I had fun doing this cover for the Ryukyu Star. I used the knowledge I gained from the last cover and quickly finished this one. The hardest part about this project was deciding the colors. It’s a good thing I let the colors speak for themselves.
I penciled, inked, and scanned the base image.
I made several layers in Photoshop and colored the image. I usually start with a base color–in this case, warm colors–and work my way from the body to the rest of the image.
After I apply a base color, I put in dark layers, light layers, darker layers, and finally, the lightest highlights if needed.
The final image has warm colors (autumn) and cool colors (winter) to show how one season goes into another.
I’m getting used to making digital art nowadays, and this next project proves it. In my past art projects, especially the last Ryukyu Star cover and my personal avatar picture, I had trouble with the coloring. There was a thin layer of white surrounding all the lines I filled in even when I made the pictures into vectors in Illustrator. I finally looked up how to color hand-drawn images from a free class on Skillshare.
I highly recommend joining this website. It has classes on art, writing, and marketing–all things artists, writers, and self-promoting bloggers need in this digital world.
The hardest part about this project? The actual concept. I hate re-using other motifs, and if I have to, I’d rather just not do it or tackle it in a different way. I pulled out the most famous part of Alice in Wonderland–falling down the rabbit hole–and replaced Alice with a man working on something because this is the busiest time for English teachers.
I ended up changing the original concept and added a fall-to-winter doorway.
After changing the original design, I started to paint the image in Photoshop. I learned that if I put the image’s layer in Multiply mode (it’s usually set in Normal mode), all whites in the picture would become transparent. This solved my white line problem and made my life a lot easier.
I did almost lose the colored picture. I was happy to play with lots of colors and gradients to get the final image below.
“How do digital artists take drawings from pencil to fully-colored images?” I’m always wondering this. In every digital art project, I’m looking for a breakthrough, and even if I flip through magazines and tutorials on the subject, the best way to learn is to practice.
This was the first image I colored without converting the inks to vectors. I deleted the negative space, going in as far as pixel by pixel, and darkened the inks with some level adjustments.
I created a separate layer and colored it as the base color.Maybe it’s just habit from painting, but putting down a bright base color makes the other colors brighter, especially if the colors are placed using around 80 percent opacity. In this project, I used a bright orange-yellow that would lend itself to dark and light colors.
I made different layers for each color, usually starting with the medium color followed by the dark colors and highlights.
What do you do to digitally color images? I really like to get constructive feedback and how I can improve my art!
For the Ryukyu Star, a publication created by and for JET Programme participants in Okinawa, Japan, I made a cover using this issue’s theme, the rainy season.
1. The penciling and inking: It took me longer to come up with the concept actually drawing it! I had to look at different pictures and paintings with rain and spring. Finally, I decided using an Arriety-style character with a larger-than-life flower instead of a typical umbrella. The inking was done within 20 minutes.
2. Tracing and Base Colors: After I scanned the image into Illustrator, I did an image trace (Illustrator traces the image and makes it into a vector) and painted in the base colors.
3. Photoshop: I took the image to Photoshop in two different layers. One layer was the transparent black-and-white image on top of the base-colored image. The rest of the coloring were sandwiched as layers between the top black-and-white image and the colored one so that I wouldn’t end up coloring over the lines.
4. Coloring: If I were drawing or painting this image, I’d start with the lighter colors and work into the darker colors. I took the opposite approach and started with the dark colors and build up to the light colors.
5. Final version: With the coloring done, I transferred this image to InDesign (since I always get the sizing wrong when I do it independently). I added a blue background, the magazine title, and lines.
I’m still getting the hang of digital coloring, but it’s good to see that my art schooling be used more constructively.
#2: The Ryukyu Star Winter 2014 Cover
I’m the visual editor for an online magazine for Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET Programme) teachers in Okinawa. I’ve decided to completely change the design of the magazine to make it more efficient as a magazine. To commemorate this change, I took the skills I learned on Photoshop and used it to color this mediocre inking of a horse.
This horse was drawn without any preliminary sketches. I wanted to keep it fun and a little messy by just going at it with a Copic multiliner pen.
Next was tracing it in Illustrator and ignoring the whites.
I transferred the image to Photoshop and used many layers underneath the vector to color it.
Since I was using InDesign for designing the layout of the magazine, I decided to put the final product in InDesign. I always get the cover sizes wrong, so it’s just easier and cleaner.