You don’t have to be a comic book fan to love halftone art, but if you are a fan of comics we bet you love that traditional halftone look. We sure do. The look that comes from images made up of thousands of tiny dots feels positively retro in today’s digital world, but the halftone process is still quite popular with printers. We challenged ourselves to come up with a way for SketchBook Pro users to incorporate halftone effects into their art, and with SketchBook’s new texture brush options, we’re able to bring you a brush set custom made just for this purpose. Download the free Comic Halftone Brush Set and add some cool, new texture brushes to your app.
Making Your Own Halftone Comics
You can use these brushes on their own for all kinds of things, but if you want to create the kind of comic book look that pop artist Roy Lichtenstein made famous (or plagiarized, depending on your view), you’ll want to get familiar with how Lock Transparency works. If you’ve never used it before, it works a lot like how clipping paths work in apps like Photoshop. When you draw a figure on its own layer and click the lock icon, you’re creating a boundary that will respect the line art you’ve created. Perhaps the best use of this is to color a figure you’ve drawn and easily stay within the lines. SketchBook Community Manager Renée DiCherri created a great mini tutorial video that shows exactly how she does it.
For creating a traditional comic style, we suggest using bold, thick lines. I used the Fineline Pen from the Designer set to make my line art. If you really want your line work to flow, check out how the new Predictive Stroke option can make your lines better. It’s perfect for drawing this kind of art.
One the line art is finished, lay down your base colors for each element using a flat color. Keep them on separate layers — such as the hair, skin tone, and other accents. Why not put it all on one layer? Keeping them separate allows you to choose different halftone textures for each element. Also, you can go back and change a color very quickly if you change your mind.
Now, choose one of your flat colors and duplicate it, and then lock the transparency. We’ll use the hair for this example.
Select a contrasting color and one of our many halftone texture options.
Now, add halftone accents to the duplicate layer. Locking the transparency lets us add accents on the hair only without worrying about spilling over the edges. And making a duplicate copy of the layer is just a safe bet. What if you change your mind? This way you always have a backup.
Installing the Brush Set
Being able to share and install these weekly free brush sets in the desktop app is one of the features for SketchBook subscribers. If you’re using the latest desktop version of SketchBook, simply double click on the .skbrushes file, and it will automatically install. Check out this article for all the details about brushes and legacy versions. If you haven’t tried the subscription, you can download a free trial and unlock Pro membership for 15 days (no credit card required).