leather material for each so that you can see different examples cut of the same cloth. Leather can definitely be different colors and how a various levels of sheen onto them. So know that this isn’t the only way to create leather, is just one of many!

For the exercise let’s break down each step and see how to build up those values.

  1. Refined Outline – Start with a clean outline and create a believable object that would be leather.
  2. Solid Base – I personally like to work dark and then build up from there, so here we’re starting with a solid dark base. 
  3. Build Up Values – From there, I grab a slightly lighter brown color and build up the values and give the object some form.
  4. Push Light Placement – Here is where you can further push that lighting placement based on where you paint on even lighter values.
  5. Remove Outlines/Refine – Once you remove the outline, clean up the edge and refine the details further. You want to make sure it “reads” without the lineart. This can be tough and I even darkened some of the areas where the lineart was to help separate the forms.
  6. Highlights – This step is what will really make your material “shine”. I choose a light level of reflection with my highlight and wanted to give more of a worn leather look that maybe got polished a few months ago. So be mindful of the highlight placements and I also threw on a soft light to give that brown some more color variation to it.

This is a great material exercise but admittedly can be rather tough. So take you time and remember:

  • Wrinkles and subtitles are key! The more worn and believable the leather looks, the better!
  • Think about how reflective you want your leather. Heavier shines imply smooth, oiled leather. No shines imply worn and rustic.
  • A Texture brush can add some nice variety to the surface and can give more of an organic feeling.

When you finish the exercise, remember to submit the result to the “Submissions” tab on CGCookie, you can see other submissions alongside your own!

Add a Comment:
Ahna-Ravenheart Featured By Owner May 9, 2017
Gotta love leather! ^^
RIGIOtaku Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2017
wow just wow
ana182 Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2017  Professional Photographer
Very cool
Ludwig1920 Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2017  Student General Artist
That could be useful ! Thank you!
Milkitalix Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2017  Student Digital Artist
good god that leather highlighting is amazing!!! xD
Finnguala Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2017  Professional General Artist
This is pretty incredible. Thanks a lot!
o-Oxalis-o Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2017  Hobbyist
Super nice, as always. =)
SynthHej Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I glanced at this and thought it was chocolate. Was not chocolate, it was leather. Anyways, beautiful work!
ChristophArgh Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2016
ipodintoaster Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
heeey this is what i'm here for! nice stuff
AquaOshawott01 Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2016  Student Filmographer
This was so realistic, I felt like I was touching the leather by just staring at it. 
historianGirl Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2016   General Artist
Very helpful.
kackondreck Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2016
oh this really looks helpful!
Bloodsong13T Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2016
omg, leather.  leather is such a pain.

'wrinkles and subtitles are the key'!?  please smite your spell-corrector!  ; )  thanks!
Ansayla Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, Amazing work!
Ermin96 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2016
What are values, how do you remove the outline if you want, and i think you'd need to explain a bit more with the highlights cause it looks different but what was done is unknown
chaoticmind Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
shellz-art Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2016  Professional General Artist
Schwarzer--Ritter Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
Does this work for pencils?
xavierk99 Featured By Owner Edited Dec 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you sir/lady very much. I let here my message of apreciation. Happy hollidays!! 
philippeL Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for sharing this!!!
luvstruckshipper Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2016
This is an amazing exercise, which I might try sometime. I'm not very good with texture. 
But this is very helpful! :D
Thank you!
Add a Comment:


Submitted on
December 24, 2016
Image Size
1.7 MB


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