Procreate Illustration: Drawing Dynamic Characters and Environments | Chaitanya Limaye | Skillshare

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Procreate Illustration: Drawing Dynamic Characters and Environments

teacher avatar Chaitanya Limaye, Illustrator, serial chai drinker ✏️☕️

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Examining Your Process


    • 3.

      Honing Your Observations


    • 4.

      Creating Thumbnails


    • 5.

      Detailing Your Sketch


    • 6.

      Exploring the Color Panel


    • 7.

      Coloring Your Background


    • 8.

      Coloring Your Character


    • 9.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Use Procreate to transform your characters and landscapes into immersive, lifelike scenes!

As an animator for films such as The Jungle Book, Cinderella, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Chaitanya Limaye fell in love with the power of visual storytelling, especially the spark that comes from putting a vivid character into an equally vivid environment. When he made the switch to freelance illustration, he adapted the best of his process for Procreate, developing a fun and flexible formula for drawing scenes that tell a story in a single frame. From ideating and sketching to adding color and lighting, you’ll discover how Chaitanya creates engaging characters and transforms everyday environments into colorful, eye-catching worlds—and how you can do the same!

Together with Chaitanya, you’ll create a detailed illustration in Procreate. Key lessons include:

  • Observing facial expressions and body postures to enhance your character creation
  • Sketching thumbnails to explore different compositions and storytelling techniques 
  • Using color to evoke emotion, and navigating the Procreate color panel
  • Lighting your scene to create a sense of separation, depth, and dimension

Plus, Chaitanya shares insider tips and tricks from his time as an animator and character designer, including where to find unexpected inspiration and how to add nuance and believability to every scene. 

Whether you're looking to add depth to your character designs, create your own comics, or simply filter your world through art, Chaitanya's techniques will give you the tools to fill your work with life and energy. By the end, you’ll arrive at an illustration that grabs attention and invites the viewer in—and you’ll have skills to get there again and again!

This class is geared at illustrators of all levels who are already comfortable working in digital drawing software. Chaitanya is working in Procreate on an iPad, but the same principles apply whether you're using Photoshop, Autodesk Sketchbook, or a traditional medium.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Chaitanya Limaye

Illustrator, serial chai drinker ✏️☕️


Chaitanya Limaye is an illustrator and visual storyteller. He enjoys bringing stories to life and evoking emotions through his illustrations. With a background in animation, having been in the VFX industries for about 8 years, he's worked on films like 'The Jungle Book', 'Guardians of the Galaxy', 'How To Train Your Dragon' TV show and many more. He uses this experience to create the most vivid, colorful illustrations with characters and environments that take a life of their own. 

Chaitanya, along with his wife Rucha created 'Ru&Chai' where the artist couple creates and sells art and merchandise.  A master of many mediums- he works with digital, watercolours and acrylics.

