Well I’ve had quite a busy month and thought I’d sneak in a new piece before May starts. I started out being commissioned (and still am) to do a number of freelance pieces and I also moved into a new place that has given me much more room to create in. I’m truly blessed.
Here’s an early morning sketch that I decided to spend a little time on and color.
What do you think?
Here’s the rough sketch I posted earlier
This was a blast to do. Out of the 4 designs that I submitted they picked 3 of them which to me are some pretty damn good odds considering there were 4 other artists contributing as well. Here are the rough concepts and the finished decks and even the undesired one on the end. Poor lil fella. Click on the image for epic hi res goodness!
This is something I enjoy doing at the end of the coloring stage. Everything else looks nice and colored in except the line art of the character. Let’s change that.
You can really take your illustration another creative step further by complementing the colors of your character with some colored line art surrounding it. While I don’t mind the look of the good ol’ black line art or no line at all for that matter, this trick really brings a piece home I think.
This video assumes you have a working knowledge of Adobe Flash. The process is easy really and involves only 3 tools at most; The Line Tool, The Paint Bucket Tool & The Arrow Tool.
The Line Tool is used to restrict color from pooling into other areas of your line art. The trick is to drag the line along the edge of your brush stroke seen in the video. Doing so will cause the line to snap to the brush stroke sealing the shape. The picture on the left shows the lines I made by the line tool circled in green (click image to zoom). You’ll know that the line snaps when you see the line buckle and shape itself around the corresponding stroke which is seen more pronouncedly when sealing more rounder shapes. You’ll also know when you’ve done it incorrectly when you go to fill the color and it pools into an area you don’t want it to. It’s because you have a break in one of your seals in which case you have to check each line drawn in that area and redraw the bad one. On the subject of snapping, a line will naturally grab onto a brush stroke without the need for any snapping to be turned on. In fact, I’ve turned every snap feature off.
The Paint Bucket Tool is used to fill in an area of line art separated by the line tool. I use Ibis’s Toon Titan to mix and create colors but in case you don’t, just use the brightness slider in your color Color tab. I like to go with a darker color but use a brightness value of your choosing and make sure you ramp the value the same number (give or take) with every color you choose otherwise your color palette will shift. So for example, if your skin tone line art looks great at a brightness setting of 70% then use that for the other colors. Flash’s Color system isn’t very impressive and is somewhat of a bugger to work with so do yourself a favor and check out 3rd party plugin developers. They’ll save you an abundance of time.
The Arrow Tool is used in 2 ways. The first as a selection method where you click on the brush stroke and with it selected chose a color to update the line art color. The other is to tighten up any bumps or inconsistencies in the line quality I may have missed. Don’t go too crazy or you’ll be knitting vector lines for an entire day. I also use The Subselection Tool depending on how many points I’ve got to clean up. So I guess I use 4 tools.
And finally, you have to remove all the lines to see your masterpiece in all it’s glory. Make sure you get them all too! I almost sent a revision with one of those suckers still in there so make sure you pick a color that really stands out.
By the way, I think I may have seen someone use some sort of selection method that allows you to “select all lines” to avoid the arduous task of making sure you’ve selected them all so if anyone has a work around for me I’d be super appreciative!
Here’s the fun part and the uncertain part. I never know what I’m going to color something so I just jump right in and throw paint down. I’d normally take this into Photoshop for some texture but some Disney color line art will do. See you in the next one!!
So it’s been a little time since I’ve jumped into any DAW and created any new music. But it’s a new year and I have so many ideas in my head I’m having a hard time trying to keep up with my brain. This one is called Origins And Oracles (Mysterium Reprise) If you enjoy what you hear please click the like button to show your support.
Thanks for listening!
My name is Christopher S. Murphy and thank you for visiting my virtual art studio. I'm a Character Designer / Story Artist living in Los Angeles California. Here you will find my most recent character designs, sketches and various collaborations that I've done. If you're looking for someone to join your creative team to conceptualize characters, creatures and world building, I'm always up for the challenge. Just click the Contact button above or click the envelope icon at the bottom of the screen and we'll be in touch.
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