This is a culmination of my too many interests. It's is an in-between place. It's more focused than my Myspace blog, but less so than my author blog. Here you can find artwork, photography, writing, poetry, book covers, manga and pointless videos. All of these things mesh together to become a reflection of their creator in an in-between place colored like shadows and flavored like frappuccinos and chocolate. It's one heck of a world.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

How to Draw with No Money and No Talent - Part 4

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Ah, time to work on our picture again. Are you energized? Are you excited? Are you at least awake? Okay, well, that's good enough I suppose :p
So, what have we done so far? We've learned about licensing, found a "reference" image, "made" a lightbox, "drawn" our picture and scanned it off as a bmp – right? That means we're ready to start coloring! Yay!

In case you haven't noticed, coloring is what makes all the difference on these kinds of pictures. Yeah, the drawing is important, but it's the coloring that's gonna make it pop and gonna get people's attention. Because of this, I am going to break the coloring up into more than one tut.
The first thing we need to do is open paintbrush (in xp it is under programs/accessories/paint brush) – if you can't find it then locate the image you scanned off and right click on it. Choose "open with" and it should be in the list of programs.
If you opened the program directly go to FILE then OPEN and open your picture just like you would any document in any application:

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Holy cats batman! This is huge!

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Yes, yes, depending on what DPI you used it may well be massive. But that's good. We like big pictures :) You may also notice that our picture is long ways – aka we have a landscape picture that is turned at the angle to make it a portrait.  This is easily remedied by going to image – flip/rotate

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Click it and you will get a dialog box. Choose to rotate by angle and then check 90 degrees like so:

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Hit okay and voila! It is fixed. Spiffy, eh?

So now that we have it done we're ready to color right? Well, maybe. It will actually save us a lot of time later if we double check the image and do a little prep work.  We'll start with the black dots.
Black dots?
Yes:
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Black dots. What are those? Well, they could be several tings. Grit, dust or fingerprints on the scanner, flaws in the paper, grit, eraser bits or god knows what still stuck on the paper… who knows what this stuff is. Either way I *always* have it on my pictures. The question is, though, do we erase it or leave it? I find that varies greatly in what I'm doing. For one thing, if it's small dots and going to have a dark colored background you'll never see them by the time we're finished. For another, there are times when it can add a certain ambiance – give it that rough, homemade look, or even an antiqued, imperfect look.  However, if you want a very crisp, clean look then those dots need to go!

They are very easy to get rid of.  First check that your "background" color is set to white:

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Now choose the eraser

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And because we are lazy and want to cover maximum area at once, pick the largest size by clicking on it the… we'll call it a tool palette :

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You can use the eraser one of two ways. One, put the cursor over the black dot you want to erase and then click your mouse button and anything under the cursor is erased OR you can hold the left mouse button and drag it across the "paper" and it will erase everything it runs over so long as you are holding that mouse button down. I use a combination.
Hold and drag for large, open areas:
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And click individually for smaller, tighter spots:

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If you erase something you don't want to then go to edit – undo.

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BUT, you only get THREE undo's, so be careful about it!!!!
Be warned, erasing with this teeny, tiny eraser is a real pain in the ass. It will make things look better, though, so it's up to you.
When you get done erasing any of the black dots you want rid of SAVE! You will want to save your progress often, just in case you run out of undos or your computer crashes or the power goes out or you spill coffee on your keyboard or.. you get the picture. You can save by going to file – save:

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Now we need to check to make sure all our major "shapes" are closed – aka that our lines connect. I'll show you what I mean and why.
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So when we flood fill this is what happens:

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Not cool. BUT, if we make sure there are no holes in the perimeter of our shapes then that won't happen. (think of it as a wall holding the flood fill of water back - a closed wall will keep the water in, but one with a hole in it....) Keep in mind you will probably miss some. I always do and then have to it undo and fix it. But, we're going to try to catch as many as we can. First we want to select the paintbrush tool:

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I selected the middle round brush – whether you want square or round is up to you – and the size is going to depend on how thick your lines are. If they are thinner  or thicker than mine than choose a different size. – though, there are only three to choose from:

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Check to make sure black is your foreground color

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And then scroll along until you find places that lines need drawn in. Just like the eraser you can click and drag for long lines or click, move, click, move for small dots:

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The most common places for broken lines are where two lines intersect and along the edges of the picture:

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Once we have all the ones we can find we're ready to flood fill our basic colors – yay! So what colors do we want to use? That's up to you!  I will say though, that your color choices will make or break the image – period. Color is VERY important – choose the colors that give the picture the feel you want.

