4. Color Blocking & Flat Colors



I start color blocking by first blocking off large sections, then moving on to smaller parts.

[1] Roughly blocking out the character and background

(1) I lay down colors for each part to prepare for painting. For flat colors, I use the same "Fill & Layer Mask" procedure that I explained in Part 1.

With the layer mask selected, I use the [Auto Select] tool to create selection areas for each part and then fill them. For parts that I can’t select with the [Auto select] tool, I use the [Pen] tool.

(2) I’ll make masks for the character, the background, the tree and stones, and the leaves.

I color in the parts in a completely different color so I can easily see each layer.

(3) I make a selection area of the part I want to mask.

While selecting this area, I go to the [Layer] menu and choose [New Layer Folder].

(4) I click the “Create layer mask” icon at the top of the layer palette to create a mask in the folder over the area outside the selected area.


There are several ways to create a selection area, but one good method for selecting the shape of a character is to select outside of the character with the [Auto Select] tool and then invert the selection with [Invert selected area].

When using the [Auto Select] tool to select the outside of the character, you can’t select the spaces between the hair in the same action. Hold down the Shift key and click these spaces to add them to the selection area.

[2] Detailed color blocking

I further subdivide each part within the masked folders.

I divide the leaves in the foreground into three sections.

[3] Tidying the character line art

Before I move onto to detailed flat colors for the character, I’ll tidy up the lines.

I add a masked layer filled with white above the line art and set it to “Clip at layer below”. I’ll hide the overlapping lines on this layer.

Since the blending mode of the clipped line art layer is [Multiply], any parts that are painted white will appear transparent and be hidden.

Note: The white fill layer itself is set to [Normal].

You can clip layers either by selecting the “Clip at layer below” icon at the top of the layer palette, or selecting the [Layer] menu > [Layer Settings] > [Clip at Layer Below].

I often use the clipping function, so I set a shortcut key of Ctrl + G.

(1) I tidy up the lines for all the parts in the same way.

My layers look like this at the moment. Each of the layers has a white fill layer called “erase” clipped above it.

(2) After I’ve finished adjusting the line art, I continue with flat colors. In the folder with the overall character mask, I create sub folders for the hair, clothes, and so on, and mask the folders.

This layering method is the same as layering clothes, so I start with the skin, then move to the innerwear layers, and so on.

Now I’ve finished my flat colors.

In the next part, I’ll explain how I paint the clothes.



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