Basic Digital Coloring and Brush Adjustments




Compatible with Clip Studio Paint Ver. 1.10.10

Note: If your device has been updated from Ver. 1.10.9 or earlier, your sub tool groups may be different.


[1] Digital painting workflow

Here, we will introduce the basic steps of digital painting. While it is possible to paint in a manner similar to traditional mediums, digital painting offers unique features that can broaden your horizons.


The basic digital painting workflow combines several tools, as shown below.




● Basic painting workflow


(1) Paint the base color with the [Brush] tool. There isn’t any need to be accurate at this point. Try to lay down the rough shapes of the piece.


(2) To blend colors smoothly, use the [Blend] tool or a color mixing brush, and lightly brush over the edges.

Skip this procedure if you want to keep the brush textures.


(3) Clean up and adjust the shape outlines with the [Eraser] tool. If the background is already painted, use the background color for this step. Repeat steps (1) to (3) until you are satisfied with the results.


(4) Use the [Brush] tools or [Pen] tools with a small brush size to draw the details and highlights.


[2] What is a coloring brush?

Let's examine features of the brushes we used in the previous section.




(1) Color mixing/overlapping brushes


Clip Studio Paint offers brushes that can mix or overlap colors.


・Color mixing brushes

Most of the sub tools in the [Brush] tool's [Thick Paint] group are of this type. If you blend in blue over yellow, you can change the color while painting.


・Color overlapping brushes

Many of the sub tools in the [Watercolor] and [India ink] groups of the [Brush] tool, the [Airbrush] tool, and the [Pen] tool are of this type. If you paint blue over yellow, the colors will overlap without blending. If you paint with a brush with a high opacity, only the color painted on top will be visible.


Note: How to distinguish a color mixing brush from a color overlapping brush

Brushes that mix colors have the [Color Mixing] setting checked. If you look at the [Sub Tool Detail] palette > [Ink] category and notice that this function is checked, that brush is a mixing brush.

When the [Color Mixing] option is active, you can use the [Amount of Paint], [Density of Paint] and [Color stretch] options to fine-tune how colors will mix. Check the “Customizing the brush!” section for further details on these settings.




(2) Color blending brushes

If you want to blend colors or smooth the border between colors, use the subtools [Painterly blender] (Soothing watercolor), [Wet Bleed Blender], or [Textured Blender] under the [Blend] tool.

On devices running version 1.10.9 or earlier, the above sub tools are stored in the [Watercolor] group and [Real watercolor] group of the [Brush] tool.


These sub-tools cannot be used to color or draw on their own.




(3) Eraser brushes

If you want to erase or modify your drawing, use the [Eraser] tool sub tool or the [Brush] tool > [Watercolor] > [Watery brush]. You can also use it to lighten the color or adjust the shape.


Note: Master transparent color!

In Clip Studio Paint, any drawing tool can be used as an eraser by setting the drawing color to transparent.

You can select the transparent color from the bottom of the [Tool] palette or select the checkerboard pattern tile on a color palette.


Try the preset brushes out, and find one that you like!


[3] Using the right brush for the job

Although Clip Studio Paint comes with various preset brushes, a lot more are available on “Assets,” the CSP material sharing service.


Clip Studio Assets


You can access Clip Studio Assets from the menu on the left of the screen after launching Clip Studio.


On tablets: Tap the Clip Studio icon on the top of the screen and select the Clip Studio Assets button to open the website page in the browser.


Brushes can be created from scratch, but we recommend beginners to use premade brushes on Assets.


 How to use downloaded materials

Brushes downloaded from Assets are automatically added to the [Material] > [Download] palette.

To use them, first register those brush materials in the [Sub Tool] palette.


For tablet users: To register a brush material, select [Import sub tool material] from the top left menu of the [Sub Tool] palette.


Note: How to use an asset will vary depending on the type of material. Learn how to import and use downloaded materials in the following articles:

▼ How to download materials

▼ How to use downloaded materials


[4] Customizing brushes

Once you got used to brushes, let’s try customize them and make them easier to use.

Configure the brush settings from the [Tool Property] palette or the [Sub Tool Detail] palette.


The [Tool Property] palette displays the main customizable properties of the selected sub-tool.

The [Sub Tool Detail] palette displays all the customizable properties of the sub-tool.

  • If you cannot find these palettes, you can access them from the [Window] menu.

