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Soft Shading


We have our awesome sketch ready, so the next step is to lay down some thicker lines over it to throw the color under.   Some people may refer to this as ďinking.Ē   Iím actually going to stick with a soft brush when inking this time, as opposed to a hard size-varying brush, so it may not really qualify as inking.

First Iím going to crop the image down to only the sketch with a little room around it on each size.   Then Iím going to blow up the image to 200% its size.   When working in a digital medium you want to keep your raw image size as big as possible so itís easier to work in details, and so you have a higher quality image over all.   Plus if you want to print it somewhere later, having a bigger image will retain its quality for bigger prints.

After we have our sketch cropped and blown up itís time to set the sketch opacity to around 30%.   You still want to see it obviously, but you donít want it obstructing your view of the new lines.   Iím going to make a new layer and place it over the sketch and set itís blending mode to multiply, and start inking on that layer.

With this inking method Iím more painting in the lines rather than drawing them in with a pen.   Iím using a soft brush with a thickness of 5 for the majority of the inking process.   Using a soft brush will allow you to control the opacity of your lines a little more, so harder details can be made 100% black while maybe the softer details would remain a little transparent, and even though Iím working with my sketch blown up to 2x itís size, I still zoom in to 200% when I do any inking.

I decided to only ink his upper body, as I didnít want to take the focus away from his face at all.   This is just going to end up being a small portrait image anyway.   The lines look okay, but some areas could use some touching up.   To make lines pop out just a little bit more itís useful to give certain areas of the image more ink.   Areas like the inside of sharp curves, and areas of intersecting lines can benefit from just a little bit more ink in the right spots.

There are some blotches here and there that   look a little messy, but Iím working at a high enough resolution where those will hopefully disappear by the time the final image is done.

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