View Full Version : Help me color, PLEASE!

Odd Berry Creations
08-22-2013, 02:07 PM
I am trying to figure out how to paint my illustrations. I draw them out on paper, sketch them in as much detail as I want, and then scan them into the computer. I color in my base colors and then on a new layer in Photoshop, Iíll start thinking about adding various shading and highlights. Iím interested in using textures and various brushes to come up with a more painterly style of illustration but nothing is coming out right. Should I start out with grays instead of color to get a basis for where I want the colors to be? I figure out my light source and then try building up based on that but it still looks very flat and cartoony which is not what Iím going for. I am quite frustrated and donít know what to do. Iíve looked online at tutorials and such but most of the ones on YouTube are speed paintings and those are no good to me. Iím including a recent image Iíve completed. The look Iím going for is a more traditional painterly type of coloring. I change the flow, change opacity, change brush settings, etc. I just donít know what else Iím doing wrong but I canít get the look Iím going for. Any help?

08-22-2013, 05:50 PM
The outlining really adds to the cartoony look and the colouring is very flat.

You can still start with an outline but use it as a guide and fill in the shapes on a separate layer. How many layers you use is up to you. I like using quite a few because it makes it easier to change things.

If you have experience painting in other media you can bring what you know into digital painting.

Those speed paintings might not explain a lot but watching them does give a little insight into how people start a painting and apply colour. Also search Youtube for paintings of subjects that interest you in other media.

08-22-2013, 10:43 PM
Thank you so much! No I don't have any experience in painting in any other media so this is all a learning experience. I do try to use multiple layers but can never seem to get things to come out right. I'm going to continue to keep working on it but appreciate the feedback and suggestions. I also checked out your website and think your work is really awesome!!

Monastic Bat
08-23-2013, 11:45 AM
Michelle has given you good advice. I would also recommend checking the Adobe Help and Tutorial site. @ http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/topics.html

Most of all I recommend practice, practice, practice and DO NOT GIVE UP!!!!


08-23-2013, 12:43 PM
Thank you for the compliment.

One nice thing about digital painting is that you don't have to worry about wasting paint, so just keep playing and practicing. Find a reference you like or just pick something from around the house and look at it and try to paint it. Observation is very important for realistic painting.

08-25-2013, 09:46 AM
Hi, ditto to everything that I've read so far, especially, practice, practice, practice.
I would suggest practicing drawing one thing, and keep in mind that in the real world nothing is one flat color. The sky typically looks lighter as it gets closer to the horizon, and a road or field of grass will have variation of color as it gets farther away. That is atmospheric perspective.
Lets take a look at one bush or shrub.- find one in the real world. It is not a flat color, but made up of many, many leaves, with light hitting the leaves from all different angles, so there has to be lots of variety in there. Color is dependent on light. Underneath the shrub is always darker, because it is shaded from the sun. Get a nice fuzzy brush, and dab on different greens. Double click on your color in your tool bar often to change the colors (stay away from your swatches) and keep changing the greens after a few dabs. Try some bluer greens, some yellower greens, try some greyish greens underneath. Don't be afraid to bring in a totally different color! Try different opacities with your brush. Really push yourself to get some variation in the color -both in light and dark, and in intensity (bright, saturated color vs. greyed out color) Here's a screen shot. Hope this helps.