Feb 22, 2010

On Methodology

What About Colour?

This is apparently an issue that a lot of people have when they draw anime-ish stuff. You learn how to get the lines right, yes... but how to colour it all in? It never looks finished unless there's some colour slapped on to your particular piece of work. Yet if you finish line in fine liner, what colour CAN look good with it?
Watercolours? Really expensive fancy markers?

I'm stuck at a crossroads here. I got a set of monochrome Prismacolors a long time ago and I've just about got the hang of how to use them, but that's a long way from perfecting the skill of colour use in markers for that really authentic manga-cover look. And I'm not sure it's an investment I'm willing to make (how much CAN you colour anyway, before the ink runs dry and you have to pay another $15 for one new pen?).

So I've always been one for scanning things at whatever sketch stage they're at and colouring them on computer.

As you can probably tell from the way my colours look, my home ground has always been the Oekaki.

Left is done in oekaki, right in SAI. Right clearly imitates the method I've developed in Left.
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However PC colouring, you kinda need to have the lines done digitally as well. Works for a rough sketch that I redraw on PC, but retracing the entire image on the computer (to get smooth, distinctive colour lines with that "digital" feel) after having retraced the picture 2-3 times by hand to get it right just seems like a waste of time.

And, in some cases, a step backward.

I really like the depth of line that happens when I do something in ballpoint pen, which is my native medium really. The shading, thickness of line and the way the picture evolves is pretty much exactly as I want it to, minus things I can easily erase.

Ok this is pencil, but you get the idea about depth & thickness? Maybe I want to fineline it, but I certanly don't want to do the entire thing AGAIN in one flat colour on computer.
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Problem: Digital according to my method, looks good when its lines are done, usually in flat colour, on computer.
Analog lines look good, but how do you apply colour?

The Solutions
One thing I've recently been up to is doing things in (very faint) coloured pencils. This involves taking a pen drawing / fineliner trace, and tracing over THAT with a faint blue pencil. This pencil line is then built up with very gradual layers of faint colours, usually made up of the primary set from my Derwents box.
The result is quite pastelly but has a nice balance to it.

This is the first method I've ever had for getting lines AND colour all done manually. YAYOMG! :> :>

Probably I only have this problem because I have no markers / paint skill or experience to speak of, but at least this is one solution I'm comfortable with.

Pale & Pastelly Coloured Pencils
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This is my coloured pencil look. This is from a semi-secret triptych that is 1 year overdue from being sent (as a bribe) to a connection of mine that lives Stateside and occasionally helps me get my greasy paws on games for half the retail price in this stupid country.

They're all packed and ready, along with Timtams, ANZAC bikkies and a tube of vegemite, and a pleading letter to get him to fix my busted external hard-drive. Ain't I sweet? :> :>

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