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After my first foray into digital coloring with the Link painting I did, I talked to a friend who told me that they use the pen or line tool to do their line art, and I decided to try that instead since my hand is horribly unsteady. I found a good preexisting piece that would work for outlining, and tried it out!
BASIC OUTLINING AND COLORING STEPS
This isn’t an in depth tutorial (not yet, I plan to make one though) but I just wanted to share the very basics of what I did with everyone. I’ll share more resources at the end for specifics like using the pen tool and coloring.
1) First I found a piece that I thought would take well to line art. Since I wanted to jump right in, I didn’t want to have to plan out and draw something new; at least not at first.
2) Using the pen tool in Photoshop CS2, I outlined the entire drawing. This can be a tedious process. For someone really handy and skilled with a tablet they could probably have outlined these freehand, but I’m just not at that level yet.
With the pen tool, you can change the line’s width, curve, and set it so that it’s consistent throughout, or tapers, like a line might with pressure sensitivity. The first lines I made for the ponytail and the back of the head were before I realized that the “pressure sensitive” look was an option. It ended up not mattering because Avery’s hair is black and the lines get lost in his hair anyway.
TIP: Be careful when using the pressure sensitive option for lines, because sometimes, depending on the direction, curve, and thickness of the line, it won’t connect to the rest of the line art, or might end up too thin in an area you need it to be thicker in.
In the end I’m pretty happy with how this line art came out and I plan to keep using the pen tool in the future. But there’s just something about sketching with a pen, like in the original drawing above, that gives art so much more life than these neat, organized digital lines (maybe I’m just old fashioned? haha). That’s why anything I outline like this will definitely be continuing to the coloring stage.
3) Now for coloring. Since my Link coloring was more to test out watercolor and painterly effects, I changed it up for this one. When I see the neat organized lines above I can’t help but want to color in a flatter, more graphic style.
The below isn’t actually done yet because I do want to add shading on the skin and clothes, so I ‘spose I’ll be writing up a part 2 for this. So far though, I’ll go over what I did, though I think for coloring people usually like to see videos or individual screenshots. (As I said, I plan to do that eventually!!)
Right now I’ll discuss the hair, since without shading elsewhere, there isn’t much else to point out yet. Since his black hair completely drowns out the lines I made, losing a lot of detail, I first went over them with a transparent (set to around 25%) blue-gray brush, the same color I knew I’d be using for the hair highlights. I didn’t worry about being slightly messy with it, because I cleaned them up later with the smudge tool and an eraser.
Next, I used the same color at around the same opacity to scribble in some highlights. Since the opacity is fairly low, I kept it the same but made the brush size smaller and scribbled over the mid section of the highlight, layering the two 25% opacities to make the mid section brighter. I did that one more time, then used the smudge tool to push and pull the colors, making an effect more like strands of hair instead of blobs of layered color.
That’s it for now, but I’ll return later with more on this. For those who need or want more resources, check these out, I used both of them:
COMING SOON: Elemental bookmarks, more elemental portraits, Part 2 for the tutorial above, more illustrations