I thought I would post all the steps and layers I normally use in Krita to do digital inking and coloring. I built all these images after the drawing was complete so it would show the stacking of all the layers on the right.
Step 1: Original Scan
I normally either start with a scan or picture of a pencil drawing, or digitally sketch out a rough version of the drawing to digitally ink over. (Sometimes to speed things up I will import the scan/picture of the sketch into Inkscape and use the “Path/Trace Bitmap” function to isolate the lines.) With this drawing, I will next set the scan layer to 20% opacity so it is faint when I start inking, and then add a solid white layer below it as a background.
Step 2: Lines
I created a transparent layer above the “scan” (sometimes multiple of them) and then start digitally inking on that layer. When I’m happy with the final look, I usually merge them all into a single layer called “lines”. (With this doodle, I decided to fix a mistake from the original and change his eyes from crossed to wandering to better resemble the character from the movie.)
Step 3: Line Weight
I like adding varying line weights to separate out parts of the image and give an impression of mass and light source. I usually do this on a separate layer from the lines. It’s pretty subtle sometimes, but I think it makes a big difference and is worth the time.
Step 4: Hide Scan
While not really a step in the process, once the various work inking the lines is complete, I no longer need the original “scan” as reference and I hide it.
Step 5: Defining Shaded Areas
Some time ago I started using an obnoxious purple color to draw in the areas of the drawing that would be shaded. The color is not important as I’ll just be using the area I drew in to “shade” things in step 8.
Step 6: Defining Lighter Areas
Just like the shaded areas, I normally draw in lighter areas in a cyan color on its own layer. These areas will be used in step 9.
Step 7: Solid Color Fills
For this step I hide the “shade” and “light” layers and create a new layer called “fills” somewhere below the “lines” layer. This makes filling with the bucket tool or brushes much easier because I can color right up to and under the line work. Here I start laying in all the colors to fill in the entire drawing. Sometimes if there are complicated aspects to the drawing, I will create an additional layer above the “fills” called something like “more fills” to capture the additional areas.
Step 8: Shaded Fills
Here’s where the “shade” layer from step 5 comes in. To easily create shaded areas that are darker versions of the color already in the space and not some washed out gray tone, I use a slightly convoluted process. I first make a copy of the “fills” layer called something like “fill shade” and make sure it is above the “fills”. Next I set the layer mode to multiply and pull the opacity down to around 50%. This should have made the colors across the entire image darker, but we only want certain areas shaded. Now I simply right-click in the layers docker on the “shade” layer we had created earlier and choose “select opaque”. This should put all the areas we drew earlier in step 5 in the current selection as noted by the moving dotted lines. Then right-click on the “fill shade” layer and select “add -> transparency mask” which will cause only the parts that we drew in step 5 to show up as shaded. Make sure you go to the “selection” menu and “deselect” to get a better look at what just changed and before moving on.
Step 9: Lighter Fills
This step is very similar to step 8, with a few slight changes. I still copy the “fills” and this time name it “fill light”, and ensure it is above the fills layer. The big difference here is to set the layer mode to “addition” and the opacity around 30-40%. Then select the opaque in the layers docker from the “light” layer we drew in step 6 and add it as a transparency mask.
That’s pretty much it, there are reasons I make some of this so convoluted that perhaps I will go into in a future post. Enjoy!
Process captured in Krita on my Surface Pro 3.