Posts Tagged Photoshop

10 results.

The argument of Inking for the sake of printing is also obsolete in my opinion. Printing gray tones or full color paintings is just as easy as black and white now days. Printing in solid back and white is still cheaper but you can still adjust clean pencils to be black and white by boosting the contrast.
So for example, here’s one of my panels scanned from paper. This is a lower quality jpg so the image is a bit more blurry then my files but it should be good enough for this simple tutorial.

Here’s a closer look to see that it really is pencil. Number 2 pencil, to be exact.

If you select Levels in Photoshop by pressing Command+L (Mac) and whatever for Windows, then you will get this box. It might look different depending on what version of Photoshop you have.

Now pull in the sides until your lines get nice and black without screwing up the edges. If you want to go solid black & white then make sure your lines are nice and sharp as well as making a very high resolution scan.

I keep lots of grays to keep the subtile pencil marks in some places and there you have it.

Now I just need to clean up this crappy drawing. Sometimes my problem with this method is knowing I can fix any pencil lines I don’t like in Photoshop.  I end up flying through my final pencils with a bunch of little mistakes to correct later.

The other option is digital inking with a Cintiq or Wacom Tablet. I do this with an old comic that I’m slowly redrawing. It’s so easy it makes me question if I should even be drawing with pencils anymore. I just scan my thumbnail into photoshop and then lower the opacity of that layer. Then I make a new layer and with a black round brush tip, I draw my final lines. Instant Pencils and Inks in one easy step. It’s as easy to control as a pencil (especially with a Cintiq) and you can erase it as many times as needed before getting it right.

In the end, I guess it all depends on you. If you like traditional inking or if you’re a rock star inker then go for it. I just needed to eliminate unnecessary steps (and weaknesses) to speed up my output without sacrificing quality.

That’s my two cents.

The working difference with RGB vs CMYK modes in Photoshop.

When I started working on my graphic novel called “reMIND“, I read that printers needed CMYK files so I decided to create all my Photoshop pages in CMYK only. I worked in this mode for years thinking it was similar to RGB but just printer safe. I Ignored the fact that some of the filters didn’t work because I rarely used them. A few years in, I was trying to adjust my pencil lines to be solid black with Levels but could only get a light gray line for whatever reason even though there was solid black elsewhere on my canvas. There was no real reason for this and it drove me nuts when it happened. I mean, printers can print black so what’s the problem here, CMYK?

I switched over some of the problematic files to RGB and easily got the lines to turn black. Then I switched it back to CMYK and it finally looked right. I started running into other problems adjusting the Hue/Saturation of specific colors in my CMYK files. Sometimes I’d try to adjust the saturation and my textures would disappear. Sometimes when adjusting a color, I couldn’t even get it into the right hue. Or when I’d try to turn the brightness down to black it would turn lighter. I worked around these problems before but now I was starting to get frustrated. I switched my file to RGB again and suddenly after years of denial my eyes were opened.

For some time now I’ve been itching to do an experiment to see what the true difference is between the two modes. So I recorded myself adjusting an identical file in RGB and CMYK, applying the same adjustments to each. I brought the footage into AfterEffects and time remapped it, lining it up as close as I could. The end result is pretty interesting to me after pulling my hair out for years over why I couldn’t get my stupid colors to look right. I hope it helps you decide which mode to work in and why. When I first wrote my list of things to know before starting a graphic novel, I told everyone they should work in CMYK. I now think the opposite is true and updated the list to reflect my new opinion.

My apologies for the funky sound mix. I accidentally said CMYK instead of CMYK for the whole video and had to splice in the corrections later. I know a few are still in there somewhere but who cares. Hope you enjoy the video. Right click it to watch on YouTube for the best resolution or full screen.

Notice how the textures turn into flat colors in CMYK when they are adjusted with an overlay. The other thing that drove be crazy was towards the end of the video, turning plain texture to white and still having dark spots or turning it to black and having uneven blacks. It’s not as clear in the compressed video but the CMYK file has blacks and dark blacks for some reason. I mainly wanted to show the basic differences with the modes and why it’s just easier to use RGB and convert  your flattened file to CMYK when you are finished. Always save your master file with all the layers in RGB though.

Hope this helps!

Please vote for reMIND to keep it in the top 100 webcomics at TopWebComics!

Nearly 6 months ago I started and I’ve seen many new comments and I want to welcome you all and thank you for partaking in this journey with me.  In hitting the six month milestone, I’ll leave you with a list of my 10 favorite Thursday posts to date.

