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How-to Color in a Drawing Using Gimp

By Edited Apr 7, 2016 5 6

Here is how you would go about coloring and shading in a drawing that you have scanned onto the computer. This also works for any other drawing from the web that you would like to work with on your computer.

This how-to is mainly for the Gimp program. You can use the same ideas for other programs but all the buttons and even the names of the tools will be different so it would be better if you found a how-to for the program you are actually using.

Step 1
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-color-in-gimp.html

The first thing you want to do is bring up your picture or drawing that you want to color in Gimp.

Step 2
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-color-in-gimp.html

Next you need to make a new layer by going to the layer tap at the top of the screen.

step 3
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-color-in-gimp.html

Once you click on make a new layer a window will pop up. Make sure you have the layer set at transparency. It might help you to name the layer. For this how-to we will name the first layer "Hands," because that is what we will be coloring in first.

step 4
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-color-in-gimp.html

Make sure that the new transparent layer that you've just made is on top or over the original drawing layer. If you have it under the drawing you won't be able to see any of the work that you are doing.

Step 5
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-color-in-gimp.html

Now go over to where you have the layers listed and click on the mode. The mode will probably be on normal. You want to change that to multiply. This will make it so when you are coloring you won't color out the original lines of the drawing.

Step 6
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-color-in-gimp.html

Now that the layer is set up click on the paintbrush tool and select the color you want to use first.

Step 7
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-color-in-gimp.html

Start throwing your color on the places that you need it. Don't worry too much about the lines you will be cleaning up the extra color later.

Step 8
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-color-in-gimp.html

Once you have the color everywhere it needs to be, go to the burn/dodge tool that should be on the bottom of the toolbox. Burn is for making shadows and dodge is for if you want highlights or lighter spots. Use this tool on the drawing where needed. Don't worry if it starts to look blotchy and chunky that will be fixed later.

Step 9
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-color-in-gimp.html

When all the shadows and highlights are in go to the tab called Filters. Under that you should find the Blur option go to the Gaussian Blur.

Step 10
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-color-in-gimp.html

After the window for the Gaussian Blur pops up adjust the blur radius until the preview looks the way you want it.

Step 11
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-color-in-gimp.html

Now you can finally start making things look good. Go to the erase tool and start erasing around the object that you wanted colored. This can take a bit of patience and time.

Step 12
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-color-in-gimp.html

When you are done erasing around the object and are ready to go on to the next color make a new layer. Like before set it to transparency, name it and make sure it is above the other layers.

Step 13
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-color-in-gimp.html

Set the layer mode to multiply like before. This not only helps with keeping you from erasing the drawing's lines, it will now also help you to keep from erasing the already colored in parts of the image with your new colors.

Step 14
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-color-in-gimp.html

Color in the new object you want to color and then burn/dodge it if needed.

Step 15
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-color-in-gimp.html

Start erasing around the edges of the item you wanted colored like you did in first layer. Continue making layers and coloring them in until the image done.

Finished
Credit: http://inparcomic.blogspot.com/2013/09/91413.html
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Comments

Sep 19, 2013 5:20am
eileen
good instructions, As you say the different programs will confuse most of us because the tools have different ways to do things. rated
Oct 14, 2013 11:59am
Gibbon
This was my first intro to Gimp, and it was very useful and easy to follow. Thanks for the info.
Oct 15, 2013 7:48am
CreativeDesign
Great article. GiMP is my go-to software for editing images, so nice to see it gets some attention.
Nov 25, 2013 7:07pm
jandersatl
Thanks for the tutorial. I have wanted to get into image editing for a while, but didn't know where to start. Tutorials like these lay down an effective foundation to learn more and more techniques. Thanks again!
Feb 26, 2014 5:59am
Linda-Pret
Thank you, this is such a helpful tutorial, I actually clicked on it because I wondered what GiMP is, but got so much more than I expected.
Jun 3, 2014 12:55am
brent_writes
Very nice. Gimp (one of the greatest gifts from open source) marches to its own tune so articles like this are very useful.

Very well written and illustrated.

Thanks,
Brent
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