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Digital Drawing for Beginners: Digital Shading

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This post is part of a series called Digital Drawing for Beginners.
Digital Drawing for Beginners: From Sketching to Line Art
Digital Drawing for Beginners: Before You Publish Your Drawing

A piece of line art is still a drawing, but what if you wanted to make it more realistic? In this lesson, I will show you how you can use digital tools to quickly shade your line art.

Remember to catch up with our previous lesson, From Sketching to Line Art, and download the source files for this course.

Digital Shading

Our goal will be to achieve the look of a traditional drawing. The process of shading and drawing takes a lot of time because you can't simply draw over the shadows with the big brush. This would be painting.

In the end, it all comes down to creating your repetitive patterns, which is easy but takes a lot of time. It also requires constant concentration because it's very easy to cross some borders if you're not careful. 

Prepare Your Line Art for Shading

Step 1

In Photoshop, we can make this process faster by using clipping masks. Lower the opacity of the line art, and create a new layer.

Reduce the Opacity and create a new layerReduce the Opacity and create a new layerReduce the Opacity and create a new layer

Step 2

Take the ink brush and choose a bright color. 

Pick a bright colourPick a bright colourPick a bright colour

Step 3

Analyze your line art and decide which lines outline separate elements. Fill such outlines with color, but don't make two elements of one color touch each other. Try to be as precise as possible, following the line art strictly. When there's no other area you could fill with color without touching one that's already colored, create a new layer below and choose another color.

Repeat the process. Color separate areas without touching the areas of the color you currently use. You can be less careful now because parts of the color will be covered by the layer above. Repeat the process and you have all the areas colored. In my case, it took four layers to color the whole rose.

Four coloured sectionsFour coloured sectionsFour coloured sections

Step 4

Drag the line art above them to make it visible again. 

Want More?

If you're sure you like the final result, follow me to the last lesson to learn how to prepare a digital drawing for publishing.

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