My Top 10 Favorite reMINDblog Articles…so far.

  1. Before You Start Your Graphic Novel – This was the first real article I made to try and convey something I learned about the GN creative process. It started as an answer to a question that someone asked me in a forum. I didn’t feel like I was qualified to answer but once I started writing it, it was clear to me that I had some important things I wanted to say and warn people about. I’ve updated it since it’s inception so check it out again.
  2. Outsourcing Comic Pages (Specifically Flats) – What I learned in this series of posts on Outsourcing really changed everything for me. I was able to color my last 2 pages in an a hour and a half last night, and it was largely because I learned about flatting and outsourcing. This article has a few parts to it so keep clicking.
  3. Interview with Ian Hannin (a professional comic colorist) – It’s not everyday that I get to interview someone working on Batman. Plus it’s very informative of the creative process of coloring comics.
  4. Making Your Own Comic Font – When I first started my graphic novel, I didn’t seem to care about my fonts or anything to do with Lettering. After showing some pages on forums, my eyes were opened and I realized that the Lettering is just as important as any other aspect of my comic. I tried to find the right font but had trouble getting one I was happy with that matched my style. Shortly after, I learned how to create my own font and never looked back.
  5. Blogger Vs. WordPress – I started out using Google’s Blogger for reMIND but once I starting getting serious about blogging I learned about WordPress and the ComicPress theme. What I discovered completely revolutionized the direction I took with reMINDblog.
  6. RGB Vs. CMYK in Photoshop – This has been a tricky learning curve for me because there are so many opinions of the right way to do things. Even so, I never understood the real working difference in Photoshop until I made this video comparing the two modes. Decide for yourself which mode you want to work in but only after you see what the difference really is.
  7. 1000 Ture Fans – This is an encouraging article about making a living off your comics or graphic novels. The linking article by Kevin Kelly is a must read and can really change the way artists think about their work.
  8. 7 Reasons to NOT use Comic Sans MS in Your Comic – This is by far my most trafficked and controversial article to date. Some hate it and some love it. Before just plopping the first comic font you find into your artwork, check out this article.
  9. Easy Word Balloons – I made a quick tutorial a while back about word balloons. I’ve made them many ways over the years and this is the easiest and best way I’ve discovered.
  10. Unnatural Talent – I know this is a new article but I think it’s one of my most heart felt posts I’ve written so it definitely deserves to be on this list.

Thank you for all your support and comments over the last 6 months. If it wasn’t for all your warm encouragement I’d still be trying to finish the first Chapter.

Part 1 – Multiply and Flatting

First of all, I highly recommend using Adobe Photoshop in which all the steps below are achieved. It’s an industry standard and will also come in handy for everything else creative you choose to do. I know it’s expensive but it’s worth every penny.

If you are new to coloring comics in Photoshop, here are the very first things you will want to learn. Later posts will get more advanced, so bare with me all you experts.

Adjusting the Levels

Pencil art is usually really washed out when you scan it so I suggest adjusting the levels before you try to flat or color. If you want to keep your line art looking like pencil then it’s totally fine but for flatting purposes you will need to save an adjusted version. If you have inked lines, you can still use the levels to adjust it just as you would with pencils. Everything that follows will still work.  Here is a simple tutorial on adjusting your line art to look like ink HERE.

Now that your lines are nice and dark we need to set the layer with your lines to multiply.

Using Multiply

Multiply is one of the first things I ever learned in Photoshop. It’s also one of the most common layer modes I’ve seen used, and for good reason.

Multiply makes your line art act like a transparency on a white background. Any layers you put under your line art will be visible through your line art layer (unless your line art is solid black, in which no light can pass through) just like an overhead projector.

Here is a video showing how to use multiply and what it does.

Now that we understand multiply we can start making our flats or bring in flats if we had them outsourced.

I’ve talked about flatting before and I’ve found this to be one of the most important parts of the whole comic coloring process so I need to address it more before we can really get to the rest.

My definition of Flatting:

Flatting a comic page is the process of coloring different sections of your panels a unique color so they can easily be selected later. It’s not important what color each section is, only that they are unique colors and properly fitting to your artwork. For those of you who are old school, it’s like cutting out all the stencils for a drawing you’re going to airbrush.

