Colors

Colors are assigned to your brush, so your ideas can be expressed on the canvas. Most coloring tools (with the exception of Flood Fill) can be found in the Color Editor. However, the color tools available and their locations will vary with the version of SketchBook you’re using.

Where to begin with color

If you are new to SketchBook or coloring, starting this process can be a bit daunting. The great news is that you have layers and undo. Both take the stress or anxiety out of coloring. While preparing to write this section, I looked at a lot of YouTube videos to study the techniques many comic book artists used. Though they might have used different brushes and colors, many used the same methods. I highly recommend you check out YouTube and Linda.com for insight and inspiration when it comes to how to color.

Below, we will look at a very basic and simplified way to build up color in your drawing. By no means is this the only way to do things. As mentioned above, I highly recommend you check out YouTube and Linda.com. You’ll find excellent videos by some very talented SketchBook users. Also, check out the SketchBook tutorials section of the website. It is filled with tips for improving your skills.

Flat color

All the videos I watched, drew their sketch first, then added color. Another very important thing was they all used layers to separate parts of their sketch, so they could color components separately. The other tools they used were Duplicate (layer), Lock Transparency, and Multiply.

They start with selecting a layer, duplicating it, and locking the transparency of the duplicated layer. Next, they color over the layer with one color (described as a flat color). At this point they have a shape that’s all the same color. The issue is all the line work is gone. So, they change the blend mode of the colored layer to Multiply. Now, the color and the line work are both there. The original layer is intact. This process is repeated for each component of the drawing.

Shadows

The next level of color all these videos addressed was shadows. They start by determining the placement and direction of the light source. In one video, the artist creates a layer and adds an arrow to representation of the light’s direction. After that, they duplicate an original layer, then lock the transparency of the duplicate, so all coloring stays within the lines. Next, on the new duplicated layer, the color is changed to black or a dark color and they color wherever a shadow would be. The layer is dragged above the color layer. After that, they change the blend mode to Multiply, so the shadow, color, and the line work are visible.

At this point, there was some deviation; however, they purpose was the same. Some artists adjusted the shadow layer’s opacity to make the shadow more subtle. Others used the soft eraser to feather the edges of the shadow. Some combined the two techniques. This is where you need to play around. Remember, Undo is there for you.

Highlights

After shadows, came highlights. As with the flat color and shadows, a duplicate of an original file is made. The layer is dragged above the shadow layer. Next, the color is changed to white or a light color, the transparency is locked, and they now color wherever a highlight would be. After that, they change the blend mode to Overlay, so the highlights, shadow, color, and the line work are visible. And, as with shadows, I saw people using layer opacity and the soft eraser to soften the highlights and their edges.

Gradient fills

One final thing, in the case of highlights and shadows, there were artists using gradient fills to get a soft transition from light to dark. They started as always with duplicating an original layer and dragging it above the color layer. Once transparency is locked, they select Flood Fill and select one of the gradient fills (Linear or Radial) from the Fill options. After that, they change the blend mode to Multiply, for a gradual shadow and highlight, while the color and the line work show through.

Hopefully, this has given you a place to start. Why not familiarize yourself with the following UI:

 

Updated on October 11, 2017

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