His most recent work can be seen on his Youtube and on his Instagram where he has a se... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] Whenever I think of illustration, I think of it as storytelling. I love getting lost in all of the littlest things, come out inspired, and take everyone back on a ride to my illustrations. [MUSIC] Hi. I'm Chaitanya Limaye. I'm an illustrator and visual storyteller. I've been working as an independent illustrator for close to six years now. I love bringing stories to life and evoking emotions through my art. Earlier, I worked as a 3D character animator. I got a chance to work on films like The Jungle Book, Guardians of the Galaxy, Cinderella, and many more. I tried to bring this experience to my illustrations when I'm creating my characters and environments that feel believable and beautiful. In this class, I'll be taking you through my process of creating a [inaudible] illustrations in Procreate. The key to making things believable it is ground them into reality. To observe the things that we are going to draw very closely, so even though they might not look realistic, they still are believable, and then that allows us this creative freedom to add our own imagination to it and bring our viewers into an entirely different world. I'll be showing you how to get inspired from the world around us that have most out of that inspiration, and then start with the actual process of creating thumbnails, then getting into the sketching, and then creating the full illustration that includes the painting of the characters and the environment. I'm super excited to get started on this class. So let's go. [MUSIC] 2. Examining Your Process: [MUSIC] Even while working as an animator professionally, I kept drawing on the side though it was not a requirement of the job, and I really enjoyed doing that a lot. Eventually, I started posting them on Instagram and it was amazing to discover that there's a place in this world for my own personal work and that's how I got started in this journey of being an independent Illustrator. When starting out a new piece of work, I tried to find the most fresh and new idea I can, but finding some original idea can feel extremely tiresome and daunting. Now I think I have the solution to that, remembering that nothing is original. Everything is a mix-and-match of the stuff that we see around in the world, all we have to do is focus on the things that we observe in the world and try and present them in the most personal perspective as possible. What I mean by that is an idea that has been presented a lot of times before, can still be done with a unique touch that is very personal to you, for example, if you and a bunch of friends visit a place and watch the sunset, what elements you might pick around the sunset, would be very personal to you and will be different than what your friends might be noticing. I believe that style is an amalgamation of those little choices that we do when we are expressing ourselves visually. As a kid, I also was fascinated by comic books and animated TV shows and movies and they really informed the sense of visual storytelling for me. Even now, I think my style keeps evolving little by little and that happens because I want to experiment with things and that just gets added to what style I have built so far. To give you an overview of my process, I start with a bunch of observations, then I single them out to a few things that will make a fresh point of view for the audience. This is where I start with doing a lot of thumbnails. Now, these are very quick sketches or doodles, where I experiment with thought, all is possible in this drawing. Once I have this thumbnail, I get into making the drawing very tight and clean. While I'm working on this, I tried to add as many details as possible so that it feels like a world that exists beyond this drawing. Now moving on to the color, I tried to bring in the lighting and make it as believable as possible, but elements that people might have seen here or there like in real-world or in say even photographs and all of these elements come together to create immersive illustrations. I believe that style is super subjective and what works for you might not work for me. So as you follow along on this class, you need not draw things like say the eyes and the hands, exactly like I do, if you have a way that you enjoy doing it already, I would suggest that you stick to it and mix that with the new things that you're learning from my class to make your own unique work. For most of my sketching, I generally use a few brush pens a few pencils, and just plain paper. For my digital illustration work though, I tend to stick only to the iPad Pro and Apple pencil, and my favorite app to use on it is Procreate. The thing I love about this hardware and software combination of the iPad Pro and Procreate is that it feels super responsive, it almost feels like drawing directly on paper like with traditional medium. I value that a lot because the last thing I want while drawing is any lag. Now, this is what I use personally, but regardless of what software or hardware you're using for your own digital illustrations, you can still follow along this lesson and see what works for you. In fact, a lot of these techniques that I'll be showing in the class will apply equally well to traditional media as well. Now beyond digital illustration, I love to experiment with other media, like watercolors, acrylic paints, and pencil colors. What I've learned so far is that there's always something to learn from different techniques and there's a finality to the statistician media that we can't find in digital illustration because there's an infinite number of undoes and redo's that we can do while working digitally, but that is entirely missing in traditional media and that really helps us plan for things better and execute our digital illustrations better as well. The student project for this class is going to be you making your own illustration and you can follow along my process and pick and choose what you enjoy and like and add it to your process and make it your own. Let's go ahead and figure out how we can derive the most out of our observations, we'll be learning how to pick on those little things that bring specificity to our illustrations. [MUSIC] 3. Honing Your Observations: I constantly get inspired heavily by a lot of things that I see around. It might be just people, their facial expressions, their posture, how they do things very uniquely, and also by the environment. Things like light, the shadows that are cast by different trees and leaves. I would suggest that always stay on the lookout for things that might spontaneously click with you or stand out in a different way. Let me show you a few examples of my illustrations and tell you about how some observations spontaneously inspired them. A couple of years ago, Ruja and I traveled to the Andamans and we went on this very special night cartoon where we are going to see bioluminescent algae in the water. Now, these algae are extremely tiny. They are very transient and they have very light glow, something that cannot be photographed at all with any camera. That was an amazing experience and I had to bring it to my canvas, especially because it cannot be told in any other way. I enjoy going out on long walks whenever it is possible. On one such long walk, I happen to come across this old gentleman who had, out of all things possible, a headlamp that bicyclist might wear on his head. This old man wearing this awesome headlamp on his head was a very unique thing and it stood out very immediately. But then not all things are very obvious right away. We have a lot of these plants at home in our balcony, and one such plant is the cotton plant. Now, this might not be very scientifically accurate, but what I've observed is that there's always a leaf that pops up every time there's a cotton boll trying to protect it from the Sun and elements. I felt that this is too much like a person would take care of someone like their sibling or like their child. That's what inspired me to draw this illustration where a leaf is taking care of the fresh new cotton boll and the cotton boll is looking up in a very cute way, very affectionately at the leaf, like