To prepare the line art for my flatter to flat, I converted it to grayscale and played with the levels to make sure the lines are nice and black then I flattened (reduced it down to just one layer in PS) the file so it’s only one layer and removed any hidden alpha channels. This allows the file to be a decent size for emailing. I save the image as a grayscale .PSD file at 300 dpi.

A few days later after the file has been flatted, I get it back looking something like this. Notice the lines are gone and it’s just colors. Perfect!

Here you can see how the flat sections are divided right in the middle of the lines.

In this way it’s not just a matter of using your selection tool to make flats. You must split the lines right down the middle to ensure your color edge is hidden by the lines. For more specifics on flatting your own pages, check out Kazu’s flatting tutorial over at

Sloppy flats lead to wasted time. If you hire a flatter or do them yourself, you need to make sure they are perfect so you don’t have to keep repainting selections over and over.

Remember, if your making your own flats, don’t focus on the colors yet. Just focus on making them as accurate as possible, dividing up everything into as many seperate colors as you need. This will never be what people see when your page is finished. It’s just a bunch of colors that can easily be selected when we start coloring later. I’ll show you how I use flats in the next tutorial.


Coloring a Graphic Novel Series (How I color reMIND)

Part 1 – Multiply and Flatting (You are here)

Part 2 – How I use Flats

Part 3 – Textures – Art Directing your Graphic Novel

Part 4 – Creating your own Texture Library

Part 5 – Adding Textures to your Flatted Page

Part 6 – Masking and Applying Gradients

Part 7 – Light Source and Shadows

Part 8 – Dialing it all Together

Part 2 – How I use flats

When I first started making comics I was clueless about the coloring process. I would paint under my line art that was set to multiply but that was the extent of my knowledge. It always seemed like such mindless work to paint between the lines, to fill in the shapes, like I was doing what any kid could do in grade school. It took up so much precious time, but it had to be done before I could start adjusting the colors to my liking.

After learning about flatting, coloring a page became a quick and fun process. I can cut right to the part I enjoy and the part that needs my special attention.

If you goto, you can find all kinds of threads on how to color comics. That’s the forum where I learned about how to use flats. There are MANY ways to approach it and most of them involve putting your flats into channels. I’m not going to say that’s the right or wrong way but it’s not the way that works best for me. Here’s what I do.

First, I bring my flats layer into my file with my line art. I have my line art set to multiply and I put my flats below the lines so it looks like this.

HINT: If you are dragging in flats with the same dimensions as your line art, hold down the shift key as you drag in your file and it should automatically snap to your canvas and line up perfectly with your line art.

To make these colors easy to select, we need to select the magic wand tool.

Now that we have selected the magic wand, we need to adjust the tolerance down to between 3 and 5. This makes it only select the colors that are extremely close in range to the color we click on. If the tolerance is higher, more colors will be selected when we click on something, so keep it really low when using flats.

The second thing we need to look at is the box that says Anti-AliasAnti-alias blends the edges of your selection to make it look nicer to the eye and less like an old video game. In most cases this is good to have checked, but for flats we need to turn it off so it doesn’t feather our selections. Every time you select something with Anti-alias, it slowly eats away more of your selections, so make sure it’s off.

Third, we need to look at the Contiguous check box. You might be switching this one back and forth as you work because it changes your selection from just selecting the same colors that are touching each other, to the same colors that aren’t. So with contiguous unchecked, if you select a skin color in one panel, it will also select the same skin colors in other panels even though they are not touching.

Now our magic wand settings are ready for using our flats.

The first thing I do with my new flats is adjust some of the colors if I know it will work better one way or another. For instance, I know that Sonja’s skin will always be the same color on the whole page so I’m going to select all the skin colors and make sure they are all the same. Or perhaps I want to darken one of the Victuals layers becasue I know he will be a different color in one panel. This is the time I do that.

Remember, we are still not coloring, only adjusting the flats for easy selection.

Now that we have our flats the way we want, duplicate it.

I rename the duplicate, Colors, and move it below the flats layer.

Now select the flats layer again and slide the opacity to “0” so that the layer is completely invisible.

Now lock it so you can’t accidentally start painting on it.

Now the fun begins, but it takes some getting use to.

Before I adjust individual parts, I first click on the color layer and hit Apple+U(Mac) or Ctrl+U(PC) for Hue/Saturation.

I usually pull down the saturation to start with so everything is not so colorful. Just a personal preference. It will look something like this.