Note: On the smartphone version, you can tap the button on the lower right of the [Tool Property] palette to display [Sub Tool Details].



To display an option in the [Tool Property] palette, select the eye icon next to this option in the [Sub Tool Detail] palette!


Depending on the brush, changing some options might not make a big difference, and some brushes may not have some specific options.

Remember, you can test the tool while configuring the settings!


 Adjusting the paint opacity.

If you need to adjust the opacity of the paint, change the values of [Ink] > [Opacity] in the [Sub Tool Detail] dialog, which you can open by clicking the wrench icon on the bottom right of the [Tool Property] palette. The paint becomes thicker when the opacity level is high and thinner when it is low.


Supported default sub-tools: All drawing sub-tools.


If you reduce the opacity level, you can mix the selected color with the color below it.


For brushes without [Color Mixing] on, you can change the settings to control opacity with pen pressure or stroke speed by clicking the [Opacity Dynamics] icon to the right of [Opacity].


If the [Color Mixing] option is active: Adjust the opacity level by editing the [Density of Paint] > [Density of Paint Dynamics] settings.

Note: If you have [Color mixing] > [Smear] set, please make use of the [Opacity Dynamics] settings.


 Darkening painted colors

If your colors seem a little dull after being mixed, increase the value of [Amount of Paint].


Supported default sub-tools:

Drawing sub-tools with the [Color Mixing] option such as the [Watercolor] group, the [Thick Paint] group > [Gouache], and the [Dry Gouache].


If you do not want to mix the base colors, create a layer above and paint on it. Learn how to use layers in “ Basic Layer Techniques for Digital Drawing”.


 Creating dry strokes

If you want to make dry looking or waterless strokes, lower the [Brush Density] (flow rate) value.


Supported default sub tools:

The [Watercolor] group > [Flat watercolor brush], the [Realistic Watercolor] group > [Flat Watercolor Brush], and the [Thick Paint] group > [Gouache], [Dry Gouache], etc. are drawing sub tools with Brush tip images.


 Making thinner lines

If you want to narrow the starting and ending point for the brush, adjust the [Brush Size] > [Dynamics].

Reduce the [Minimum Value] of the [Pen pressure] to 0 and change the shape of the [Settings of pen pressure] curve as shown below.


Supported default sub-tools: Sub-tools that change their [Brush Size] according to the pen pressure.


Everyone uses pens with different pressure. We suggest users to keep adjusting until you find the right pen pressure settings for you.


 Changing the brush tip

You can change the brush tip image from the [Sub tool Detail] palette > [Brush Tip] category.


Click on the [Tip Shape] > [Material] and click on the bottom right icon to display the list of adjustable settings.


Supported default sub-tools: All drawing sub-tools.


The settings of the following tools are: Material: Gouache (default), Material: Real Pencil, Material: Brush, Material: Petit Fog.


You can register materials as a brush tip image from the [Material] palette > [Image Material] > [Brush] or your own image materials. For more details, refer to the following articles.

▼ Importing a hand-drawn material and applying it to a tool


 Creating a flat brush

To use a flat brush, reduce the value of the [Brush Tip] > [Thickness] to 50 or less, and set the [Dynamics] of [Direction] to [Pen direction].


Supported default sub-tools: All drawing sub-tools.


If lowering the thickness creates gaps between the strokes, close them by setting the [Gap] of [Stroke] to [Narrow].

  • This may slow down the program.


 Creating a spray brush

If you want to scatter and splatter the paint onto the canvas, apply the [Spraying effect] option.


Supported default sub-tools: All drawing sub-tools.


Change the particle size with the [Particle Size] option, and widen the gap between particles by reducing the [Particle Density] and increasing the [Brush Size].


 Changing the paper texture

You can change the texture via the [Texture] settings of the [Tool Property] palette.

  • Pressing the trash can icon will delete the texture.


Supported default sub-tools: All drawing sub-tools.


 Displaying the paper texture when printing

The sub-tools with [Texture] initially applied are suited for 72dpi digital publishing. When drawing artwork that is meant to be printed, we recommend you to set the [Texture] > [Scale Ratio] to a larger value.


Click the “+” to the left of the [Tool] palette’s [Texture Density] to display the [Scale Ratio]. The scale ratio is set to 28 by default. For printing (350dpi), we recommend a minimum scale ratio of 50.



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