Origami Cupcake

Doll: Coloring in Progress

News, Works in Progress

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Edit: This work has been completed.
Follow each step in the  making of this work:  Linework ColoringShading and Highlights and Extra Details and Final Atmospheric Shading.

After you’ve got you linework picture perfect you can begin coloring. While this might sound difficult I make it easy by dividing the task into different steps. These steps correlate to separate layers in your image (this is a simplification; each layer is actually a group of multiple layers).

The basic process I work by is:

  1. Create your linework.
  2. Create a layer for the base color; this is the local color, or actual color of an object.
  3. Create a layer for shadows, depending on the lighting you will probably want another layer for very dark shadows as well.
  4. Create a layer for highlights.
  5. Create a layer for lighting and atmospheric effects. Finish off your image by tweaking colors, layer opacity etc until you’re satisfied.

Everything after Step 1 can be considered “coloring”, depending on how you define it, since each of those steps individually don’t really produce anything. It’s only when you see all the layers on top of each other that you get that magical ‘Tada!” moment when you see the full effect.

So let’s get started on Step 2.

When I’m doing the rough work, I like to do a rough color sketch. Here I’m playing with the girl’s hair color:



My initial concept for this work was to have the scene set in a very girly looking boudoir. Which meant lots of pink. But I had difficulty deciding on a color scheme for the girl’s dress. Creams and pastels just seemed to fade into the background, and busy patterns were out for the same reason. After trying red and blue dresses, I finally decided on navy black. It contracts wonderfully with the other character’s white skin, and serves to anchor the image.


But I still wasn’t happy with that Barbie doll pink… I liked the idea of the curtain looking a bit like a stage curtain, which meant rich red velvet. And that darker color meant I had to use a darker palette for the entire image.

I also added a kimono falling off the figure’s shoulders. The kimono gives the image a shot of bright orange-red to contrast with the maroons and purples of the background, and along with the turquoise obi helps to balance out the image.

Now I begin with the neat coloring. Essentially you turn the linework inside out, to swap the negative and positive space.

Here’s an in depth explanation of the process, and this is the finished result:

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