Now we can start adjusting specific parts. Start with the big, obvious colors, like the sky. So lets click on our flats layer and with the magic wand, click on the sky. You will notice that even though the flats are invisible and locked, we can still select from it. (Isn’t that cool!)

All the sky should have been selected and nothing else. Now click on your color layer and hit Apple+L(Mac) or Ctrl+L(PC) to bring up Levels. Adjust the sky to white and hit OK.

Congratulations! You have officially painted your sky white with very little effort.

Now go back to the flats layer and select something else. Go back to the color layer and use Hue/Saturation or Levels again to adjust it to your desired color. Slide around the Hue sliders until you are happy with the color and hit OK. If you can’t get the color you are looking for then click the colorize check box in Hue/Saturation and try it again.

Another command that I use quite a bit is Apple+B(Mac) or Ctrl+B(PC) for color balance. This makes it easy to add just a little more red or blue or whatever to a selection.

You are well on your way to coloring your page using flats and guess what, if you were simply coloring these pages without textures in a style like “Hell Boy”, imagine how fast you could do it. Here is a little recap of the Hot Keys and what they are best for with this kind of technique.

Keep selecting colors from the flats layer and adjust the color layer. Repeat until you are satisfied with all your colors. Now you’re all done! You can also airbrush inside your selection as I did below with Sonja’s hand in the last frame.

Here’s what my page is starting to look like. I know you’re impressed.

I usually don’t go to far without adding some textures which affect how the final color looks, but I’ll get into that later, along with lighting and shadows.

So you thought coloring a comic was all about using the paint brush to fill in between the lines, eh? Well, I’m sorry to destroy your childhood dreams. Of course you could still do it that way after you select from your flats, but for me this approach is super easy, quick and fun.

If you would like to see more of my tutorials then please subscribe to my YouTube channel here:

Here is a video demo of me doing all the stuff in this article:

More of this series is on my Youtube channel at BrubakerMotion.



Coloring a Graphic Novel Series (How I color reMIND)

Part 1 – Multiply and Flatting

Part 2 – How I use Flats (You are here)

Part 3 – Textures – Art Directing your Graphic Novel

Part 4 – Creating your own Texture Library

Part 5 – Adding Textures to your Flatted Page

Part 6 – Masking and Applying Gradients

Part 7 – Light Source and Shadows

Part 8 – Dialing it all Together

Part 3 – Art Directing your Graphic Novel

For those of you who just want a bunch of quick links to get free textures, here are a few I’ve used before.

But for those of you who want your project to be truly you own, it’s not as hard as it seems and the end result will be something unique to you. The textures you use are just as much your art as the pencil lines, character design and dialogue.  I encourage you to take it seriously and put in the extra day to make your own texture library that nobody else will be able to easily download and use. I use the above sites all the time for work related projects, but the texture library that has been the most invaluable to me is the one I created myself. 

When you make your own textures, you can really art direct your graphic novel exactly the style you want. For instance, when I was trying to figure out what kind of coloring I should do for reMIND, I was walking around the San Diego Comic Con back in 2006 looking for inspiration.

It was hard because everything looked the same. Every book was bright, smooth, flashy and Photoshopped. Sure, back in the 90’s when comic coloring started going digital it stood out on the shelf and was unique and impressive. But now EVERY colorist uses Photoshop, throwing lens flares, motion blur and bright blue rim lighting over everything accentuating every bulbous orifice in all it’s shiny and clean glory. It’s so common now that it’s boring to look at.

There’s a great quote I just heard, “If everybody’s thinking the same thing, than nobody’s thinking very much.” – David Morgan of

That quote is about investing, but it applies to much more than that. In fact, I’m going to change it a bit for the sake of artists to go something like this:

If everybody’s doing the same creative things, than nobody’s being very creative.

This is the biggest reason I suggest making your own textures and art direct your colors AND textures. Don’t just copy what the majority is doing (unless you really love that style). Find something unique and inspiring and try to imitate that instead. We are in charge of creating the next stylistic wave.

After scouring the convention, the three books I found back in 2006 that inspired my decisions were Youngblood, WildC.A.T.S. and Spawn. Haha! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Seriously, I loved the coloring of Spawn and WildC.A.T.S. back in THE NINETIES WHEN IT WAS UNIQUE AND HARD TO GET A COPY OF PHOTOSHOP. Notice I didn’t say I loved Youngblood. That’s another story. Check out this blog.

