Digital Illustration: Crazy Colors in Procreate | Christoph Sagemuller | Skillshare

Digital Illustration: Crazy Colors in Procreate

Christoph Sagemuller, Artist, Designer, & Nerd

Digital Illustration: Crazy Colors in Procreate

Christoph Sagemuller, Artist, Designer, & Nerd

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9 Lessons (24m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Project

    • 3. Picking Reference Photos

    • 4. Sketching

    • 5. Line Art

    • 6. Time for Color!

    • 7. Painting

    • 8. Adding Design Elements

    • 9. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

✨ Are you new to illustration or looking to step up your color game?

This is a course on making vibrant illustrations and experimenting with colors in your art.

In this class, you'll be learning how to illustrate a stylized portrait. Students will learn the tools and fundamentals to experiment with colors in their illustrations.

  • You'll learn how to pick vibrant colors that look great together, along with my personal tips and techniques that will make them jump off the page.
  • We'll be taking a different approach to color and learning how to use them in some new and exciting ways!
  • Here I teach the basics of illustration, from sketching, to coloring, to painting, all the way to final details! 

Who is the class for? For all levels! This class is aimed towards students with basic drawing skills. Students may range from beginners learning the basics, to art students freelancing on the side, to professional full-time artists looking to try something new.

Why is the class useful? This class is a playful approach to a topic that is often complex and intimidating. Students will learn to balance and experiment with colors in a practical way. You’ll be able to apply these principles to all facets of your work.

In this class you'll be: learning a fundamental technique that you can apply to a broad spectrum of your work, create a portrait with an exciting twist, and create a new portfolio piece.

I'll be walking you through my whole process and sharing some tips and tricks I wish I knew when I was starting out. I’ll be using Procreate for this class but you can follow along in any other drawing program!


Meet Your Teacher

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Christoph Sagemuller

Artist, Designer, & Nerd


Hey! I'm Christoph.

I'm an artist, illustrator, and designer from the US and The Philippines. I'm known mostly for my crazy colors and constant need to add smiley faces to all of my messages :D I draw my inspiration heavily from Pop-Culture: Movies, TV, Video-games, and Music! 

Most of my professional work has been for Music Festivals and events, where I get to mix my love of illustration and design!

I share most of my work on my Instagram! So check that out if you're interested.

