Mark Brooks returns to the Art Appreciation Moment with his Black Cat piece.

I really appreciate everyone that commented on my Mary Jane piece and even took some of the critiques some of you gave and tried to incorporate them into this one. Mostly concerning the hands and softening the face a bit. I also wanted to practice doing shiney surfaces on clothing. Since Black Cat wears shiney black leather and is, for lack of a better word, curvacious I thought it would be good practice. Doing hard lighting on a uniform surface is difficult enough bbut doing them on something that is constantly changing as it moves and taking all the curves of the body into account is quite a feat. I decided to place her on a black background to add to the mystery of her character and make the highlights define her form a bit more. Also included a white background version so you can see the entire body. The drawing was done very simply using very few lines since I knew it was going to be on a black background and I was going to have her fade ot black.

Piece done in pencil and digitally colored in photoshop 5.5. Some people have asked how to color hold the linework. What you want to do is level out your drawing in photoshop until it’s all black(no grey areas), then you change the drawing to bitmap with 50% threshold(this turns the drawing to pure black and white). Now change your drawing back to greyscale and create a duplicate layer of your linework. Next, you select your magic wand tool and make sure the little boxes marked ‘anti-aliased’ and ‘contigious’ are unchecked. Now select any white area of the duplicate layer and it will select all the white on that layer. Simply hit delete and it takes all the white away leaving a floating layer of linework. You should now have 2 layers of linework(one with white and one without) go to your original layer with the white and fill in entirely with white so there’s no linework. Now you should have a bottom layer of white with a top layer of linework. Once you’ve done this you can change the image of CMYK or RGB. To color over the lines, simply select the linework layer and make sure the ‘preserve transparency’ box is checked. Now you can select any color you want and brush over the linework layer and it will only color the lines. Simply make a 3rd layer for your regular colors and you’re in business!! Keep in mind this is simply my way of doing it and I’ve heard of others doing using channels so don’t take this as the only way. I tend to work in a comfort zone which isn’t always the fastest so ask around and find what works best for you. Hope that helps!

via Deviant Art


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. It is very nice to actually hear a description of the techniques used. I would love to hear more step-by-step tutorials on how the pros do their work.

    That would make an interesting podcast. We could all do a Photoshop project together using the podcast to provide follow-along steps. Then we could post our work on the forum and they could be discussed in the next podcast as well as in the thread.

  2. WOW Mark, very nice.
    And ‘curvaceous’ is perfectly fine (google ‘ines sainz’ – see examples).
    An artist I met told me to begin by converting the image to some large format like Tiff or Bmp if it isn’t already, instead of working on Jpeg(s). Wouldn’t ask you to give too much away, but a few screenshots of your work in progress would be avidly appreciated.

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