Expert colour

The final stage when creating tattoo art is the addition of colour. Not only are areas filled with solid colours, but highlights and shadows are also added, giving your finished image added interest and a sense of dimension.

Illustrator's Layer function enables you to carefully build up custom objects of solid colour. Positioning the coloured object layers beneath the black brush stroke layers stops the colour from overlapping the outlines. You can work faster, because the overlapping brush strokes will hide minor imperfections. By altering the transparency values of individual objects it's possible to create highlight and shadow effects that aren't too strong or out of place. Varying Blending Modes also enables you to affect underlying object colours in a variety of different ways. For example, where a blue shape overlaps the tail of the fish, you can alter only the colour while preserving the existing shading.

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