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1. Introduction: I think if you're creating something, you've got to be having fun. Hey, everyone. I'm Christoph, I'm an artist, illustrator and designer. At first, I started out as a painter and traditional artist in college. Then I discovered digital art and illustration, and I realized all the crazy fun things you could do with it. My sound is very graphic and vibrant. I use a combination of colors, shapes, and textures to keep things interesting. In my career, I've done a wide range of work from branding identities for music festivals, illustrating for museums, and even designing for some amazing filmmakers. In this class, we'll be learning how to fill our illustrations with energy and really bringing them to life by using colors in some fun and exciting ways. For this class, we're going to be using Procreate for the iPad. It's an amazingly simple drawing and painting app, that let's you jump right into creating. The best way to learn something is to use it in practice. So today, we're going to be making an illustration of our favorite TV or movie character. What I'm teaching today is more of a fundamental, rather than the skill. So what you learn here, can apply to every other part of your work. I think anyone that loves creating and bringing new ideas and stories into the world, can take something away from this class. I'm so excited that you're joining the class. I can't wait to see the awesome illustrations you come up with. Now, let's get started. 2. The Project: The project for today's class is making an illustration of your favorite TV or movie character. This project is a great place to start for anyone since it's pretty easy to get into. Incorporating something you like is a great way to learn something new. It keeps you motivated and excited to finish the project. Most of my art is inspired by TV, movies, and music. I actually discovered the style I have now during Game of Thrones fine art. For this class, I'll be using Procreate. That's my go-to art making app since it's simple and easy to use. It's also very powerful and has some great tools. If you don't have Procreate, you can follow along in any other art program that you have. Some tips before we start. Number 1, choose an iconic character. This will help get your point across and let other people know who the character is. Tip number 2, take it easy. Try starting with something simple that you know you can finish. It's really fun to draw these characters with crazy hairstyles, incredibly detailed designs, but if you make too much work for yourself, you might not have the time and energy to finish it. I'm very guilty of this, and that's why I have tons of unfinished drawings. Tip number 3, play some music or even watch a TV show or movie your character is from. It might help you get some ideas, or at the very least, put you in a good mood. Keep these steps in mind and you'll do just fine. Make sure you check out the project description for more details. I've also included a starting color palette for you to experiment with. I'll see you in the next lesson. 3. Picking Reference Photos: In this video, I'm going to be giving some tips on how to choose good reference photos for your illustrations. First off is readability and silhouette. This is important so that when people see your work, they know what they're looking at right away. They'll be able to get the message you're trying to get across. Here's a few questions to ask yourself, can you read the image as a thumbnail? If you squint your eyes, does the image still make sense? Second is lighting. The reference photo should have good contrast and lighting. This is important because light is the main thing that describes the form of the subject. Light shows us the shape of the face and its features. A poorly lit photo doesn't give us as much visual information to work with, and our drawing ends up looking flat and uninteresting. Last is photo resolution. As much as possible, try to find a higher resolution image. This helps us take a closer look at the details and gives us more visual information. This is especially helpful when you're working at bigger canvas sizes. 4. Sketching: In this video, we're going to be sketching out and building the framework of our illustration composition. We're going to start out by sketching some thumbnails. These are drawings that help us figure out the composition we want for our illustration. This will be pretty simple and straightforward, since we're drawing a portrait. Most of my drawings tend to be composed symmetrically and pretty close up, so we can see more of the subject's face, since that's where most of the motion and character is. Once we get our composition in a good place, we can start building out our drawing more. When sketching, start off by using simple shapes and thinking of your subject as a bunch of three-dimensional shapes put together. Understanding how 3D objects translate into 2D images, will make your drawings more lifelike and interesting. I like bringing in my reference photo onto the canvas and getting the subject's facial landmarks in to get a better likeness. Once we have our rough sketch done, turn on layer opacity and make a new layer on top. We're going to make cleaner sketch using a rough version as a guide. Go over your drawing and refine the shapes with more deliberate lines. You can repeat this process several times, refining your drawing even further each time. But I like to refine my drawing just once, so we get to keep all of the looseness and energy of our sketch. I find that the more I refine my sketch, the more stale and robotic the drawing ends us being. Just remember, keep it simple and loose. Now we're ready to start inking. I'll see you in the next video. 5. Line Art: Hey, welcome back. By now we have our sketch done and it's ready to be inked. I have two things I like to keep in mind when drawing my liner and that's line weight and line quality. When I talk about line weight, I'm talking about the thickness and thinness of our lines. We can use variation in line weight to give a sense of depth and weight to an otherwise flat drawing. I tend to make thicker, heavier lines around the corners and curves, since those are typically where shadows tend to form. Again, it all goes back to the light and the way it interacts with her subject. Line quality helps you describe texture, light, and movement within the drawing. Line quality refers to the way you draw your lines. Are they straight, curvy, angular, smooth, rough, new several lines or as few as possible. The lines you decide to use, set the tone for your whole piece. For example, if you want the viewer to feel calm and at ease, you would typically draw your line slowly and deliberately and use smooth and curvy lines, less hard edges. For an illustration with a lot of action, you would draw with faster, more jagged strokes and you'd probably use a lot of lines to help emphasize the energy in your drawing. Each individual stroke says something not just about your artwork, but also you as an artist. Take some time to look through your previous drawings and study what lines you used. Then think about what you would have done differently. You'll be surprised at how much you can learn about yourself and your art. 6. Time for Color!: Now for the bread and butter of today's lesson. In this video, we're going to be bringing our illustration to life with color. Let's start off by filling in our main areas with color. I also mix of both the lasso tool and the brush tool. The colors you start off within this stage don't matter that much. We are going to be changing them in a bit. Let's fill in our character and the background. Once we have our main color layer filled in, let's start blocking out the different areas of our character. Make a new layer on top of our main color layer and set it the clipping mask. This will allow us to draw on a separate layer while also being constrained to our main layer. Use a different color for this layer. Repeat until all of your color blocks are filled out. Choosing your colors. I started with two different main colors that complement each other well. I won't go too much into color theory since I don't use it much myself. But one good thing to know, is which colors compliment each other. They're usually