6. Organizing Layers & Choosing a Painting Style

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Before refining the rough draft, I will explain how I organize my layers and paint.


[1] Organizing the layers

I create a new folder at the top of the “Character 1” folder.

I name the folder “Rough: Character 1”, hold the [Shift] key and select all the layers within the “Character 1” folder, then drag them to the “Rough: Character 1” folder.

After moving the layers, I click the arrow on the “Rough: Character 1” folder to close it.


I create a new folder above the “Rough: Character 1” folder.

I name the folder “Upper: Character 1”.

I will store the layers used to paint above the line art in this folder, but I leave it empty for the moment.


I repeat the same process for other folders.

The following figure shows the folders after I’ve finished organizing them.


[2] Different painting styles

The current layer composition has three types of layers: base colors, line art (rough lines), and top painting.

By putting the “top painting” layers above the base color layers and line art (rough line) layers, there’s a stronger effect of thick painting.


I’ll use thick colors in this illustration to create a stronger contrast and brightness, but you can also use less saturated colors or lower contrast to create a watercolor-like effect.


Many people with a thick painting style don’t use any line art, and only use color for a realistic effect. However, my style involves line art, and I leave the lines visible for an effect that’s between reality and cartoon.


Stronger lines on an element will emphasize it, while faint or non-existent lines make the element blend in more. 

Both methods have their own good points. I paint with lines partially visible, but depending on the theme, I tend toward thick/realistic painting or leaving lines totally visible. I decide on the style depending on the balance of the illustration, atmosphere, and the feeling I want to create.


For this illustration, I will paint the characters and the foreground elements with lines partially visible, and hide the lines in the background with thick/realistic painting to add a sense of distance.

Starting from the top:

・ Thick/realistic painting

By not using lines and instead painting in a three-dimensional way with light and shadow, you can create a realistic feeling.

・ Lines partially visible

This method leaves the lines slightly visible for clean lines and a sense of heavy painting. (Note: I paint in this style)

・ Lines totally visible

This method leaves all the lines visible, with colors painted under the lines. It creates a clear and sharp cartoon-like effect.


I’ve finished organizing the layers, so I will paint the top from the next lesson.


Tips:

“Show layer in 2 panes”: Because my painting method uses a lot of layers, I use this feature to display all my layers in two panes.

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