First off, you'll need the following:
- SAI Painter (or any other paint program)
- A digital drawing tablet of some sort. I used the Wacom Cintiq 12WX.
- A computer
- A comfy working space
If you have everything, lets get started!
Step 1: Sketch Your Drawing
I usually use a light blue for my pen color.
Step 2: Ink Your Sketch!
So step two, open up a new layer above your sketch layer, and rename it "ink". Now line your sketch with a dark color. I always use black.
Step 3: Hiding Layers
Step 4: Create a Color Palate
So go ahead and create a new layer called color palate.
For EVERY part of a character that has a different color, make a palate.
Then, make one "general" palate with your base colors.
Step 5: Color Your Characters
You're going to need to create a new layer for each different color section of a character. For example, a "skin" layer, "hair", "shirt", etc.
Use the colors you picked for your base colors.
Step 6: Hide Those Lines! Clean Up Your Characters!
Go ahead and click the hide button.
Note: DO NOT delete the layer, it'll help you with shading your character later.
Now, your characters will look very blotchy and messy. It's time to use an eraser tool and go to each different layer to clean up the edges.
Once mine were all clean, they looked like this!
Step 7: Shading!
Back to your color palate you made, go ahead and turn to each of the individual rows you made for each color, and use some kind of paint or watercolor brush to blend and shade your colors onto your characters. On SAI painter I used the watercolor tool.
To help you, put your ink layer's opacity on 6%, as a guide for where to shade.
Warning: Watch out for which layers you're on! You don't want to shade on the wrong layer.
Step 8: Background
I just took my steps that I had for my character, and applied all of them to the background!
If you're going to do this, the easiest way to go about it is to hide your characters so you can focus on the background. Consider merging all the parts of your characters into one (using the "merge" button), or creating a file to put all your character layers in.
Once you finish your background, unhide your characters, delete your sketch and ink layers, and voilà!