Creating angelic backlight
1Here’s my basic line drawing and colouring. I’ve scanned in my pencils and used digital watercolour brushes. The value range isn’t yet all the way up to the white point: I want to have somewhere to dial things up to! I’ve also darkened around the edges of her hair, which is mostly where I’ll be using the colour corona effect later on in my painting process.
2I use a big grainy brush to spray in light behind the girl’s head, and then on a separate layer set to Overlay, I employ the same brush to dust light around the edges of her form. The end result is called colour corona, and gives a sense of brightness to the figure. I’m still not up to pure white yet, but already the feeling of the image has changed for the better.
3This stage shows just the application of the edge light layer. Don’t outline everything evenly, but instead think about where a light source behind the figure will break through most. I hit those areas with a bit of airbrushed glow. You can see that even this effect alone can be effective and dramatic. The edging can be pure white here if you want.
4Here are all the effects combined, along with added crepuscular rays, but with the colour layers turned off. It’s clear that this type of lighting can also work independently of colour, and can be applied to toned drawings or manga styles equally effectively. I’m always a bit wary of crepuscular rays, but with careful treatment they can work very well.