Sunday, May 11, 2014

Again With the Colored Pencil!

I took our Mr. Mayor, traced him to some decent drawing paper, and colored him in with colored pencil.

"This time," I thought to myself, "I want to show the texture of the pencil."  Well, that didn't work out so well.

By showing the "texture," I thought that meant coloring lightly so the air showed through the pigment.  Nice and grainy, I thought, how artistic.  Instead, I wound up with some sort of pointillist nightmare that just looked horrible.

Well, things don't "pop" with colored pencil unless (a) you seriously know what you're doing, which I don't, or (b) you pull it into a graphics software and start figuring out how to fix it.  That's what I did and I think things really did "pop."
To fix things my thinking went this way:

  1. The air showing through the pencil coloring wouldn't be so bad if the color of the paper showing through was decent.  Sort of like the way pastel painters use colored paper.  To make that happen, you scan in the drawing and set it to a layer and make the blend mode "multiply."
  2. That works for some parts of the drawing, not for others.  The white of the eyeballs, the cuffs, the shirt all disappeared, which is to be expected.  Placing a layer beneath the original you can easily restore the lost white.
  3. Overall, though, a "multipied" layer needs color (or, as I found out, colors) to adhere to.  So I created a duplicate of the original layer, got rid of everything except Mr. Mayor, and now set that layer to Protect Transparency.  Now you can experiment with your colors under your character and see what color makes the upper layer "pop."  For me, the pants were hard because they were supposed to be light purple but I had them too dark.  With some experimenting I got a nice gaberdine grey... I think.
  4. Lines, shading, and highlights were all done to separate layers above the original.
Now it makes sense.  Now it "pops." I like the notion of building digitally on a physical drawing.  I wasn't expecting it to be so much work... but that's how we learn.

No comments:

Post a Comment