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Coloring Your Line Art.

By February 4, 20132 Comments

This is something I enjoy doing at the end of the coloring stage. Everything else looks nice and colored in except the line art of the character. Let’s change that.

You can really take your illustration another creative step further by complementing the colors of your character with some colored line art surrounding it. While I don’t mind the look of the good ol’ black line art or no line at all for that matter, this trick really brings a piece home I think.

This video assumes you have a working knowledge of Adobe Flash. The process is easy really and involves only 3 tools at most; The Line Tool, The Paint Bucket Tool & The Arrow Tool.

The Line Tool is used to restrict color from pooling into other areas of your line art. The trick is to drag the line along the edge of your brush stroke seen in the video. Doing so will cause the line to snap to the brush stroke sealing the shape. The picture on the left shows the lines I made by the line tool circled in green (click image to zoom). You’ll know that the line snaps when you see the line buckle and shape itself around the corresponding stroke which is seen more pronouncedly when sealing more rounder shapes. You’ll also know when you’ve done it incorrectly when you go to fill the color and it pools into an area you don’t want it to. It’s because you have a break in one of your seals in which case you have to check each line drawn in that area and redraw the bad one. On the subject of snapping, a line will naturally grab onto a brush stroke without the need for any snapping to be turned on. In fact, I’ve turned every snap feature off.

The Paint Bucket Tool is used to fill in an area of line art separated by the line tool. I use Ibis’s Toon Titan to mix and create colors but in case you don’t, just use the brightness slider in your color Color tab. I like to go with a darker color but use a brightness value of your choosing and make sure you ramp the value the same number (give or take) with every color you choose otherwise your color palette will shift. So for example, if your skin tone line art looks great at a brightness setting of 70% then use that for the other colors. Flash’s Color system isn’t very impressive and is somewhat of a bugger to work with so do yourself a favor and check out 3rd party plugin developers. They’ll save you an abundance of time.


The Arrow Tool is used in 2 ways. The first as a selection method where you click on the brush stroke and with it selected chose a color to update the line art color. The other is to tighten up any bumps or inconsistencies in the line quality I may have missed. Don’t go too crazy or you’ll be knitting vector lines for an entire day. I also use The Subselection Tool depending on how many points I’ve got to clean up. So I guess I use 4 tools. 😛

And finally, you have to remove all the lines to see your masterpiece in all it’s glory. Make sure you get them all too! I almost sent a revision with one of those suckers still in there so make sure you pick a color that really stands out.

By the way, I think I may have seen someone use some sort of selection method that allows you to “select all lines” to avoid the arduous task of making sure you’ve selected them all so if anyone has a work around for me I’d be super appreciative!

Thanks for watching and happy drawing!!





  • Ranoka says:

    Hey Christopher! First Make sure your artwork is selected. then in the default Adobe color panel click on the outline/stroke color to bring up the color selector. Next click on the white box with the red line through it in the top right of the selector (remove stroke), next to the Alpha value. This will remove all of the little lines in the artwork. Saves removing them one by one 😀

    Nice video by the way! I love using colors for outlines instead of black.

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