The three books I found back in 2006 that inspired my coloring decisions for reMIND were:

Mouse Guard by David Petersen – This little comic totally shook up the world of comics as far as I’m concerned. It’s totally unique in content, color, characters and even size. David was a no name artist when he started it.  It blew up. How awesome is that!

Sky Between Branches by Joshua Middleton – These are some of the most beautiful comic pages I’ve seen in a LONG time. Joshua is now one of my top favorite artists of all time. I can’t get enough of his sketches and he’s the one who gave me the idea to not ink reMIND. From what I can tell, he either uses pencils as his final lines or just draws on a Cintiq. Anyway, the coloring of Sky Between Branches really stood out to me as the level of quality I wanted to produce with my colors.

LA/SF by Christian Schellewald – This is not a comic but I came across it at the convention. It’s an amazing art book full of quick sketches and gauche paintings of places in California. This is the single biggest influence of how I wanted the textures to look in reMIND. I studied these pages over and over to try to understand why it looked and felt so nice. The details were so sloppy but it didn’t matter because the paints had such energy. My decision to make all the sky color a solid white in reMIND is also because of this book. Christian has a genius approach to compositions as well as negative space.

Orange / Koji Morimoto / Scrapbook – I found this one earlier in the year, but it also inspired a lot of the decisions I made. It’s the best sketchbook I’ve ever seen! I absolutely love this book.

With these four books I found my key inspiration for coloring, compositions, pencils lines, textures and negative space. I had officially figured out the art direction of my book. Now I needed to deconstruct what made it tick.

I scanned some textures from LA/SF and used them in an experiment to see if this kind of painting worked with my line art. At the time, I wasn’t planning on coloring it myself so I asked a designer friend, Jonathan Kim, to take a stab at coloring a page with these scanned textures to see what would happen. Here’s what he came up with.

This got me really excited and I realized I was onto something. Now I just needed to create my own high resolution textures to convey this mood and feel.

Obviously I’m not suggesting you scan other peoples work to use in your own art. It was merely a test for myself to see what it might look like if I were to go through with it for my book.

I had a bunch of Acrylic and Gauche paints from a long time ago, so I decided to have a painting party with my friends. I brought my paint and some large sheets of watercolor paper into a studio where I was freelancing at the time and we all (3 of us) just spent the morning creating a giant texture library. I had my books open in front of me and I tried to recreate some of the same colors and paint strokes. Between the three of us, we must have created 50 painted textures, which I spent the rest of the day scanning and cleaning up for digital use.

I narrowed it down to about 10 quintessential textures that work best for reMIND and it only took a day. I’ve been using these same textures for 4 years now and people still don’t know how I do it.

Until now.


Coloring a Graphic Novel Series (How I color reMIND)

Part 1 – Multiply and Flatting

Part 2 – How I use Flats

Part 3 – Textures – Art Directing your Graphic Novel (You are here)

Part 4 – Creating your own Texture Library

Part 5 – Adding Textures to your Flatted Page

Part 6 – Masking and Applying Gradients

Part 7 – Light Source and Shadows

Part 8 – Dialing it all Together

Part 4 – Creating Your Own Texture Library

Here’s what I suggest doing if you want to make your own sweet, coveted textures to use in Photoshop.

First, find the ideal style you are trying to achieve like we talked about in the last section. I suggest looking outside of comics, otherwise you will just rehash the same old thing. Look at your ideal style as reference while you are creating your own.

What surface should you use?

Figure out what surface your ideal style was created on. This all plays into the final look more than people think. Is it on canvas, wood, glass, watercolor paper, tracing paper, art board, or just pain old photocopy paper. It all affects the end result. If you don’t know, then experiment. It’s fun.

What medium should you use?

Figure out your medium.  There’s oils, acrylics, watercolors, Ad markers, Prismacolor markers, color pencils, pastels, Gouache, charcoal, spray paint, airbrush, ballpoint pen or something more abstract like wood textures or fabrics. It’s all there to experiment with and they all create different textures. There are countless options.

What I used for reMIND.

For reMIND, I used watercolor paper and Gouache and Acrylic paints applied pretty thick.

Edges are important to make  an organic look.

Okay, now that you know what style you want, there are a few simple things to remember when making texture swatches to use in Photoshop. Remember that these need to be versatile so you can use them over and over. I’ve found it helpful to make the edges of your textures one of two ways. Either fade out the edge or have an organic edge that matches the texture itself. The main thing to avoid is the edge of the paper or making a hard edge. This always creates lines in your art that you constantly have to remove. You don’t need your textures to be massive in size. I’ll show you how to blend them together in Photoshop really easily as long as you make the edges organic in some way like I suggest.

