Creating characters with a pencil drawing can be very exciting. Reviving a drawing can be challenging, however, in this tutorial, I will show you how to use a Photoshop tool to turn a pencil drawing into a beautiful and dynamic illustration.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to process a drawing, color it, and finally add light and shade and texture. This lesson includes a video tutorial that will help you with the lesson. So let’s get started!
1. Prepare a Drawing
I love to draw cartoon characters. As soon as I have an idea, I immediately begin to draw the image on paper, and then scan the drawn sketch.
I am sure that you know the feeling when you are not satisfied with the result of a pencil drawing. For example, the proportions of the character are incorrectly taken into account or the character could be more dynamic. And since we work in a digital program, we can solve these problems very easily and quickly. Therefore, a pencil sketch needs to be prepared before we start coloring. Open the sketch in Photoshop, create a duplicate layer.
Using tool Lasso (Lasso Tool), create a selection around the head. Next, right-click on the created selection and in the window that appears, select the option Invert selected area (Inverse), and then press the ‘Delete’ key. Since we created a duplicate layer earlier, now we will get the image of the head on a separate layer.
On the layer with the selected image of the head, right-click on the image and in the window that appears, select the option Free transformation (Free Transform).
Holding the key (Ctrl), pull the anchor points to slightly increase the size of the head. Pay attention to keep the head in the same position on the neck as before.
Do the same with your legs. Duplicate the original pattern layer (sketch). Create a selection around the legs with the tool. Lasso (Lasso Tool). Next, right-click on the created selection and in the window that appears, select the option Invert selected area (Inverse), and then press the ‘Delete’ key.
On the layer with the selected image of the legs, right-click on the image and in the window that appears, select the option Free transformation(Free Transform).
Raise the image slightly to the top of the legs, and then slightly rotate the selected area.
Now we can rotate the whole body, duplicate the original layer with the pattern (sketch). Hold down the key (Ctrl), select the last three layers.
Next, right-click on the selected layers and in the window that appears, select the option Convert to smart object (Convert to Smart Object).
Now we can rotate the whole body with Free transformation (Free Transform).
So rotate the selected image.
Next, let’s clean our drawing. For this, we use the tool Stamp (Clone Stamp Tool), as shown in the screenshot below.
Next, we change the contrast of the picture, and for this we use the following settings.
Now the picture looks more suitable for coloring. Save the document in JPG format, and then reopen it in Photoshop. This is the easiest way to convert all layers and corrections.
Additionally, I often use the tool Plastics (Liquify Tool), to bring to the ideal of their drawings. In this case, I used plastic to enhance the character’s smile. Open the JPG image in Photoshop, then go Filter – Plastic (Filter> Liquify).
Apply the tool Deformation (Forward Warp Tool) to stretch a smile.
We have completed all the necessary work on the preparation! Now we can begin the process of coloring.
2. Getting Started Coloring Picture
I prefer to work with large documents, because it allows me to print my work in a large size. So make sure Resolution (Resolution) was 300 dpi. Let’s go Image – Image Size (Image> Image Size). For this picture I used the following dimensions.
I always create a duplicate of the main layer (draft), so that there is a backup copy, if I ruin something. Change the blending mode for duplicate layer to Multiplication (Multiply). This mode will help you draw below the picture layer. Secure this layer with a lock.
Now, create a new layer. Place this layer below the draft layer (with blending mode Multiplication (Multiply). Fill this layer with a base color. This will be our background.
Next, carefully apply the basic colors that you will use to color your pattern, creating a palette of colors. For the color picker, create a separate layer. Next, you can choose a color cast using the tool. Pipette (Eyedropper Tool). As soon as you finish painting over a fragment of the composition, fix the layer with the help of a padlock.
Next, create a new layer, and we proceed to the coloring.
I often use brushes from Mike Nash. This is a talented artist, on his website you can download many fantastic brushes for free.
Now that we have already chosen the primary colors, we just need to select the desired color shades using the tool. Pipette (Eyedropper Tool). At this stage, it is very important to choose the right color shades, since The picture will be created on the basis of this color palette.
Do not zoom in when you paint over the background, so you can see the picture in full scale. Select the primary colors that you have already conceived with Color palettes (Color Picker).
Try to imagine the source of light where the light comes from. In this case, the light source is located on the left side of the image, therefore, the upper left corner will be slightly lighter.
Useful hint: periodically reflect the image horizontally, so you can see your picture under a different look, and this will help you detect possible errors.
Now, create a new layer for character coloring.
Gently fill the character with a base color using a standard brush.
Next, click Preserve pixel transparency (Lock Transparent Pixels).
Now we will add volume to the image of the character using a light shade. The texture of the brush will give the image a beautiful look.
It is always good to work when there are many layers, because if you make a mistake, you can fix it quickly and easily.
Next, create a new layer on top of the character layer as a clipping mask, we will color the character. Clipping mask has the same effect as the button function. Preserve pixel transparency (Lock Transparent Pixels).
Our character gradually begins to revive. Keep in mind that these are only basic colors, so don’t focus on the details yet. Try to apply only a few strokes.
3. Add Details
After we have applied the primary colors, we can proceed to the detailed work.
So, we will paint over our pattern, therefore, create a new layer on top of the patterned layer (the sketch layer in the Multiplication (Multiply).
Again, try to create many layers. If the document is too large, then simply merge the layers.
I always start with the highlights, because I can better imagine the surrounding light.
Hint: I often draw small arrows on a separate layer. They tell me where the light comes from and where the shadow should fall.
It’s time to once again reflect our image horizontally, so you can see your picture under a new look. Try to paint over the sketch. The head is the center of the picture, therefore, you should pay attention to this area.
As you can see, most of the pencil sketches in the outline have disappeared under color shades. Because of the brightness of the earth, we can draw a reflecting light on the character’s tummy, as well as on the hands.
For the ground, I used a stone texture. Download the stone texture to our working paper.
Change the blending mode for the stone texture layer to Soft light (Soft Light), and also reduce the opacity of the layer to 73%.
Activate the tool Free transformation (Free Transform). Next, drag the texture in the desired direction.
Using tool Eraser ( Eraser Tool), hide the edges of the texture.
Next, create a new layer on top of the stone texture layer. Now we can paint over the texture.
The picture is almost ready – the only remaining detail is the hair.
To create hair, we need a thin brush. Go to the bookmark Brush (Brush) and in the brush settings window for Form Dynamics (Shape Dynamics), I used the following settings.
The background is a bit empty, so I’ll draw some dust waves in the background.
To give the work a final touch, create a new layer, fill it with gray. Next, go Filter – Noise – Add Noise (Filter> Noise> Add Noise).
Install amount (amount) 21.27%. Click ‘OK’.
Next, go Filter – Blur – Blur on the frame (Filter> Blur> Box Blur). Set the blur radius to 2 px.
Now, change the blending mode to Soft light (Soft Light), and also reduce the opacity of the layer to 54%.
We have completed the lesson! Great job!
That’s all! I hope this lesson was useful for you, and I hope that it will inspire you to create your characters and your style. Until I forgot, the last tip: Good luck!
Link to PSD file the lesson
Author: Ken Barthelmey