HINT- custom colors tend to look more polished and professional than the selections that windows gives you by default. Not always, though, but as a general rule….
Anyway, here's how to pick colors!
First, remember that foreground, background color pallet thing? Well, we need it again. This is where you choose your brush colors. Take a look at the color selections they have made easily available:

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If they have some you like then just click on the color thumbnail to select that color

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But if you don't find anything you like then you can go to the colors menu and edit colors – NOTE: whatever premade color you have selected will be REPLACED by your new color. You can get them back so it isn't an emergency, but it is a pain.

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This will give you a pop up pallet

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If you see a color you like pick it the same way, by clicking on it, but if not then click the Define custom colors button NOTE: whichever box in that empty little grid you're clicked on – THAT'S where your custom color will go – so make sure you have a blank one selected!!

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This gives you an expanded box. You may have used something like this in other applications, but in case you haven't. I will explain it. Drag the black selector that is inside the "rainbow" looking box (1) to select your color and then use the slider arrow on the side (2) to select the darkness or lightness of the color:

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If you're an advanced user you can manually change the RGB numbers yourself – but if you're that advanced why are you using this tut? Anyway, When you find a color you want hit the "add to custom colors" button and it will appear in the little grid to the left:

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Click okay and now we're back to our picture and ready to use our color!

Choose the floodfill tool from the toolbar:

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Where the point of the paint dumping out is, is where it will flood fill. Click the left mouse button to make it do so:

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Spiffy –now the water is all colored in. cool, eh? Now do this for the lily pads and the flower (you can make them the same colors as they are in our "reference" photo, or you can do something totally different. )

NOTE: when you exit paint brush and reopen it you will LOSE your custom colors in the pallets!  To combat this you can write down the individual numbers for each one on a piece of paper so you can reenter them later or, if you've colored them on the picture, you can use the eyedropper tool. (we'll cover it later)
So we're all done and – HOLY SMOKES, BATMAN!!! WTF IS THIS!?!?!

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Ah.. you mean all those little white dots? Yes.. well…  we can ignore them – if we shrink this image down small enough you'll never see 'em OR we can fix them. Up to you, it makes it look better, but it IS time consuming, so it depends how much work you want to put into this image!

To fix them, the easiest thing is to zoom WAY, WAY in. to do this go to view – zoom – custom:

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This gives you a dialog box – choose 800% and hit okay.

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Yes, this has made it HUGE – good. Now, use the flood fill to fill in all those pesky white spots. But that means switching back and forth on the colors! Well, yes, it does. You can either just click on them in the little color menu (as you noticed they REAPLACED the colors you had selected) OR you can use the eyedropper tool:

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Whatever color you click it on becomes your FOREGROUND COLOR:

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If you RIGHT click it chooses your BACKGROUND color. You may want to select black as the background color so you can fill in the white dots that are in the middle of the black lines in with… yeah, black. What dots in the black lines? These:

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Floodfill it with the BACKGROUND color by right clicking
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You may notice the minute you click the eyedropper that it flips you back to whatever tool you were on before you clicked it – kinda handy sometimes! So, now that you can do that,  go fill in all the annoying white dots – and don't forget to SAVE periodically!! If you color in the wrong thing and loose all your black lines then remember to use the undo right away!! You only have THREE undos!
WARNING – you WILL get bored doing this. You will want to bash your head in and you will decide you don't care anymore. When that happens, hit Save and work on it tomorrow.
When you're all finished hit save – and we'll worry about the rest another day ;)

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