Our next step on our author art journey is learning how to use the tools we now have. So we’ll start with the light box.

Set it up where you want to start drawing and turn it on. You’ll take the image you want to trace onto pf of it. now what kind of image that is is key. You want the image to be black and white with a lot of contrast. Coloring pages maek good bases, but can be rather dull. Here are some traces I used.

I made these with DesignDoll, a free – but hard to learn – program that you can make characters from scratch with. But you can also use models, actors, and anything else. I’ve even done black and white photos of Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon. Just make sure there is lost of contrast for the light to highlight.

Then you use a pencil to trace the outlines you need as exactly as you can, with people you use eyes, nose, face, body shape, mouth, and use the body lines as well as when you start adding clothes that will help you make them look real.

Then you can use other styles to help layer these, like a second character, animals, and so on next to it. Here are a few videos you can use to help you learn: Links

Then we worry about inking it. Inking it is when you take a pen to outline the pencil lines you want to keep for the final photo. That part is easy, just slowly draw over the keepers with a very inky pen. You can use a thin sharpie, but know if you don’t let it dry for a long time when you color it in you may have blending colors.

The last part is fun, but tricky is coloring it in. Now it depends on what kind of colors you want. I like markers and that’s what I’m best with so mostly will talk about the marker tricks, but I will share with you a youtube page designed to help you use to use all of the above for coloring pages you can use. Video Tutorials

Once you let those dry you’re ready to make them for advertising. You can just take a photo or scan it, but you also could use photoshop to let you trace it to get a photo without the background.

This is how I do it with my CS5, but should work in other versions. It’s super easy. Open up the photo in Photoshop, then click on the quick selection tool and click on the top part and then scan it down the image until the whole thing is covered in the crawling lines. Then right mouse click, say layer by copy, then delete the other layer. Volia! You’ll have the cut out image and save it as a PNG file (or else it will make a background anyway.)

It’s that easy! Learning to trace is really hard (maybe), but these videos and lots of practice can make you an expert. I like that mine look like they are just fan art quality because it helps my fans open up and share their art more. This is the kind of work I was able to make when I haven’t colored at all since I was a kid. See this link to see them.

Feel free to ask any questions and show me how your work is doing by posting them below. I look forward to helping you all with this and helping us all learn together.