Tutorial for Coloring Part3: Coloring

Now for the actual part of the tutorial. The coloring!

First two parts here:
Tutorial for coloring Part1: Settings and Techniques

Tutorial for Coloring Part2: Linearts

  • Take out the finished Lineart

  • Now decide on a background color. Since I like turquoise, I decided to use it as a basic color for the background.

    Why the background first?
    It doesn’t matter if it is a complicated BG or a simple one. The background decides, what color your shades or highlights have. and how the other colors in the picture appear. Try putting a neutral gray on top of the turquoise. You will notice it appears to be a warm gray.
    If you use the same gray with another background. it will look different.

  • Another important thing for coloring:
    There is no true black, gray or white in nature!
    I still use white forthe shineyness… but if you want to color something natural, I recommend not using it.

  • We start setting colors now. For that I hide the Black/contrast part of the lineart.

  • Now create a normal layer above the bg layer (or layer set, if the BG is more complicated) and call it “skin”

  • I select now the lineart layerset. By doing so, I have the group as a whole as source of my selection. Use the magic wand tool to select the parts of the skin.

    It is only important to have the border parts selected. (Parts that border with the background and wont be hidden by layers we put on top of the skin layer.)
    As you can see… there is strange parts that are left out of the selection. And give the whole thing a bit dirty look.
    I now use Selection > Increment(1) twice, to get these parts included. (The amount of time you have to use this, depends on how thick you made your lineart…)

    See: The parts are included.
    For the rest of selecting the skin I use the Selection Pen

    I overpainted over the borders? That’s no problem. Those parts will be hidden by other layers anyway. Besides, that way I can make sure that later there will be no part of the Background showing where they should not show.

  • Now select the skin layer again, chose a color for the skin and fill the layer with Ctrl+F. With Ctrl+D you can deselect everything.
    If you don’t like how the skin color looks like in front of your background… preserve the layers opacity and try out different colors.

    Finished setting the skin color.

  • Now I create another Layerset, which I call “clothing”. Inside that sad I repeat the process of setting colors with all the other parts of the picture. Starting with light colors and continuing with dark colors.

  • For the white parts of the faces I actually don’t use the magic wand, but only the Selection Pen.
    Hair is NOT included in the layerset So put the hair on a layer above the clothing set.

  • Here another example of how the next layer looks like when selecting it.

  • The tips of the hair will need to be done with the Selection pen.

    Now we are done with filling the colors.

  • We can now make the lineart layer reappear, where the Contrast shades are.

  • In case you are wondering what my layer hierarchy looks like at this point:

  • The next step is giving the line-art a color different from black.
    I usually use a dark red that is not that strongly saturated.
    For the black/Contrast part of the line-art, I use an even darker red.
    You can do that by locking the layer-set’s transparency and fill the parts of the lineart-layer with Ctrl+F and the desired color.
    I put the layerset-mode on "Multiply"

    I know that for now the colors the black line-arts look better. but later the reddish ones, do. (At least I feel so ^^

  • Now I create a Clipping Layer that is set on multiply and with the fringe effect. on top of the skin layer. Yes. We will now color the skin.

  • First by starting with Pencil B and setting rough shades.
    TAKE NOTE: Since the layer is set on multiply, we need a really light color for doing shades.
    For convenience sake (since I can’t use the color picker for getting that color, I save it on the color swatch)

  • Here is my rough shades.

  • I now use the technique with the Watercolor-brush, explained in the first part of the tutorial, to clean up and give the picture a softer look.
    I also use Pencil A as help for cleaning

  • I lock the transparency of the shading layer and with the airbrush, I add darker shades and multiple colors that work with the background.

    So now we have a very colorful skin xD’
    I tend to change those colors a LOT along the way. So I doubt it will stay looking that way.

  • Create another clipping mask on top of the shading one and set it on screen
    Think of what color your light-source should have… or might have, since you can always change that later and with the airbrush lighten up some parts of the skin.
    (You might want to chose a very dark color for that, since if you use white everything will get very bright)

    Since i used a very bright basic color for the skin… you hardly can notice the difference to before OTL

  • I didn’t like the colorfulness… I changed it back and only added a slightly darker (and redder) orange… you will see that when the next step is posted.
    I’ll keep the part above to let you guys see that it is indeed possible.

  • With that we are done with coloring the skin.
    Now we create a clipping group layer above the layer-set “clothing” and set it to multiply+fringe effect.

  • I use the color picker to pick up the background color, make it a bit lighter and less saturated.
    Now we repeat the same process as for the skin for all the clothes all together.

  • rough shades:

  • Cleaning up

  • NEW STEP: I add another multiply clipping group layer but without fringe this time and add some more darker shades.
    This is my compensation for not adding the “black” part in the line-art for the clothes.
    For this step I use Pencil A
    Since I felt that the shadow below the chin was too light, I did the same thing for the skin-layer.

  • Now the Airbrush:

  • Now right above the clothing set, create a screen layer And add highlights to the clothing. (with airbrush or not airbrush. they can be sharp or soft)

  • Now I switch on the layer where I put the color for the eyes and add detail directly on the layer and with the very normal SAI brush.

  • When that is done… we can start coloring the hair.
    I use Pencil B for that. The process is yet again the same.

  • Now we create another screen-layer above the multiply layer and add small highlights with Pencil B.
    First I paint roughly, then I erase with the normal Eraser.

  • Now comes that we have the colors, shades and basically everything set, we clean up.
    This happens on a normal layer above the line-art and with the normal pencil.
    I dont know how to explain it else but putting more details into the drawing °_°;

    Cleaning up

  • As more or less last step when coloring the character we add the super shiny white highlights with Pencil A (Or B… for the hair maybe).
    In hair and eyes.
    On a normal layer above it all.

    Now since the BG looks a bit boring, I add some nuances with the water color Tool directly on the layer.

    And for the sake of finishing it up… optionally add a texture and your water mark.
    Textures you can find in a huge amount for free in the Internet. Pay attention if you have to credit the creators there, though.

    For Texturing lay the texture above the part you want to texture (only BG, whole picture… if only the character use a clipping mask…)
    and set the layer to Overlay.
    Now adjust the transparency until it is to your liking. (Or remember what you learned about layer masks. xD)

  • Anyway. We are done. I hope this could is helpful and that you learned a few things. I am sorry I cannot explain, how I decide where what shadow goes.
    Try looking at other people’s art and observe how they are doing it and keep in mind the source of light.

    > There is no absolute way of doing things. (I think I might be doing things very stupidly, even xD)
    > Only with experiments and practice you can improve, find your own way.
    > Don’t work your picture dead. find the point where you like it! (In other words.. don’t be too perfect.. though this is my personal opinion xD”’)

  • This is just ONE way I color. Normally I change my way of coloring all the time, because for some kind of pictures a different way of coloring might work better and suit it more.

  • What I want to say is: Do it your way! <3