Blocking sections
I block out different sections using the “Fill Pen_QM" brush, which I introduced in Part 2, and the fill bucket tool.
Dividing the layers too much at this stage will reduce efficiency, so I broadly block out the background elements into different layers, and paint only the main character in detail.
After dividing each layer, I turn on [Lock Transparent Pixel].
▼ To turn on [Lock Transparent Pixel], select the layer you want to lock and click the [Lock Transparent Pixel] icon at the top of the [Layer] palette. When [Lock Transparent Pixel] is turned on, the transparent area outside of the drawn parts become locked. This means you can paint on top without going out of the drawn area.
 Choosing the color scheme
■1. Rough color scheme
I’ll decide the color scheme.
For this piece, I decide to use cool colors for the background and a warmer color scheme for the character and objects around the character.
An effective way of creating a colorful color scheme is to paint adjacent objects in contrasting colors (colors that are far away on the color wheel).
I select the layers that I want to change to different colors and fill the blocked section with the new color. Because [Lock Transparent Pixel] is on, only the blocked color changes color. I re-adjusted the color of the character’s clothes and the table.
Then, I use my customized “Airbrush” to add rough shadows and highlights so that I can get an idea of the overall piece.
■2. Changing the line color
I change the color of the lines to match the color scheme.
I add a brown fill layer above the layer folder with the line art layers, then turn on [Clip at Layer Below]. Then I lower the opacity of the brown fill layer to 61%. The line color changes from black to brown.
▼ When you [Clip at Layer Below], the upper layer shows only within the drawn parts of the lower layer (or layer folder). In this case, since the brown fill layer was clipped to the lower layer folder with the line art layers, the line art appears to be painted in brown.
At the base color stage, I work by painting a little, then merging the layers and continuing to paint.
You can create a thick coating without line art or base colors, but this method allows me to paint details efficiently, as I can try different painting styles as much as I like.
■3. Choosing colors
I usually select colors from the [Color Wheel] palette, but I avoid using colors from the lower third of the square in the center (the HSV color picker) and the colors on the right edge. I only use the colors in the lower third when I’m using a very dark palette or when I want to add detailed shadows at the very end to create variation. The colors from this section tend to create a very heavy color scheme, and the colors can become even darker during the later tonal adjustment stage.
Also, I never use blues and greens from the upper or right edges because they often appear fluorescent.
▼ I tend to use colors within this red box
■4. Light source
In this illustration, I decided that the magic used by the character would be the main light source.
For that reason, I add the shadows while imagining the light hitting from overhead.
I paint a yellowish tone where the light hits and add a blue-green tone to the shadows to create a natural effect.
If you change the color drastically at this point, the original color of the element can become unclear, so I try to choose colors from around the same area of the color wheel.
 Adjusting the colors
I finished painting the base colors, but the colors are a bit flat and blurry. Therefore, I apply [Tonal Correction layer] > [Brightness/Contrast] to bring out the different colors in the overall piece. I also made a new layer set to [Overlay] blending mode and painted in yellow on the objects close to the character.
I use the [Overlay] blending mode when I want to subtly change the color, brightness, or contrast.
To make the later painting stages easier, I merge the base color layers into a single layer for each part.
I also duplicate the tonal correction layer I made and clip it to each part, then merge the layers.
My layer arrangement looks like this when I’ve finished the base colors.
In the next stage I’ll finally start painting.