Tutorial: How to Recolour Whitewashed Characters
Anonymous said: Do you have any tips for recolouring white/lightwashed characters? I keep trying but it ends up looking weird and grey :/
I definitely don’t claim to be an expert, but I hope this helps! It’s very simple to do.
Everything below is using GIMP, but the same deal goes for photoshop and pretty much any other program.
This is supposed to be Dani Moonstar in Avengers: The Initiative #3 (terrible series, do not recommend), and Dani after recolouring -
If possible, find a reference to where the character is not whitewashed, ideally in similar lighting/saturation. Here is Dani Moonstar in Generation M #5 -
If you’re really familiar with the character and very well practiced, this step may not be necessary. But having something to compare to can really help if you’re not comfortable winging it.
2. First Layer
Add a new layer above the image, and change the mode to multiply.
Select the colour you’d like the base skin to be as an end result, and go a little bit darker. (If you’re using the eyedrop tool on a reference, try a somewhat shadowed area.)
Colour over the character’s skin either using the selection and paint bucket tools, or with the paintbrush tool. Whatever suits your fancy, but using the selection and paint bucket tools is much faster for recolouring large areas.
Once the whole area is coloured in, lower the layer opacity to 50%.
3. Second Layer
Add another layer above the multiply one, and change the mode to soft light.
Select the colour you’d like the base skin to be as an end result, and go a little bit lighter. (If you’re using the eyedrop tool on a reference, try a somewhat highlighted area.)
Right-click on the multiply layer and choose “alpha to selection” (or equivalent in a different program) to select all the area already coloured. Then use the paint bucket tool to colour the soft light layer the same.
Lower the layer opacity to somewhere around 50% as well.
4. Final Adjustments
Now you can play around with adjusting the layer opacities, and the colour hues/saturations. You may even want to try adding more soft light layers.
In this example, I’m going to make Dani’s skin a bit cooler by changing the hue of the soft light layer. I’m also increasing the multiply layer’s opacity to 55%.
And there you have it! I then repeated the steps for her eyes to get the final result up top.
You may want to play with the overall image’s saturation, hues, tones, etc. when making edits. I personally recommend doing this after the recolouring, because I’ve found in my experience that it looks more naturally even that way.
Make sure you recolour the character’s lips, too; otherwise they will look like they belong in a minstrel show.
If the unedited skin is interfering too much with the hue you want to recolour it as, (this is sometimes the case when the character is under funky lighting that you don’t want part of your edit,) try adding a layer below the multiply layer, change the mode to colour, and paint everything with white or black to greyscale it.
You can use this same process for recolouring other parts of an image, too!
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Today we’re joined by Keam. Keam is a wonderful fanartist who is currently most active in the Doctor Who fandom. They write fanfictions, mostly one-shots, and also some long-running projects. When they’re not writing, Keam does a lot of visual art, including recolouring and photo edits. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
Well, I write fanfiction and occasionally draw fanart, as well as making a wide variety of picture edits, icons and recolouring black and white photos. I’m mainly in the Doctor Who fandom at the moment, but have been around in several other book and TV series fandoms before. Most of my fanfics are one shots, but I also got a couple of long running projects. My drawings are always hand drawn and coloured in with ink/crayons/coloured markers or regular pencil.
What inspires you?
My never ending mind. Due to having ADHD, I got a mind that never slows down. When I get into it, I can be thinking about a show or book 24/7. It also means that there’s always new ideas appearing, encouraging me to draw something new or write a new story. It never ends, and I don’t want it to.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I suppose I partly have it from my family. My mum is a self-published author who’s currently written 5 books, and both my grandmothers are talented at painting and drawing. I’ve never really intended to be an artist in any professional manner, but as I’ve matured as a fanfic author the idea of writing an original book seem more and more appealing.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
I don’t think I particularly have any special thing that represents my writing like that. I am told I have a bit of a unique pattern in my writing, which I think comes from not being native to the language and there for using a vocabulary and word combinations you wouldn’t see used by a native writer.
Otherwise, I always try to include a tall, blond haired person in my fanfics. That’s me by the way. The author standing there and enjoying her own work. Just a little symbol of my emotional investment in my own writing.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Don’t give up. It sounds so cheesy, but is there something I’ve learned it is that it’s absolutely true. I’m not native to English, you see, and when I wrote my first fanfic I still did not know how to string two words together. I was 13 and had five years of theoretically learning behind me.
I had a dream in my head and with some help from my mother I managed to put it on paper. It’s still published out there on the internet on fanfic site somewhere. A horrific, self-indulgent drabble about pastel ponies. But even if it was bad it taught me the joys of writing. Because after that, I kept writing, one year after another, and now I’m five years down the line from when I started. Today, I even spend more time writing than sleeping (it’s 10.30 PM as I write this!). And for all that work, I really think I’ve gotten better, too. Today I feel proud of myself. I read my fanfics and enjoy them and I get good reviews.
Just recently a work I’d done in collaboration with another friend actually got a comment from the actress behind one of the characters we were writing about. She loved it. Another of my fanfics got published in a fan letter/ezine for an American Fanclub in my fandom back in February. I got a free PDF copy of the ezine as a thank you, and on the first page was a content section with the title of my name proudly displayed.
All this is a far cry from the pastel Pony drabble I wrote at age 13. And the reasons I’m here, the reason I’m 18 and growing more and more professional, getting more and more attention from people that you want attention from, is because I kept going. Because I kept going, and I didn’t give up. Giving up is the worst disadvantage you can give yourself, so please don’t!
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m a Bi/Quoiromantic Asexual who is partially sex repulsed.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Well, as a part of the Doctor Who fandom, Asexuality is always a hot topic. The show has 36 seasons, and during the majority of the 26 first seasons the main character appears as though they are asexual. A lot of people try to bypass this by referring to the character not acting in such a way in the ten newest seasons after they rebooted the show. There are a lot of fights over the fact that newer fans gladly write smut and ship the character as of old with characters from the newer episodes, completely ignoring the implied asexuality of the character back then, which is hurtful. Mostly, I just ignore this and instead look up content creators that treat the character fairly and knows to be aware of the characters implied asexuality.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That we’re incapable of having loving relationships, and that if you're asexual it means aromantic as well. Naturally, aro aces exist - I’m an aspec ace myself - but it feels very ignorant and prejudiced to assume such things.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Relax. Take it easy. It is fine to be uncertain. The Ace community is very open and inclusive, and we’re ready to welcome everyone - even if you’re still questioning or not quite comfortable yet. We’ll give you some friendly cuddles and advice and it’ll be alright.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I have several social media accounts!
My Tumblr is at Gemvictorfromtheponyverse
My AO3 & Ff.net is Pearlislove
My Instagram is at aesteticfandomdreams.
Thank you, Keam, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.
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