what a child would look at his or her mom. It is important to look at everyday things in different ways and think about them slightly more so that we can come to the unobvious parts of it. Personally, I love looking for symmetry and patterns in things like trees, flowers, other things in nature. I think it is important to have a lot of these observations such that they form a memory bank. Once we have this huge repository of visuals, we can always pull from them whenever we are working on something and we are in need of something that fits in just perfectly. When you're observing the world around you, look for things that are very specific to how people are doing things. Say, you see some people who are sitting, first thing that will come up in our mind is that they're sitting. Now, we need to ask ourselves what are they feeling like? Everyone has a unique way of expressing physically how they are feeling. Someone might be feeling a bit sad. You can see that from their posture. Once you have this habit of looking at nuances, you'll start noticing these things more obviously as well. When I'm out doing some errands or sitting at a cafe or restaurant, I tend to look at people around me and observe these things. Now, to share those observations with you wouldn't be possible since I don't have any photographs of that. But what I do have is a frame from one of my favorite TV shows, Breaking Bad. Here we have these two characters sitting on a sofa and both of them look pretty relaxed at first glance. They seem very friendly. If you look closely, you'll notice that the person on the right is more relaxed while the person on the left seems stiff, and we see that from their body posture. The person on the right has this nice curve that I guess is going through his body that tells us that he's feeling more free while the other person is looking very stiff. You can notice that his shoulders are also quite stiff, and that tells us that probably the person on the left is not very comfortable in this scenario. These nuances we can pick up on when we are looking things very closely. For this next example, let's do a fun little exercise. I'm going to leave this image on screen for a few moments. Let us have a look at it closely and see what nuances are we noticing in this. Then let's see what are those observations that were in common and what are the things that you might have picked on and I might have missed. When I look at this frame, the very first thing that I notice is that both of them seem quite interested in this conversation. That is evident from the fact that both of them are inclined towards each other, but when you start looking closely, you'll notice that the woman on the left has her fingers tied together, and that gives her a tensed feeling. At the same time, the person on the right, though he's inclined inward, you can see a certain amount of stiffness and straightness in his posture, which gives a feel that he's trying to dominate this conversation. If you look even closer at their faces, then you'll notice that her face seems quite shocked like her eyes are wide open, her eyebrows are also tensed. His face, you'll notice that his jawline is quite tight and he wants to say something maybe mean, and his eyebrows are also tensed up. Those are some of the observations that I had and I'm curious to know what you might have found. A great way to build your memory bank and record your inspiration is to do a lot of live sketching. I would try to record people as they are moving. That is the key to capturing them in motion because that happens in a split second, and more you do of this, more your eye will get sharper to capturing movement. I feel that now that I have a lot of experience with live sketching, I don't necessarily do a lot of it anymore. I generally rely on taking quick notes and also snapping quick photos of something that I might find very remarkable, and I can always return to it if I'm going to draw something based off it. It is important to just gather and capture this idea first, and you can always go back and draw the characters whichever way you feel like eventually when you get down to actually doing the illustration. At times it can happen that you see a very interesting moment but you don't know what to do with it immediately. It is best to save this for later because you never know you can always revisit it and probably discover a story around it, or even, in fact, add some characters and create some chemistry to add some spice and develop it into something you have never thought of earlier. A lot of my ideas I have come to notice are very visual in nature, and it can happen a lot of times that I don't have a sketchbook and a pen on me. What I generally do is make a quick scribble on my phone. It may not be pretty and I definitely don't fuss over how good it looks. I generally use Procreate Pocket on my iPhone, but if you prefer Android, you can always use Autodesk Sketchbook for the exactly same thing. I found that light is a useful source of inspiration for me. I keep noticing light streaking through trees, branches, or even bouncing off the floor of my home and casting out interesting glow on the wall. All of these things can help in placing our illustrations in different ways possible. One day I was trying to think of an idea for an illustration and I just happened to remember this cobbler lady's shop that I have passed by a lot of times. I remembered her sitting down with her dog, petting it and having a really wonderful time. I drew it and I realized that it is missing something, something that could add a bit of magic to that illustration. I quickly realized it is looking pretty flat and light would do that trick. I thought that light filtering through leaves would be the perfect thing for this setting because that cobbler lady's shop is right underneath a big tree. I added this light wherein we can see the shadows of the leaves and it just fit perfectly. I absolutely love watching films and I've noticed that a lot of them have brilliant cinematography. Things like camera angles, color palettes, or just the way a particular thing is framed can be inspiring and we can always bring that to our illustrations. Even with photographs that you might come across while, say, you're scrolling on Instagram, might have some elements that you might want to pick up on. For this lesson exercise, you can go to your favorite place, notice things that you enjoy or you might want to draw and make notes of it. Then these notes can be in form of a text or just a photograph, or even if you don't want to step out of your home, you can always find inspiration anywhere. Just watch your favorite film and start looking for things that really interest you. It could be the actor's performance or the way the lighting is done, or the color palette of the art direction and such. You can make notes of them as well and derive some inspiration for your next work. Now let's talk about how to turn your inspiration and ideas into sketches. 4. Creating Thumbnails: What is the first step I do when I get to actually starting my illustration? I think of the ideas that I have and then I firstly do the thumbnail. Now, what is a thumbnail? Thumbnail is a tiny little sketch that is a place where I can explore the idea in detail in terms of the composition, the angle, the perspective, the placement of different elements, the posing of the character and the story will be highly informed by these tiny decisions, all of them coming together. I can just make a lot of thumbnails if I want to and explore BCL camera angles or different ways of placements of different elements and then it will be much easier for me to redo over stuff if something is not working. I have a couple of illustrations to show and describe what I've done here. Let's have a look at them. In this first illustration, I wanted to communicate a very horror mood because this was the cover for a horror book. I tried to minimize the space for this character, try to make it look claustrophobic, and try to hide the face of this character so that it feels very mysterious. Another thing that I did was played around with as many creepy elements as possible, crazy long hair and a semi-transparent body for this character. In the next illustration