Photoshop tutorial: Digital tricks for 'hand-drawn' colour

Gabz shows how easy it can be to brighten up a pencil artwork

Intro


Here Grzegorz Domaradzki – aka Gabz – details how to create an image with vivid colours from a pencil drawing. You’ll learn colouring and selecting techniques, how to use motion blur and other effects and finally how to use Adjustment layers.

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This is the third and last in our series of Masterclasses based on artworks from the latest Designers Against Child Slavery (dacsunited.com) exhibition. Each work depicts one of three phases in the life of a child forced into the sex trade – either before, during or after their period of enslavement. Gabz’s contribution focuses on the first phase, which DACS terms ‘coercion’.

Time to complete

1 hour

Software

Photoshop

Project Files

Files for this tutorial are downloadable from here.

Step 1

STEP 1

Open dacs_drawing.jpg in Photoshop. Double-click on the Background layer to turn it into an ordinary layer (I named mine ‘Drawing OK’), change its blending mode to Multiply and hit OK. Create a new background layer behind it and fill it with grey (R 204, G 204, B 204). Using the Magic Wand tool (W), select the background, then invert the selection (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + I). and go to Select > Modify > Contract with a value of 1px. Create a new layer called ‘head’ below the drawing layer and fill it with red (R 225, G 61, B 61).

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Step 2

STEP 2

The ‘head’ layer needs cleaning up, so zoom in and get rid of unwanted pixels using the Eraser tool (E) set to a hard brush. Also use the Lasso tool (L) to draw a shape of the girl’s torso in a new layer called ‘torso’, and fill the selection with the same red as before.

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Step 3

STEP 3

Make a new layer above the background layer. Apply a radial gradient to the top left as shown with a lemon yellow (R 251, G 238, B 40). Using the Lasso tool, draw a white stripe on the torso to suggest the arm of the top she is wearing. Fill the selection with the background colour.

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Step 4

STEP 4

Create another new layer. Using the same lemon yellow, create a radial gradient to add some light to the girl’s face. Apply a clipping mask using the ‘head’ layer to avoid it extending outside the girl.

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At this point I felt the composition was too dark, so I duplicated the drawing layer and applied a Hue/Saturation adjustment (Cmd/Ctrl + U), ticking Colorize and using settings of Hue 0, Saturation 20 and Lightness 30.


Step 5

STEP 5

The crows play an important symbolic role in the image and need to stand out. I selected them roughly using the Lasso tool in the ‘Drawing OK’ layer and created a new layer out of the selection (Cmd/Ctrl + J) at the top of the layer stack. I set the opacity to 70% and, using a soft brush and a Layer Mask, I removed all areas except for the crows, giving them stronger feel.

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Step 6

STEP 6

I want the artwork to be distressed – both in terms of what it reflects, and literally. Open dacs_extra_blacks.jpg from the Project Files, hit Select > Color Range… and pick the white background with the Fuzziness set to 200.

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Hit Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + I to select the inverse and copy and paste it into a new layer. Then place the main black shape over the girl’s forehead at the top of the layer stack.


Step 7

STEP 7

I like adding motion-blurred elements when I’m close to finishing a project. To do this, create a new layer on the top of the layer stack and make some streaks using a graphics tablet and a hard brush, using the grey and red of the artwork. Now apply a Motion Blur filter, using 90° for the angle and 999 pixels (the maximum) for the distance.

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Step 8

STEP 8

For the final touch, create a new Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with Colorize ticked and use Hue 221, Saturation 53, Lightness 0. Select the Eraser tool, set to a soft brush, and remove most of this layer, erasing it least at the bottom and in the area of the girl’s hair to shift the red more towards pink.

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About the artist: Gabz

STEP 9

Born in 1979 in Poznaundefined, Poland, Grzegorz Domaradzki studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in his hometown and graduated with a Master’s degree in Graphic Arts and Drawing. He worked as an illustrator and graphic designer for a few years before turning freelance.  He specialises in everything from portraiture to snowboard art, which he creates in pencil, ink, paint (watercolour, oil and acrylic) and vectors.

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Contact

iamgabz.com