Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Coloring Process and More!

Sorry for the delay on this one. I've been swamped with work and still have some projects that need to get out the door. Anyway... This piece is for YRB Magazine to accompany a short blurb on Japanese Human Vending Machines.

Since I didn't know that I was going to use this piece for my post on coloring, I deleted the sketch layer from my Illustrator document before I sent it off to YRB. So I'm going to start this off with finished line art. I've noticed that my backgrounds and props have been pretty weak overall after looking back on my past work. This time I wanted to make sure the non-character elements got some love and had more life to them.

After my initial sketch was approved I spent some time really trying to make the vending machine itself look fun. I also decided that I would finish the line art for the machine first and then print it out and throw it on the light box to draw the characters on separate pieces of paper above. This worked out well since I could draw the characters a bunch of times and have a better idea of how they should work with the machine.

Once I was happy with the characters I scanned them in and placed the sketches on top of the machine line art on its own layer. Then I went through my usual digital inking process in Illustrator.

Once the line art is completed I create the layers for the color. In this case I made separate color layers for the characters and the machine. I like to keep my files organized and easy to alter later if I need to make changes. At this point I use the pen tool to draw each color shape on a layer below the line art. In the above pic you can see the final colors with the line art layers turned off.

Here's the layers palette for this piece. Missing are the two layers with the background sketch and character sketch. The border layer is so I can save out a jpeg that will crop to the size of my composition rather than right up to the edge of the artwork.

Here's the final piece! Before I send it off I switch the color mode to CMYK for printing. In Illustrator and Photoshop I always work in RGB first and then switch it to CMYK before it goes off to print. That extra color channel can really add to your file size as well as make Photoshop and Illustrator work harder.


Dustin said...

Why are you apologizing? You're doing this for free! ;)

Great stuff, too. So for highlights and whatnot you just create different shapes on top of the original color shapes with the pen tool?

Brian Romero said...

Yes, for the highlights I just make a new shape on top. In general I start by putting down the largest color shapes first and then continue building up from there.

Mad Taylor said...

Hey man this is really cool! I took a stab at inking a drawing in Illustrator based off what you taught us if you want to check it out on my blog. I'd like to know what ya' think!

Clinton said...

Thanks for the demo! How do you approach line weights when you are inking in Illustrator? Thanks

mdouglas said...

Geeze... You are very organized with things! I usually just put all the character's line work on one layer and the color on a separate. Thanks for taking the time to post this tutorial. The Raketu inks look great, BTW. Oh, one tip I picked up in illustrator along the way from working at a printer... So you don't have to create a pesky "crop layer" Go to Object>Crop Area>Make. This will create invisible crop marks around your document size.

J.E.Daniels said...

Thank you very much for the tips Brian!
With your help, I hope to be able to improve my skills on the computer.
Much obliged!

jessicaLynn said...

Hey looks awesome! Im jealous I want to be on your side of the world. Its always so nice there.

Art F. said...

hey Brian. great tutorial! so, you use the pen tool to color in the linework? im kinda retarded in illustrator so i'm not understanding.

Art F. said...

yes! i figured it out, Brian! tell me what you think.

Brian Romero said...

Nice job Art! Yes, I use the pen tool to make the color fills in a layer below the line art. Illustrator is a little weird at first, but it's worth investing the time to learn it.