that I have here, we have an abundance of space because there are a couple of characters that are flying over the city in a paper plane and it makes for quite a cute mood. I wanted to make sure that everything looks bright and cheerful and that is how I thought of adding the satellites below and then have some wispy clouds go over them to make it feel even more magical. Now when we look at both of them together, we notice that both of them have the exact same color palette, and that is gold and black, or say yellow and black, but yet they say completely different things. Now, this is because of the choices that we have made when thumbnailing it right from the get-go. This is why we have to pay more attention to the thumbnails even though it might seem like a throwaway thing. We can use different composition elements like shapes, sizes, contrast, leading lines to inform the viewer's attention and lead them literally to where you want them to look at. I have a picture here that I have drawn where a father is introducing his little kid to spring flowers. I want the viewer's attention to get to the point where the little baby is plucking the flowers, so I'm using different composition elements like these lines of the fence next to them and then they merge into this tree and then they raise the baby and then bend into the flowers. Similarly, the other elements as well, like the top of the fence also does that. The dad's hands also lead exactly to the same thing, including his eyes and the other side of the footpath will also lead to the exact same point. In this way, you can have all sorts of different lines which are hidden in the place that lead to exactly where you want the viewer to look at. I have another example here where the comparison is pretty interesting. I wanted to draw this character cooking in the kitchen and the space that I wanted to show was pretty small. Now what I thought of here is I can probably use a fish-eye view. Now fish eye are a particular lens in cameras, wherein you can compress a space and show it even in a tighter framing. I wanted to give this sense of space even with a very close view, and this view really helped and made a very interesting composition. Another important factor to consider when composing images is to think of the angle we're looking at the scene from. If we want to make someone or something look small we can compose it from a top angle or if we want something to look quite grand, pretty big then we can compose it from a Moses point of view, looking from the bottom up. You can always think of how you want the viewer to perceive things and then place the camera accordingly. Another thing to remember when working on our thumbnails is scale and proportion. A scale and proportion can be used in multiple ways, one of which is adding depth to a scene or we can also use to add different levels of importance to different characters or elements in a scene. Here, I have a couple of couples carrying kayaks and I decided to have one of them be in front and be big so that the audience attention firstly goes to them, but I also wanted to give a feeling that there are more people like them. Another usually important thing that I learned while working as a professional animator is character posing. Now, there are two aspects to this. One of them is clarity and communication and the other is body mechanics. I have a clip here which I have animated earlier which I'm going to use to explain this to you, I have this character starting out really aggravated and angrier about something. I've posed him in such a way that he's flailing his arms in the air and he's stomping around and such. Later, he moves on to phase where he's pleading and his spine is bent over and his shoulders are leaning as well, everything trying to tell that he's just not having a good day. Towards the end of the show, I've made him look very cool in the way that he moves. All the shapes are certainly simplified, like this very curved shape in his spine tells that he feels completely relaxed, but he's covering up for something and that is clear because in the end he again goes back to pleading. The other aspect to character posing is the body mechanics. There are a lot of tiny little things that happen in the body, in the hips when we're walking without stumbling and that is the area of body mechanics. When we are posing a character, it is very important to think of where the center of gravity of a character is so that it feels believable that this character is actually standing and is not falling. I have this character in the beginning where he's standing and most of his weight is on his left hip and later on as he moves, the weight shifts to his right hip and that is how he can actually move his left leg and then get into this pose. Then again, when he's doing this big move, his weight suddenly shifts to his left hip again. These little things, however small they might look, are very crucial to posing a character. That's why it is highly important to employ both of these aspects of character posing to make our characters feel believable, and you can make sure that the next time you set to draw a character, you are thinking about these aspects as well. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of my ideas are initially recorded as a quick note or something or a photograph so when I'm starting to thumbnail, I look at those and then start off from there. There are also times when I just start drawing from my memory. In today's class, I'll be drawing something based on a recent memory. A few days ago I went to a hill nearby and I noticed a very fascinating thing. There were a lot of pet dogs and a lot of them were super happy to be outdoors and they were pulling their owners by the leash. I thought of capturing that for today's class so let's get started. The key here is to not get married to the first visual idea that pops up in your mind but to explore options and see what would work best for it. I'm thinking of making a couple of options before I can actually start with the main drawing. I want to explore what it will look like from a couple of different angles. One angle I was thinking of is from the front where the dog is probably leading. I'm trying to make a forced perspective and making the owner really small to give a feeling that the dog is really pulling extremely hard on the leash and also create these lines that also lead attention of the viewer from the owner to the dog and then I can probably fill it up with a lot of grass leading to the direction of these lines that I have. For the next thumbnail, I'm thinking of keeping things more simple. Let's see how it will work to bring the humor across. In this example, I'm trying to stage everything very flat to the viewer, and I can already sense that if I'm going for even a slightly humorous way, this version is going to work much better compared to this one because in this one everything starts to look super dramatic and it can be very useful for something where I want to make it very action-heavy. Maybe it's a plot of a detective comic or something, but I guess this is what I'm going to stick with for this one. A very crucial part of the creative process is to gather feedback and then apply it. The best way to start, I think, is to get feedback right from the thumbnails. When we do thumbnails, we don't really invest too much of our time doing those, and if there are any mistakes or some things are not clear enough, we can easily scrap them and start over. By taking this feedback in and applying it, you can always make adjustment and changes to make sure that the story you're telling is told in the best possible way. You can also post on Skillshare's discussion boards and get feedback from other students. In this lesson exercise, you can take the observation from earlier and then draw thumbnails based off-head. While drawing these thumbnails, you can make sure that the composition is doing the best it can to tell the story that you want to tell. You can redo these thumbnails over and over until you are happy with them, and they tell the story most clearly as possible. Once you land on a thumbnail that you are really happy about, you can take a photograph and then continue this process digitally. 