Origami Cupcake

Siren: Coloring in Progress

News, Works in Progress

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Edit: This work has been completed.

With the work neatly inked you’ve got the difficult part done (check out my previous post for details). The rest of the coloring process is easier, but it’s also time-consuming and a little boring. For me the steps are invariably the same: basic coloring combined with shading. And finally highlights and light effects work their magic to complete the work.

But first things first, coloring in the water:

Earlier I’d done a rough color scheme for the work, blue, green and purple:

To color the work neatly I use a process of inverting the linework paths. It’s something I explained in depth in an earlier post.

After the basic coloring is done I do the shading. Because this work takes place during early evening I work over a light blue midtone. The background and girl are all in shadow, but the ghost glows brightly from within. Because of this I separated the shading into four layers, the dark shadows, medium shadows, light highlights and bright highlights:

This is the same rough shading with the water and mist in the image:

To get a rough feel of what the finished image will look like I combine the rough shading and basic color layer. I also added some radial gradients for a glow effect, as well as a green gradient over the entire image to blend the colors together. In the end though,  I disliked the sickly tint it gave the characters and eventually made the palette more blue.

At this stage the image looks a bit like a zombie swamp:

I usually make the shading very dark while I;m working on it so that it’s easier to see any mistakes.
This is the finished shading:

At this stage every component of the image has already been drawn, so it’s just a matter of mixing them correctly.

I use layers of color using different blend settings to create the scene’s lighting. This helps to blend the different colors together harmoniously. But while this technique work well for backgrounds and even hair and clothing, skin can easily end up looking strange. The easiest way to get around this is simply to duplicate the skin layer and put it above the light effect, then lower the opacity so that some amount on lighting shows through without being overpowering.

I also like to adjust shadows individually. Because skin, hair and clothing all react differently to light, I like to separate them each into their own layers, so that I can adjust each one’s intensity to my liking. In this work this process was multiplied by two because the two figures each have their own lighting. Although essentially it’s the same process I’ve described in depth in this post.

Another technique I use at this stage is to change some of the flat colors in the image to gradients. Even if it’s very subtle, gradients give an image depth and the gradient tool provides great control. In this work gradients create a soft glow around the figure. The sky, water and stars are all colored with gradients, as well as the highlights in the ghost’s hair, her lipstick kiss and subtle blush.

And after a hundred small adjustments it’s finally done.
I hope you like it ^^

One Response to this post
  1. Posted on December 22, 2011 by Lisle

    That’s beautiful. I like the purple tones.

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