Coloring Walkthrough

Hi and welcome to my first walkthrough! I will be going through my usual process of making a finished illustration. This is a pretty basic concerning the arts, but will assume you are familiar with Photoshop too. 
As with any walkthrough, always note that this is not the only way to do things and that you will find what is comfortable for you.

Ok, let's get started!

First I start by making a small thumbnail of what my composition looks like. This is a perfect time to work out mistakes in your composition NOW, before you enlarge your drawing and start spending a ton of time painting it. I'm making sure the image has a good flow and rhythm, and also that the characters all have a clear silhouette. I was taught this process by Chris Oatley, who teaches this technique in his Painting Drama class.

 Once your thumbnail is ok, it's time to enlarge and refine the sketch. At this point, the canvas is at 6000 px by 3605 px. I will gather my references of hands, clothing, etc. as I go along to help me in drawing everything. I use Kyle T Webster's brush Animation Pencil for all my sketches. It's the best pencil brush I have ever used. It's is available for free on his website, but I recommend buying his premium set. It's really cheap and I will be using some premium ones later in this walkthrough. 

Notice how I am also drawing "through" the forms, even though they are going to be covered by clothes. This helps your figures look more solid and believable. 

Notice how I am also drawing "through" the forms, even though they are going to be covered by clothes. This helps your figures look more solid and believable. 

When you are happy with your sketch it's time to ink! I use a brush by Kyle T Webster called "Mr Natural" for my inking. It's also available for free on his website. 
Inking is sometimes my favorite part, I've always had this love/hate fascination for inking. I like to outline the eyes a little heavier to make them more noticeable. 

Now it's time to flat! Create a new layer under your lineart and start filling in your colors. I take the Paint Bucket tool and use these settings:

You can adjust the tolerance depending on your needs. Sometimes I just mess with it until I like how it's looking. 

You can adjust the tolerance depending on your needs. Sometimes I just mess with it until I like how it's looking. 

I start by making a background color, which is usually just the most dominate color the scene is set in. In this case, blue. This helps your eyes see what environment your characters will be in since lighting will sometimes change their local color. Now just drop the paint on where you want it. Make sure your lineart doesn't have any pixel gaps in it cuz the paint will fly out like an open wound and that totally sux. 

I make all my flats on a single layer. This saves memory on your computer and helps keep you from having a crap ton of layers everywhere! 

I make all my flats on a single layer. This saves memory on your computer and helps keep you from having a crap ton of layers everywhere! 

Now, I'm continuing to add some special colors, like subtle hue shifts on the characters' skin and their fun hair colors. I place this on a separate layer, in case I need to erase it. That way, I won't disturb the content on the Flat Colors layer.

I'm moving on to shading the picture now, using a "Multiply" layer with the opacity turned down to 77%. 

Here's how my Multiply layer looks with the blend mode set to "Normal". See how I have chosen multiple colors as my shadows. This helps the image really pop. The whole image should not be shaded with one color! Experiment a little and have fun!

Here's how my Multiply layer looks with the blend mode set to "Normal". See how I have chosen multiple colors as my shadows. This helps the image really pop. The whole image should not be shaded with one color! Experiment a little and have fun!

Now I am adding some bounce light and fill light to the characters. Since they are surrounded by blue sky I have added some blue in the shadows. This makes them blend into their environment. 

I'm adding some strong highlights coming from the left hand side. It's a fun stylistic choice that makes the whole image look cheerful. At this point, the image is almost done!

WT10.jpg

The background is done! I had considered drawing a more complex one instead, but since the characters ended up being pretty detailed I went with some super stylized clouds instead.

The fun part now! I add in the atmosphere effects. Since the characters in the back are farther away, I use a layer with the blend mode set to "lighten" and color some blue over it. This makes the characters really blend in and look distant. 

ALL DONE!

Do you have any questions? Did I leave out anything? Feel free to contact me with any questions and I would be happy to help in any way I can. Just use the "contact" form on my website or email me at Sara AT WhiteTreeFox.com. 

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