Today we have the super awesome (and super nice) Will Aslett giving us a peek into process for his piece called ‘Let’s’ which uses hand drawn pieces and digital colouring in Photoshop. Will is a designer/illustrator and animator based in London, England. We’ll let Will take it from here!
I keep several sketchbooks, one near me at all times. I can’t bottle my thoughts unfortunately, so I scribble them down so that I can go back and develop them later. To start off with, I’ll sketch some large shapes in blue pencil and get the size and composition down. Then I go in with a Palomino Blackwing – the pencil of kings, it’s like drawing with silk magic – and start constructing the line work. This is probably the most challenging part for me as it can take a while for me to ‘nail it’.
When the ‘it’ is nailed, I’ll wait for dark and use my evenings preciously, getting my lightbox out and using Kuretake brush pens to ink the main piece on a fresh sheet of paper. The amazing Scott Campbell introduced me to these pens one chilly day in East London at a comic book workshop. The way the tip flows gives you really amazing lines. This part of the process is pretty relaxing after a full day at work in the studio.
When they’re all inked, it’s time for scanning and cleaning up the drawings in Photoshop.
PRO TIP: Before I resize the original ink, I convert it to a smart object to retain the original size and resolution. I can go inside that object (as a .psb) and edit it later on if need be.
Now for some colour! I use a Wacom Intuos 4 and some custom brush sets in Photoshop. I’ll adjust the opacity and flow until I’m happy with the way it feels to colour with.
From here I’ll spend time ‘stamping’ large brush marks over the drawing to get some initial texture down. When the base is done, it’s time to return with smaller brush strokes to layer up some tone and detail.
I’ll clear up the colour with a layer or folder mask for all of the colour work. Using a blending mode like multiply allows me to colour in and retain the clarity of the line work. Sometimes I’ll use an adjustment layer to colour the inked line work if I feel it’s a bit heavy going with the particular illustration.
Finally, from this monster ‘master’ Photoshop file I’ll create a new one for the main composition, lay everything out, throw in a couple of adjustment layers to get an overall colour tone and it’s done. Then it’s back to the sketchbook to start planning what I may draw next – only after some video games, cartoons and coffee of course!
A HUGE thanks to Will for giving us a glimpse of his process – his work is so cute – and he uses such amazing textures it’s sometimes shocking to know it’s a completely digital coloring process. I thought it was extremely interesting – and I’m excited to use some of his tips in my work! Hopefully you found it just as helpful.