5. Detailing Your Sketch: [MUSIC] A lot of times when I have a thumbnail that I'm really happy about and almost everything has been worked out detail-wise within that. I'll just take a snap of that thumbnail using my iPad or phone and then put a layer on top of it and then lower the opacity of this sketch layer and then start drawing my actual drawing on top of it. But there are some cases where the thumbnails are not very clear. In those cases, I use those thumbnails just as a reference and then start off drawing afresh. As you must have seen in the thumbnails for this drawing. I didn't have much details for the character here and now as I'm doing the actual drawing, I'm going to flesh out those details especially the shapes for the torso and the legs so that they create very clear graphic shapes which can just make the drawing very pleasing and fun to look at. So with these graphic shapes, I'm trying to create visual harmony as in there are some lines that are very long and straight and then there are some curved lines, all of them coming together make an appealing image to look at. It's really important to play with the expressions for characters and just make sure that they are super-expressive. So in this case, I'm drawing this character. This girl's face is showing a really wide smile. She obviously loves her pet dog but she's also annoyed that he's pulling her all the way around and I really want to highlight this contradiction with her eyebrows getting too tight and tense while she's still has a really wide smile. Here, I'm just playing around with the shape of her ponytail. I want to make sure that it looks super kinetic and right in the middle of motion just to enhance the nature of this scene that she's getting dry. So as I'm working on the dog here I'm just working out the mechanics and the anatomy of the legs as well. So sometimes it might happen that I might not know what muscles would a dog use and how would their bone structure look like and how can I make it believable. In such cases, it is best to look up for references. With references, I generally tend to start with an idea first, so the trap with starting to look for references before having a clear idea of your illustration is that we can end up being slave to these references. They can certainly limit our creativity and imagination very heavily and that's the last thing we want as illustrators. Sometimes when I want to hone in on the accuracy of a character's anatomy, the best way is to just set up a tripod and set up my phone camera on a self-timer and then just be my own model and shoot myself. That way I can have exact references of what I'm looking for. It also helps for discovering poses that I might not have imagined but feel really good for the drawing. Now I'm going to go ahead and detail the rest of the sketch. [MUSIC] A very cool feature of Procreate I love is quick shape. If I'm planning to draw very straight line typically it has to be drawn freehand but as you're noticing sometimes it can happen that it's coming out curved slightly. But if I want to have it precisely straight then what I can do is draw a line and then hold the tip of the pencil on the screen and then it gets converted to a quick shape that is a straight line. Then once I leave it there, it becomes a part of the sketch. Similarly, if I were to draw an ellipse, I can just draw an ellipse and then just hold it so that I get a perfect ellipse using this feature and again, similarly, if I want to draw a circle without having to draw a perfect circle myself, I can do ellipse like that just hold with the pencil on the screen and with my finger place my hand on the screen and then it becomes a circle. I can scale it however I want and then leave the pencil off the screen so I can get the circle on the screen. So this is super useful for especially technical drawings. When we're working on the drawing part, we have to make sure that it looks anatomically correct. One way to check that is to take a break and look at the image after a while and then you'll start realizing mistakes very quickly. Another way to do it more quickly is to go to the "Canvas" option here and then use the "Flip Horizontal" option. So if I do that, it flips the Canvas and suddenly I'll start noticing things that I might not have noticed earlier. It's just something to do with our brains that if we start looking at mistakes for a really long time they start to look correct, but if we certainly look at them from a different angle, different perspective, or just flip the image then you can start seeing issues with it. So if I feel like the eyes are not exactly looking at the character, maybe I just tweak the eyeline slightly and then I think we'll be good to go. So once I've done the adjustments, I'll just flip horizontally back again and I'm back where I started with the correct eyeline now. What I'll be doing next is taking all my drawing layers and combining them into a single layer and then I'll be putting a layer beneath it and lowering the opacity of this drawing layer to about 30 percent so that I can begin the coloring process on the layer below. For this lesson exercise, you can do the actual drawing based on the thumbnail that you have chosen. Also, you can add a lot of details based on your observation. [MUSIC] 6. Exploring the Color Panel: [MUSIC] Before I start the coloring process, I will love to take you through the Procreate color panel and show you how I choose colors. When we go to this corner and tap on that color panel button, we can see this disc view, wherein we can see the full range of all sorts of use, and then we can choose the exact shade of that particular hue, depending on the lightness or darkness and as well as the saturation or desaturation. Then there's also this classic view where you can be more precise about your choices and decisions. What we have here is a slider to select a hue in particular, and then we also have this slider wherein I can select and choose the amount of saturation or desaturation I want, and then I have this place to choose the tone. Now tone or value is just another word for the amount of darkness or lightness in a particular image. These sliders combine to give us the exact color that we're looking for, so we can either choose it directly like that or we can specifically tune it to what we want. Sometimes we want to make something just slightly darker and also slightly more saturated, say, to create a particular shadow of object. So in that case, what I'll be doing is taking in the saturation slightly more and adding a bit of more darkness to it. More of a shadow I want sometimes I can do more of the darkness, and also change the saturation depending on the lighting that I want in the scene. Here we have this Harmony tab inside the color panel, which is excellent and a very cool feature of Procreate, where we can select and create different color combinations immediately right from this panel. This is something that one would need to plan for and do traditionally, looking at different colors swatches, but the awesome feature of Procreate is that it's built-in and it helps make this process much faster. If I'm looking for the complimentary shade for particular shade of green, then I can just go using this method and get the exact opposite shade of red. We can also check out other colors schemes like split complementary, wherein we have one color and then two colors just besides the exact opposite color of this one. Here I have orange, then I'm getting cyan like color and then blue, and these together will make a really awesome color combination. Then to experiment with the darkness of it, I can also pick, say, this bright orange and then go darker and then use that bright orange along with this cyan and blue, which are darker versions of themselves to create something interesting. Similarly, we also have the analogous color scheme, in this scheme, we can select any a color and then it gives us colors that I just send to it, and waiting in just tiny amounts so that we can get a slight gradation. Then there is triadic color scheme, which is like a triangle on the color wheel, which is also a cool way to color your drawings. Apart from these color schemes that we discussed, the very most important thing that I believe in choosing colors is