Hi Guys! Today I have a pretty special post, an art tutorial! I've never really done one of these here but I actually felt knowledgeable on this; Making Multiple Outfits (or, just different versions) of a Digital Art Piece using just one base... Let me explain.
Let's say you have a character that you want to draw in a bunch of different outfits, different versions, different hairstyles, etc. But you also want to cut back on time by not having to redraw the entire character each time. Basically, this tutorial will explain the best and most efficient way to do that - at least for me! This is something I have done in my art lots and lots, and each time I find a way to make it a little easier. I think I have finally perfected the technique so I wanted to share it with you all!
This tutorial will show how I go about creating multiple outfits on top of one base drawing, and also how I make it easier and more organized. I'm going to talk through my process step by step, and show full screen pictures as well. (Two Quick Things: 1. This Tutorial is best formatted to viewing on the Web as opposed to Mobile. 2. If you see arrows on any of the pictures, be sure to click them! It shows a lot of step by step process!)
For this tutorial, I am using Procreate on my Ipad. But you can most likely translate all of these tips into different art programs. Just note all the specific tools I mention, and all of the photographs, will be referencing Procreate.
I have done this with lots of different characters, but for today, I chose Princess Peach! Choose the character you want to use, any fictional or original character, and write a list of the different outfits you wish to draw them in. I'd say an optimal amount of outfits is 10 and Below, because 10 is the max photos you can include in an Instagram post, and also because if you are using the default square canvas in Procreate (like I am) that is pretty much when you will use up all available layers.
Before we begin, I have a speedpaint of the process of this piece up on my Youtube, which might also be helpful. You can see it by clicking the link below:
Let's start setting up our Canvas. Like I mentioned, I choose the default square canvas in Procreate, which should allow you up to 60 layers. (Please note, I sometimes feel like the Procreate Canvas settings change and so I can't guarantee this. But, you can always check your max layer allowance for a specific canvas by clicking on the Gear icon to bring up the Actions menu - then Canvas - Canvas Information - Layers.) But of course, feel free to choose whatever Canvas suits you. Just remember to be conscious of your max layers, because layer management is going to be a huge part of this.
Start by Creating the Sketch for what we are going to call our "Base". The Base will always refer to the part of our character which we will reuse in every version. Because different parts of the character will show in each outfit, it is important to draw their whole body. TIP: Choose a pose which is simple and shows off the outfits, as that is the focus of the piece, and also one that will be easy to draw lots of different clothes on top of. Personally for sketching, I use the HB Pencil, but that is completely up to you.
For the base, I draw the parts of Peach's hair which will most likely be shown in every version, but I do not continue the sketch to the rest of the hair, because her hairstyles will be changing in the different versions. Only draw what will not change, but do draw the entire body. You can erase unneeded parts later.
Now you will create sketches for each of the different outfits you wish to create. It is important that you draw each new outfit on a separate layer, not on the same one as the base, or any other outfits. TIP: To keep the outfits separate, and make them a bit easier to find when looking at your layer panel, draw each one in a different color.
If multiple outfits reuse certain aspects that are not on the base, here is how I easily replicate them. Find the sketch which has the aspect you want on another sketch. For example, I want to reuse the upper bang pieces I made in the first sketch on the next one. I did not include it in the base because Peach will sometimes wear hats, so it will not always remain. Find the layer with the aspect you want, and turn down the opacity some. It is important that you then go back to the layer of the new sketch. Then, you can draw on top of the old sketch and turn it off later. It is easier the more different the colors you use are.
Now you should have all of the sketches for each outfit done. Here are mine, all on different layers from one another, and on a different layer from the base. This way you can turn the outfits on and off while the base always stays on.
Keep scrolling to see all of my sketches! (Except one I somehow missed saving.. whoops!)
At this point, we basically have just begun, and our layers are already kind of a mess. So, here is how I keep them more organized: Since these are all the sketches, and we won't need any of these layers turned on at the end, it is okay to group them all together. (Later, we will need to group layers based on outfits, but we can talk about that later on.) Start by swiping each layer to the left until they are all highlighted blue, as you see in the second photo. Then, click "Group", at the top right of the layers panel. This puts all the selected layers under a Group Layer.
Tip: To avoid confusion, name your layers! I name the base sketch "Base", number each outfit, and title the whole group layer "Sketches". On the last picture, you can see what the group layer looks like condensed. Now you won't have to see all those sketch layers all the time! To open it back up, just click the arrow near the check box.
It's time for Lineart! Start by lining JUST the base sketch. Name that layer something like "Base Lineart" so it is easy to find. I use the "Dry Ink" brush for my lineart, but of course you can use whatever you like! Once the base is lined, you can start lining the individual outfits.
