How To Tutorial

Ok, I've had a few folks ask me to cover the basics involved in how to take an image from basics to completion on the PC. First thing you'll need is a program like Adobe Photoshop that allows modified layering... Here we go...


First start with a roughed out pencil sketch of the idea in you mind. This can be as messy as you like... the reason for this is if it gets too fuzzed with graphite smears you can use a light board to make a fresh clean copy for transfer later. The trick to this part is having your layout all set and all your basic lines in place.


Clean copy time! This makes inking a whole lot simpler. If you do not own a light board, you can cheat using scotch tape , a window, and a nice sunny day. ;) The idea here is to remove all fuzzy sketch lines. This step can be skipped by more confident artists or if you base drawing is already clean, go straight to inking.


Clean crisp lines are critical for computer colored artwork. Take your time outlining and make sure all your lines connect to one another, sealing in area for color fill purposes. Graphic artist pens, or drafting pens are excellent for this step. Preferably a set this refillable and has different line widths. Ball Point pens will not work for this step!  Use a good scanner on a black and white Illustration setting at the highest DPI you can effectively run. Likely, it will save in Bitmap form. In Photoshop go to the header Image, select Mode click Grayscale... repeat one more time <cause it won't let you just jump straight to color> this time instead of Grayscale select RGB Color. You are now set to begin!
Artist tip: When working around the eyes select one of the finiest tipped pens you have. This allows for greater effects when using the airbrush for shading later on.


Before you do anything now you want to go over to the tab called Layers and click on the spot that says Background. A window will pop up asking for a New Layer <typically it has Layer O entered in the text field> you want this! This will allow you to modify your drawing. If it remains a background it will lock out options. Once this is done, select all on your first layer using the Edit header Copy and Paste. It will create an identical top layer. In the Layers box once more you'll note a text field that says Normal... it has a drop down menu you want the layer style called Multiply. This actually makes all your white transparent and slightly widens your black lines making a cleaner, animator cell like appearance. Once that is done, you will want create a new blank background layer, then use the 'magic wand' selection tool to select all the areas your background will eventually peak through and cut them on both picture layers. Fill your background layer with a deep obvious color to contrast as you work, this helps spot missed spaces. Use the paint bucket to fill large areas and have fun! Once you've filled in the colors it's on to the next phase!
Artist tip: If you missed a connection point and suddenly find you've filled a portion you did want to! Select black as your color and grab the pencil tool, usually at 3 pixels you can fix the tiny breech without a problem. Do this until there are no more accidents.


The 'Magic Wand' is your friend! Use this tool to select areas on your picture and only effect those areas at a given time and add highlights and shadows to it using the airbrush feature. This is a highly adjustable tool that allows you to control the pressure amd gradient amd even the shape of its flow. If you have an artist tablet with the pen instead of a mouse, it senses how much you push and that effects the response of the onscreen brush. Another style is to block shade using a line of shade color and filling it in. This has the look of old style cartooning. It all depends on what you want to do. Add more layers for effects as needed. If you need to get back into an area you've already shaded click into the Outline layer <Multiply> select the area you wish and simply drop back down to your color layer. ;) Lastly add a neat background.


And if you're like me you can't stand lookin' at a white page! Here's the pen outline polished off in marker ust for kicks. But I do like the look of the computer piece better.
There you go! Now... if you have any questions you know where to find me! Keep drawing!

All artwork contained on Nightbird Gallery sites is copyrighted to Foxy 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007.
Theft or redistribution of any works contained on these sites will not be tolerated, and is punishable by law.
If you would like a copy of the artwork or wish to use a piece, please contact Foxy and obtain written permission.