A Pro's Guide to Digital Comic Book Coloring
4.7 (456 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
3,100 students enrolled

A Pro's Guide to Digital Comic Book Coloring

Learn the entire process start to finish in Photoshop. Coloring is so much more than just staying inside the lines.
4.7 (456 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
3,100 students enrolled
Last updated 1/2020
English [Auto], Indonesian [Auto], 3 more
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Current price: $34.99 Original price: $49.99 Discount: 30% off
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This course includes
  • 6 hours on-demand video
  • 3 articles
  • 6 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Learn everything from the very basics of layering to finishing pages with special effects.
  • Understand color theory as it applies to comic art.
  • Master the art of storytelling as you learn about plane separation, strategic rendering, and the importance of value and contrast in your pages.
  • Learn effective techniques for adding color to line art in different styles from traditional lasso "cut and grad" style and more.
  • Learn which layer modes work best for different effects.
  • Learn tips on portfolio building, finding work as a colorist, and collaborating with other creators.
  • Save time with tons of tips, tricks, and shortcuts that are critical to working in production of comic art.
  • Students will be more confident in their coloring abilities and have a solid understanding of what color in comics really is.
  • Students will understand how pro colorists think about color in comics and sequential art.
  • Photoshop is used throughout this course. These techniques can generally be applied to other apps such as Clip Studio in most cases.
  • Graphics tablet (strongly recommended). Coloring is possible with a mouse, but it's harder.
  • The provided Tool Presets for brushes, lasso and bucket settings require Photoshop CS6 or higher, but I also provide the manual settings if you use an older version of Photoshop. There are no presets for older versions or other applications.
  • Be ready to learn a lot!

The Pro's Guide to Digital Comic Book Coloring will not only teach you how to color in comics, but also how to think as a storyteller. It will teach you new skills or expand on your knowledge of sequential comic book coloring.

This course is the result of everything I had learn the hard way! My name is K. Michael Russell, and I've been published in over 70 comics as a colorist for companies like DC Comics, Image Comics, IDW, Top Cow, Oni Press, and more. I've taught thousands of students worldwide about digital art. Coloring can be a fun hobby, a part-time side hustle, or even a career. It all depends on the work you put in. 

This course will take you through my entire process for coloring in Photoshop from the very basics of layer setup through special effects and post-coloring printing prep. There's a focus on learning the skills to make your pages read properly, leading the reader's eye to the important aspects, and being a storyteller throughout.

Enroll, and you’ll gain instant access to the entire course. Each lesson is easy to follow, step by step, and in real-time. There are 1000's of tutorials out there, but most show different methods that aren't related. These lessons build on each other - a real coloring curriculum and the most comprehensive available anywhere.

Here’s what you get!

You’ll get access to over six hours of real-time, easy-to-follow video lessons on a wide variety of topics in the order I'd recommend learning them: 

  • The course starts with the basics. Setting up your workspace, installing my presets for brushes and tool settings, so you don't have to fiddle with settings. The presets require Photoshop CS6 or higher. If you have an older version of Photoshop, I also offer how to setup the tools manually.

  • Next you’ll learn how how to setup your line art and layers. There are many ways to do this, but I will show what I feel works best. 

  • We'll go in-depth into all the major tools - lasso, magic wand, brushes, etc. They provide more functionality than most people think!

  • The basics of color theory are covered along with instructions for overcoming challenges unique to color in comics. 

  • We'll cover the most important aspect of coloring, storytelling, with concepts such as separating planes (background from midground and foreground,) strategic rendering, value and contrast, etc).

  • I'll review several rendering styles that work on a variety of art styles.

  • We'll go through a full splash page together in five parts. 

  • I'll also go over the basics of brush modes, creating special effects, multiple light sources, adjustment layers, textures, and more!

  • I'll show you how I prep pages for printing, build a portfolio, and I'll even tell my story about how I broke into comics! 

What else will you get?

  • Lifetime access to course materials
  • Understanding of professional colorists think.
  • Downloadable Photoshop Tool Presets (CS6+ required), Photoshop Actions
  • A selection of professionally-drawn line art from some penciller friends of mine and projects I've worked on.

All of this... right here in one place. So stop wandering around the internet trying to figure this stuff out on your own! I hope to see you inside! :)


NOTE: This course could be viewed as version 2.0 of my previous coloring course on Udemy (Learn to color with Photoshop). There is some overlap in the content, but the videos here are all new with more detailed lessons and even more new and expanded techniques.

Who this course is for:
  • Beginner comic colorists looking to learn the entire process from start to finish all in one place..
  • Students looking to break into comics as a colorist.
  • Students looking to understand why storytelling is the most important thing in comic coloring.
  • Anyone who thinks that colorists just need to add color, light, and shadow to the line art.
  • Students who want to learn a professional's workflow.
Course content
Expand all 61 lectures 06:11:13
+ Getting started
5 lectures 19:32
Setting up Photoshop tools
Manual tool settings
Photoshop (CS6+) presets and downloadable content (line art, actions, settings)
+ Preparing your Photoshop file
3 lectures 13:20
Setting up the line art
Line art cleanup (if necessary)
+ Photoshop tools - tips, tricks, and settings
7 lectures 41:29
Tools section intro
My custom keyboard shortcuts (optional)
How to use the bucket tool
The magic wand (levioSAH!)
Using the brush and pencil tool
How to use gradients
+ Color theory for colorists
8 lectures 37:40
Color theory section intro
Warm & cool concepts
Complementary color scheme
Complementary example
Analogous and monochromatic schemes
Avoiding colors that are too dark
+ Flatting
1 lecture 16:20

If you've learned to flat from YouTube, you might recognize this video. I used it as my flatting tutorial. 

How to flat base colors properly
+ Storytelling concepts
6 lectures 32:02
Examples of storytelling concepts
Separating planes in panels
Working with separation and panel layers
The importance of value (and how to test yours)
Strategic rendering
+ Rendering
7 lectures 49:59
My rendering trick
Where is the light source?
"Cut and grad" style
Cel shaded style
Painterly style
Flat style
How surface texture effects rendering
+ Coloring exercise
5 lectures 47:35
Walkthrough - part 1
Walkthrough - part 2
Walkthrough - part 3
Walkthrough - part 4
Walkthrough - part 5
+ Beyond the basics
9 lectures 01:05:16
Techy tricks intro
Color holds (changing the color of the line art)
Adding textures
Brush (and layer) modes
Creating special effects
Multiple light sources and bounce light
Learn to make adjustments and how to undo them later
+ Finalizing your pages
5 lectures 16:15
The beginning of the end
Preparing pages for print
Preparing pages for use on the web
How to run batch processes over multiple pages together
Project organization tips