Line Art Coloring: Creating Custom Graphics and Illustrations

One of the biggest things that any graphic artist faces – whether you’re doing it just for fun or as a career – is the problem of copyright. Technically speaking, any graphic that we use in our work should be ones that aren’t violating copyright laws.

The best way to ensure that you’re not violating laws is to create the graphics yourself.

So âÂ?¦ what we’re going to do is learn how to color line art. It’s seriously easy to do, and like âÂ?¦ how much did you love coloring as a kid? This is like big-kid coloring and what you end up with is art that is all yours.

The Method

Step One: Set up Colors

1. Open the Line Art: Open the line art in Photoshop. You can grab mine from Illustration 1 or find one that you’d like to play with – but if you’re trying this for the first time, you’ll do better to start with this one and play from there.

2. Pick Your Colors: Create a new layer and grab a paintbrush. You will want to load your Drop Shadow paintbrush set for the next steps, so you might as well do that now. Then, start with the colors of the lines and create a color palette of three colors each for the leaves and for the rose. You will want the lines to be the lightest shade. See Illustration 2

Step Two: Flood Fill

1. Select Leaves: Start with the leaves. Grab your magic wand tool, and select the inside of your leaves. See Illustration 3.

2. Fill the Leaves: Now, use the color dropper tool to pick up the middle shade of green. Then, create a new layer and use your paint bucket tool to fill in your selection with the middle shade of green. See Illustration 4.

3. Select and Fill the Petals: To make selecting the petals easier, click once inside a petal with your magic wand. Then, hold your shift key down on your keyboard, and continue selecting petals. This way, every click you make adds to the selection instead of having to repeat it over and over.Once you have selected the petals, create a new layer. Then, pick up the middle shade of red and fill the selection. See Illustration 5.

Step Three: Shadow and Highlight

1. Leaf Shadow: Create another (yup, another) new layer. Then, zoom in so that you can easily see the lines of your leaves. Like âÂ?¦ 300% or more. Then, grab the darkest of your greens. Load a 3 pixel drop shadow brush and start painting.When you’re painting shadows, think about nature. Petals that are below other petals will be darker, and anywhere that petals overlap the leaves will be darker. You can use the image in Illustration 6 as a general “guide”.

2. Leaf Highlight: Create another new layer. Then, grab the lightest of your greens. The same way you did the shadow, create highlights. Remember that highlights are usually less than shadow – it is where the sun or the light is hitting your image the hardest. There’s another general guide in Illustration 7.

3. Gaussian Blur: Now, to make the coloring look more “natural”. To do this, you will want to hit “Filter” and choose “Gaussian Blur”. On the highlights layer, choose 3.0 for the amount of blur. On the shadow layer, choose 2.0 for the amount of blur. To finish off the leaves, pick up your darkest green again and trace over the original sketch lines. See Illustration 8.

4. Rose Shadow: There’s no trick to it – you have the idea figured out now. Create a new layer, grab your darkest shade of red, and begin painting. See Illustration 9.

5. Rose Highlight: Create a new layer, grab your lightest shade of red, and paint again. See Illustration 10.

6. Gaussian Blur: The highlights layer on the rose should be blurred at 3.0 pixels. The shadows need to be blurred at 2.5 pixels.

Then, grab the darkest shade of red again and trace over the original rose sketch lines.

With that, you have a beautiful piece of art that’s all your own!

The final piece is in Illustration 11.

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