Here are good and bad examples of edges.

You could fill up a whole 11 x 17 sheet to the edges thinking it’s going to be big enough, but I guarantee you will move it around and want to use one of the parts near the edge of your paper and then you’ll remember this tutorial and be mad at me for not USING CAPITALS TO EMPHASIZE THE IMPORTANCE! Okay, there’s the caps. Lets move on.

What size should you make your textures?

Try to create your textures at the same size that your finished product will be. So if you have a manga sized comic in mind, make textures that don’t need to be enlarged or shrunk down to fit your page. I suggest creating them at around 12 x 12, personally. You want to avoid enlarging them more than they need to be when applying, otherwise it will look like you used a 5 inch paint brush to goop house paint on your comic. You definitely don’t want your beautiful textures to be all blurry from zooming in too much either, unless that’s what you want. Another thing I’d avoid is stretching your textures. I never stretch mine for reMIND because it becomes more and more clear that you are just hacking it up in Photoshop when you do this. Brush strokes are never stretched in traditional paintings, so why stretch them digitally? Stretching textures is another thing that immediately screams, PHOTOSHOPPED!

A good rule of thumb for if you need to enlarge a texture more than it’s scanned size is don’t enlarge it more than 110%. I’ve worked with lots of high end studios in print and media and most agree to not blow up any art more than 110%. In some cases I’ve heard people say 120%, but more than that and you start to see it get blurry. Not very professional looking.

Choose one or two colors per texture.

You want to be able to adjust them in Photoshop and if you have to many colors in one texture then you will have a harder time dialing it to the hue you want. I’d even go as far to say to only use two very similar colors or one color and black or white.

Scan and Clean your textures.

Now that you’ve made a batch of 10 or so textures in various colors it’s time to scan. Scan everything at 600 dpi to start with. You can shrink everything later but it’s a good idea to make your master files plenty big. Here is a coffee texture that I never cleaned up so I’ll use it as an example.

Adjust the Levels only if needed.

It’s time to use the levels again in Photoshop to adjust out the white of the canvas to be completely white.

Clean up specks and document edges.

Any specks or blemishes can be painted out with a solid white paint brush.

Now take a white fuzzy airbrush and go over the edges of the canvas. Try to avoid painting over your textures though. Just paint out the paper only. Make the edges as clean as possible with no junk around the corners of your documents. You don’t want to be cleaning the same file every time you use it.

Believe it or not, even though this texture is really sloppy and has crazy hard edges, it’s still organic and can easily be used. I’m not sure if it would fit into the world of reMIND though so I’ll save it for another project.

As an example of how well these organic hard edges blend together, I’ll duplicate this texture and set the top layer to Darken.

I rotated the top layer and slid it to the right and look at how nicely it blends together to look like one nice big texture. The only problem I see is the darker shapes within being easily spotted as repeating objects. Other than that, it looks pretty good.

I’ll go into the Darken mode more in the next tutorial in case you are not familiar with it.

Croping your file.

Crop your paper only; don’t crop the actual texture. Here’s another example. This is one of the textures I use all the time in reMIND. (Of course it’s much bigger than you see here)

Inverted Textures or painting on black paper.

It’s a good idea to make light textures on black paper as well. This is one thing I never did and I’m really in need of some now that I’m getting to my darker scenes. What I’ve been doing lately is hitting Apple+I (MAC) or Ctrl+I (PC) to Invert my texture so the white background turns black. It also creates some crazy new colors I never thought to paint. Too much of this and you will start getting a totally different style so I use it sparingly. That’s why I want to make a new set of light colors on black paper.

It’s important that your textures be on a completely white or black background for the method I use. This will become clear why, later in this series. Here are more examples of good texture files that I use throughout reMIND. Sorry they are so small, I want you to make your own instead of just taking these.

Also, I have been remaking this series on my Youtube channel here:

Here is the video I made on making textures:

Also, if you don’t want to spend the time to make textures then you can just download mine here:


Next we’ll talk about how to use these in your pages with your line art.


