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Coloring Line Art Tutorial - Adobe Photoshop Tutorial


by Jacquelin Vanderwood

July 1, 2000


1 Let's say you found a picture in a coloring book or you drew your own line art in Illustrator. How would you color it? First export it to Photoshop as a PSD file. Be sure and export it in the exact size you want because you really don't want to resize in Photoshop.

2 OK. What's the trick to coloring this line art? 

Select the line art by pressing Control and clicking inside the layer. Make sure black is the foreground color. Select Stroke and depending on the size of your drawing, this will determine the size of stroke you want. Here I've used a size 3 to even up and fill out the stroke.

3 First, make sure you are on the layer with the line art in it. Then select the Magic Wand. Select all the areas that you want colored the same. Now click on Create New Layer in the Layers palette. Select that layer and pull it below the line art layer. Select a color and fill by holding down the Shift key and pressing backspace. If you discover you are filling more areas than you wanted, press Ctrl+Z, press Ctrl+Alt and press the + key on the keypad to zoom in. Find that open area and fix it. Use the Pencil tool for more accuracy. If you have any areas that are filled with white, go ahead and select them with the Magic Wand and press Delete. Make sure when you Fill that you are not on the Line Art layer. 

4 Next step: Make sure that the colored layer's Preserve Transparency is on. Using the Eyedropper tool, pick up a color. Select the Airbrush tool and make sure you have a good size to paint with. Double click on the tool and set it to Multiply to darken areas, shadows. Set the Pressure to 19%. You may have to play with the setting. Remember you can always press Ctrl+Z to undo. Some colors, like the red, do not darken. Therefore, a different method will be used to darken.

I used the dog's main color, sunflower, to darken the areas and then with the blue selected and Multiply still in force, I darkened the feet.

To lighten areas, select the color again with the Eyedropper tool, and set the paint brush to Screen, lightens. Keep the percentage down. Change colors as needed. Here's what we have so far.

5 Let's attack the red. Select the Burn Tool. Adjust the percentage until it works for you. I chose Highlights and 26%. Now use the Dodge Tool to lighten. Do the same for the blue except select Shadow in the Options dialogue box.

6 Here's the finished product and the Layers palette.

Copyright  2000, Jacquelin Vanderwood, All rights reserved.

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