alrighty, now to some actual techniques since I’m close to being caught up. With the methods I’ve shown you so far, you’ll have a lineart layer (black lineart on a transparency) and your bottom layer for coloring on. In the last few years with advancements of printing and computer coloring, color holding has become a very common practice, where the black lineart is colored to add depth to a picture. Generally by making the background elements a lighter color (receding from view) which is done superbly here. It is also used to make special effects such as Cyclop’s eye beam, Green Lantern’s contructs, etc. stand out and look unique.
I’ve always thought the reason for the popularity of it is because of works by Alphonse Mucha. Especially with fans of his work such as Adam Hughes really coming to light during the digital coloring age. But I digress.
Let’s use my recent OHOTMU Redux submission for She-Hulk. My original lineart for this was solid black 100%, but I colored in the lines below her eyes and her nose to make them not as prevalent.
You can just do solid color fills (and in fact most color holds tend to be that way), but here’s a trick I’ve learned to make them fade a bit more and look slightly more organic. On this pic of Slyde…
I want his goggles to fade in a little bit, so I go to the line art layer with the transparency lock clicked, and color the goggles a dark green.
But since that still stands out a bit for what I’m going for, I take my airbrush and go over the goggles with black in the areas I want to be darker.
if you’re worried about darkening over other color holds you’ve done, you can just do all the basic color hold colors with the pencil tool on the lineart, then use your marquee selection tool with contiguous off to select ONLY the colors in that range. I used to this alot with lingerie and flesh ton…nevermind.
I generally DON’T do a 100% lineart color hold replace because it doesn’t always fit my style, but here’s an example of a before and after using this method (solid hold w/no darkening).
Here is another method I’ve used with it that you may find handy. If you know where your shading is going to be and are pretty confident in what your color setting is going to be, you can apply your shading on the line art itself like so…
I knew all of the black shaded areas would be color held, so in this case I worked in reverse. I used the pencil tool to color all of his hoodie with dark red, and then did a stroke selection for a black outline around the figure (you can do this however you like) -
so when the color is applied it looks like the shadow parts flow right in, without looking like the lineart. With something like this it does take a bit of planning in advance to do so I don’t use it that often at this scale, but it is fun to experiment with.
More and more I find myself using color holds to distinguish depth. On the left is 100% black lineart, and the right has a basic red fill on the background characters. You can also see on the left where the lineart was originally indicating how the shading would be done on her arms and boots. Color held they look more organic.
Again, I DON’T RECOMMEND doing a color hold for every object in your picture. There was a Phil Noto colored Jonni Future story that was hideous looking since every object and it’s exterior outline was colored, and there was no depth to it. There was also no rendering so…gah. Doing 100% color held material DOES look great on things of the variety though, I just say know when to say when for your style.