Colourising a scanned pencil sketch to get rid of the black lines can save an artist lots of work and aggravation. Dark, black lines are hard to paint over while maintaining the sketch. There's an easy way to colour and soften those black lines.
01. Open in Photoshop
I open a sketch in Photoshop and use the Image>Adjustments>Levels menu commands to maximise the white and minimise the black. I move the white adjustment marker to the left so the lightest grey areas become white.
I then move the mid-value adjustment marker to the left so the black lines become light grey.
02. New Layer
To add colour to the lines of the sketch I create a new layer and set the blending mode to Color. I fill this layer with an olive green, which will be the eventual colour of the lizard. I use a brush to paint pink over the small flower.
I Merge Down the colour layer and save the image. The sketch has lighter values and the colours are closer to those that will be used in the painting.
03. Blend On!
There are several additional Blending Modes that work as well but with somewhat different results. Color Burn will give a coloured sketch that's darker.
Soft Light will give a more subtle effect with a bit more grey. Try additional Blending Modes for different looks.
Words: Don Seegmiller
An artist and instructor who's based at Utah Valley University, Don is the author or co-author of five digital painting books, including Advanced Painter Techniques. This article originally appeared in ImagineFX issue 113.
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