In the original sketch there was some lighting information and if you are coloring someone else’s line work you should take note of where the original artist was thinking to put the light source so that you can use it in your coloring.
You can see the little bit of shadow under the chin which indicates that the lighting would be coming from overtop of the character.
To start painting select a color that is lighter than the original skin tone, and select a brush that has some smoothing on it. To activate the smoothing you can go into the brush settings menu and place a check beside the Transfer, and Smoothing options. If you are just getting started with using Photoshop Brushes, you can find more information on using them in the Photoshop Help Documents. There’s really a lot that you can do get some really natural as well as funky brushes that will help give your work a more natural feeling.
Start with adding some lighter color to the face and then apply the same lighter skin tone to the other parts of the body that will also naturally be lit.
Select a light grey color and start to color the eyes, hands and the hat. Don’t worry about shading anything in right now. At this point in the coloring process you’re just worried about laying down the base color.
To finish coloring the eyes you can give the pupils a green tone.
Select a lighter skin tone that what you just used to color the face, and begin adding even more light to those areas of the body that will naturally catch the most light. Resist the urge to use any kind of blur or smudge tool to spread your color around. Use the pressure of your digital pen and the brush tool to apply color.
Continue adding highlights to the body, and by layering the lighter tone on top of the middle skin tone you should now have some nice colors happening between the two that you can use your color picker to select and work on the fly. This technique of selecting the colors that naturally occur as you layer one color on top of another one allows you to blend your colors really quickly without needing to build up any kind of complicated color palette.
Select a bluish grey color and start to apply some light shadow. In the image for this step you can see the shadow being applied under the neck and to the character’s right arm. At the end of the video you’ll also be applying the same kind of shadows to the eye.
While you are working through this remember to stay loose and don’t worry too much about the fine details. There will be plenty of time to work on those little details in the upcoming steps.
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