Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Colouring Avenging Spider-Man #21: Part Two

Hey guys and girls I'm back and I'm going to talk through how I coloured Paolo Rivera's cover for Avenging Spider-Man #21. As I discussed last time I felt the overall quality of the work I did was to an acceptable level for an amateur so this time we're focusing on the how as an insight in to the processes of using photoshop to ink and colour works of art, during the time of colouring this piece I did refer to the original for reference.. (Click on images to enlarge them)

 1. I first started off with by downloading the pencil work that Paolo Rivera posted on his blog and taking it into photoshop. I like to work big as you can get more dynamic shapes with your brushes the larger they are, as not to stick at brush sizes between 1-10px? To do this I double the size of the image in the IMAGE > IMAGE SIZE options in the top tool bar and double the width and length of the image manually.

I next prep the image, since technically to ink and colour it we'll be drawing on top of it I make it easier on myself by selecting MULTIPLY under the layer options, I also name this layer "Pencils". This makes the image transparent in a sense when you when you add colour on a layer underneath it. Finally I add a layer of pure white underneath the "pencils" layer for the sake of making it easier to distinguish the inks and colours when I start applying them.

2. So photoshop should be set up in a way that the "pencils" layer will always be on top and the white layer should be on the bottom. Above the white layer I add a solid block of light blue for use of the sky, because of the "Pencils" layer and it's setting at 'Multiply', it looks more like a turquoise and generally all colours under it will look a little darker (You can take away this 'darkness' just by turning off the 'pencils' layer with the eye symbol next to it). I then block in the red and dark grey of Superior Spidey's suit on a separate layer keeping in mind to stay within the lines, I did this using a custom brush that basically has no transfer settings so you only get the bold flat colour. On the left ankle I start to replicate the inking process ever so slightly with a black...
3. I basically continue painting in, what I like to call, "The Flat Colours" which are your basic colour layers for the piece that you'll be building upon. Here you can see that Spidey is fully coloured and even got a few lines added in to give him more structure. The background has also been drawn in using the pen tool to give straight defined lines of the buildings that is needed. Most importantly, as in the original, the Chameleon has been drawn in and is imposed in the background using the transparency function to give that over shadowing look.                                                                                                                                                                          All of this is done using references from the original and the line work underneath (currently turned off in this screen shot). To give spidey some more depth I've also started to add the dark parts of his suit which form the shadow around his muscle and the outline of the character, again this was achieved by following the line work of the original but also with a custom brush from Kyle Webster's brush pack to give that painted and some what charcoal look. Again this was me experimenting with brushes, you can use what kind of brush you prefer if you know what you like.

 4. I continue adding in colour such as The Chameleon's face and the highlights of his costume as well as the grey shades of the buildings in the background. Just as importantly I've added in ol' web-head's eyes and some shading on his torso and limbs to make him pop from the scene, as a note when I need to add a new colour or detail to a piece I also put it on a new layer so that if something goes wrong it's easily changable.. When I choose to shade things in colour with photoshop I usually bring up the colour pallet and select the shade that is diagonally in the bottom right of the base colour. It's not an exact science but you kind of get muscled trained into selecting the shade you want. For pretty much all the shading I used Kyle's Brushes to keep with that painted look.

As we can see the image itself looks like it's not far off from being completed.

5. With the basic shape of things coming together so well it's time to do what I think is always fun, Spidey's webs. No I've heard of artists complaining about having to draw in Spidey's Webs all the time but I love them so much as it just completes the character so well. Like the line work for the body form, the webbing was completed by following Rivera's pencil and using Kyle's Brush, I added a slight highlight on the chest spider to make it shine out a little bit.

Now a really interesting part of both the composition and how I dealt with it is the faces in Chameleon's body (obviously signifying his ability to shape shift but, like a Drew Struzan piece it also tells you who you'll be seeing in this issue). Obviously I coloured all of Chameleon's body in so to do the faces I start a new layer and add in the base colours over the spaces mapped out by the pencils, with the "pencils" layer still up I draw in the inks and line work. Already it's looking much closer to the original in sense of composition.

6. With the faces coloured and outlined the only thing that's left is to make the blend into Chameleon's body as per the original I ink in the spaces around the heads to create that coming-out-of-the-shadows look.

The only thing left to do is add in Spidey's trusty webline. Drawing on the original, I used an off yellow colour and as per followed the lines of the pencils. To give them depth I added an off grey line to make the 'spaghetti' webbing look. Like the final cover I adjusted the goggle lense to make it appear as spidey is facing forward as a opposed the the chameleon style that Rivera was going for in his pencils.

I give the whole piece a good look over to check of any gaps in the colours.

7. Finally I remove the pencil layers and flatten the image using the tool bar function LAYERS>FLATTEN LAYERS, this gets rid of any layers I may be not using and lowers the file size.

Now remember when I said I like to work big? This is because you can get away with minor mistakes when working bigger as once I'm finished I then reduce the size of the piece back to the original size that Rivera had the pencils at. This instantly makes the piece seem a little more sharper than it was. During the whole process I used my own estimations of colours that I'd like to use instead of just drawing them straight from the original with the waterdroplet tool, this was just my preference but you can always get Spidey's threads to match the  exact colours seen on any Marvel with the waterdroplet tool.

With that done I add in Rivera's signature (as he was the one who drew it!) and mine as I coloured and call it a day. As I said previously this is a great exercise to work on both colour theory and practicing using photoshop for inking and colouring. I hope you enjoyed this post and if you want me to go in depth about anything else you can always just ask in the comments section!.

Ciao for now~

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