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Photoshop Basics for Manga

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How to Color Your Manga Drawing in Photoshop

1.  Draw a picture* of a manga character - person, animal, tree, whatever!
2.  Ink your drawing (draw over the pencil lines in ink, then erase the pencil).
3.  Use a scanner or digital camera to transfer your drawing on to the computer (save the image as a JPG or JPEG).  Now you're ready to color in Photoshop! 
*If you don't have a picture ready, right-click and Copy the example "Photo ID" picture below, and then Paste it into Photoshop.


STEP 2:  The Brush Tool


Use the Brush Tool (click on it or press B on the keyboard) to color in the areas you've selected.


Choose a size for your Brush that is easy to work with, and choose Mode:  Darken - this makes sure your black ink lines are not covered up with color.  Make sure Opacity and Flow are 100%.  (If you want a soft airbrush effect, you can lower the numbers for Opacity and Flow.)
Choose a color from Swatches or Color tabs on the right hand side of your screen.


STEP 3:  Shading
Now choose a darker color from Color or Swatches to shade your drawing.  In my example, I used a darker skin tone along the bottoms of the arms, the bottoms of the fingers, and under the chin. 
STEP 4:  Keep Going!
Use the Selection Tool to select new areas, and then the Brush Tool to select new colors - and keep coloring until your picture is done!
In my example, I used the Selection Tool to select the mouth area, and colored it in pink.


This is the Photoshop CS3 toolbar.  -------->
The most important tools for this lesson are the Selection Tool (keyboard shortcut W) and the Brush (keyboard shortcut B).
STEP 1:  The Selection Tool


Use the Selection Tool (click on it or press W on the keyboard) to select the areas you want to fill with your first color.  Click and drag the Selection Tool to select an area.  A dotted flickering line will appear around the area you've selected.
In the example below, I selected the arms, hand, and face to start coloring.  Since the arms and face are separate areas, I held down the SHIFT key and then clicked and dragged with the mouse to add an area
When I needed leave out an area (like the eyes or mouth), I held down the ALT key while clicking and dragging within the area I wanted to subtract.


In the picture above, you can see that the color stays within the dotted lines.  That's the magic of the Selection Tool - you can't make a mistake and color outside the lines!


Need Review?  Hands    Body Types: Women
More Advanced?  Action: Sports   Try Silhouettes
Other Stuff?  Swords   Color in Marker 

Questions? Email Susan at