First of all, a foreword that none of this is the "right way" to do anything - it's just how I, myself do it, and i've found a few tips that've helped me a lot, and some may help you too, particularly people who have problems with hand strain (and sometimes eyestrain) too.

If you're here for the advice and tips, please refer To my advice Page!


I begin with an canvas, usually 1500x1500, zoomed out (about 50%-60%).

Then i start sketching it out; see below gif (it won't play until you click it, nor will the rest of hte gifs on this page, fortunately!).

Then I set the sketch, after I've done it, to about... 20-30% opacity. (I don't usually draw it very detailed, since I commit things to my memory and frequently practice my muscle memory and i like to look at references a lot. You can see this in practice in my streams if you attend them!


I also tend to zoom in on the sketch when lining, to about 60%-75%.

I'm using Medibang here (and it's my main program to use, despite me having many others at my call and whim). It has an reference image panel, and it comes in very handy for referencing clothes, or designs, especially since I can use my muscle memory to draw poses.

The stabilizer (sometimes called line correction) also helps a lot. Higher values mean it's less shaky, and much smoother, but may feel slower; lower means more shaky, but feels faster. It's usually a matter of finding an balance of what feels good to you to use. I change it up slightly from time to time, especially from program to program.

However, the values of "higher = more slowness but smoother" and "lower = shakier but faster" are consistent across programs, so that's nice.

Here's me explaining the "cheap" detailing I do - you can do a little bit of fur around the edges and inside the lineart, so you don't have to actually paint down each hair strand painstakingly.


Here is when I start to get ready for coloring it proper!

I zoom in a little more sometimes, as needed, for invidivual parts.

And here's a nice trick using the paint bucket tool I've found that I love....

First, make an new layer under the lineart and fill it all (with layer mode; not canvas. Canvas samples the entire canvas from where you painted at (so it pays attention to lines. Some programs don't have this customizationabiltiy or even just this canvas versus layer ability.)

Here, you then swap it to a different brush mode shown in the above picture; you select the transparent box (to set your brush - and bucket - to transparent, on the layer, to canvas sampling).

Then you erase the big spots where they shouldn't be. There'll probably be white spots, but look at that! Most of it's filled in and you can now go on to the next few steps nicely and easily.

...After you fill in the small white bits that were left, anyway.

Now, you'll want to make an new layer above the layer where your coloring was, and set it to Clipping. It might also be called mask, or so-forth. It's a layer function that makes whatever's on the top layer adhere strictly to what's below it, so you can, say, keep it within the lines if the layer below it is within them.

Like this! ...But, "what about the colors I want to put in?" That's easy; you make an new layer for each color you want to put down. This is for ease of shading later and not touching over anything else.

This can be a little tedious, but keep at it.

Now you're ready for shading! You should have an layer for each new color you want to put down, on specific spots. This makes shading a lot easier.

On each color layer, you'll want to check the "protect alpha" button. It's sometimes known as "Lock transparent pixel," or something else. It, like clipping, differs program to program, but if you use one of the programs that I list here in my reviews, you can ask for help and I'll be able to help you.

Sometimes, I add a little pizazz even this far in, by varying how I do each shading part. I'm not a very consistent lady from piece to piece, or even within one piece. oops!

And here's the finished image in the end!

Color theory: a small sample

So hey, studying color theory helps a lot! ...But you also don't have to stick to any one specific way of coloring it. For example, I don't stick to just one method of coloring, though there are a few I tend to try and keep to moderation.

This is by no means the end be all, nor is it extenstive; it's just my observations, from reading a lot of things, observing things that seemed good to me, and studying color theory in a lot of books and online.

"Color Unfication"

You might've noticed that I partake in this kind of weird thing where I make sure every color, if applicable, shares an place with another thing. So if one thing has, say, two kinds of whites, I make them both the same white; or the same black, or so-forth. This also applies to making eye colors different on things.

This is called "color unfication" - it makes each color seem like it "belongs" more, because it has a twin, and can make more unique colors "pop" more. If you have four colors that appear in unique spots, none of them feel too unique and it feels haphazard.

However, don't let that dissuade you from doing that if you want to - this is just how I do it, because it feels better for me personally. If you're finding your art feels a bit chaotic to you and you want to tone it down a little bit, and have these "unique" colors pop, trying color unification as it's called may help.

"More exciting colors"

This one is called "boring," but i actually do it sometimes... However, it's not too interesting to look at when compared to other things.

These two here are the other "forbidden" ones - just straightup "white" with an inbetween color, and "black," and another being that but with an darker color (in the same hue) in place of black, are very boring to look at ordinarily if you use them in a lot of things, and don't pay much heed to the shading or so-forth.

These, in contrast, are a lot less boring. If you color pick them (in any art program), in each set of 3, you'll see that the slider and box move around a lot across hues and shades, making for interesting palettes.

This is to help illustrate what I mean by "slider" and "box".

For a little bit of an followup, here's some bits of the tutorial above in these images to help illustrate what I mean.

Small tricks & tips

This is an quick way to draw hands; it's one I utilize quite well. You make circles for where the fingers are on an hand, and it's easy to adjust.

This is an way I learned to draw arms a long time ago--draw them kind of like concave shapes into each other. I find that drawing in circles for each joint throws me off a lot, so I adopted this way of doing it. It might help you too if you find you're having problems with "circle = joint"!

Compare the first with the second. One has colored lines; colored lines can change your perspective of things sometimes, and it can add an nice touch to pictures sometimes.

Useful Resources

This is where I got the idea to try varying my coloring at.

The Dragonart series, by Jessica "Neondragon" Peffer, are a wonderful place to learn about the basics of color theory, and quite a few other things; I've been an avid fan of her books for a while. Dragonart Evolution, Dragonart, and Draognart Fantasy Characters are the three I'm thinking of, as well as the Ultimate Collection (which has all three).

You can check my programs reviews (as well as my other resources link on the sidebar) for some brushes and so-forth to help, too; sometimes, changing up brushes can be nice, and give you inspiration.

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