Painting - Photoshop

This style of colouring resembles traditional painting because the brush strokes are still visible. It doesn't matter that much if the line art is kept or not but I prefer to thin or paint it out to give more of a painting feel ^_^ I suppose it is possible to paint with a mouse but there's less control over brush pressure and stroke placement compared to a tablet/graphic pen. So I highly recommend using a tablet for digital painting. This page has a lot of images on so may take a while to load.

NOTE: If you have no experience with photoshop or layers I recommend reading the cell - photoshop tutorial first or playing around in photoshop first. 

To give a paint brush kind of stroke the air brushes should be used but double clicked so this menu appears and adjusted to be hard. If they're soft then they're fuzzy round the edges and not great for painting with.

Have your sketch/line art opened in photoshop. I sketched this picture with a tablet but this whole process works the same with any line art. Next I put the main colours on to separate layers with the background as blue for the sky and water. I have the line art as the top layer with it set to multiply. When selecting the colours I don't use the lasso tools but just colour with the tablet. I find the lasso too precise sometimes and I don't always want to stick to the sketch's out line.


There are many ways to colour and form clouds in pictures. It all depends on the mood you want to give with the picture. This picture is tranquil so I made softly rolling clouds with pastel blues that fade in the sky. I used the same layer all this time as I steadily built depth into the clouds. When I wanted to add deeper shadows, I use a more purple tinted blue instead of a really dark blue so the picture isn't darkened but shadows are still given. I use the colour dodge tool for some patches of white to really bring out depth through contrast. Once I'm satisfied I add very faint streaks of yellow to give warmth from the sun. I dabbed a few faint circular brushes on to give a camera lens effect as well as a few colour dodge dabs for sparkles of light.

I made these clouds up because I'm used to drawing them and have observed them enough to imagine them but if stuck for cloud shapes, reference can always be used. Just do an image search ^_^

Water is very difficult because of the way it reflects colours and light depending on water. I'm not that pleased with how the water turned out in this picture and now that I look back on it, I prefer it in the 3rd screen capture ^^; Anyway I started by using squiggles that grew closer together as they vanished into the horizon. I then added rough patches of colour to hint at waves then started building up the shades. After I started using colour dodge for highlights on the water. I then decided it was to shiney for my liking to darkened areas as I saw appropriate. The ocean doesn't suddenly stop in a straight line at the horizon but fades because of the mist. I used the rectangle lasso to help shape the water horizon initially but to make it look more naturally, faded without the lasso later.

By the time I reached the pier, I decided to delete the column it was standing on because it didn't seem right before colouring. I used a large brush and swept darker shades of brown mixed with purple across the pier. I used a brush set to multiply to put in the dark gaps between the planks and placed the gaps to give the impression of perspective. I used a colour dodge brush on the edges to makes them seem more sharp and used a fine colour dodge brush to put on the wood grain lines.


On the shorts I started with the dark shades. I then got a dark purple and brushed it gently over the shadows. This gives more depth than just making the same colour darker and lighter for shade. I used a lighter colour on the edge of shadows, which makes a material look very shiney =3 I then built up more shades and highlights with the help of colour dodge.

I started colouring the skin with peachy colours at first but then working in browns, blues and purples in the shadows and yellows into the highlights. Once I was satisfied that the layers of colour were built up enough, I erased the lines I felt I no longer needed from the line art layer. I then flattened the image. This means that I can continue painting but everything is on one layer like a traditional painting. I just continue to build up colours and shade and as I progress, I paint over what remains of the line art or leave it as I think appropriate (eg. the eyes).


I applied the method of shading with a different colour once again to the hair. I used a much brighter yellow on some of the hair and put colour dodge brush highlights near them.


I coloured the necklace by using a dark blue grey and a warmer grey. I then put in surrounding colours in the darker parts to make it look like reflection. I used colour dodge on the necklace then soft brush stroked across parts to look like light is bouncing off.

After lots of picky blending and touching up I wanted to add some more shade and colour over all. This can be done by putting layers on multiply and colour above the picture. I used green and red on the colour layer because there isn't much i the picture. Then I used purple for more shadows. After flattering all the layers again, I used a colour dodge layer to put pretty little sparkles and streaks of light to make the picture seem even more light and happy ^^;

There! All done. I hope this step-by-step walkthrough of how I digital paint is of some use. Remember being able to paint over line art is probably the best thing about this method of digital colouring =D


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