Thursday, September 13, 2012

Texture Techniques, Part 3, Fur

Coloring Fur
Thank you all for the wonderful comments about my new book coming out next month! I think you will LOVE all the content included in that book. So far, I think it is my favorite from the series.

Meanwhile, I am getting ready to head out of town for a comic convention down in Los Angeles this weekend, but I realized that I forgot to post the rest of the cat tutorial. Sorry! Here is the third installment on coloring textures without using the colorless blender. You can click here for part 1 with the blank image, and part 2 with details about the sweater.


We will color the fur using three colors, just like the sweater. I want to have a solid base color, then add texture with a middle color and deepen the texture with a final shadow color. While I am using the Yellow family, you can try this with any color family. Please experiment!

I start the fur with a base of Y21, colored smoothly over all the cat. I colored the nose and tongue with R85 and the shadow inside the mouth with W7.

Next, I add the first layer of shadow. I am not coloring over the entire cat, only in the shadow areas. People will interpret that the whole cat has texture, as long as you give details in the shadows. I add a soft layer of E31, using only the tip of the brush.

Look at my little swatch example on this step. See how much white I leave? You want this much white visible on the areas where the E31 meets the Y21 base. In the darker shadow areas you can cover up more of the base yellow.

The E31 works as a very subtle shadow to the base color of Y21 because when you add gray to yellows, they quickly turn brown. Yellow in shadow loses intensity/saturation, in other words, they turn more gray. So, using brown for a shadow instead of a darker yellow works well.

Now I add my final texturing color of E44. Again, I am only working in the shadows. Just like when I added the darker green on the sweater texture, I use only the smallest hints of this color, and I am applying it with the very tip of the brush. Don't forget to color the shadow on his mouth and chin.

E44 comes from a more neutral/gray brown family (E40's) than the E31. Again, I am choosing a color for my darker shadows that has more gray built into it. This is an example where you don't have to follow the color family rules, as long as you know why you are breaking them. Once you find color combos that you like, write them down! You may like these colors not just for a tabby cat, but also for coloring tawny hair or the center of a sunflower.


Here is the final cat. I finished the fur by darkening my shadows a little more carefully, layering hints of E31 and E44 as I felt they were needed. I added a hint of a ground shadow with BV31.

I hope you had fun coloring along. For those of you who are interested in comics, I will be in the Copic booth at Comikaze on Sat. & Sunday, in the LA Convention Center. I would love to see you there!

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