Heeeey guys, so a lot of you have been asking about my colouring progress, and I’ve wanted to do something like it for a long time, so hopefully this will help! This is by no means the be-all end-all technique, this is just how I went through this drawing, but I still have much to learn. If you have a better or more efficient way to do something that i’ve done, don’t hesitate to share with me! Also, i’m not the greatest with explanations, but if you do need some clarification, leave me a message and I will try to re-explain anything that wasn’t clear c:
I always start with force drawing. Drawing force means capturing the dynamic of an organic body with basic curves. Organic bodies are rarely ever straight. Even when we stand statically, we naturally sway our hips to the side, have more weight on one foot than the other, and our spines are never truly straight. When I first decided on a stance, I wanted my character to be slouching forward, so I sketched in where her head and how it’s facing, and then in one quick, natural stroke, drafted in the flow of her body, and her arms.
For a far more extensive look into drawing Force, you should definitely invest an hour into this 4 part tutorial here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07fusT-dwVE I learned a lot from him, and it has made imagining and drafting poses much easier for me.
When I was happy with the force, I began sketching in the limbs and fleshing out the body.
when the sausage and ball limbs were in place, I fleshed it out even more and began roughing in details.
Clean up time! On a separate layer, I traced the rough sketch with a 3 pt brush. Don’t forget to flip your canvas horizontally to find and fix any mistakes you couldn’t see normally!
One of the biggest things that could help your line art look more dynamic is to include line weights. Line weights are important for depicting things like depth and really showing where objects collide. For this, I used a 4 pt brush, but had the tablet pressure control opacity on and lowered the flow to around 40-60%. Lines are darkest near creases, and around major details. Lines can be thinner/lighter for smaller details. You don’t need to draw in every detail right now; those can be added in later, after you’ve established a colour scheme, and when you’re closer to completion.
Alright! now with the lines all done, I used the magic wand tool and selected the negative space (any part of the canvas that is NOT part of the subject). Don’t forget to magic wand the smaller areas too, like the area between her arm and her sketch pad. After all the negative space is selected I press ctrl+shift+i to invert the selection. I created a new folder/group (bottom of your layers tab, looks like a folder) and then with the group selected I pressed add layer mask (looks like a rectangle with a circle in the middle). That should give that new group a mask that looks something like this . How a mask works is that any part of the mask that is black will be transparent while any part of the white will be visible. Therefore, with this mask set to this group folder (which will hold all your colour layers) you won’t have to worry about colouring anywhere outside the lines as long as those layers are inside that group with the mask. Of course, this won’t be perfect, you can clean up/fix a mask by selecting the mask and using a black or white brush to colour in any erroneous area. Best way to see how your mask looks is to fill in the background layer with a darker colour.
Next, I added the shade layer. I use the Hard Round Pressure Opacity brush with the tablet pressure control opacity on and the flow lowered to around 10-30%. I selected a mid grey tone and began shading in my character. The Hard Round Pressure Opacity brush is not pen pressure sensitive by default in regards to brush size (i.e. the colour will be lighter if your penstroke is light, but the size will remain the same regardless of how light/hard you press your pen); to manually turn on pen pressure, click the tablet pressure control size button .
Remember to use different shades of grey (lol fifty shades of grey) because shadows aren’t simply one shade. You can also use the burn tool to darken some areas of the shadows.
I turned off the shade layer ‘cause i didn’t need it for the next step. I created a new layer and made that my colour layer. On this layer I’m basically filling in all the base colours for my character. If you haven’t yet established a colour scheme, you can always make multiple colour layers for specific areas of the drawing and then tweak it using the Image > Adjustments Hue and Saturation option window.
When I was happy with the colours, I turned the shade layer back on and changed the layer mode to Multiply. Because my shadow layer is grey, the resulting image looks like this. It looks a bit cold, and a bit boring, so what I do is add colour to the shadow layer. There are two ways to do this: select your shadow layer and go image > adjustments > colour balance, or select your layer and create adjustment layer (bottom of your layers tab, looks like a circle half black half grey). Creating an adjustment layer will work the same as going to image > adjustments BUT instead of having that change permanent, you have the freedom of going back to those adjustments and changing them whenever you want by double clicking the adjustment layers.
When you create an adjustment layers, it will affect EVERY LAYER BENEATH IT, so in order to keep the adjustment layer affecting ONLY the shadow layer, select the adjustment layer and press ctrl + alt + g. there should then be an arrow which then indicates that it is only affecting the single layer beneath it.
Here’s what the image looks like now with the shadow layer having a redder hue. Looks much warmer and more natural.
For this art style, the colours and colour blending is what I wanted to show off, rather than relying on the line art for details. So, on a new layer ABOVE the line art layer, I used a brush with the pressure opacity on and the flow around 20-50% and started adding in colour details like the hair, the knots in the purse, fur on the boots, etc. etc.
I personally found the best way to do this is to use the eyedropper tool (or press and hold alt when you have the brush tool in use) and selecting adjacent colours in order to do the colour blending.
I kept drawing in details on until I was happy 8)
Almost done! for an extra little boost of lighting, I duplicated all the layers (except the background layer) and merged those copies into one layer. ctrl + press the layer to select the positive area of that layer (i.e. anything with a non-transparent pixel, which would be your image) and create a new layer with a layer mask applied to it. On that new layer, I changed the blending mode to soft light and selected a pale yellow colour. Using a large sized soft edged brush, I lightly coloured in certain areas that would be highlighted.
Bam. Voila, and it’s done! Sorry for stretching your dash to the ends of the earth, but I hope this has been helpful to you c: Happy drawing \o/ ♥!!