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Clone Wars Work in Progress

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Rain Partier

Postby Strict31 » Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:28 am


reduced in size to make the page load quicker for you. It will be quite a deal larger when finished,

A while back, I had the idea to do a drawing inspired by the TV show, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I wondered what it might be like if Anakin's teenaged padawan met him later in life, after he had become Vader.

So I drew an adult version of Ahsoka Tano. Figured she would have had a rough life trying to escape the Jedi purge, so I gave her a cyborg arm prosthesis...a lightsaber duel gone horribly awry for the girl.

Figured I'd show the process of how i draw and ink and color.

Initially, after scanning the pencils into photoshop, I mess with the levels to turn the pencils light blue. I've found that it's helpful this way, because the black inks stand out against the blue pencils, but the blue pencils do not entirely fade into the background. This provides me a decent guide for laying down the inks. Some folks shift the levels so the pencils turn red, but blue works better for me.

I use two methods to lay down the inks. Paths, and the smudge tool, depending on what i want to do with the line. Paths are simple and relatively quick; you just shape a path along the line, close it up and fill it with black. This can give you decent contours over large areas.

For smaller areas or finely detailed areas, I'll just use the smudge tool to gradually build up the line/contour. It can be a tedious process, but it works better for me than using the paintbrush. I don't find that either technique is particularly useful for laying out cross-hatching for shading purposes, but since I'm not really an inker in the first place, I usually leave the shading for when i lay down the colors.

Ahsoka's inks are largely finished I just started on Vader's inks tonight, but didn't get farther than his helmet.

I did a pic of a young anakin which is being shown through a holographic projector in Ahsoka's hand. The idea of the pic is that she's trying to remind Vader of his innocence. I did those inks like normal, but then, locked the pixels and filled the inks with light blue. I'm not sure it'll work out, but the idea is to replicate the blue tint of holographic images seen in the Star Wars movies.

Anyway, after i finish vader's inks, I lay out some background inks, which I tend to construct completely in photoshop.

Then, I'll lay out the colors. I do this by building a pallette of the colors I'm gonna use in the pic. Like swatches. This lets me see how the colors will balance with each other; compliment and contrast, shit like that.

I lay out the flat colors first, which is just a matter of coloring within the lines. Easiest way to do this is to wrap a selection marquee around the area I want to color, then use the paint bucket tool to fill that area. I tend to keep colors segregated (heh) on separate layers. Separate from the other colors, and from the the ink layer(s).

Once all the flats are laid out I lock the pixels and then generate shading and highlight colors for each of the flat colors. Some folks rely solely upon the burn and dodge tools to do shading and highlighting, but I dislike that method.

Instead, I use the gradient tool, and the selection tool. To add shading to a flat color, I'll flip the gradient tool on multiply. This makes the color progressively darker with each pass. I use the selection tool to define the area I want shaded. You can mess with the settings to create stark or soft borders on the selection.

Same basic process is used for highlighting, but instead of flipping it to multiply, you flip it to screen. This makes the color progressively lighter.

This gives you total control over your shading and highlighting instead of relying on the Burn and Dodge tools, which can get out of hand very easily. However, those tools are useful if i want to make the lighting look really harsh or stark, or if i want to give the illusion of certain materials, like shiny latex or metal. But even then, I still shade and highlight in the method listed above, with the dodge or burn used solely for a finisher.

Doing the lightsabers requires a simple technique, but I think it comes out pretty good. I'll talk about that when the time comes to put the lightsaber blades into the pic.

Most of the coloring philosophy I use was laid out by Laura Depuy and tutorials from various other comic book colorists I scrounged up on the Interwebs. See, I'm not really a colorist either, but I don't exactly have the resources or opportunity to have separate inkers and colorists hooking me up. So i had to learn how to do all that myself.


Postby Eric » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:23 am

cant wait to see how it comes out
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Expert Post Whore

Postby prozacman » Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:39 am

Impressive! Most impressive 8)
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Rain Partier

Postby Strict31 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 4:37 am

More detailed shots. The inks are done on the figures, and I'll probably start laying down the flats. If you look close, you can see the blue pencils beneath the inks. You might be able to see that I modified Darht Vader's chest plate and respirator. Plus I added in his lightsaber. I tried to get his weapon as accurate as possible


This is with the pencils layer turned off so you can just see the inks.

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Rain Partier

Postby Greg » Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:56 pm

That is beautiful stuff, my man! :shock:
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Rain Partier

Postby Strict31 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:44 pm


I've laid out most of the flats in this stage. Flats are flat colors. No shading, no highlighting. Though I've flattened this sample for viewing purposes, on the master, everything is separated into about 10 or 12 Layers. For example, Ahsoka's skin is on a different layer than her head-thingees. So, I can do whatever to one layer without the color bleeding onto the others.

Some pictures I've done have had 20 or more layers. Like this sum'bitch here:

Pretty much everything was on its own individual layer in that pic. The people, the tiny little consoles and control panels, the windows on the shuttles, the symbols and writing on the decks and doors and so forth.

Lotta layers. And that can bog down file size and slow down every operation you perform. But anyway.

Here, you can see the upper walkway has a transparent section, which I'll mention later on.

As I mentioned earlier, I built a palette for my flat colors which you can partially see as little tiny dots of color.

The flat colors provide a base color. You can add some darkness or lightness to the base color, to get your shade and highlight colors. With some colors you don't need to go any lighter, because the Screen mode will be sufficient for highlighting. I suppose the same could alos be said for the Multiply mode when you're shading.

In my experience, if I'm coloring human skin, using multiply without first darkening the base color leads to shade tones that grow increasingly too red.

We don't necessarily have to worry about that here because obviously, Ahsoka's skin is supposed to be red. But habit has served me well.

Also, even though Vader's get-up is obviously black, when coloring, you don't want to go with absolute black or absolute white; if you do, it's all but impossible to do highlights and shading on absolute black or white colors.

So Vader's costume is laid out in a series of very dark grays.

With young anakin's holographic image, I'm gonna have that be partially transparent blue, to simulate the holograghic images from the movies.

Against a back ground scene, transparent coloring can be tricky. Leave it too transparent and it won't show up against the background. Build up too much color through highlighting and shading, and the transparency gets too opaque.

But I have a trick I'm gonna use to keep it from fading into the background.

Er...hopefully. Shit don't always go according to plan...
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Rain Partier

Postby Strict31 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:59 pm

When I shade and highlight, I do so directly onto the layer containing the flat color itself. If i make a mistake, or shade or highlight too starkly, I can always just go back and undo the action, or slip into the history palet.

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