warm and cool colors. All the colors that are adjacent to orange, so that would be red, orange, yellow are known as warm colors because they exude heat, and similarly, all the colors that are adjoining blue are known as cool colors because they have this cooling effect that we see in nature. It might sound very simplistic that particular colors are warm and particular set of colors are cool. But even within a cool color, we can always have warmer colors as well. Say I'm going to do a big section of my illustration in blue color, but even within that, I can have this nuance of having few parts of the illustration be warmer, so I can just go more towards yellow, and then those parts of blue will start looking warmer, and then even more bluer parts can look even more cooler. We can mix and match warms and cools to create these interesting color combinations, and also give a sense of daylight or different types of lighting in our illustrations. [MUSIC] 7. Coloring Your Background : For my illustrations, I generally tend to pick more of naturalistic colors. I believe that they work best with the kind of illustrations that I do. A lot of colors are already known to have a certain effect on the viewer. Say it's something like red. Red is the color of passion, of danger and blue can give a certain amount of coolness to a picture, so we can choose colors in order to create an exact mood that we want to pass on to the viewer. Apart from mood, another important thing is the lighting of the scene. Keep in mind, is the time of the day that we are choosing for our drawing. It also tells us about the source of light. Typically, there are two different sources of light. One is the direct source and the other is diffused source of light. A direct source of light is the sun. You'll notice that the shadows cast by the Sun are very specific and very sharp, whereas with an overcast day, you'll notice that all the shadows that are getting cast are quite diffused and soft. We have to make a choice with what kind of lighting and shadow scenario we want to have in a picture. In this first example, I have chosen the time of the day to be morning sunrise. In this example, you'll notice that the shadows cast by the Sun in the back are extremely sharp, and they are also highly contrasting with the sunlight that is getting spread on the grass leaves around it. In the next example, you'll notice that it is another similar scenario. We have sunlight streaking in during a sunrise from a window in an airplane. What is different here is that since it is an indoor scenario, the same sunlight is not bouncing off of different surfaces and that causes the shadows to be much more diffused. You'll notice that the light that is bouncing of different surfaces is also lighting up the shadows and making this choice early on will inform how we do the shadows and the rest of the lighting as well. If you look at the shadows and compare them, you'll notice that the shadows, in a scenario where the light is diffused, are not that contrasty and they also inform how we choose the hue saturation and the brightness of these shadows. Using light is a great way to direct attention towards the characters that we want to highlight. In both of these examples, I'm using sunlight in that way. You can notice that the farmer here and his dog at the back are also getting lit by the sun that is coming from the back and that helps them stand out from the rest of the scene on the left. Similarly, in the other example, I have the character's faces getting lit by the sunlight streaking in. In this picture, the faces are the most important part that I want to highlight and the light helps in that way. I think when we are painting from imagination, lighting is one of those things that can be very hard in the beginning, because our mind doesn't have enough of a resource pool to pull from. Once we have a practice of looking at a lot of images or observing light in our surroundings, I think it will come much more naturally and we can create lighting on the fly. Like I initially mentioned, I tend to go with naturalistic colors, but it is also important to remember for me that I had this creative license to pick and choose these other colors that can make and give this exact mood that I want to go for. Let's begin with the actual coloring process for this illustration. One of the most frequently asked questions on my Instagram is, what brushes do I use? I have a bunch of these MaxPacks brushes that I got from this website called MaxPacks and I also use a bunch of default brushes that come with Procreate. I would like to highlight that the brushes are not the most important thing in the creative process. You can pick and choose any kind of a brush, what works for you. The first thing I stress on is coloring the background because all the other choices, say the characters, the other objects within the scene, are heavily informed by the lighting that is created already in the background. Early on I used to do the characters first, because I used to feel that comes more naturally to me but then I always ended up getting in a spot where the background is not matching with the character and then I had to do over the character again. In the beginning, I generally start by blocking in the bigger shapes for the background. I'll be using this brush called Nikko Rull, which comes default in Procreate. But you'll notice this little one at the end and that is because I have duplicated this brush. I tend to customize my brushes slightly so that they gave me that exact way of working, which I prefer, as compared to how the brush comes as a default. I generally start by picking one dominant color, and then I look for other colors that can work well with it. To start off, I want a muddy kind of look for the background. I'm going to fill it up with a brownish tan kind of a color and then I generally go for these big brushes so that I can do this faster. Because I'm going with a muddy background, the rest of the colors I'm going for are also going to be muddy. I'm going to create another layer. I tend to do this so that all these separate layers have different colors and it is much easier to go back and tweak some things if I don't like them. It really helps a lot if you can keep things more organized in layers. Do not go overboard with layers because the more layers you have, things just get too complicated and we don't need that unnecessary complexity while working on our pictures. Once I've locked in the big shapes in the background, I start with adding a bit of shadows and highlights to start adding dimensions to it. In the beginning, I'm going to choose a bluish kind of a shade here and using the same brush, probably reduce the size and also reduce the opacity. I have this reference photo that I click at that location. I wanted to capture that light at that particular time, and it was a golden R, just before sunset. It had this beautiful orangeish light that was bouncing off the wall. I wanted to bring that kind of a feel to this illustration. I'm going to start by adding some dimension ready to it by using these few strokes. These strokes, I'm not being very precise with them initially because all I want to do is give a feel that this surface is not super smooth or clean. The vertical nature of these brushstrokes will also tell the viewer that these are very rocky patches. One of the very cool things that I like about Procreate is the fact that it has a very minimalistic UI and this panel on the side is so easy to manipulate and just changes the size of the brush or the opacity. Once I'm done with making the rock wall at the back texture and not so clean, I'm going to start using the gouache smooth 1 brush here, which I can use to add a lot of details very quickly and create smaller shapes that will resemble rocks. I also happen to notice that, there were these small little changes in the colors of the rocks and I want to bring that look to this picture as well. I went with dull green, which is very boring green. I'm adding random strokes here and there to make it feel more like the underside of a huge rock. I'm pretty happy with what I have now for the base of the rock structure. Now I'm going to add a lot of sunlight to it. For that, I'm going to create another layer