In this tutorial I’m going to show you how I make a full illustration using Clip Studio Paint, focusing on the line art and the color. Clip Studio is the software I’ve been using since I started drawing digitally, and I feel like it is the most intuitive and convenient software for illustrating on PC. I am going to use the Spanish version of the software, so all the screenshots are in Spanish, but don’t worry because I will tell you the official English name for each tool.
I really like my illustrations to have a very strong traditional feeling and I’m going to show you how I achieve that on this specific software.
So really hope you’ll like it and learn something today!
Let’s start! (∩^o^)⊃━☆ﾟ.*･｡ﾟ
2. Tools and Canvas
I normally make my non-work-related illustrations in a square format because Instagram default template is square, so by doing this, I make sure that is going to fit perfectly. I select the mode “Illustration” on the canvas menu, it’s the first option you have as you can see. I also usually set my canvas in 300ppp in case I want to make a print, or any kind of merchandise, and as you know, 72ppp is nice for online content, but if you want good print quality it has to be at least 300ppp! I also select the size more or less of an A4 so I’m also sure its big enough for printing (you never know what opportunities you could have so it’s better to be prepared!)
I use a few tools in Clip Studio Paint, and I will be showing you which ones on the different stages of this tutorial, but before I want to say that I’ll use only two kinds of brushes: pencil imitation-like (Real Pencil) to make the line art, and then the classic round brush (G-pen) for color and rendering. It’s very concise because I don’t really like crazy brushes effects, so I prefer to keep it simple! As you know, you have default brushes in Clip Studio Paint but you can also edit them yourself, download them from the Clip Studio resources page, or you can buy packs from developers or other artists! Sometimes they even offer free downloads.
3. Composition and sketch
Ok if you know me from Instagram, you’ll know that I really like mystic and mythologic aesthetics, you’ll also know that I did my own Tarot deck so I’m going to fuse all of this to make my illustration. Having this in mind, what I want it’s a very geometric and minimalist composition, so I’m going to try that everything forms basic geometric figures. But of course, you can make here whatever you want, get creative! There is an endless way to make awesome compositions!
I always start sketching from general to specifics, I really like to put here a thing that I really really love of Clip Studio Paint: Stabilization. I’m terrible at making straight lines so this helps me a lot! I usually set it around 75% of its capacity (around 20/22 points). Once I set the Stabilization, I also set the opacity to 50% more or less because I really like to feel that I’m using a real pencil so if you want a line to be darker, you have to make more pressure or more lines on top.
4. Line art
My line art is quite peculiar, because I don’t clean my sketch in another layer, I just clean my sketch and refine it by increasing the opacity of the brush or erasing small parts. I like to just work my sketch and turn it into a line art because it also looks more traditional. For some refined lines I like to use Alt+brush+Click: you can make a perfect straight line while maintaining the brush texture, and since I really like geometric compositions, it’s a really useful shortcut: First click with the brush you have selected one time on the canvas, then press +Alt, hold it and move the mouse into the direction you want. Then click to secure the line! Ta-da! A perfect straight line but maintaining the brush texture!
5. Color composition
I’m going to make a really simple color composition. I will be using two complementary colors: blue and orange, so every shade is going to be within that range. I usually pick my colors in the top-right part of the chart, which means they’re going to be brighter and more saturated generally.
The dominant color is going to blue, which is going to be present in all the background and in a few details on the character, and the character predominant color will be orange.
You can make a lot of color compositions, and they don’t have to be saturated or bright, you can play with a very dark palette, for example and make an awesome color composition too!
I usually like a very subtle rendering in my drawings because I really like flat colors, so, as I said at the beginning, I’m going to be using the flat basic brush (G). In this stage I don’t set a lot of stabilization because I need that only for precise lines. However, I put it again for details like those I did on the background. All my render consists on having the opacity of the brush very low so I can add layers creating volume, like you were working with traditional media. Sometimes for things like the blush in cheeks, I use the real pencil brush again in a very low opacity to give a little more texture.
At this stage I usually go back to the line art because sometimes when I do the color, lines lose contrast. So usually I first duplicate the line art layer and set the opacity depending on the darkness I want to apply (this is different in every drawing). And I also go over the line art again but this time without opacity in order to highlight specific areas that I consider a little dull or plain.
In this stage I also add some color correction to the color layer, because sometimes I feel like I would like the palette to lean more to a specific color.
For that, right click on the layer you want to apply the color correction. Then on the menu select new color correction layer > color balance. As you can see, I added on my illustration more Red and Blue tones.
When the drawing is done, sometimes I like to add some effects or a little bit of texture to enrich it. I’m going to make some wavy lines on a layer on top, I usually play here with the blending modes that Clip Studio paint has, you can achieve very fresh and creative results. Then what I usually do is to add a little bit of noise, but this time I like it as it is, so I’m not going to add it! You have a lot of options and each one will give you a different effect! Keep in mind that blending modes only work when you have something else on a layer bellow. And don’t forget to set the opacity!
And that’s all! The drawing is finished! Thank you for staying until the end! ♡ ♡ ʕ￫ᴥ￩ ʔ
9. Conclusions/About me
I just want to say as a conclusion that this is my way to illustrate and to use Clip Studio Paint and you should be able with time to develop your own process, and that process has to be the most comfortable way for you. I also think that the tools and the effects are secondary. What really matters is that you work every day to improve your drawing or painting. On top of everything BE CONSTANT, with work and steady pace you can be and achieve whatever you want! Really hope you enjoyed this tutorial, thank you! ღゝ◡╹)ノ♡
Hello! ( ◔ ౪◔)⊃━☆ﾟ.*・ My name is Alba, more known as AlbaBG or @albabbgg, and I am a Spanish art director and 2D designer for animation and video games. I’ve been working these past two years in several projects and brand collaborations. The thing I’m most proud of is having the honor of illustrating a Magic the Gathering card! I am also the co-founder of Weba! Studio with whom we have released a 2D animated short film and an Indie video game!
You can follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Artstation, or Behance! I even have a YouTube channel where you can find a video of this tutorial! Bye Bye! (♡´౪`♡)