Character Concept Art: From Grayscale to Full Color Illustration | Magdalena Pagowska | Skillshare

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Character Concept Art: From Grayscale to Full Color Illustration

teacher avatar Magdalena Pagowska, Concept Artist & Illustrator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (43m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Introduction: Layers

    • 3. Introduction: Blending Modes and Styles

    • 4. Grayscale

    • 5. Color

    • 6. Textures and Final Touches

    • 7. Color Variations

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About This Class

am a concept artist majoring in character design and I enjoy exploring various digital painting and coloring techniques.

In this class, you will learn to use Photoshop tools such as layer options, styles and blending modes in order to create a full color painting. We will focus on creating a character concept artwork, but the skills I will introduce can be used in any type of digital illustration.

What You'll Learn

I will teach you my working process and introduce one of the more advanced digital coloring techniques. I will also share some tips to make your work with Photoshop more efficient.

  • Introduction. Introducing tools that we will use in Photoshop.
  • Grayscale. Working with values, depicting depth, lighting, volume and different materials.
  • Color. Creating color passes, expressing depth with color temperature and saturation, using blending modes to build up color.
  • Final Touches. Adding fine details and color variation, enhancing materials with photo textures.

What You'll Do

Students will complete an illustration of any theme, from grayscale to full color. The coloring technique introduced in the class allows the student to make quick color alterations and create multiple color variations for the image - a skill that proves especially helpful for concept artists. The Photoshop tools introduced in this class will improve your efficiency with digital design practices universally.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Magdalena Pagowska

Concept Artist & Illustrator


I am a designer and illustrator from Warsaw with an M.A. in Korean Studies and a B.A. in Game Graphics. My concept art work often reflects a merge between the two. I have been working as a concept artist for Korean and Polish game developers and I have created a number of illustrations for card games and book covers.