But it is extremely important that you line the outfits on a different layer than the base. I tend to line each outfit as I go along, but you could also choose to line each one now. As you see at the end, Base Lineart and Outfit Example are on two separate layers.
Going forward, I am going to show you how I finish an outfit using Peach's normal dress. You'll use these exact steps to finish each different outfit.
It is time to begin working on a specific outfit. To begin, you MUST do this key step: Swipe to the right on your "Base Lineart" layer and hit "Duplicate". This way, you will have the Base Lineart layer two times. If you don't do this step, you will use the base lineart on one outfit, and wont be able to use it again on a new one. See, even the base will have aspects removed, so you cant just turn it on for each outfit the same. You need to duplicate it for each new outfit and use the duplicated one, keeping the original base so that you can duplicate it again for future outfits with all the aspects in tact. I name the duplicated base layer a number to match the outfit you are doing. This was my first outfit, so I named it "1". Turn off the original base lineart layer, and turn on the sketch of the outfit you are currently working on.
Start by making a new layer above your duplicated base to draw the outfit lineart on. You don't wanna draw it on the same layer as the duplicated base because it would be way harder to erase pieces of the base once you are done. Draw all the outline shapes of your outfit. As you can see in the first image, I have outlined all the main parts of the dress, hair, umbrella, etc. But she looks sort of see through, and that's because you can see all the areas of the base lineart we no longer want. We drew them because in another outfit, with a shorter skirt for example, we will need parts of her legs which we need to erase in this outfit. But it is easier to draw it all at once in the base and then erase unwanted aspects from your duplicated base later, rather than trying to add on body parts you didn't draw before as you go on. Go to the duplicated base layer, and erase any parts you don't need in this outfit, as you see in the second picture.
You can now merge the duplicated base lineart and the outfit lineart by clicking on the outfit lineart and selecting "Merge Down" so the layers become one. You can also turn off the sketch layer at this point. Then, since it is no longer so messy, it is easier to add in extra details.
Now, let's set up to color our lineart! Make sure the duplicated base and the outfit lineart are now one layer after merging them, and that you still have a layer called "Base Lineart" for you to duplicate for other outfits later. Make sure that all Sketch Layers are turned off, and both the Lineart for outfit 1 and one new blank layer are turned on. This new layer MUST be set to the "Multiply" setting. I named them both "1", so I know they go together. We're going to color in our lineart using the drop and fill technique, meaning we will try to fill in spaces of lineart with one click, like a paint bucket tool. (This will result in color that is texture-less; if you want texture in your coloring, skip this, as it won't work. Instead, just color it in manually with your preferred brush on the multiply layer.)
If you would like to fill color this way, there is one thing you must do first: Go to your Lineart layer, and make the layer a "Reference" layer. This will be under the same panel where you merge layers, not the layer type panel. This will make it so that, even when on a different layer, Procreate understands it is those lines you wish to fill, otherwise, it would just fill the whole square. Make sure that before you start coloring, you have the empty multiply layer selected. (Highlighted Blue.)
When directly making outfits of real characters, especially ones with very simple and iconic color schemes (Like Princess Peach), it's important to get colors accurate. That's why I like to directly sample colors from real images, then I can tweak them to my personal preference after I have found the exact color. That means we need a reference image! There are three ways to do this:
The first way is to activate Split Screen, which only works with an Ipad. While in Procreate, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the app dock. Then, touch and hold the second app that you want to open, so maybe your pictures or a browser where your image is, then drag it off the dock to the left or right edge of the screen. This will give you a half and half view of the art and the reference, but I don't like this because you can't quick grab colors.
The second way is to turn on the reference option from within Procreate. Click on the Gear to bring up the Options Panel - Canvas - Then Switch on the button that says "Reference". This will pull up a little box where you can put up any image. I don't love this option either though, because it follows you when you zoom in and ends up covering part of your artwork. So, my favorite option is the least fancy.
I just click on the Gear, bring up the Options Panel, and select "Import Image". Then you have an image that sits on the canvas and won't follow you as you move, if like me, that is what you want. I make sure this image is on a layer of its own so that when I am done using it, I can delete it. If you know there are colors that will repeat from outfit to outfit, you can make your own Palette in Procreate so that you can reuse the exact same shade and keep things coherent.
