Saturday, March 5, 2016

This Week In Mesy Comics: Week 2, Coloring Style

After toying with coloring at the end of last week, I've come up with a method I'm finally happy with. It's called "Cel Shading" and mimics that of some traditional 2D TV animation. There are many ways to do it but here is the method I'm using (all digital):

1. Set your inks on a layer and set that layer to multiply.

2. Set up a new layer, below the inks, called "flats" and paint with a hard edge brush (or use selection and fill) to lay out all of the basic colors as solid.

3. Between the flats layer and inks layer, create a new layer called shadows. You can either fill this with a solid gray tone (I prefer a light cool gray) and mask it or select and fill as you go. Basically you want to create shapes using your selection lasso or paint with a hard edge brush, the places where the shadows will go.  I prefer select and fill because it's fast if you know your hot keys.

4. When you're done, create a new layer between your shadows and inks and set the blend mode to soft light. You can also use overlay or hard light but soft light is less contrast and I prefer that in most situations. Then, like we just did with shadows, paint or fill the highlight areas white.  Just that easy. Here's an example:

In the past I was messing around with too much brushing and gradients and it was a time consuming process. Truth be told, it didn't really suit my art that well either but it was all I knew how to do. I like this technique better.

I've also tried to make my color palette more subdued. Everything was super saturated in the past. It was OK enough for "The Last Resort" strips but a whole book of that may be an eye sore.

Lastly, I stripped all of my text and speech bubbles out. I made the rookie mistake of inking my balloons by hand so I had to remove them. Thankfully it was only 12 pages.  I'll save my thoughts on lettering for another day.  Here's this week's work: