How to Colour Drawings in Photoshop | Elena Tamova | Skillshare

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How to Colour Drawings in Photoshop

teacher avatar Elena Tamova, Surround yourself with beauty

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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.

      Preparing the drawing


    • 3.



    • 4.



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About This Class

  • In How to Colour Drawings in Photoshop you will learn all the skills you need to colour your ink pen or graphite pencil drawings digitally. You will be able to see the step by step process of how to get your artwork ready for colouring, work with a specific colour palette, add shading, texture and export your artwork for prints.  
  • Why You Should Take This Class: At the end of this class you will have a lot more confidence in using Photoshop and be much more familiar with how to use it for colouring artwork. You will learn how to work with layers and blending modes, how to use brushes and add texture as well as pick up a number of useful tips and shortcuts along the way. 
  • Who This Class is For: This class is suitable for complete beginners in Photoshop.
  • Materials/Resources: All you need is a drawing to colour (downloadable in the Class Resources) and access to Photoshop. 
  • Follow @elena_tamova_art on Instagram for more class announcements and tag me in your posts!

Meet Your Teacher

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Elena Tamova

Surround yourself with beauty

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi everybody. Welcome to colouring and Photoshop where I show you everything you need to know about how to colour your artwork in Photoshop. All you need for this class is access to Photoshop. Your joy, but don't worry if you don't have yours, you can borrow mine. It's downloadable from Resources for this class. And I recommend a Wacom tablet. You can totally follow the instructions in this course if you don't have one. But if you are planning to apply this technique in the future on a regular basis, I highly recommend the investment in a Wacom tablet. This course is suitable for beginners, but a more experienced Photoshop user will also find it useful. You'll be able to pick up all kinds of shortcuts and tips along the way. The project for this class is to Colour either yours or mine drawing and do posts it hosted on Instagram. Tag me, I would love to see what you make without any further ado, let's jump into it. 2. Preparing the drawing: So first thing we need to do is to digitize our drawing. You can either scan it or take a picture of it. I have it ready right here on my desktop. So next thing to do is to open Photoshop, select New File. I'm going to choose the A4 preset at 300 DPI resolution. The reason why I'm choosing the size file is because I know dots the size of my drawing. I'm going to drag and drop my drawing into the file. And my current settings and Photoshop turn. Everything is important to smart object, which is what this little sign is. I don't need that At this time, so I'm going to right-click on it and rasterize the layer. So as you can see, the drawing is actually quite Roar still and not ready for colouring. So I'm going to show you how to prepare it for colouring if you're using my drawing that's downloadable for this course, you can just skip this step and go straight to colouring. But if you're using your drawing, I'm just going to show you how you can prepare it. So we're going to go to adjustments. If you don't have it, you can come to Window and find it there. Put a tick next to it to bring it up. In adjustments. We're going to first go to hue and saturation and pick up this middle toggle and drag it all the way down. What this does is it gets rid of any extra light way may have picked up when we were taking a picture or scanning our drawing. It's usually either little bit yellow or blue. And we don't want that influencing the colors when we come to colour a drawing later. So I turn it off, you can see that it's gone completely black and white. So what I can do is actually merge these two colors together to make it easier to work. I'm going to type Shift on my keyboard, select both of these layers and type command E to merge them into one layer. By the way, I'm working on a Mac. So if you are on Windows, the commands are the same. You just swap command with control. Next thing I'm going to do is choose this rectangular marquee tool and draw a rectangle around my drawing. So I'm going to type Shift Command I to invert this selection and type delete on my keyboard. This deletes all these extra unnecessary bits around. I'm then going to type command D to deselect. So ideally, we want to match the color of our background with the colour of the background and our file. As you can see, our drawing is still far too dark, so we need to go back to adjustments, choose levels. In levels, you can see this peak in the middle and will have this white toggle on one end and blocked up toggle on the other end. So we need to bring them closer to the middle peak. And you can see this makes the whites whiter, and this will make the blacks blacker. And you can play around with these until you find the right balance for you. So you can see the background is merging with this already, but the bottom is much darker, so we have some more work to do. If I bring the white toggle all the way up, I'm kinda losing a lot of the detail at the top of my drawing. So I need to find as far as I want to go At this stage. And again, I want to merge it so Shift, select both levels. You can actually right-click and find Merge Layers. Next, I actually want to erase the darkest corners around my drawing because I don't need them and they're throwing off the levels when we're trying to apply them. So I'm going to type II on my keyboard to bring up the eraser tool. I can increase the size of the eraser by typing the square bracket on my keyboard. It's in the top-right corner next to delete. So this increases the size of it. So let's just try and delete it as close to the drawing as possible. I think I may have gotten a little bit too close here, so I'm going to type command Z to undo. I also want to delete any unnecessary little bits floating around there. Let's see. So let's come back to adjustments and bring up levels again. Repeat the same process. I kinda feel like This is a little bit overexposed. Now I'm losing some detail in the drawing. So what I wanna do is type II again to bring up the eraser tool. And I'm going to come to the top-left corner and choose the soft round eraser. I've clicked away to come back to the drawing. What I wanna do is actually increase the size of it. Again, typing the square bracket on my keyboard to bring the size way up. Staying on this, make sure you're on this layer. We're going to erase the top part to bring back that detail as it can see. If you go too far, you can type command Z to undo. I want to merge it again, so Shift, select these two and Command E to merge. I'm going to keep repeating the process of adjustments, bring up levels and playing around with this until I'm happy with the black and white balance of my toy. Now actually let's save this command S to save it. Next, we'll go to Magic Wand Tool and click Select Subject. So the software has made the selection. I can type Q on my keyboard to see where exactly the selection has been made. It's selected most of it, but not all of it. So I would like to type II to bring up an eraser. I'm actually going to come back to hard round, click away from it to bring it back to the drawing and just erase the selection where I think selection shouldn't be made. This will all make sense in a minute, I promise. So Q, again on the keyboard and Shift Command I to invert the selection and delete. I can still see some of the background here. So I'm just going to reduce the size by typing the square brackets on my keyboard to reduce the size of the eraser. Okay, I'm happy enough with this to begin colouring. I'm actually going to double-tap my drawing layer and name it drawing and save it at the stage, very important to keep saving your file as you go on. And let's move on to colouring, colouring. So if you come up here to blending modes whilst you're on the drawing layer and choose multiply. It doesn't look like much has happened. But what we have is the white pixels on your Drawing have actually disappeared. And this is now a transparent layer. So I've actually prepared a very low tech visual aid here for you to explain how this is going to work. So when we click multiply, if you have a look at your workspace on Photoshop, multiplier is actually a transparent layer. So all you have there is just the outline of your drawing on the white background underneath. So when we go to colour it, we're actually going to colour underneath drawing layer. And each and every color, every single element we produce will go on its own layer underneath the drawing. Here's what that looks like. So if I go to the bottom here and click Plus, that brings up a new layer. And if I just select a color, Let's try this one. Type, be on the keyboard to bring up a brush tool, I'll choose the solid one. And if I zoom in, so you can see better reducing the brush size. You remember it's the square brackets on the keyboard. You can see it's literally just colouring and the lines underneath the drawing. So just delete that one for now. One other thing I want to show you guys. Let's bring up another new layer over the top of our drawing so we don't disturb it. I just wanted to show you all of our brushes. So type B on your keyboard. And let's go over here. The most common brushes that I use are the hard round, the soft round and this one right here, hard round pressure size. So I'll show you what they do. The hard round is as advertised, it's just literally painting solid color. Soft round has kind of softer edges, more blended. And the other one that I mentioned is really great for painting really, really tiny details to if I just reduce the size, it can go down to the tiniest little pixel and you can really get into tiny finer points and your artwork. So let's erase all of that. One other thing I want to show you is opacity right here. So if I bring that down to say 22, for example, and show you the soft round brush. The color is very, very subtle, almost translucent and you can layer it. You can see how if I apply multiple strokes, the color becomes more and more intense. So this is for when you're doing shadows or some softer textures where you don't want the full force colour. You can literally just layer this one slowly. You can explore other brushes here as well which are great with a technique, for example, this brush response in an even more subtle way to this kind of technique. Same for flow. Flow is not as responsive, so Opacity is a good thing to know. Another opacity tool is right here, which affects the entire layer. So if I bring the opacity down, you can see this color almost disappears. So that's another way you can control your colour. This is one other reason why we use everything on its own separate layer. So that way you can have better control of your artwork. And I'll show you what I mean in a second as well. So if I bring the brush opacity back up to 100% and select the hard round brush. I want to show you one other thing that's the removal of this. So Select the Lasso tool right here, and let's draw a shape, any shape, and type G on your keyboard. Let's choose some nice green color right here. By the way, one, you type G on your keyboard. It brings up this bucket tool, which is going to allow us to fill the shape with colour, type command D to deselect. And if you type V on your keyboard, you can move this shape around. This is a vector. So this is just showing you that you can use the Lasso Tool to draw. This will come in handy later, typing G, filling the color deselect. This is all on this layer above our drawing. One other thing, if you bring one more layer up above what we've just done here. Now, let's come over here and select the Lasso tool. Using the Lasso tool, you can draw any shape. Let's draw something like a leaf. So this makes a selection. And then a few type G on your keyboard. It brings up the Colour Fill tool. We can select something nice like there's green over here and fill it. So if you type command D on your keyboard and deselect the selection and type V to bring up the direct selection tool. You can now move this around and you've produced a little vector shape here. Next, we're going to come back down here and produce a new layer over the top of the one that we've just made. And type Option Command G. As you can see, this little arrow popped up, which means we have produced a layer that is clipped to the one on the bottom, type B on your keyboard and choose the soft round brush. Let's bring the opacity down to about 70%. Choose a different color. I'll choose this yellow and we can start drawing over the shape that we've just made. So you can see that you can make a little highlight on our leaf for it there. So I'll type II and just remove it. So you can kinda see what I'm doing. So the fact that we've clipped the layer above means that we can draw over our shape and we're not gonna go beyond the layer. If I unclip it type Option Command G. Again, you can see that this is all over the place. Option Command G clip, and there you go. So we can choose another color, make a little shadow at the bottom. So if I want a shadow underneath and I want to build it nice and soft, I'll make a really low opacity, increase the brush paint. And then you can see it's very subtle on the colour just builds and you can produce multitude of beautiful effects this way. One thing to note, if I go back to Direct Selection Tool and I want to move this on my board. This happens Command Z to cancel. What you can do in this situation has type and hold Shift on your keyboard. Select these two layers, right-click on them and link layers. That way, you can now move them around and they're linked together. I'll delete these two layers because we don't need them. And I'm going to go underneath our drawing and produce a new layer so we can finally begin colouring and our beautiful drawing 3. Colouring: At this point, I should say a couple of things about colour. Of course, you can have a look at these flowers and nature. Take some pictures and use this eyedropper tool right here to click on an image, something like this. And then it will give you the colour quite accurately as you can see. I will include this reference photo for you to use as a resource for this course as well. But personally, I don't think these colors are particularly that pretty to that. And I've actually found a different color palette, which although they're not accurately representative of what that flower would look like in nature. I feel that they're very pretty and we can experiment and half bond with them. So I will include this colour of light for you to use as well. Here we go, the colour it palette this ready? And I'm going to type I on the keyboard to bring up the eyedropper tool, select this color, turn off the color layer so I can see what I'm doing. Go to the layer below the drawing, if you remember, and start coloring in tightened, be on your keyboard to bring up the brush tool, I'm going to reduce the size and we'll start. And I'm going to choose the hard round brush for this. I think this is slightly too blue for my liking. I'm going to double-tap on the square and choose a color that's a little bit more green, a little bit warmer. So using the hard round brush, I'm just going to kind of go over everything that is the stock and the leaves. In fact, while I remember, I should label this stock. Naming your layers is actually a really good habit to have because before you know what, you're going to have dozens of layers and it all becomes really confusing. So as I go along, you'll see me increase and reduce the size of my