and I'm going to go with an orangey kind of color here. I don't want it to be super saturated because the sunlight that I'm showing here right now is not super sharp at that time. It is less bright and it has a more of a red and orangey tone than yellow. I'm going to go for something in between those and something that is not over the top saturated, but somewhere in the middle. Maybe I can go for this earlier brush again, so I can do these bigger patches with a better speed. What I'm looking for is the surfaces that are looking towards the Sun. I'm leaving out areas which I want to have shadows in. This immediately starts to give a level of contrast to the picture and then starts making it also dimensional. I make sure that the entire color palette does not look super saturated because that can look very amateurish. Another thing is that if everything is the same level of saturation, the viewer's eye cannot be really directed. Having certain parts that are desaturated can really help in that case. Once I'm done with the dominant part of the background, I start with the other smaller parts. I'm working on the grass at the back here, just adding some kind of a texture to give that dried grass look. Depending on the nature of the light, I choose the colors that I go for for the highlights and shadows. As you must have noticed here, we are using a big bright sunlight source here, which is near the golden r. It's going to have a lot of yellow influence on all the highlights off of the objects. For these warm highlights, I'm taking in that local color of the object. Local color is the true color of an object without much of interference from external lights. I take that color, which is olive green, and then I'm adding more brightness and saturation. If I'm moving the picker to the right, it's adding saturation and if I'm moving my picker to the top, it's adding the brightness. I'm adding a bit of both and also probably shift the use slightly more towards yellow. That is how I'm getting the bright vibrant highlights for my foliage at the back. I generally just do them very quickly. Now that I have this big bush done at the back, I'm just adding a bit of reflection because this is a little pond that I wanted to show. I'll only use the colors from the bush above. One important thing to remember is that we have to focus on what we want our audience to focus on. If you want the character to be the main focus of an illustration, then the background should have lesser details. The amount of detail is a big differentiating factor among things that the audience will carefully look at, and will not look at. The more the detail, more it is going to attract the viewer's attention. In the case of this illustration, I want this character that is getting dragged by this pet dog to be the main focus of it. I'm going to keep the background super simple, as simple as possible. I'm adding this texture or just like a variation of colors for the grass in the foreground. Earlier we learned that if every single color also has its cool and warm side. If I've wanted to do something warm, I will pick something like this, which will be closer to yellow, but I want this part of the scene to be in the shadows. This shadow is getting cast by another such wall at the other side and that is why most of the light that is hitting in this part is going to be coming from the sky, which is heavily influenced by blue. That is why I'm going to go for a slightly cooler green and also desaturated it's almost looking gray so I guess this will work best for me. I like the color that I have found here. I'm going to start working on the entire grass and make sure that the background looks cohesive together. I remember that this hill had a lot of trees at its top so I'm going to quickly draw some of them. I'm going to start with the same sub-green kind of a color, again going with the smaller brush. Now that I'm done with the trees, I'm pretty happy with the background that I have here, but I would love to show you a tool which is very valuable. This is something that I don't constantly use, but I do definitely use it if I want to tweak, say, the darkness of pairs of colors or the hue or the saturation. You can start by making a selection on a part of a layer, or you can choose that entire layer to make that adjustment. You can go to this menu, that is Adjustments, and then use saturation and brightness. You'll get this panel where you can adjust all these three things. If I were to make these trees at that the top all kind of cool-looking, then I'll make this slider go to the right, and now they appear more cooler. If I want to make them look more warmer, I'll move that slider to the left and similarly. If I want to make it more dark, I can just use this tool. If I want to make it pop out with a lot of saturation, I can just add a bunch of it in this way. But in this case, I'm pretty happy with what I've got, so I'm going to not use these adjustments. I'm just going to undo them by using a single tap of two fingers so it quickly gets it back to where I was. Your exercise for this lesson is to now paint your background and think about the concepts that we just discussed about color and light. Remember that this background is going to be in the service of the story of the characters and should not overpower them. 8. Coloring Your Character: [MUSIC] Now that I have the background ready, I want to start working on coloring my characters. The first step for me is to go into the layers and then select all of them together. What I'm going to do is select them by swiping with the pencil and then grouping them together. Once I have that, I can easily hide them and all I get is the character to work on with full focus. The first thing I'm going to do is block out shapes. I'm going to just fill them in with a very flat color. Now, this color need not be the final color that you might want for that particular shape or part of the character. It's just something that will help you in there for the process. I'm just going to select skin tone and then using this smaller brush, I'm going to mark out the shapes. Now, this process might feel a lot taxing because you have to get the edges to look crisp and clean and you have to use the same brush to fill everything in. What you can alternately do is just mark out the outline using the even sharper shape of the brush. Just using the size of the brush. Just drag the color in the middle and just hold it down. Make sure that the upper pencil does not leave the surface and get it just right so that it fills in without flooding the entire Canvas. You'll notice that it has filled in properly, but it still has some sections left. That happens because there's a lot of changes in the opacity as we're using the brush. We can just fill it in and make sure that it looks crisp and clean. [MUSIC] I've now completed blocking in the entire character. This is the perfect time to start working on the facial details. I'm going to just zoom in and then using the small brush again, I'm going to draw the details of the expression. This is the final stage for getting the details right. If you're not very happy with what you have, just erase and then draw those details over because once we complete the characters we'll mostly be finishing with the illustration entirely. I have now completed all the details of their facial features. The next stage would be turning the background group on. You can see this contradiction of the character looking super flat and the background looking pretty detailed compared to that. The next step would be to go in on the character and then starting to add light and shadows to them. How I go about it is, I generally just select particular layers that I want to work on, just tap on it, and then say "Alpha Lock". The same thing can also be done by just swiping across that layer using two fingers at a time. Doing this can also turn on the alpha channel lock. Basically, every single pixel is made of four channels. That is the R, G, B, and E. R stands for red, G for green, and B for blue, and A for alpha. So alpha is a channel that controls the opacity of every single pixel. When we switch on the Alpha Lock, we are limiting all of our actions when we are painting over it to the area that we have a shape