Using Decoration Brushes for Monochrome Backgrounds (Part 2)

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The decoration brush tools are often used to draw decorations and effects such as sparkling light. However, they are also excellent for drawing backgrounds, depending on their settings.


In this lesson, I will show you how I made the following monochrome illustration of fields and trees using decoration brushes.


In the second part of the lesson, I will teach you how to create and use foreground wooden fences, middle ground trees and background sky brushes.

Click here for part 1.

https://tips.clip-studio.com/en-us/articles/1343


To learn the basics of creating decoration brushes, please read the following article.

https://tips.clip-studio.com/en-us/series/7


The brushes used in this lesson are available for free on Clip Studio ASSETS. Please use these settings as a reference.

https://assets.clip-studio.com/en-us/detail?id=1694455


Read the following article to learn how to download and use materials.

https://tips.clip-studio.com/en-us/series/86


[1] Drawing the trees and bushes

I create a “Tree leaves (black)” brush to draw the trees and bushes.



■1. Drawing the image


I create a new layer and draw groups of three or four leaves using the [Pen] tool.


The “Tree leaves (black)” brush consists of the following four images and their inverse.

Each image is approximately 4 mm by 4 mm.



■2. Setting options


I register these images as materials and set them as the tip shape of the new sub tool “Tree leaves (black)”. Afterward, I change the settings in the [Sub Tool Detail] palette.


(1) Enable spraying effect

I enable the spraying effect by checking the [Spraying effect] option.

While [Spraying effect] is turned on, the brush image is scattered within the set brush size, like an airbrush.


This setting is useful when you want to draw random patterns in a wide area.


(2) Apply natural variations in random settings

If you enable the spraying effect, set the image size in [Particle size]. I use random settings to make the size of the leaves irregular.


I also set the [Direction of particle] and [Repeat method] to random.


These random settings create natural variation.



■3. Drawing with the brush


I draw the trees and bushes using the “Tree leaves (black)” tool. Here, I’ll draw a round bush.


I create a new layer and draw the outlines and shadows of the bush with the “Tree leaves (black)” brush.


Then, I paste a screentone on the area that isn’t shadowed.

I finished drawing the bush.


In the same way, I can draw a rectangular shape to make a neat hedge, or add a tree trunk to create a tree.


[2] Using a gray brush to draw clouds

When making a monochrome drawing, you don’t necessarily have to use monochrome materials.

Using the [Toning] function, you can convert gray and color layers to binary values like screentones.


Here, I will explain how to create and use a “Cloud” brush based on a grayscale image.



■1. Drawing the image


I create a new layer with a grayscale expression color and draw the shapes of the cloud in white. Here I will use a watercolor brush, but you could also use the airbrush or other tools.


Since you cannot see the shape of the cloud if the paper layer is white, it’s best to temporarily change the color of the paper layer or add a black-fill layer.


The “Cloud (gray)” brush consists of the following six images and their inverse.

Each image is approximately 115 mm by 47 mm.



■2. Setting options


I register these images as materials and set them as the tip shape of the new sub tool “Cloud (gray)”. Afterward, I change the settings in the [Sub Tool Detail] palette.


The settings of the “Cloud (gray)” brush are very simple.



■3. Drawing with the brush

I create a new layer with a gray expression color and draw using the “Cloud (gray)” brush in white.

Similar to when you created a brush image, the shapes of the cloud aren’t visible with the white brush, so I add a gradient layer underneath.


After I draw on the layer, the expression color of the image is still gray. I go to the [Layer Property] palette and turn on the [Tone] setting in one of the following two ways.


A) Use the [Tone] function for both the sky and cloud layer

In this method, you have to be careful about where you position the halftone dots.

In the default settings, the halftone dots appear in the same position when the screen frequency is the same. As a result, the halftone dots of the clouds can make the halftone dots of the sky look ring-shaped if the density is lower.


For an image like this, the impression may change after toning or the printed results may differ from what you expected. Therefore, I will move the halftones of the sky or cloud from the [Layer Property] palette [Dot settings] > [Dot position].

Note: In the initial state, X: 0 and Y : 0.


B) Place the sky and cloud layers in a layer folder and apply the [Toning] function to the layer folder

This method avoids the problem of ring-shaped halftone dots.

By applying the [Toning] function to the entire layer folder, you don’t need to take the time to adjust the position of the halftone dots.


However, if you use this method, you can not change the angle of the tone or the screen frequency of the halftone dots for the sky or clouds.

If you have a specific image in mind and want to make detailed adjustments, you should use method A.


[3] Drawing the fence in the foreground

Finally, I will create a “Wooden fence” brush to draw a wooden fence.

I will make the brush loop without any gaps.



■1. Drawing the image


I create a new layer and draw fence panels.

The more panels there are, the less repetitive the brush will look. However, the image is pretty large, so I drew two wooden panels. This image is 126 mm × 97 mm.


After drawing the wooden fence and wood grain, I create a rectangle selection area around the left half of the fence, and move it across to the right with the [Move layer] tool.


I close the gaps so that the wood grain at the center joins smoothly.


After I finish drawing the line art of the fence, I fill the inner part of the fence in white. The image of the fence is now complete.



■2. Setting options


I register this image as a material and set it as the tip shape of the new sub tool “Wood grain fence”. Afterward, I change the settings in the [Sub Tool Detail] palette.


(1) Enable [Ribbon]

In the [Stroke] setting, I enable [Ribbon]. When [Ribbon] is enabled, the images connect along each stroke.


(2) Change the direction

If you enable [Ribbon], you can draw natural continuous patterns along the pen strokes, but the “wooden fence” brush is not ready yet.

If you try to draw at this stage, the fences will not connect side-to-side, and will be drawn at a weird angle.


To draw the brush image with the intended orientation, set the [Direction] of the [Stroke] item to 90 degrees.

I’ve finished making my “wooden fence” brush.



■3. Drawing with the brush


I made the “wooden fence” brush thinking that I will draw snapping to a rulers. Drawing with this brush freehand will result in warped lines. Here are some rulers for different purposes.


(1) Drawing horizontal lines

To draw the fence horizontally, create a parallel line ruler with an angle of 0 degrees and snap to the ruler when you draw.


(2) Drawing curved lines

In the example illustration, the fences are straight, but you might want to curve a fence along hilly slopes. In that case, create a parallel curve ruler or multiple curve ruler and snap to the ruler when you draw.


(3) Drawing into the distance

You can set the effect source of the brush size to pen pressure or enable [Starting] and [Ending] to add a perspective effect. However, this method may result in a slightly curved line like the following.


Therefore, if you want to add depth, it’s best to draw the fence horizontally and edit it with [Edit] > [Transform] > [Free Transform].


[4] The finished illustration

This an example of a finished work using the decoration brushes described in these lessons.


I used decoration brushes to draw everything in this picture except the tree trucks, mountains, and screentones.

I used the “Trees” brush included in CLIP STUDIO PAINT to draw the dark forest at the foot of the mountains.


Why not try using decoration brushes to draw your backgrounds next time?

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