To quick select a color from an image, long hold on the area of color you want, and a wheel will come up showing the color once it's been selected. Then, you can create your own palette by clicking on the Color Panel, hitting "Palettes" at the end, and then the plus in the right hand corner. This will make a new blank palette which you can name, and also set it to the default so that when you go back to your color wheel, it will appear right below it. Add all the colors you think you will reuse in different outfits, so you can quickly grab the colors you need!
Time to Color! Select your color for a chosen area, then click on the circle of color at the top right of Procreate, and drag it down to the section you want to fill. (Remember to be in a blank layer set to multiply, and to have the lineart layer set to reference.) When you release, the area will, optimally, be filled!
Occasionally, the fil will get confused. If it underfills an area, grab a textureless brush like "Studio Pen" to manually fill in the bits it missed. If it overfills and goes outside the lines, you can try to fix this by dragging your pen to the left, BEFORE you let go of the color fill, to try and move the tolerance down and make it view the lines as closed. If that doesn't work, you may just need to manually color in that element. I end up making a few different multiply layers for ease, so that if anything goes over the lines, I can erase it without erasing color underneath, but once you are finished with the colors, be sure to merge them all down to one layer. Remember, manage your layers!
We're reaching the end, and it is time for the finishing touches. How you finish a piece is up to you, but here's what I do:
First, I add shading. Make a new multiply layer above the coloring. You can't use the fill for this, so you'll have to do it manually. (I like to use a textured brush like the Dry Brush, but it's up to you.) I usually choose a desaturated blue-purple, but to keep with Peach's bright pink theme, I used a brighter purple for the shading. I go over any places that would be in the shadow, where objects overlap, and a bit to the opposite side of where you will add lighting.
Second, I add extra lighting effects. On a new layer set to "Soft Light" (Or Hard Light, or Overlay)
choose a bright color, I used a really bright yellow, and add a rim of light to one side of the character. I do this even if I am not adding the character to a background with any light source, because it really helps to finish the character.
Finally, I added a few details to this outfit (though I didn't to all of them) on a normal layer where I could draw right over the top. I added things like sparkles and designs.
Let's Complete her by adding a background! Make sure the lineart is still set to reference, then fill the background by dragging the color to any area on the outside of the lineart. Be sure to be on a new layer, set to Multiply. (I actually messed up and did it on Normal, which was fine because I erased around the edges, but if you keep it on normal, it will bleed over the lines a bit.) I like the extra cartoony look of adding a white outline of the character, so I just erase right around the edges of the lineart.
I want to add a cloud pattern. I want to be able to reuse it for each background I make, but if I draw it directly on top of the background I just made, it won't fit right for new backgrounds where the outline has a different shape. Instead, make your pattern on a seperate layer, right on top of the background color layer, and then set it to "Clipping Mask". This will force anything on the clipping mask layer to only appear on areas that are filled on the layer below it, so it will only show up on the background! I duplicated these clouds and kept them at the bottom near my base, so I could continually duplicate and reuse them.
It's the final step!! Let's Condense these layers! Slide to the Left on ALL layers which must be turned on for the outfit; For me that was the Lineart, the Colors, the Shading, the Lighting, the Details, and the Background. Personally, I named these all "1" as I went along so that at this stage, I could esaily see I just needed to swipe left on every layer named "1". Once all the layers you need are highlighted blue, like you can see in the first picture, click "Group" at the top right, just like we did with the sketches before.
This way, as you can see in the second picture, you can condense all these layers to keep them out of the way, and you can turn all the layers off and on at once by clicking the checkmark by the group, instead of having to turn them off and on one by one. This makes switching between looking at different outfits super simple!
And those are the steps! Once you have reached this point, it is time to start working on the next outfit. Duplicate your base lineart, and start over again! Keep following these steps until you have made all your desired outfits!
I did 10 different outfits for Princess Peach, plus one BONUS 11th outfit (with a super special background) which you can only see here and on my Youtube! So if you have made it this far, you get to see a secret 11th outfit you can't find over on my Instagram! Here are all the outfits now:
And now, time for our extra special, super secret, 11th Outfit..
I seriously love how this one came out, ahh! I wasn't even planning to do the background but it just felt odd having this one in the same blue sky as the others. And I thought this would be fun to do - I was right!
That is the End of our Tutorial! I really hope I could explain it all! If you have any questions, you can as always comment below, but you can also reach me easily by DMing me on Instagram. I can probably respond easier there as well. If you do have a question, please feel free to ask, and if you feel like I missed out explaining something important I will try to edit it in the post.
So, The 11th Wedding outfit is my Favorite of these. Let me know in the comments below, which of the outfits I drew Peach in is your favorite? Or, if there is a Peach outfit you really love that I missed, tell me about it! Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed this one! See you next time!
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