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Little Colouring Tutorial
Start with looking for some inspiration, whether it is subject, pose, or some technique. Even if you
choose to make a comic or winx style pic is good to have some references in style and similar pose
(if possible) on real human (photo) so you can see how the shades are looking.
When the idea finally came, it's time to make a sketch, with sometimes bit tracing to get the
proportion (but just a bit, the final outcome must not be identical to the original one, unless of
course you are making a portrait). After that, in case of winx you need to create a line-art, if you are
making it remember to use different size/wide lines- thickest for the most external lines and more to
the center the thinner (you may choose to make lines black, or colour, but then make sure it's much
darker than the base skin colour). In case of using GIMP you may need to smooth those lines in
some places or even use Gaussian blur.
Having that done, you need to pic some basic colours, like skin, hair, cloths (in my case clothing
comes later as most often I'm designing outfit on ready pose/skin base). You can even sample it
from your referring picture, why not. And don't worry, this layer does not need to be perfect, it's just
a general view.
Now check the main shade colour. It's useful to do it on separate layer. Draw several lines without
too much care, in places were the shades are the most visible- check and jaw line, eyes and nose
areas, and then smudge it to check if it harmonizes with the skin. If the colours works you can now
add more paint and smooth it more in places where it's needed- it's always an experiment, so don't
be afraid of it.
It good to look on the reference picture here, so you can notice how others see it or/and how it looks
on real person, but don't stress yourself too much at this time, cause you can adjust some things
On the picture below you can see the result of this smudging. Unfortunately I've overwritten the
file and you can see it with ready lips, which is the next phase of my my work. Thanks to the sketch
you know where the need to be. To draw lips you need three colours (but of course you can use
more for even better results)- base colour, shade colour (few, many, many actually, tones darker)
and light (you can even use pure white), you should apply the dark colour as a marking between the
lips, in lips corner and on the bottom of the lower and (bit less) on the top of the upper lip. Don't
forget also to add extra skin shades around the lips, specially in the corners.
Further thing is marking now eyes and lashes. I don't really have any great advice on that, as I'm
definitely not a specialist in it. In case of comic/winx style take a good luck and consideration on
the shape of eyes that characters use to have in specific series, specially if you're drawing a fan art.
You can try to “draw in air” over the reference picture to prepare yourself. Think also about the
position on eyeballs- where the character will be looking at, for example. Also marking the shape of
eyelids is good thing to be done at this phase.
As you see on the picture I'm also expanding with shades to the neck. Remember that you can do all
those steps on separate layers and in case you can just blend them later together.
You may like to check with your sketch the other possible and needed shades, check also the
reference photo. As you can noticed I changed the face proportion comparing to the artlines, so
don't worry if you will have some little changes here too. (I've later adjusted also the arm size, so it
all would keep the proportion still).
Now little mark on eyes- start with drawing the frames of irises and location of pupils. Then add the
main colour in between. You can also use a bit of this dark colour to make the shade on the upper
part of irises. Then smooth them gently and add the light colour to the iris and once again gently
smooth it. In case of winx pictures It's good to add one more layer-so you can experiment freely,
where you will add the light for whole eyes, as the pupil is in that case generally bigger. As for
drawing the white part of the eye- do it on some layer under the under with the rest of the eye and
use rather the base skin tone, rather that real white (eventually the light skin tone). Once more you
can add shades and shape to the eyelid.
As for eyebrows- draw them with the the base hair tone in similar manner as the shades on the
previous picture, smudge them, on their lower part add the hair shade colour and again smooth.
Them with small size brush smooth their edge, so the would look more natural. (In case of winx
style it is of course easier as the eyebrow are most often part of the line art.)
The nest step is adding more skin shades in different that the skin colours. You can add some more
grayish tones under the jaw to mark this shade, but the main point of doing this is making the skin
looking more natural. Here I started with the yellow tones and as in case of the base shade colour I
applied it without too much thinking. Using the reference photo will give you a hint were are the
moist important areas to add it, but use your intuition too.
The of course smooth them as you were doing before. Then you may like to add some purple under
the eyes and pink/red on checks and neck.
Several few steps are unfortunately not on the pic, but it's generally same idea as with skin. When
making the necklace I used for strap the same colours a for hair. You can do it in two ways- drawing
the line with the hair shade tone and then draw it once more with smaller brush and hair base tone,
but without reaching the edges, or you can first make line with base tone and then with much
smaller brush add shades on the edges, both ways are good. Then you smooth it and add lights in
few places. The Pendent was made with four shades of gray and three shades for jewels. Though
however the amulet was made by starting with medium light grey then adding darker tones and
finishing with the lightest, th jewels were too small for that so II started with darkest adding lighter
tones, but I guess it's obvious...
Don't forget to adjust the skin shades and remember that they are not equal wide everywhere.
As you probably also noticed on the picture above, I added the base cloths colours. Drawing cloths
is much similar to the skin, all you need to remember is the way the material can ruffle and how the
body parts can be visible from under it. Look on the pictures, or use your intuition, you can be
surprised how many things you actually notice, but you're not aware of it, for example to make the
breasts visible, smooth the shade colour in crescent shape.
To make th hair look at least ok, start with drawing the lines in dark hair shade marking the way that
streaks are put. Unless you have already arranged the hair falling on face (which I obviously
haven't), make a layer where you will add them, and work on it. Those line does not need to be
prefect, because you're going to smudge them anyway. When smoothing try also to keep in mind
that hair are shiny, so leave some places with little shade and some almost completely shadowed,
also make your move erratic so there are no two similar wide/long lines.
When you're done with this it's the high time for the high lights ^^. To make those I suggest not
using just brighter tones of the same colour, but some really different colours, like in this case
oranges, (or if your character is red-headed – yellows, if it's blue – greens, etc.) just have fun and
experiment, and it will make the hair look more brilliant and lively. Apply the colour as dots or
short lines and start to smooth them from edges, not smoothing the central part (that way it will look
more vibrant). As in case of skin, the more tones, the more interesting result, but with temperance
here (I unfortunately was very limited in time that moment already, so I used only two).
When the main character was already made, it's time for the background. You can do it in several
ways- make a gradient, or plain colour layer and add some specific brushes (starts, clouds, etc.),
patterns, or effects. You can add your character enlarged and more transparent, or you can draw it
yourself. I've decided to quickly make something similar to the view the model from the first photo
had behind her, but making the sky looking more storm-like. Then catting it to right size and voile
la, though it takes several hours ^^.
One more advice- remember that you can always adjust and correct each layer you need, so to find
the right one quickly it's good to name layers.
I also prefer to give the last smooth to the final work after flatting it (as new, usually .png file) with
or without the background, that way I can quickly arrange all I need.
And one more note- if you're publish your work on the net, don't forget to link the souse of your
referring photo (also the source of the brushes, if you were using some custom made ones). In my
case, you can find this lovely lady at: http://www.pearsonsrenaissanceshoppe.com/la.html
If there I anything unclear, or you need some further information, ask and I'll try to answer the best
I can. Thank you for reading and good luck!
[In case- it's all done in GIMP 2.6. and by pentagram virtuoso.]