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Saturday, August 2

Digital Colouring Tutorial part 1 & 2

I just wanted to give you a heads up, because I am going to be doing a colouring tutorial on one of my Book of Dreams portraits of Aine. I say tutorial, but what I actually mean is that I'm going to be painting on this one for a long time and provide you with lots of Work In Progress pictures and supply tips, comments and how to's on occasion.

The first part of this is the sketch, which I have uploaded to my scraps on Deviantart:


For this I used Open Canvas, which is a program not many of you will have, so I can't really tell or learn you much of anything, apart from... SKETCH BIG. The original sketch is twice the size of the version I uploaded. I used no reference, hence the slightly unrealistic proportions. But, after all, my main goal is to show you how I colour, rather than teach you accurate anatomy.

On the above picture I've put down the basic colours in Photoshop CS3, but it will work for CS2, too. I have two ways of doing this. Sometimes I immediately make my brush pressure sensitive, and set the hardness to 0%, but not this time.

How this one works:

1. Make sure the sketch you use is on a seperate, transparent layer. There are many tutorials on seperating your lineart or sketch, but here's a link to one.

2. Make a new layer and make sure it's under your sketch layer.

3. Find a background colour you like, and fill the layer with it, using the paintbucket tool. Remember, backgrounds determine a great deal of the mood of your painting. Blue (tinted) colours are cold and will set a nagative, moody feeling while red (tinted) colours will set a warmer mood. Also, the darker the backgroung colour, the more likely it is that your subject will pop from the frame.

For mine, I chose a soft pink, because I want some kind of dreamy atmosphere.

4. Make a new layer above your background layer and take a round, hard brush. With the brush, put down your colourscheme, as I have done. First pick your basics, then the shadows and highlights. The smaller dots, I put down later, because I found out I had forgotten for of the darker shadow colours. This happens often, but isn't a bad thing. I usually add colour until the very last step of painting. To be perfectly honest, sometimes I don't even pick a scheme, I just start painting and see where I end up.

5. Make a new layer above your colour scheme and on this layer, block in the colours, like I have (this you can do with a hard brush, but some of you might find it easier to use a soft brush as it can make later blending slightly easier.) This can be totally messy, by all means. A painting like this can still turn out with beautiful gradients. A smart artist would make a new layer for every part of the face, but I don't do that. In this (details), I have in fact painted everything but the hair onto one single layer. This is not recommended.

This is it for the basic colours.

Other tips:

- When picking your shadow colours, don't hesitate to make them really dark. When you colour-pick a photo, you will find that most shadows on faces are near black. My shadows for the face are probably too light, but I will ammend this later.

- Don't go overboard on the highlights, too much white (I never even use a pure white) will make your highlights look unrealistic.

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