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2. Introduction: Layers: - Hello and welcome to the character concept Art. - From grayscale to full color illustration. - A layer based Photoshopped coloring class to get started. - Let's cover some basics to create my picture. - I'll be working with just one simple brush. - It's one of the default Photoshopped brushes this one here. - I'm going to adjust it a bit so that it's more to my liking. - I'm opening the brush window, - which you can also exist from the mini. - I'm going to check the shape dynamics. - I'm making sure that Sister Therese it to Penn pressure. - Also check transfer The first corruption should likewise be said to pin pressure. - Now go back to brush, - tip shape and lower to spacing to, - let's say, - 10%. - This should be all right. - Yeah, - look skewed. - The only thing I will be changing is the hardness of the fresh. - It can be adjusted in the right click money. - If we lower the hardness, - we'll get the soft edged brush. - I'll be using it sometimes, - but most of the time all work with brush, - Hartness said. - 100%. - Now, - let's take a look at the layer swing dough. - Here is our background player. - I'm going to make a new one. - On top of it, - intra random shape. - I can change the layers transparency by adjusting the opacity value. - Here, - I can also lower the layers feel, - and the effect will be the same. - That is, - unless you have any layers tell supplied. - But we'll get into that a bit later. - Another thing I can do is lock some of the layer properties to explain deceptions that will - begin from the end. - If it's just a last option, - the layer will be entirely locked, - and I won't be able to change it in any way. - This is useful if you don't want to make accidental changes to some of your layers. - Second from the right disposition, - like I can still draw on the layer, - but I can't move it around. - Next to it is the pixel lock, - which is the opposite off position. - Look, - I can move the earlier around, - but I control anything on it. - The last option. - Issa. - Basically luck, - which I use a lot. - It allows you to change the color of the existing big source. - Simply put, - it means I cannot draw on my shape and don't get out of Flynt's. - I'm going to hide the background player now, - and as you can see, - the transparency of the original shape remains. - But I can no freely paint on it. - There is another option that allows you to make changes to a layer that gives even more - freedom, - and that is later linking. - I will make a new layer on top of my shape and holding out hover the cursor between the two - layers. - As you can see, - a new icon appears. - If I click between the layers while holding the L key, - the upper layer gets sling to the lower layer. - The lower layer is the parent layer, - and all changes that will be made on the top player will apply only to the pixels existing - on the parent one. - If I break the link between the two, - they start acting like independent layers again. - This is similar to pass city luck only you can make multiple later sling to the same parent - layer, - so can make changes much more freely. - Additionally, - any effects from the layer blending modes will apply only to the parent layer and not all - the layers below, - as would happen if there was no link. - Another interesting option that comes with the layers it's masking. - The exception allows us to cover parts of a layer. - I can create a layer mask by clicking this I can hear. - Now I can move between the layers, - continent and the mask. - As you can see on the miniature here, - the whole mask is right now it means that no part of the layer is hidden. - However, - if I start trying on the mask with black, - the contents off my layer disappear. - If I drawing the same place with white again, - they will get uncovered. - And if I use grace, - I can control the transparency of the layer. - So to put it simply, - a mask decides how transparent my layer is. - The closer to white demora park the layer, - the closer to black demo transparent it gets. - Remember to selecting in term the left. - If you want to make changes to the layers, - contents and the miniature on the right. - If you want to adjust in, - mask the respond More thing worth noting when it comes to masking. - If you look between the layer and the mask miniature here you will sealing symbol. - The mask is linked to the contents of the layer, - and if I want to change their location, - they will move together. - However, - if I just turn link the mask, - I can now move the mask in the layers content separately. 3. Introduction: Blending Modes and Styles: - Now we're ready to move to delay or blending modes. - Basically, - blending multi is the property of a layer that decides on how it will interact with the - layers below. - You can set it choosing from this money. - Depending on which one you choose, - he will get a different effect. - There is quite a lot of them, - and they might seem confusing and first. - But they can make your work much easier, - and they're quite fun to use once you get to know Adam. - As you can see, - the blending modes are grouped. - Each of the groups contains modes with different properties. - The first group is made of normal layers, - or duris, - knowing direction between the colors of the objects. - The 2nd 1 makes the picture darker, - the 3rd 1 lighter, - the mounting. - These two groups are the opposites of each other. - Darken has the opposite effect to lighten, - multiply, - to scream and so on. - Next group is the layers that affect contrast. - They make some of the colors darker and some lighter. - Next, - we have to inversion and took insulation modes. - Leslie Touristy Component Group. - The blending modes I use the most we're working our darkened, - multiply lightem screen overlay, - soft light and the liars from the competent group. - These 30 moods that I will never explain in more detail. - But you might like to experiment with all of them to see what effects they create in the - description. - I really include a couple of flings to more in depth articles on blending modes. - For those