Inking and colouring
Chris Visions shows how to compose an image in your sketchbook using value, pencilling and inking, while colouring with both traditional inks and Photoshop
Chris Visions shares his process.
For years I was intimidated by working digitally. Something about the plastic nib on a plastic surface felt too jarring to me. I love the sway of a brush on paper too much, the pop of the ink from a pen nib – there’s a romance in traditional work that I can’t separate myself from.
Now, Cintiq’s and Kyle Webster brushes make this gap a little more bridged for me, but I still love paper. So here I present you with a process that enables you to keep your traditional connection strong, while utilising the power of digital.
I dance back and forth in the beginning, drawing my sketch in my sketchbook, scanning and changing my lines to blue, and then printing it out to give it more detail traditionally again. I encourage you to keep a sketchbook: this is the place where you can hone your skills, play with different paper types and drawing materials, and see how you can lay layers and washes.
Go crazy in your sketchbook and enjoy yourself. You’re making art, an act that rewards innovation and the new. Not only do your skills come out in your final pieces, but the fun you have in a piece naturally shines through as well. Learn to enjoy your process, and keep that level of excitement high and the skill will come.
Going back to my sketch, you may notice there’s no strong mid-tone. This is because I was working a certain way with pen, had an idea in my head on how the lighting would work, and I was itching to start the piece. Be sure to use reference, and use a mid-grey or coloured marker to act as a mid-tone in the layout stage. Your presto pen will also be handy in this stage to mark your light areas as well. That foresight comes from a lot of drawing and a lot of observing.
So, after I’ve printed out the sketch, it’s on to the inking, which I love. This is where you really mould your piece, much like a sculptor. I like to jump around, building up the whole piece, not just focusing one area. This keeps your piece balanced. Working with washes and strong values enables me to build my form, which you’ll find guides you throughout your digital colouring, and works towards your goal of creating a striking piece.