brush by typing the square brackets on my keyboard. I've gone a little bit over the edge there. I can type II on my keyboard to bring up the eraser. And I'm just going to erase that. So it's important to stay within the lines here because later when we come to do things like shadowing, we're going to clip the shadow layer to the color below. This will be very helpful. The fact that we've stayed within the lines. So this is a labor of love, is quite a repetitive process. So I'm going to speed this up and you'll see me when I'm done. You know what guys I just want to mention. You can see that there's some bits of gray here that are from the darker shadow way when we were adjusting the drawing earlier. So what we can do is actually go back to the Drawing, choose white color and paint with the brush paint white over the top of this. This will actually fix it. Again here I can see little bits of pen sticking out. So I'm going to go back to the drawing layer, choose white and just paint over these to correct them. Another number to return to the stock layer to continue colouring. Green is done. Next, we're going to do the same for each petal, for each of these little, I think they're called stamens. Each little bud, everything remember, has to have its own layer, new layer, and call this one big flower. And I'll carry on colouring with a new color. I'm going to start with this little guy here. I'm gonna call him lateral bud. Select colour B for brush. That's gone. And he's done onto the next one. I'm actually going to colour the little details here because the other layers that we're going to use for them are gonna go over the top and we don't need to colour around them. The new layers are gonna go over the top and cover them. I can see that I've missed a spot on the green here. I'm going to go back to my stock layer, wind up colour and And the second flower is done. Next, we'll move on to the big guy. And because it's so large, we're going to use a new layer for each individual petal. And when we come to do shadows and highlights, you'll see why it's so much easier to work this way. So new layer, I think I will select this color and using my hard round brush, 100% opacity, I'm going to proceed to Colour each individual petal of this flower on its own layer. Okay, We're getting there with the colouring. I've just found out that this part of the plant is called the stigma. To sound like a cool thriller. This stigma protocol that's colour this day. I've made a new layer and using the same technique, I'm just going to go through these little things and color them in using wine hard round brush. And it gives you how this layers over the top of the white color. So we didn't need to colour around them. We can just cover the white thing. I should separate these into their own layers as well. This was okay because it's a smaller flower. But I'm actually going to make individual layers for each of these bits of stamen. Now for these chips, all I'm doing here is switching back and forth from my brush typing be on the keyboard and an eraser typing E on a keyboard. Handy little shortcuts everywhere. I'm using the square bracket things on the keyboard as well to increase and decrease the size of the tools. Okay, that's pretty much it with the basic colouring. Now onto the shadows 4. Shading: Alright, so the basic color is applied. But at the moment, our drawing is looking a little bit flat. Two-dimensional shading is what's really going to make it pop. So when I look at shading, I usually apply to layers, to the flat color layer, its shadow and highlights. You'll see what I mean in a minute. So let's start from the bottom-up. Let's go back to our stock layer, which is at the bottom there. So I'm going to create a new layer over the top and clip it to stock there. So I'm typing Option Command G. And you can see this little arrow come up with good to name it stoke shadow, right? Let's zoom in. So usually when we look at a plant, the leaves that are sort of curving away from us or are tucked behind things, they will have a little shadowing or will appear darker visually. So thus, the general rule. So what I'm going to do is type I on the keyboard, bring up the colour sample tool, pick that color, double-tap on the square here and kind of on the diagonal, look down to pick a darker color that's usually kind of roughly good, good colour to pick for a shadow. Back to my brush tool. Let's bring up the size a little bit. Square brackets. Let's come up to brushes and find the soft round brush. Bring the opacity down to about 30. And that's a good idea to refer back to your reference photo. You can see that this leaf is much darker. You know what? I think we can actually bring the car a little bit further down there. So you can see that I've covered the front leaf here. And what I wanted to do is type II to bring up the eraser and just rub. You can see that I have a little bit of a white, the white background peeking out from this corner. So I'm gonna go back to stock. Go back to the original stock Colour. My hard round brush. Back to my shadow layer, back to the fuzzy, soft round brush. Down. Sizeof nice and soft. You go. So if I turn this layer off, you can see how the shadow is definitely helping. And can you see how it helps that stock and all the green leaves and things is on its own separate layer so