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How to color your drawing in manga style using Photoshop

This article shows you how to color your drawing in Japanese manga style using Adobe Photoshop.  Manga, or Japanese comic book, has its own fun and personalities.  There are also tons of styles in Japanese manga, but this tutorial only shows a simple and easy to follow style.

Before and after.  


1. Draw and scan

I drew this picture really quickly on a piece of paper using an ultra-fine head Sharpie pen and then scanned it.  You can see that the quality of the drawing is not very great.  The lines are not very black and there are some noises and unnecessary lines.


2. Clean up the drawing

Use Brightness/Contrast tool under Image>Adjustments... to make the line darker and to get rid of all the grey noises. 

I usually adjust the contrast toward the max and brightness toward the min because I want to make the lines crisp and eliminate all the grey dots that are neither black or white (they will be either converted to white and disappear or to black and we can erase later).


 3. Cut the outline

In order to make the coloring easier, I will extract the lines from the white and put them into a seperate layer.  To extract the line, I use Magic Wand tool.  Unselect Contiguous so that it will select everything on the image thoroughly.  

Select any white area on the screen, then go to Select>Inverse.  Now the selection is only on the lines.  Hit Ctrl-X and Ctrl-V to cut and paste them to a new layer.  Now go back to the background layer and hit Ctrl-A and Delete button to select the whole area and delete any residue from the cut and paste.


4. Color the base colors

The basic idea for coloring in this tutorial is to select an area to color, create a new layer for it, color it with a base color, lock the layer (by clicking on Lock transparent pixel icon on the Layer panel) then add shade and shadow within this base color later.

Coloring all the base colors will look somewhat like this:


5. Add shadow and shade.

After locking the layer, I usually use Pen tool and choose Mode: Multiply to darken any area I paint on.  This is useful to add shadow and shade.  Since each color is on a seperate layer, you can be sure that shading it won't interfere with other colors.  Also, locking the layer that we did would prevent our shading to go outside of the base color.


6. Add background

 I found this Japanese sun background on Google and I think it might be a cool effect when added to the drawing.


 The final image is like this: 


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