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Work in Progress: Yuki Onna Coloring

Works in Progress

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Work in Progress: Yuki Onna Color

Edit: This work has been completed.
Follow each step in the  making of this work:  Linework and Coloring.

In my previous post I finished the linework and shading for my new work Yuki Onna. For this post I’m doing the coloring and lighting effects using Adobe Illustrator as usual. This work was a bit special because I wanted it to be very light, almost all white. Because of this I didn’t need to draw in any highlights. So how do you colour a work that’s mostly white? Well I began just as usual by drawing in the basic color.

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Work in Progress: Yuki Onna Linework

Works in Progress

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Work in Progress: Yuki Onna Linework

Edit: This work has been completed.
Follow each step in the  making of this work:  Linework and Coloring.

While I’ve made other artwork about Japanese ghost stories, it’s a subject that wouldn’t be complete without theYuki Onna. Literally a “Snow Woman”, the Yuki Onna is the very personification of winter. A timeless femme fatale, the Yuki Onna has been re-interpreted into countless contemporary anime and manga.

She is characterized by an otherworldly beauty and serenity, but will nevertheless ruthlessly kill the unsuspecting. The Yuki Onna is sometimes described as the vengeful spirit of a woman who froze to death and now leads men astray in snowstorms. Other times she is described as more actively evil; a vampiric succubus who drains men’s life-force with a kiss or sex. And yet despite this she has a softer side, and her heart is occasionally warmed into sparing one of her victims.

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Doll: Final Atmospheric Shading

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Doll: Final Atmospheric Shading

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.

So close and yet so far… If you’ve followed my work in progress using Adobe Illustrator, you’ve already seen me complete the lineworkcoloring, shading and details for this image. But while it sounds like a completed artwork, the reality is lacking.

The problem with the work above is that the shadows and highlights they don’t integrate into the rest of the image. The result is that there’s no difference between the lighting on a shiny piece of metal or on soft fabric, and no difference between hair and human skin.

It’s completely flat.

So how do we go about fixing this? In this case I worked from the lowest layers up: working from the background towards the foreground. By layering gradients with different opacity setting over each other, you can create depth in the same way that color washes add depth to a canvas.

Theses kind of atmospheric light effects are a really subjective thing so there’s not really a right or a wrong way to go about this. You just have to play with the image until you’re satisfied with it.

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Doll: Extra Details 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.

Just a quick post today. After I finished the shading and highlights I wanted to add some extra detail to the fabric of the kimono. Since these details won’t be drawn in black, they can be done after the rest of the linework is finished. For the design I chose a peacock feather motif with a geometric design on the obi to balance it out. Incidentally Kimono Nagoya is my favorite online resource for kimono inspiration.

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Doll: Shading and Highlights 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.

You’d be forgiven for forgetting all about this illustration. It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted any updates on this work, and I must confess that it’s actually already finished, I’ve just been too busy to post anything.

But getting back to the work in progress, this is where I left off, after finishing the basic color of the image. But the flat colors look rather terrible without any shadows and highlights. So let’s get started.

Note that if you want more detailed information about the technical process of working with Illustrator check out my series of Tutorials which break it down step by step in more detail.

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Doll: Coloring 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.

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Doll: Linework 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.

I’ve been working a bit slowly because I’ve been sick. But now I’m back on track with some updates.

This is a quick step by step breakdown of how I draw my linework using Adobe Illustrator.

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Siren: Coloring 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.

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Siren: Linework in Progress

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Edit: This work has been completed.

After finishing Kitsune, I decided to continue the supernatural theme with another work based on traditional Japanese ghost stories. My original idea was to draw a kappa lady, but this was changed to the ghost of a drowned woman instead. The scene is that the drowned woman in trying to drag a girl into the river.
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Onsen: Work in Progress 6

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Edit: This work has been completed under the name Kitsune.

For my new work I’m giving you a glimpse behind the scenes at the way I work, step by step.
Here’s links if you’re interested in the whole process: Work in Progress OneTwoThreeFourFive and Six.

At this stage I’m adding the final light effects and finishing off the work.

You can check out more of my work in progress here.

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