We can use the gradient tool to add nice effects when coloring characters. Here are a couple of tricks!
I have this pic that I shaded in a very simple way.
I will create a new layer on multiply mode and put it under the previous shadow and light layers. While working on that layer I will select a gradient that goes from a selected color to blank, and I will apply it from the lower tips of the hair towards the top of the head.
The result will be this.
Now I want to give some "shape" to the gradient by erasing parts of it. But! I don't use a normal eraser, I just create a layer mask on the gradient layer and I will erase the parts I want there.
Why do I do this? Because if I use a normal eraser and I erase some part by mistake, there's no way to get it back. However, if I'm using a layer mask to "hide" parts I don't want, I can get them back easily.
On this masked layer, I will use the blank color to erase parts and the main color (whatever it is, it doesn't matter) to retrieve parts I erased by mistake.
I'm using Maru/mapping pen to erase the top of the gradient in the shape of hair.
Now I want to add some nice light effect using a blue color for contrast. I create a new layer on SCREEN mode and I put it right on top of the gradient layer on MULTIPLY (still under the initial light and shadow layers). On the gradient tool, I select the "circle" option and I click on "advance setting". There I click on the reverse button.
I do that so that the beginning of my gradient is the blank color as opposed to what I did before.
Before applying the new gradient, I move this bar a bit to the right so that the color part will take longer to start (it will leave a bigger circle of nothingness, so to speak).
Now I set the center of my circle around the forehead and expand the circle all the way to cover the head.
This is the result!
We can use the first gradient tool to get a nice shadow base for the eyes too. I create a new layer on MULTIPLY mode over the layer where I colored the eyes and I use the gradient tool from the top of the eyes to the bottom (note that the line is tilted, this is because the eyes are not drawn on a straight line).
This is the result.
I use the same method as before, I create a layer mask to erase the bottom part (I use a pencil with strong antialiasing to do this).
This is a good base to work on the rest of the details like sparkles and such. For the rest use the techniquest you feel most comfortable with!
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