of you, - I would like to know a bit more on the subject. - All right, - so let's get started to explain how these blending modes work. - I will use to images a prepared before they're on separate layers, - and they will moved in so that one is on top of theater. - The default mode for each layer is normal. - The upper layer covers the lower one and makes it invisible in places where the opacity is - 100%. - Now let's change the upper layer smote to see how the interaction between the objects will - change dark in comparison to layer, - speak so for pixel and uses the darker pixel value to display. - No part of the image gets lighter. - Multiply darkens the lower layer based on the darkness off the upper layer. - Any a play tone darker than white, - dark and steal our layer. - Why it becomes transparent night and comparison to layer. - Speak so for pixel and uses the light. - Repeat so value. - No part of the image gets darker. - Screen brightens the image by lighting the lower layer based on the lightness of the upper - layer. - The result is always later and makes it a good mode for correcting over their trading. - Overlay uses a combination of this cream blend mount on the lighter pixels and the multiply - blonde mode on the darker pixels. - It is this a hope strength application of these modes and the meat tones, - namely 50% crate, - becomes transparent. - A soft light is similar to the overlay blend mode, - but results in a much self termer organic effect. - This is definitely the mode that I used the most. - The names of the months Incompetent group can give you a pretty good idea of what the - result is going to be. - So he moat changes the here off the lower layer to the hue of the upper one, - but leaves brightness and saturation and changed. - It's useful for septal color changes, - but the effect might be unnatural. - If the change is big situation mode changes the situation of the lower layer to debt of the - upper one that leaves brightness. - And here alone, - these mode works great when you want to tone down to strong colors. - Color remote changes the hue institution of the lower layer to the human situation of the - upper layer, - but leaves luminosity as it is. - It's the first way of changing colors, - but might require some work with adjusting values, - especially if you're trying to change the pred or purple into yellow or the other way - around. - Finally, - Lunesta mode changes the Lebanon's off the lower layer to the imminence of the upper layer - while living human searchers in the same. - This one's good for lightening and darkening in the area without changing the color. - Leslie. - Let's take a quick look at delayer styles. - They can be accessed from the money or by double clicking on the layer. - A new window appears with a number of options to choose from. - You can create customs tales using one or more of the following effects. - Drop shadow. - It's a shadow that falls behind the compensate off the layer, - while inner shadow as a shadowed, - it feels just inside the edges of the layers content, - giving delayer resist appearance outer glow and inner glow at close that emanate from the - outside or inside edges of the layers. - Continent battle on Bimbo's at various combinations of highlights and shadows to a layer. - It can give a three D like effect. - Certain applies interview shading that creates a satiny finish. - Color. - Grady int and Pattern Overlay feels the layers content with a colored radiant or a pattern - and finally, - dory stroke that outlines the objects and the current layer. - Reason, - color ingredient or a pattern. - It is particularly useful on hurt edge shapes. - Each of these effects has its own, - many with a number of settings. - You can adjust your liking the ones they use the most, - or drop shadow outer glow and stroke after riches. - The style someone to use and confirm. - And you I can will appear in the right off your layer as well as the least of effects. - Currently, - news. - You can hide them selectively or all the worms. - Now here is where we can see a difference between layers of Bay City and feel. - If I lower the opacity, - both the layers, - original contents and effects become transparent. - However, - if I lower the field on the layers, - contents to fade out while the effects remain at full strength. - If you want to remove the effects, - simply drag the F X I can over to the bean a the lower right corner off the layers window. - For those of you who would like to learn a bit more about layer, - styles included laying with third your information and that's it for this part. - Next, - I will show you how I use all these layer options while working on a proper illustration. - Stay tuned. 4. Grayscale: - Normally, - I begin working by making a quick sketch of what I'm trying to draw on a separate player. - Quite often, - it's very messy, - since none of the lines are going to be visible by the time I'm done. - Next, - I make a basic color feel under the sketch layer. - Most of the time, - I stick to neutral 50% Cray. - After debt, - I make another layer between the great background and the sketch and begin shading. - As you can see, - I use the sweaters window to pick my colors. - I'm using a switch set I found online. - If you're not used to swat us, - you can keep your pull it in a separate fail on the site. - I don't get into too many details at this stage. - It's just a base where I decide on where the lightning comes from and captured the general - shape of the elements. - I work with me tones, - leaving the lightest and darkest stones for later. - I usually finish this state quite fast, - sometimes accidentally make my sketch on the background layer, - but there is no reason to panic. - I just duplicate the layer, - said it to multiply, - cleared, - background and continue as they normally would. - When I'm satisfied with my base trading and make another layer on top of the sketch and the - real work begins, - these stage tends to take quite a long time. - So I sped up the video considerably and cut some persons out of it. - Nothing very important happens during the cut of sections. - I just continue working on normal