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Elevate Your Comic Art: Procreate Coloring and Blend Mode Essentials

In the digital art space, Procreate has become a go-to app for artists for its robust features and user-friendly interface. As a comic book artist that uses Procreate coloring to illustrate my Realm Ethereal comic book series, I’ve discovered some techniques that significantly accelerate the workflow, particularly when it comes to flattening artwork for coloring. This process sets the foundation for a vibrant and polished final piece, and it’s one that’s worth mastering.

Crafting Clear Cut Line Art and Borders for Your Comic

The initial step in my workflow involves separating the borders of the panels from the actual line art. I assemble all relevant layers beneath the dedicated border layer and merge them into a single line art layer. Labeling this layer “Line Art” clarifies its contents for easy reference. The rationale behind keeping the borders separate is simple: it preserves their crispness, making them unaffected by the subsequent coloring process.

multiply art and Procreate coloring

Procreate Coloring: Opting for ‘Normal’ Over ‘Multiply’ for Impactful Colors

When it comes to coloring, a pivotal methodological shift I’ve embraced is refraining from setting the blending mode of the line art layer to ‘Multiply.’ Though it seems a convenient shortcut to let the colors fill beneath the line art, I’ve learned that this approach often complicates the coloring process. Instead, I maintain the line art’s blending mode as ‘Normal,’ which streamlines the entire process when working with first-generation digital art created natively in Procreate.

The beauty of first-generation digital art is its pristine nature. Unlike scanned images, which may incorporate unwanted white space that requires cleaning, Procreate artwork is free from these issues. Provided, of course, that you draw on a transparent layer. This will not work if you are drawing on top of a white background. You need to have separate layers; a transparent layer on top for your line art and a white background layer below that so you can see what your drawing above it. To demonstrate, adding a new layer for color beneath the line art reveals a flawless picture with the art visible through the color—no clean-up necessary.

Harnessing Procreate’s Lasso Tool for Effortless Coloring

Now, let’s delve into efficiently applying flat colors to our characters and scenes. Using the freehand selection lasso tool with color fill enabled allows for an intuitive and speedy coloring mechanism. With this tool, I can simply drag it around the desired area of my character, and Procreate automatically fills it with my chosen color. This function drastically reduces the time spent manually coloring each section.

Leveraging Alpha Lock for Focused Line Art Enhancements

Another powerful aspect of Procreate is the use of alpha locks on the line art. Implementing an alpha lock on a layer restricts painting or effects to the existing pixels, meaning you can alter the color of your line art without affecting the transparent background. This allows for dynamic visual effects, such as changing line colors to reflect environmental lighting or to add a unique stylistic flair to the piece.

It’s important to note that if the line art were set to ‘Multiply,’ achieving these effects would be impossible, as the blending mode would integrate the colors with the layer beneath, yielding unwelcome results. This is why utilizing alpha lock with a ‘Normal’ blend mode for the line art opens up a whole new realm of creative possibility.

The Power of ‘Normal’: Maximizing Your Blend Mode Choices

Finally, Procreate’s flexibility shines through its blending modes, which can be leveraged to create distinct visual styles. Whether you’re adjusting the opacity, employing color dodge, or experimenting with other effects, keeping your line art on a ‘Normal’ blend mode affords you the complete spectrum of artistic control.

In my experience, Procreate is a powerful tool that, when understood and used efficiently, can facilitate the creation of stunning digital artwork. By breaking apart borders, avoiding blend mode pitfalls, and mastering alpha locks and color fills, artists can greatly enhance their digital coloring workflow—crafting art that stands out with depth, clarity, and vibrancy. You can watch a video I created about this at my YouTube channel here.

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