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Anime Coloring Process by DovahLi Anime Coloring Process by DovahLi
Here's how I color/ a mini tutorial.

I use gimp 2.6.

1- lineart I don't own a working scanner so I either do lines digitally or draw on paper and take a picture of it. To get rid of the white in a lineart go to Layer>Transparencey>Color to Alpha.

2- Base colors Use the selection tool for large areas and fill with color. You will probably have to go in with the paint brush and hand color around the edges. If you don't you'll have clear pixels which can make a good picture look horrible (check out my earlier works as an example lol.) Now is a good time to figure out what kind of colors you're going to use. It also helps if you already have a background in mind. I always Lock all of my layers so I can shade and highlight them without having to select anything.

3,4,5,6-Shading First, pick a direction your light is coming from. Keep this in mind as you shade. When choosing a color to shade with, you don't have to use the exact same hue! On the dress I used a darker but slightly more purple color. Experiment! Here is a good tut for color theory [link] I use the path tool to make a selection of an area that need shading, then paint it in with the darker color. Then, blur some areas and keep others hard. Also you can use the smudge tool to lengthen some shadows.

7-Highlights When choosing your highlight color, think about what kind of light is in your picture. Don't just use white! I chose a yellow color because I wanted a sunny feeling. Again, I use the path tool to select, color, and blend. Don't go too overboard on this stage or you might :iconsparklesplz:"shiny kawaii desu":iconsparklesplz: someone's eyes out.

8-Eyes There are so many possibilities with eyes!! I can't even begin to explaing them all. But here's how I did them for this picture. I used the dodge tool to put in some light under where the pupil is "dodge>highlights". Then I used a darker color for shading on the top under the eyelid. Then, for the pupil I drew a "U" shape with the burn tool "burn>shadows."
The white highlights are drawn on a layer above the lines. Remember to put them in the direction the light is coming from. For the white part of the eyeball DON'T use pure white. I used a light gray with a slightly darker bluish gray for the shading. Here's a tutorial just dealing with eyes [link]

9-Hair strands With a small hard brush, draw in where the strands will be. You can also use the path tool if you want to be accurate.

10-Overall shading If your strands are a bit messy you can use the blur tool or gaussian blur to soften them up. Then using a large soft brush set on a low opacity shade where you need to. Remember, the head is a sphere!

11-Highlights and Smudge Again, using a small brush put in strands of lighter hair. Smude areas if you need to.

12-Moar shading! You don't have to do this but I did for a little more dramatic look. I especially paid attention to the tips of the hair.

13-Final Touches I added blush to the lips and cheeks using a large soft brush with small highlights for cuteness :3 On the hair I use the dodge tool to create a shine on the bangs.

14-Coloring the Lines Your layer must be locked to do this! You can change the colors of your lineart however you want. Some people keep them black, some always make them a certain color, others just do some lines. It all depends on your preferences!

15-Yay Complete! Put in your background and you're done. Don't you feel proud?

OK, I'm definetely not the best artist on DA but perhaps this can help someone. Maybe later on I'll make a better tut but I'm lazy right now OTL

Thanks for reading!!!
Add a Comment:
Girlsrule98 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist
you are awesome
ill never can make something like that
i even cant make a crying face
Gariandos Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I've got a bit of a problem, whenever I use the lasso tool and I'm finished with it, I can't color any area except for the most recently lassoed area. Since I primarily use the brush and airbrush tools I rarely ever use the lasso tool because of this specific problem.
DovahLi Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hmm that's strange. Do you use the magic wand tool to click outside of the drawing area after your finished using the lasso tool? That way it'll deselect anything you selected with the lasso tool.
Gariandos Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I actually learned how to undo it, you use the subtract from option of the lasso, and just make a large square over the area, and it'll get rid of it.
DovahLi Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Or that! I'm glad you figured that out lol
lost-nora-16 Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2010  Student General Artist
i can't figure out step
were is the layer button?
DovahLi Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's up with the file and edit tabs. 5 to the right of file.
lost-nora-16 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2010  Student General Artist
JJFX-MULTIMEDIA Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2010
Dark-Soul-13 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2010
wow thats good :D
one thing though, would you mind explaining how to do the skin pweese? :aww:
like i really cant do the skin shading because everyone seems able to get a gradient thing going before they actually shade the skin, it confuzzles me! :S

but great tutorial :heart:
DovahLi Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
well, first I use a very large fuzzy brush To get the overall shading(like under the hair on the forehead), then a hard brush for areas with direct light blockage (like under each inividual bang.)

Hope that helps!
Dark-Soul-13 Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2010
ah haa, thanks that clarified it for me :aww
Kitteran Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2010
Yay for a GIMP toturial!
I hate looking at other tutorials 'cause most people use PS or Sai and they always have tools and options that GIMP dosen't have. . .
This was quite interesting!
DovahLi Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! Hope it helps :)
RoadDog8444 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2010
Oh, so THAT'S how you do it. Hell, I can do that...NOT!!!
Reading the tutorial helped explain all the work that goes into it, made it seem more complicated (to me), and makes me appreciate and respect what you and others in your art medium do even more than I did before, so thank you! Hella good! (Slap mine face for I have uttered "Hella" and it beith not good.)
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Submitted on
January 5, 2010
Image Size
1.2 MB


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