opposites on the color wheel. I like going across and a little bit to the left or right. You'll also want one of your colors to be darker than the other. This helps to add contrast to the illustration. Some hues are inherently brighter or darker than others. It's actually a clean split down the middle. Take for example, a yellow hue against a deep blue hue. They're at the same lightness and saturation, but when we put them next to each other and desaturate them, blue is much darker than the yellow. Keep this in mind to help you in balancing out your colors. When composing colors, I typically have two or three main color areas. Within those areas, I use complimentary or analogous colors. You want to use contrast to draw the viewer's eye to something, so the part of your illustration with the most contrast should be where you're trying to make them look. Usually for me, that's the face. One of the most important tools to use when picking out your colors is a hue saturation and brightness adjustment. When you set down a color, use this tool to fine tuning or try to completely different color altogether. Another thing I like doing to try out some new color combinations, is duplicating all of my color layers and combining them, then experimenting with the hue and saturation tool. This is an easy and fun way to discover new combinations you wouldn't have thought of. I suggest trying out a few of these combinations until they look good to you. This will help you develop your own style of coloring. Remember to keep your original color blocking layers separate and use a combined layer as a guide for you to color pick from. Also, the whole point of the class is that try using different colors that you wouldn't normally use, so don't be afraid to experiment. If you're having some trouble with this part of the lesson at first, I've included a color palette filled with my most used colors for you to try out. Now that we've got our main colors ready, it's time to paint. I'll see you in the next video. 7. Painting: Congrats on making it this far. In this video, I'll be showing you how to take the colors we've laid out and making them pop off the page using light and shadows. I start off the painting process with simple shadows, create a new layer on top of the main color layer, and change the clipping mask. Let's start with our character skin. As a general rule I use, shadows are cooler, darker, and less saturated while highlights are warmer, lighter, and more saturated. To get a shading color, I select the base color, open the color wheel, pull the selection down, making it darker, and a little bit towards the middle, desaturating it a little bit, then drag the outer color ring a little towards the blue side. Don't go too dark or desaturate it because we're going to go through this process again. Bring up your reference photo and figure out where your main light source is coming from. Look for the main chunks of shadows and fill those in. For this stage, we'll be using a solid inking brush to keep our shadows more defined. It doesn't need to be too clean or perfect because we'll be going over it again later. Once you have your main shadows down, we'll be going in with some lighting. Create a new layer. It should still be inside your clipping mask. Select your base color once again, add some saturation, make it lighter, and drag the outer ring towards the yellows for cyans depending on where you are in the color wheel. Start plotting in some of the main highlights with your solid bush, then switch to the softer more painterly brush and soften some of the heart edges. At any point in the painting process, try selecting one of your shadow or lighting layers and play around with the hue and saturation tool. Constantly adjusting and tweaking the colors is a very important part of the painting process. Once your highlights are in a good place, we're going to go back into our shadows. This time, select your shadow color, and we're going to repeat the process we had earlier, make it darker and cooler, but this time we're not going to desaturate. Again, using your reference photo, see which parts of the shadows are darker. They're usually darker and more intense where the body parts or features are covering or touching each other. On the face, it's usually under the nose, the cheekbones, in-between the lips, around the eyes and eyelids, and inside the ears. What we're doing is slowly building up our lights and shadows in our image. Let's go back to the highlights. Again, select our first highlight color, and repeat the process. Remember, always keep looking back to your reference photo. Now that we've blocked and then painted most of our image, let's go back into the sponge tool and refine our painting. It's important not to over-smudge, otherwise, you'll be blurring out all of the detail and definition you painted in. For the most part, you're going to want to keep those heart edges and only smudge the soft surfaces. Soft surfaces are parts of the skin that don't fold or crease a lot. Some of the most common soft surfaces are going to be the forehead, top of the nose, and the cheeks. Use the sponge tool sparingly. Once we have that done, we're going to add in some detailed highlights and shadows. These will be our brightest highlights and our darkest shadows. For the highlights, I like adding in rim lights with really bright saturated colors. These can be from your base color or a different colored altogether. Draw along some of the edges of your drawing, trying to keep your light source in line. I find that these work really well, especially if you add them right next to your darkest colors. That brings a lot of contrast and interest into your piece. You can then go in with pure white. But I use this sparingly. Less is more. I like to add in whites around the edges to the nose, around the eyelids, and in the corners of the mouth. Our darkest shadows will act mostly as accents that emphasize the folds increases that don't get much layer. Now that we have our character drawn, we're going to be looking at ways to really bring out a character's personality in this next video. I'll see you there. 8. Adding Design Elements: [MUSIC]Now, that we have most of our painting done, it's time to add some design elements. Think about the movie or show your character's from. We're going to be using this to add some Easter eggs to our drawing. This can be part of the character's story, their personality, an inside joke, anything memorable. I select sprinkling in lines or quotes from the TV show. Some iconic things I have chosen for this project are aliens, a flashlight, the X Mulder tapes to his window, and a UFO. When I make these drawings for the background, I like making them very loose and simple, almost childlike. [MUSIC] Once those are done, let's start working on the background. I like using patterns, shapes, textures, big brush strokes, and color to enhance our illustration. I like sticking to four or five different colors for a background. Try using one or two colors that we use for a character. It helps tie the image together. I use these design elements as a way to balance out the composition of our drawing. If one side starts to feel a little heavy, balance it out by adding something on the other side. Think about it as a scale. If you had too much to one side, your drawing will feel like it's tipping over. This is important because your composition shapes the way the viewer experiences your work. There, you have it. Finished art work, ready to show off to your friends, family, and the rest of the world. 9. Final Thoughts: You made it. Congratulations. I'm so glad you decided to join me for today's class. We covered everything from sketching to coloring to final details. If there's one thing I hope you take away from this class is to have fun and experiment. Try new things, it's how it should be. Upload your drawing to the project gallery on the class page. That way you get to share your love for the show or movie with everyone else. Not to mention, show off your great new art skills. If you enjoy this class as much as I love making it, leave a review. This will help me out a lot when making the next class even better. Also, leave some suggestions for new class topics you'd like to see. Make sure to follow my profile for more updates. I'll see you next time.