In an earlier post answering a question about how some of my pictures were colored I promised (well, ok, hinted that I’d try to remember) that I’d do a “process” post showing how a picture evolves. Here’s an example with a fairly straightforward picture.
- The original scan of the pencil drawing
- The drawing after being cleaned up, having the levels adjusted to improve contrast, and with some application of the “dodge” and “burn” tools to bring out highlights and shadows.
- The drawing with an “overlay” layer added. Colors applied to the overlay modify the color of the shadows. Here I’ve mostly used a dark green, although I’ve slipped in a little indigo in places too.
- The drawing with a “multiply” layer added. Colors applied to the multiply layer modify the color of the light areas. Here I’ve built up the colors using colors with opacity between 10% and 60%. So highlights are formed largely by lighter application of color, which allows the colors of the original drawing to show through. In this case, I worked over the colors a little bit with the “dodge” and “burn” tools, and also used a low opacity eraser to reduce the color opacity in areas where I felt like I’d applied it too thickly.
Most of the work was done with a soft round brush, although the background involved a watercolor brush to give it a little texture. Since this is a fairly simple image, I only used a single layer for the “multiply” colors. I also didn’t bother with an opaque color layer in this case.
All work done in GIMP, but pretty much the same techniques should work in Photoshop. Probably in other digital art programs too, although I’m less familiar with those.