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Basic coloring Techniques

Kyle Runciman / July 19, 2012 Tutorial created in SketchBook Pro 2011, 5 Series Techniques are useful in any version of SketchBook Pro.

Tools for the Job

Airbrush (standard)

Hard Eraser (standard)

Soft Eraser (standard)

Paintbrush (standard)

Tools for the Job

1 1. Pencil HB (Based on Preset 2 > Brush 3) 2. Tapered Airbrush (custom)

3 3. Tapered Hard Eraser (custom)

Tools for the Job

4 4. Tapered Soft Eraser (custom) 5. Tapered Paintbrush (custom)

6 6. Tapered Felt Tip Pen (custom)

1 Coloring Start Point Prepare a sketch.

2 Getting Started the first step. The most important step is

Create a new layer. This will insure your sketch throughout the process. Once youve added a new layer, position it below the sketch layer (Background).

First Paint Layer

3 Prepare the Fill about coloring There are several ways of going
a sketch. This is just one technique. First, the standard paintbrush is used to outline the main region of the sketch.

4 Lock Layer Transparency At this point, you can use a bunch of layers to
build up form with shading and highlights. But to keep things quick and easy, Lock the Transparency of the Layer.

5 Airbrushing Form only the painted area of that layer can be edited. With the Layer Transparency locked,
So take a big airbrush and go to town with darker shades near the bottom and lighter shades up top to start giving the region shape. For this exercise, well stick with a basic top-down light source.

Almighty Erase Back 6 Thehere, there is a procedure combining layers, airbrushing and erasing that some call Erase Back From
It allows you to paint without worrying about staying in the lines, and focus on building form. Create a new Layer on top of the Original Paint Layer. Throw down a darker shade with a large airbrush. Feather back certain areas with a soft Eraser. And clean up areas entirely with the Hard Eraser set to 100%.

7 Keep Layers Organized to your layer stack quickly. The Erase Back technique can do wonders

To prevent time wasted looking for specific layers later, merge the ones you know are solid and are confident with.

8 Highlight Layers Trick Creating a glossy/satin look requires some

highlighting finesse. Start with a big swipe of a white airbrush. Create your highlight edge by erasing back with a small hard eraser.

Put down a temporary layer with a contrasting base color underneath to see where you went with the airbrush. This makes for a cleaner file later on.

Get rid of any white in areas that dont need it. (You can avoid all this with layers built on top of these highlights, theres a million different techniques)

9 Hinting at Reflection finThere are many ways to deal with glossy

ishes and reflections. Without stressing over photo-realistic results, you can carve a horizon line out of a dark airbrush stoke, and remove all the extra above.

Like so.

Now use a solid white brush to loosely build a reflection coming from the floor. Fade the top of that layer back with a soft eraser.

10 Wrapping up the Body layers of shading and highlight, When youre happy with all the different

Merge all the layers and add a new layer underneath to repeat the process. This can be tedious at first, but practice and tweaking can make this almost brainless work.

11 Base Coatsthis technique as similar to You might think of

a real paint job. Laying down the base coat and adding coats of candy and clear to finish. Keep the different base colors on separate layers to keep things easy.

and Top 12 Lighting from headlightsHighlights add a layer above the sketch. To create glow or strong highlights,

It 13 Ground to plant the subject down in an environment is to drop a solid color at the bottom of the A simple way
stack. This is where that light-source can really makes the piece pop.


Add a layer on top of the background color. Lay down some white aggressively with the airbrush under all the sketch layers. Hit the lower corners and upper regions with some black.

14 Textures with a desired texture. Bring in an image

File > Add Image. Make sure this is done on a fresh layer, or that the [import into a new layer] option is selected in Preferences. Otherwise, you will lose any work underneath the imported image.

When the image is brought in, youll see the Layer Navigation puck. Use this to scale, position and rotate the texture initially. Select the area you need or erase away everything you dont.


Build up the finish with shading and highlights using the same steps as earlier. Essentially thats it. You can take an image as far as you like this way. The only limitations being patience and time.

15 Finish Sign it.


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