we don't have to disturb the flowers around it. We can just do it will want with a green color for the time being. Now we'll do the same for the highlights. Let's have a look at our reference photo. I can see this leaf has this little highlight on the ridge underneath. These bits are lighter than anything else. This little bit. Yeah. It's a little bit lighter. So we can come back here, bring another layer Command Option G to clip it. Hi. And if we turn off the drawing layer for a minute, you can sample the color better that way because the drawing sometimes samples a little bit darker than what it's supposed to be. So let's come back to our color picker again and pick a lighter shadow this time. Soft brush. I kinda feel like the greens are a little bit cold for the moment, so I'd like to bring up my yellow here. I'm for it. And if I produce another layer, try and play with us. When I've done it here with the soft round brush, you can see that it's going over the edge there. So this is what I can tidy up with an eraser. This is why it's handy to have everything on its separate layer because you're not disturbing the things around. I think we're done with this. Let's move on to the middle fine, next. Okay, So because we're not representing our plant accurately and botanically speaking, we're applying a little bit of our artistic license. I really want to make these three seem like they're all part of the same plant, even though At the moment they look like they're kind of separate. So what I wanna do is come to my little bud layer, bring a new layer over the top of it, labeled it little bud too. It's a good habit to label your layers Lipids Option Command G. So with my soft round brush, I just really like this color and I want to have some of it going on on the bottom there. And you can see how we have this gentle graduation of colour. When we have our opacity down, we can just keep building that up. And I actually want to make it a little bit more intense. I'll make another layer just in case if I turn it off, you can see how easy it is to control these things when you have them all on separate little layers and clip together. So now I'm going to move on to this little guy and you'll see me apply the same techniques. I'm gonna be building more and more layers, clipping them together. I'm using the same techniques I've just shown you, but I'll do it a little bit faster for you so you don't have to sit there for hours and hours. When I'm using my brush here, obviously you can see how it spreads all over the flower, which is something that I don't want. So again, back to my eraser and I'm going to erase this color where I don't want it. Luckily the underneath bit because on its own layer, so it's not disturbed. So hopefully you guys can see how we're beginning to build up the picture layer by layer, and eventually it becomes much more realistic and beautiful. I also think we should play around with the background color a little bit. Let's try this one. So if you come down to the bottom and choose this semi circle black and white thing, choose Solid Color. There you go. So this is over-the-top, so it's covering all, all of our layers and we just need to bring it all the way down to the bottom. Let's make another one. Shall we pick the pale yellow, solid color? I think I'm liking this one. I'm just going to make it a little bit darker that they're just thinking balances all the colors really well. Okay, so looking at this so far I can see that these two leaves definitely need a bit more detail. I'm gonna go ahead and add some highlights to these leaves. Play around with some shadowing on these leaves that are Vocalpoint flower. Because you can see how the petals kind of wave that. I'm going to zoom in and add a little detail and shadowing tours payments. Okay, so we're near the end here. And for the last finishing touches, what I want to do is, you know these little, if you look at the reference photo, you can see the little dots all over the flower. This is something that I'm going to have to do over the drawing layer. So I'll make a new layer here. I'm gonna call it details. And this is where our thin little brush will come in handy. I think I'm going to bump up the opacity here and choose the rich pink color. Kind of go over. These guys. Can check back with reference. Occasionally. These ones seem to be a little bit lighter. If you make something you don't like, you can always click on Z to undo it. I think we're done. Would you guys think for the last, final touch, I was thinking, if we go to our background layer here and add an extra layer on top, choose a darker color to what we have in the background. Go back to brush, soft, brush, opacity to 100%. Let's bump up the size of this brush a lot. And we can kinda david a little bit. You can create that extra depth to your artwork. So that's it. I think we're done. We can save it and I'm just going to quickly show you how to export it. So once you've saved it, obviously Save As, give it a location. So on my desktop, or you can see that in your Cloud. If you wanted to produce prints with this artwork, you can export as. And then usually the best format is either a PNG or JPEG. So this is what you would do if you want it to send this to a printer to make friends. That's what you guys, I hope you enjoyed this and let me know what you think