layers and rendering the picture. - I add layer Sarandon Lee. - When I'm not sure if the changes, - I'm going to make alternate 12 so that I can remove them easily. - If I start having too many layers, - emerge some of them or collapsed the entire picture to one layer. - At this stage, - I begin to go over the original lines, - covering them and redrawing some parts. - My working process is quite messy, - several seems keeping from one part off the picture to the other, - only to come back to it after a moment. - It's a bit counterproductive, - but it gives me from getting bored too fast. - I started make turns and gradually at lighter and darker values. - I take my time with both value and color, - build up and over, - paying the same elements multiple times. - It takes a while. - But that's the most convenient way for me to work and help me make everything look more - voluminous. - The reason they started using this particular technique is because when I used to work in - color from the beginning, - I tend to get distracted with hues and shades and often ended up with very flat looking - pictures. - Working with grayscale, - they can focus on lightning and volume. - It's much easier for me to capture depth with time. - I learned to it natural looking colors. - Now this is my favorite way to paint digitally. - - I - flipped the canvas as a work so that it's easier for me to spot various mistakes. - But as I spent more time on the picture, - I start losing my distance to what I'm seeing on the screen, - and sometimes it takes me a while to pinpoint what's wrong with it. - This is way rarely finished a big picture in the cars off one day. - I like to put it aside and come back to it after a day or two with a fresh eye. - Now, - as you can see, - I chose to draw a warrior girl off sorts. - Her custom is a bit stylized, - so I guess it might not be the best choice of attire for actual battle. - Still, - I wanted to make a picture where I could show you how I approach various materials. - Here we have about five or six of them. - There is human skin, - her plain fabric, - leather, - metal and a bit of foreign. - You're the shoulder guard. - Each of these has its own texture. - But another thing I'd like to point out is the different speculative of the mo. - This means that each have a different amount of shine. - I tried to make the skin look smooth and even in case of the face to resell. - It'll shine to it around the nose, - eyes and cheekbone area, - but not much more. - Her and for is rather similar, - but the shine on the her is much stronger. - Plain fabrics such as cotton has almost no shying to it. - This is why I make sure to put any strong highlights on it. - I worked mainly with me terms and shadows. - Next this letter There are many kinds of it with various amount of speculative e. - For this picture, - I chose the type of letter with legal shine to it. - Metals on the other hand, - have very high speculator T. - This is where I use the strongest contrasts. - I also make the shading a bit more rough to show that the surface is not perfectly smooth. - Sometimes I also had scratches and other kind of damage to it. - At some point during rendering, - I decide to accentuate the highlights and shadows more. - And this is when I first used the blending modes. - Usually I create a separate layer on top and set the mode to self flight, - the new slight and dark race to emphasize the shading. - If the effect seems too strong, - I didn't lower the capacity of the layer. - When I'm happy with how it looks, - I just continue rendering on normal layers and repeat the process if necessary. - Now - let's talk about death. - There are many ways to make the picture look more three dimensional, - and some of them can be applied in the grayscale stage simply, - but things that are the closest to the viewer will have higher contrast and detail levels, - then the ones that are further away. - This is why I make sure not to put too much detail on the Cape Disorder and the characters - left arm and make them closer to the background. - Cray. - This effect is obviously stronger than it would be on a photo. - It can be observed more clearly in real life. - When we were looking at objects that are quite far apart, - however, - it helps to make the image read more clearly and seems to be a common practice for many - artists, - especially in game concept art. - - I - would like to emphasize that the workflow that you can observing this class is by no means - the only correct way to use this technique. - What I want to do is to give you an example off how powerful a tool Photoshopped layers can - be. - So experiment with the tool, - say, - introduce and find your own way off using this technique. - And don't be discouraged if your first tries don't look quite like you expected him to. - Like anything else. - It takes time and practice to master this technique. - I've been working with it for over three years, - and I still keep learning new things. - On the other hand, - maybe that's why I enjoy it so much. - It gives me plenty of possibilities and a lot of from for improvement, - the grayscale stage is almost over. - I could spend more time fixing mistakes in smoothing out shading, - but I'm going to leave the image a bit rough and move on. - I will continue working on later when I vetted colors to my picture. - The next part is going to be all about blending modes. - I will show you how I usually colorize my pictures and how I fix me stakes. 