already on. If I were to paint something on top of this using this bright red color, you'll notice that it paints only within the bounds of what I already have. This is a great way to save a lot of time. Now that we know what Alpha Lock is, I can start showing you how I light the character. The first thing I do is go over every single layer where I have any kind of bits of the character, and then just turn that Alpha Lock on, so I don't have to worry about it later on. Now if you look at this scene that we have constructed, is that the sunlight is coming from behind the viewer, and it's just casting light on her head and maybe just her upper torso, but most of this other section is going to be in the shadows. Being in the shadows, that will only have that new skylight lighting it up while this part will have a lot more warmth and brightness to it. This is the part where I go have a lot of fun and add a lot of dimensionality to these characters. What I'm going to do is just pick the local color that I have created for the character, I feel that everything is looking too cool and too blue, I think I can add a bit more shine and darkness to it. I'm just going to take this bigger brush and fill her in. I'm going for a slightly subdued and darker color so that when I add the light it will make those parts shined out. The next step is to adjust the local color that I have. I'm just picking that color that I have. I'm moving towards yellows and I'm also adding a lot more brightness to it. Let's try this out. Yeah, I think this looks nice. It gives a feeling of light falling on her. Typically, when we are dealing with shops inlet, we have to have very sharp shadows. But then in this case the light is not that sharp. Okay, now that I have these highlights up, I'll pick the local color and then add a bit of shadows. Now, there is this oversimplification that sometimes people do, that shadows always have to be cool and the highlights always have to be warm, but that's not really true. It entirely depends on the colors that are in the lighting at that very moment. In this context, the shadows are going to be getting only light from the skylight above. I'm still going to go with blue shadows. I'm going to move it slightly towards blue and then add some darkness to it, probably even some saturation. Then I'm going to start almost sculpting around the character so that it starts getting a feeling of having a third dimension. I might just switch over to the smaller brush in order to do some details. You can also work on any kind of falls in the clothing and such so that it starts feeling even more tactile. Sometimes I want to make this transition from bright highlight to the mid-tone. In those cases, I can only use this smart tool with this wet acrylic brush or you can choose any other brush and see what would work best for you. I have a lot of experience working with acrylics, and I get that texture. I really love it, but it is a very personal choice. I would highly recommend you trying out different brushes and see what speaks best for you. [MUSIC] Now that I've completed the main character that is, the pet owner, I'm going to work on the dog here. I'm going to start by selecting the local color that I've selected earlier. Make sure that the alpha channel lock is on and then start painting on top. [MUSIC] Now that I have rest of the character's lighting ready, I know what exactly I can focus on. I want to make sure that her face gets a lot of that sunlight that I've been working on, around her upper body. To give that feeling, I'm going to start by painting it in a more warm and saturated color. It might look slightly unnatural, to begin with, because no one looks a bright shade of pale yellow-red but once I put in the shadows, it will be pretty clear what I'm trying to achieve here. Now I'm going to go for a darker and more reddish hue. Then I'm going to turn on my drawing layer against just at a very low opacity so it can guide me through the rest of it. I'm going to work on adding those mid-tones and shadows. Now I'm going to add some shadows so I can show where the nose is. But we also show the details of the ear a bit. You'll now suddenly notice that the character does feel a bit more dimensional because the face was missing that earlier. Now I'm just going to add some black to the middle of the eyes. What you can do to make this much easier is that you can create just like white eye shapes and then create the eyes. But while doing that, just turn on the clipping mask. When you turn on the clipping mask on the layer, the layer on top of that big broad shape that you have limits it and locks everything within that lower shape. This is a very nice tip to use when you want to do things more quickly. Now at this stage, I feel that the background is already 80 percent complete, but I still look for things that I can plus and improve on once I have the character in place. I just noticed that the highlights on the rocks at the back don't feel bright and saturated enough. What I'm going to do is go back into the background group of layers, look for the highlights. Fortunately, I had kept them at a separate layer. This is where separate layers come in really handy. What I'm going to do is just duplicate it and immediately deep pop now. I'll have them slightly transparent so that they don't look too bright. I think that looks much better than before, right? I just noticed that I had completely forgotten about adding the shadows underneath the characters. What I'm going to do now is just put additional layer on top of the grass layer and then quickly go over them with a darker color. Now let me tell you something about digital drawings office that we don't get international media for painting, and that is layer blend modes. If you create a new layer, if you tap on "N", you'll notice that "N" was for normal. There are a lot of different layer blend modes. Let me quickly show you one and then you can experiment with the others. I'm going to show you overlay today. This is the one that I use quite frequently. If I turn that on for this layer, I'm going to go and pick some color that is bright, mostly something around yellow. Then using this small brush, I'm going to add some highlights to her hair. But it is important to not overdo it and overuse it because it is something that has to be used extremely sparingly so not everything starts to look super bright and vibrant. Now that I've done everything that I wanted to do in this illustration, I'm going to add a bit of a point shooters abiding a bit more contrast. The way I approach it is I generally take all the layers and then merge them together using this gesture into one single flat layer. But be very careful, make sure that you have a duplicate copy of your file so that you can always go back to your file and make any tweaks if you want to. I go to the adjustments panel and then use curves. Within curves, you'll see this histogram and you can make adjustments to the shadows and highlights, and the mid-tones. This is just a graph, you can plot any point and then tweak and move things around. If I want to bump up the highlights, I might just plot a point here and increase them. But that's not what I want because it will start looking very washed out. I'll just delete it. I'll make a point near the shadows and then slightly lower it. I think I love what I am getting here, it's important to remember that you shouldn't be overdoing this as well. I think I'm done with this illustration and I'm pretty happy about it. Your exercise for this lesson is to not paint your characters and make them fit cohesively into the background. Remember that you can always go back into the background if you feel that it lacks certain amount of detail and then just add it in, you will have a much better picture that way. [MUSIC] 9. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] Congratulations. Thank you for taking this class with me. I really hope that you got to learn a few things that you might want to apply to your next project. Definitely do share your project in the project gallery and I would love to have a look at them. You can find me on Instagram on [inaudible] and you can also check out [inaudible] Row and Jack. Thanks a lot for being a part of this journey.