How to Colour Lineart

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Hey everyone, it's me, Yaantii! Back with another drawing tip! This time, I'll be showing how to colour lineart easily with Clip Studio Paint, to finish off a piece and give it a soft look. This technique works with any art style that uses lineart, and is a simple way to finish a piece.

I had struggled with this as a beginner, and it took me a while to learn an efficient way of doing this, so I'm here to share what I've learnt.

Black vs. Coloured Lines

Black lines: Stark contrasts between the lines and the colouring make the black lines stand out and look more bold. Great for cartoony and dark styles.

Coloured lines: Gives an overall softer look. and blends a little bit better. You can colour some lines, while leaving others black, creating interesting effects in the process.

Depending on the piece, sometimes I will leave the lines black, but usually, when I colour lineart, I find that it makes my overall piece look a little better.


The method that I will be using is Clipping Mask. There are other ways to do this, but I prefer clipping masks because it is on a separate layer and easy to delete if it isn't working out as expected.

The first step is to make sure that your lineart is on a separate layer, and not merged.

Next, create a new layer and press the circled button below. This will "clip" the new layer to the one below it. You can tell a layer is clipped if you can see that it is indented slightly, with a red line on the left side.

To unclip, simply press the button again.

This feature exists on most digital art softwares, but the icons will be different.

The clipping mask basically forces the contents of the clipping layer to be confined to the contents of the layer below it. With a clipping mask on top of your lineart, you can colour specifically on top of the lines, and not have to worry about it painting everywhere. If you unclip it, you can see how the brushstrokes would normally look without it.

You can also clip multiple different layers, if you'd like to separate it by sections. I usually get lazy around this point and do it all on one layer.

This is what my layers usually end up looking like (I can be as messy as I want with the top layer, since it is clipped):

For skintones, I'll use a dark red, light brown, beige or dark brown. Sometimes, I'll choose a purplish tone.

For other edges, such as hair, I usually just choose a colour that is slightly darker than the shading in that area. If you would like the line to disappear altogether, you can use the colour right next to the line.

Here is what the entire drawing looks like with the layers:

Now, let's see what it looks like without the clipping mask:

... Oh my. That looks like a trainwreck and a half! But it shows you just how great clipping masks are!


I won't go into too much detail about finishing a piece, but usually, colouring the lineart is the second last step for me. I'll usually create another layer on top of all of these, and do some overpainting. I'll fill out any gaps and unsightly blemishes, and paint a few strands of hair to make it just slightly more detailed.

And that is it! An easy way to change your lineart from black to colourful and give your drawing a different look.

Happy colouring!


If you would like to use the lineart of this piece to try it for yourself, you can get it for free on my Patreon here:

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