5. Color: - Usually it begin coloring by collapsing the grayscale base and creating a new soft light - layer. - I colored the picture using a self trade of page and critically introduced different hues. - This is when I said the colors of each element, - although quite often I change my mind as they continue. - I control the strength of the color with pen pressure, - or I change the brush of Bay City. - I don't worry too much about making the shading perfect and staying in lines. - I can correct everything later. - When I have my basic color, - said, - I make a new softly player and add to the color of the picture. - Self light gives the reader septal effect, - so it usually takes more than one layer to get a vibrant shade. - I really like working with this mode dough because it gives me much more control over the - color and doesn't raise the situation in the contrast as much as overlay, - I try not to is just one hue for each element. - Rather, - I makes various used to get a more natural looking effect. - I created another softly player and continue adding different Houston shadows. - It's worth noting that highly situated, - pure shades are visible on well late surfaces, - while the shadows display darker, - more dirty colors. - This is caused by the way human I works to see a vivid color. - We need strong light, - so naturally the Deemer delight the lower the situation. - Next, - add a multiple a layer and fill it with page. - In order to make the colors darker, - I shade on it, - using the light orb age to get a more natural looking effect, - sometimes a reluctant opacity of the multiple layer. - Before start shading, - I had an overlay layer to give more contrast to the metals under consume of the shadows. - Then I continue adding color on soft light players. - - I - decided to change the color of the stocking. - Seamster seems to be to Madrid on the picture. - To do that, - I use the layer with blending modes to color, - then adjusted values using multiply. - Now, - as I am happy with my color base, - I collapse the layers and start smoothing out stating and adding details on normal layers. - Most of the time, - I used the colors that are already on the canvas. - Occasionally, - I will use multi play and screen layers to darken and lighten parts of the image. - - I - would like to remind you again that the way I use the layers isn't the only correct way to - go. - The order and amount off layers I use is different for every picture I work on. - These lessons simply offers a sample on how you can approach the coloring, - so use as many layers as you like and said the blending modes to the ones that are most - convenient for you. - - Now - . - My basic colors are done, - and it's time to finally fix the mistakes I've made. - I collapsed the layers and useless so and transform tool to correct the placing and shape - of the facial features. - I clean up on a normal layer. - Now that's much better. - - Using - similar method I just the shape of the shoulder guard. - Then continue adding details to my picture. - The rest of the video footage I've prepared for this lesson uses the same techniques I've - already described, - so allow me to leave the remaining part without commentary. - In the next lesson, - I will explain how to a textures, - emphasized that a bit more and then create quick color variations using various blending - modes 6. Textures and Final Touches: - it's time to have some textures to my picture. - I'm going to start with letters. - I use a tiled letter to extras a base and set a blending mode that I think should work well - . - I settle on overlay, - but it raises the situation to match. - So I had a correction, - layer said the situation to the lowest value and link it to my texture layer. - Next, - I use a mask on the texture layer, - hiding, - enter content and gradually uncovered areas where they want the texture to appear and - repeat the process with another letter texture to make some elements stand out. - Next, - add the chain mail whenever possible. - These photos that I've taken myself. - But most of the time I was public domain images and three textures that some websites offer - . - I'm including a couple off links to such sights in the description. - My medals ended up looking a bit dark, - so before he had textures, - I lightened them a bit with a soft layer and it just the opacity. - I proceeded textures to the metal elements. - The images I'm using now are not held, - so I'm using his temp tal to copy them to places where the original image didn't reach and - then use the mask, - accentuate the highlights using an overly layer and another Dexter. - This one is actually a photo of first, - but it gives nice turns, - men said to leave it light. - Now that the textures air added, - I continue to clean up. - I lighten the color of the glove on characters left hand and disorder to make them look - like they're slightly behind. - After I have done a couple more fixes, - I create a new, - normal layer, - lower the hardness of the brush and, - using the background gray, - go over the areas that are further from the viewer and over the edges of the character to - accentuate the death some more. - When I'm done, - I lower the layers of pasty a bit. - Another way to accentuate death is to diese chew earthy elements that referred her away to - make the ones in the front pop. - In order to do that, - I will use an adjustment layer and de centering the whole image. - Then, - using a mask, - I will remove the effect from the parts that I want to stand out. - When I'm done, - I emphasize the lightning went an overlay layer and finish off with some small detail 7. Color Variations: - the picture is complete. - Now I'm going to make a couple of alternative color variations for it. - The ability to change the colors of your pictures fast is especially useful when working - for a client or in the game development. - I begin with a color layer and decide on which shades I'm going to pursue. - As you can - see, - using beige over red results in a dark, - grayish color. - That is because the values of those colors are different. - I'm going to lighten the her in some other elements with a soft layer and then a screen - layer. - I switch between the two and tell him, - satisfied with the colors. - - Now - that we have a lighter version, - then let's make another one this time darker again. - I begin with the color layer. - I use the situation layer to fade out some of the colors and in a multi player to make the - skin entire darker. - I looked capacity of the layer for more convenient shading. - I continue working with color multiply and soft light layers until I like to result, - - and - that's it. - I hope injured this class and that it will motivate you to experiment with butter shuttles - and lay eruptions. - Remember that practice makes perfect good luck and thank you