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Using Colour in Comics and Animation

Adding color can change just about any decent pencil drawing to an attention grabbing piece of art! Working with colour is a completely separate, but complementary skill to learning to draw, and one that often goes overlooked as some students just assume that they already know enough about colour. While our Comics and Animation program is mostly dedicated to drawing with pencils, there is some opportunity to learn about working colour at certain points.

Most children, esspecially younger ones, tend to colour their pictures using whatever color they find interesting at the moment, then change to a different color when they get bored, without really understanding how to use colours to their advantage. So here are a few easy to understand tips that will help young artists who attending art classes or making art at home to color their characters more effectively.

When drawing a new character, it’s usually best to just pick 3 to 5 different colours, and use those colours on more than one area rather than changing colours constantly. Be creative and figure out where the same colour can work twice instead of grabbing a new one.

Colours have different meanings, and can make the viewer feel emotions or be reminded of different things, so pick colours that best relate to who the character is. For example, the same Super Hero drawing shown here in two different colour schemes creates two completely different characters. Although they are drawn the same, their colours might evoke different powers, abilities, or personality traits.

Another important thing to take note of when using colour is that most colouring tools (coloured pencils, markers, etc) will smudge when applied to pencil line, especially with lighter, brighter colours like yellow. This can leave an unsightly dark smear that can ruin an otherwise great drawing. It’s important to press lightly when drawing and make sure that all the preliminary construction lines are erased along with any mistakes, leaving a nice clean drawing ready for colour. Younger students will be encouraged to colour their drawings in the “Cartooning For Kids” classes whenever the opportunity arises. Older students who have experience in the Comics and Animation program and are interested in working with colour to create original illustrations can inquire about the “Colour Techniques for Comics and Anime” class, where every lesson is devoted to using colour.

Until next time, have fun and keep drawing!