Coloring a Graphic Novel Series (How I color reMIND)

Part 1 – Multiply and Flatting

Part 2 – How I use Flats

Part 3 – Textures – Art Directing your Graphic Novel

Part 4 – Creating your own Texture Library (You are here)

Part 5 – Adding Textures to your Flatted Page

Part 6 – Masking and Applying Gradients

Part 7 – Light Source and Shadows

Part 8 – Dialing it all Together

Part 5 – Applying Textures

Before we jump head first into this tutorial I suggest skimming Part 2 – How I use Flats, because this goes hand in hand with it.

Also some of the things I do require Photoshop CS2 or greater (I think).

Okay, so lets look at where we left off. We have our “lines” layer on the top of everything and set to Multiply. Under the lines we have our “flats” layer with the opacity turned down to zero so that it’s invisible and it’s locked. We can still select from it though. Then we have our “colors” layer that is adjusted to our liking. Below that I always put a solid white layer. This is what it looks like.

Now lets pick one of our textures that we made back in Part 4 – Creating Your Own Texture Library and drag it into our file. It will look something like this. Make sure your texture layer is above the colors layer.

Rename the texture layer by double clicking on the layer name. I just name all my textures “texture”. Call me crazy.

While you have your texture layer highlighted, hit Apple+G (mac) or Ctrl+G (pc) to create a group/folder and whatever layers you have selected will automatically be moved into your new group/folder.

This may seem trivial but it really makes it easier later on when you have a bunch of textures. Now, lets rename the group “Textures”.

Now the magic starts to happen. Click back on your texture layer (not the group) and change the layer mode to Darken.

Now click on your Textures FOLDER and change the folder mode to Overlay.

Now things are starting to take shape. Notice how anything that was white stays white even though there is a texture over it. Any of our painted colors suddenly have textures affecting the color. If you don’t want your texture color changing any of the colors you adjusted, then try turning your texture to black and white. I like keeping most of the color from the texture intact though because it adds to the hand painted look and sometimes it creates strange subtile color combinations that look really great.

Now take some time to slide around your texture so that it works with your art. I’ve used the edge of the texture with the edge of the lighthouse to give it the impression that it’s hit by light on the left side. This is where you need to start designing how your page will look and feel.

You can also duplicate your texture and slide the duplicate to fill another part of your image. Since your first texture mode was on Darken already, your duplicate will also be on Darken. This is perfect for making these texture blend together so you don’t see where one ends and another begins. But since all these textures are inside your folder that is set to Overlay, Overlay is the only thing that is affecting the rest of your image. (I believe this is only possible with some of the newer versions of Photoshop like CS2 and above.)

Transform. Rotate and scale.

By hitting Apple+T (Mac) or Ctrl+T (pc) while on a texture layer, you can freely transform it however you please. I would avoid streaching or skewing textures. Try to keep it mainly to rotation and scale to avoid it looking “photoshopped”.

If your textures are too saturated or full of contrast you can always adjust the Hue/Saturation of each texture. On this page I decided to use colorize to convert my texture to a monotone texture so I could control it a bit more. I usually don’t do this because you loose lots of good color information when you hit “colorize.”  Once again, Apple+U or Ctrl+U for Hue/Saturation.

After Colorizing my textures (very rare), I duplicated the texture again to finish filling in the gaps. Now I have three texture layers all on Darken inside a folder set to Overlay.

NOTE: If you have an older version of Photoshop that doesn’t allow this then you can always cover your page with textures set to Darken without them being in a folder. Once you have all your textures positioned then merge them all together and change the mode to Overlay for your flattened texture layer. To merge your layers together, hit Apple+E (Mac) or Ctrl+E (PC).

Now we can close our texture folder to keep it all out of the way.

From here on, we just continue to do the same process that we did in Part 2 by selecting from our flats and adjusting our color layers until we get the color we like. But now that we have textures affecting our colors, we might need to push the color layers even further to get the colors we want. I try to avoid adjusting the textures themselves unless they are really bright and affecting my color layer too much.

Keep adjusting your color layer while selecting from your flats layer until you are happy with it. If you don’t like the texture anymore then drag a new one in and see what happens.

Here’s what my page looks like after adjusting.

The only thing left is to add some shadows and lighting.

But we can save that for another time.


Coloring a Graphic Novel Series (How I color reMIND)

Part 1 – Multiply and Flatting

Part 2 – How I use Flats

Part 3 – Textures – Art Directing your Graphic Novel

Part 4 – Creating your own Texture Library

Part 5 – Adding Textures to your Flatted Page (You are here)

Part 6 – Masking and Applying Gradients

Part 7 – Light Source and Shadows

Part 8 – Dialing it all Together