Monday, March 21, 2016

Making of Mondays: Outlines

I've been thinking a lot about outlines.  Every time I tackle a new paper doll, I think about outlines.  Should they be black?  Or brown? Or colored?  In my vector and watercolor work, I use a variation of the base color.  So a blonde hairstyle is outlined in a light yellowish-brown, a green top is outlined in a darker green, etc.  I like the way it looks.

This method is problematic in Photoshop.

I know there are methods of coloring linework after drawing it in black.  I never seem to get around to it.  Not to say the black looks bad.  And ultimately, that's what I end up doing.

To start with, I opened my file from last week.  I'm going to draw the outlines for each doll in a separate file.  I have my dolls grouped into folders and there's a neat trick I learned from digital scrapbooking.

First, you need to have two files open in Photoshop.  I have my back cover file open with my group folders.  The other file is where I want to work on the paper doll (#1). After opening the files, grab the tab section of the cover file and drag it til it's a separate file floating on the screen(#2).  Take the group folder you want in the new file and drag it into the new file (#3).\

And there it is, layers and all.  I love groups in Photoshop.  So useful! You'll notice that I've added a layer called outlines.  That's where I'll start sketching.

I'll draw my lines in default black with a custom brush.  I try to scale my sketches before I outline & I make sure to use the same size brush and same color on each of the dolls & outfits for consistency. You can use a standard brush -- it doesn't really matter much -- but make sure it's pressure sensitive if you're using a digitizer of some sort.  I'm drawing directly onto my Surface Pro 3 (which has been happily trouble free of late).

I like to start with the face.  There's no right or wrong way.  It's just what I do.  I try to vary my line width by carefully increasing or decreasing the pressure on my stylus.  I like the organic qualities of it.  Zoom in or out as much as needed to get a good line.  I am immensely thankfully for the Undo feature in Photoshop! If I did this with pen on paper, I'd scrap dozens of attempts.

And by the magic of internet time's the final outline.

On the left, the lines over the sketch.  On the right, just the lines.  I also took the base shape and made it an outline to see how it fit with the doll.

At this point, walk away from your drawing.  Really.  For a while.  Then come back, look at it critically and adjust it as needed.  Right now, I'm not terribly crazy about the eyes.  I want to mess around with those a bit.

Now, I'll outline the other two dolls and get ready to create a wardrobe.

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