See how Academy of Art University student Alexandria Huntington transforms a black and white line drawing she created with Photoshop Sketch into a colorful final comic book panel with the painting tools in Photoshop CC.

Create a comic panel on the go

Open Photoshop Sketch and tap the + to create a new project. Tap on the first canvas in the project. Select the Pencil tool and sketch out the panel. Switch brushes to add more detail and depth to your black and white drawing.

When you're done, tap Send to Photoshop to open the file on your desktop.

Create a comic panel on the go

Add a background layer to your black and white panel

The image you created in Photoshop Sketch shows up on a new layer. Name the layer ink and set it’s Blend Mode to Multiply to allow color to show through as you begin painting on new layers underneath it.

Create a new Layer underneath your artwork and call it white background.

Add a background layer

Choose a brush

Select the Brush tool and open the Brush Preset picker from the Control Panel. Choose a round brush and adjust its size according to the detail in your drawing. If desired, reduce the Hardness to create softer edges on your brushstrokes.

Choose a brush

Create a new layer

Option-click the Create new layer icon in the Layers panel, name it “underpainting,” and click OK. Drag it underneath the inked layer to keep your painting separate from your original artwork.

Create a new layer

Set the mood with an underpainting

In the tools panel, double click on the Foreground color icon to open the color picker. Choose a color, click OK, then paint large areas of the underpainting layer with the Brush tool. Repeat this process with just a few colors to set the tone of the illustration and help establish a focal point.

Tip: You can also use selection tools such as the Lasso to select large areas of the illustration, and then fill them with the Paint Bucket. 

Choose a color, click OK

Paint flat colors

Create a new layer above your underpainting and begin working with a wider range of colors. To create color harmony, reduce the opacity of this layer slightly, letting the underpainting show through.

Paint flat colors

Add highlights, shadows, and details

Create two new layers: "highlights" and "shadows," and paint on the appropriate layer.

To paint highlights, sample a section of the artwork with the Eyedropper tool, then open the Color Picker. Drag the hue selector slightly toward orange, then lighten the value by moving the selector upward. For shadows, move the selector downward to darken the value. 

Use the Brush tool to paint in details like variations in skin tone or patterns on clothing.

Add highlights, shadows, and details

Create texture

Use File > Place to bring in a JPG with a paper texture. Reduce the texture’s intensity by setting the Layer Mode to Overlay and reducing the layer Opacity.

Experiment with textured brushes to add a handmade touch to the illustration. 

Note: If your textured image has color it will shift the hues of your painting, but you can color correct in the next step.

Create texture

Make final color adjustments

To refine the color scheme of your illustration, click the New Adjustment Layer icon in the Layers panel, and then choose Hue/Saturation or Color Balance. Double click the adjustment layer thumbnail to open the properties panel, which will allow you to make color changes. 

As a final touch, add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer to brighten the illustration.

Tip: Use layer masks to control which portions of an image are affected by an adjustment layer.

Make final color adjustments

Complete your comic book layout

Now you're ready to crop or resize the illustration to fit into an existing comic book page layout.

You can see Alexandria's final layout in the Avengers Origins #1 digital comic book.

Complete your comic book layout
08/26/2015

Contributors: Marvel, Alexandria Huntington

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