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Coloring with Krom!

Hello, fellow DoorQs! I am Krom!

No, not THAT guy…

I am the colorist for Junkyard Angels and I am here to show you the steps I take to color the line art of the series.

The thought of digital art makes most people assume that it is a difficult and daunting task. However, with a basic
understanding of the programs used for digital media anyone can color beautiful imagery.

And that’s where we shall



There are a lot of software options in the digital art world. This can seem a bit
overwhelming but the most important thing to understand is that almost all of
the available programs do just about the same sorts of things. There are small
differences (ie. Photoshop uses bitmap imaging whereas Illustrator uses vector)
but these things are best left for another discussion.
The programs that I am most familiar with are Adobe Photshop and Gimp. These
programs are remarkably similar save for one striking feature: Photoshop will
run you about $800 (for a version that will most likely go obsolete mere months
after your purchase) whereas Gimp is free (Yes, all hail open source!) I will be
demonstrating my coloring steps within a Photoshop environment, but this is
simply because I have grown very comfortable with it’s interface. Rest assured,
everything that I do in this demonstration is easily done in other programs like
Gimp. Gimp also provides a massive resource of add-ons that can help you
customize your interface to your hearts desire.
Wilbur will show you the way to Gimp!

Step 1 – Layers

This could very well be the most important thing that you should understand when you begin coloring a black and white illustration  (really anything you do with digital art.)

Layering is a technique
that is like placing sheets of clear plastic on top of each other.  Each piece will have different aspects that, when combined, create an entire picture. With this I am able to have the lines, color, and shading all on different sections so that I can change them without
affecting the others.
For my process, I create 4 layers:

Background Copy – simply a copy of the original line art. I place this over all of the other layers and set it to the property of “multiply”.

This causes all but the black lines to become

Shade – this will be where I apply all of my shading and highlights
to the image. I set this layers opacity to 50%.

Color – as the name implies. Color goes here. No change is needed

Background – in this layer I place a base color that I use to display the default background color for the panels and to help me see if I’ve made any coloring errors. Remember to color inside the lines! I put my layers in their own folder.


Step 2 – Flat Colors

Jason is looking a little blue (Nyuk nyuk! Krom;
God of Groans.) You will see that I filled the
background layer with a lovely shade of cyan.
With such a direct contrast I am able to keep an eye on my colors going over the lines.

All my flat colors go into the color layer. There are two methods that I use to color an image:
The fastest way is using the paint bucket tool.
I don’t know of a program that doesn’t have one.

This only works if the lines create a closed field.  Otherwise you will paint whole areas that you did
not want that color in. This worked for Pollock but we are not shooting for abstract art (Of course, you can tweak how your paint bucket works and this can help to a certain degree.)

The other method is to use the brush tool.  It’s very easy.  Pick a color and smear it all over the place until you have colored in the area. There are alwaysa lot of paint brush options.  But as I don’t expect anyone to see the edges of flat colors I just use a hard brush.


Step 3 – Shading and Highlights

This is a fairly straight-forward process. With your shade layer set at a 50% Opacity I simply take flat black and use my brush to add shadows to my image.  Afterwords I apply flat white as my highlights.

For consistency, I opted to use a hard brush
(Consistency means that I have a long drawn out
excuse and don’t want to bore you with it.)



Other Vaguely Relevant Things
(Tools, Inspirations, Etc.)

That’s it! Harrowing wasn’t it?

Here’s the part where I get to soap box about technique. Art, like everything else in the world, is something you have to practice at.  Don’t believe the Hollywood hype.  No one picks up a brush and is an instant art genius.
DaVinci was an apprentice once.  Escher was a mathematician. Having said that, above all the digital style  I can show you, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t understand how things look.  Clothing folds and flows.  Light
dapples and dissipates.  Hair curves and sways.  You get the idea. This is not as hard as you might think.
Whether or not you realize it, you always notice these things.  Without that understanding, shading images would not work as they do for me.  And with that realization, you are already miles ahead on your path making
pretty pictures.
There are tools that you can use that can greatly aid you in your digital art
goals. I have already covered the software area.
I use a tablet, a lovely little plastic square that, when plugged into your
computer, acts as canvas for you to draw with. Even the most inexpensive
tablets come with a pressure-sensitive pen that gives you a lot of flexibility
in drawing and coloring.
A scanner will also help you greatly. You know what that is. I won’t bore
you with the details.

Leo after art. He goes by Leo now.



So this is my coloring tutorial.   I sure hope that I didn’t go overboard, but I do love to talk.  I wonder if PK(God of No File Attached) knew that when he asked me to do this.  And an extra thanks to Zach (God of Pen Cups) because he keeps drawing things to keep my brush from rusting.

-Anrew Whelan





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