The first thing we want to do is design our comic character – in this case a comic heroine. One rule to remember is that audiences should be able to recognise to character even if they are in silhouette. If the character has any logos or symbols, we should include them on our design.
Make multiple drawings before settling on any one composition. Use the default round brush with Shape Dynamics and Transfer turned on. Set the control options to Pen Pressure. This will enable us to create thick, thin, light and opaque lines, which is great for sketching.
Once you’ve settled on a thumbnail concept you like, you can start to refine your sketch. Use multiple layers to separate drawn elements, for example in the foreground, midground, background and other elements such as the visor of our heroine’s helmet. This will help us organise our applications at a later stage.
Make sure to lock the opacity of each of our drawn layers. Each drawn layer should have its own colour layer underneath. Now we select the Magic Wand tool and turn off Anti-Aliasing. Do set this tool to Contiguous and Sample All Layers. Select the empty area around your line art and hit Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+I inverting your selection. Next choose Select>Modify>Constrict, repeating application until the selection inside of the edges of your line art. Hit Opt/Alt+Delete to fill the image.
Now the image is filled, lock the opacity of its colour layer. Use the Magic Wand tool to select inside of the line art. Once selected, go to Select>Modify>Expand. Sometimes because of unclosed or incomplete line art the Magic Wand will bleed out into areas you don’t want to colour. We can clean up our flat colour areas by using the Lasso tool. It can also be used to apply flat colours and detail areas. We can use this tool to target the areas we want to select. When using the Lasso tool, deactivate anti-aliasing.
There are two types of Lasso tool controls: free hand and Polygonal. Use the Polygonal lasso to apply straight edges, to areas such as the flame jets coming from her feet and her trail, which signifying momentum. Use the free hand lasso to make selections of oval or rounded shapes like the lips or eyes. We can toggle between while applying live by holding the Opt/Alt key. Release the mouse button or lift your stylus pen off the tablet surface.
Using the techniques we have just explained continue too apply selections and flat colour throughout the image (see the supplied example). Once flat colours are applied duplicate these and the line art. Once we have done this we’ll make sure that our line art’s transparency is locked and proceed with colouring in the lines of the line art. This is referred to as a colour hold or self line. When our colour holds are complete we will merge our copied line art with these new coloured layers, with the exception of the visor.
At this point it’s time to hide all your foreground layers expect our background layer. Painting the back ground before any other special or rendering effects helps, as this is the focal point for lighting in our character. We paint to out background using our preset Photoshop brushes. First we will select the Round Fan Stiff Thin Bristles brush. In our brush options and activate Shape Dynamics, Transfer and Wet Edges. Set the Control Options to Pen Pressure. This gives us a more natural painted look.
We will start by selecting our flattened character colour layer. Using chalk brushes to lay down the first indication of light and shadow in the contours of our character. We will try to work with the whole figure at once, to get a full sense of the lighting in our piece.