Join Angie Taylor for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with Live Paint, part of Animated Character Design with Illustrator.
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My favorite way of coloring artwork has to be using the Live Paint Paint Bucket. And if you want to follow me along, I'm in Live Paint gaps closed.ai which is in the coloring artwork folder. What I'm going to do here is use this Paint Bucket to paint my character. Now, the traditions way of coloring items in Illustrator is to select them and then select a color to apply to them. Now, you have to select individual layers and individual items in order to do that.
The nice thing about the Live Paint Bucket tool, as you can just move over your image and select different areas to paint. Now here, it pays to work in Isolation mode, because you'll see that it's very easy to accidentally select the wrong layer. Because the Paint Bucket will allow you to just click and paint on any item you see. Now, I've got white selected at the moment, but if I select orange for my Paint Bucket, and I click on his hair, you'll notice it changes his hair to orange. Without selecting anything else, I can go to his arm and paint his arm orange.
Or his tie. It's quite difficult to select his tie because it's behind the arm layer, so we'll do the other arm. Now, the reason I want to go into Isolation mode is because of that problem with overlapping areas. That first of all, I'm going to work on the head. I don't really have that problem there. So I'm just going to color his hair. Now it's picked up and fixed a lot of gaps, but that means that we probably have a lot more gaps than we realized we had. These are now included as gaps, so the paint stops within these areas.
So you have to do a few clicks to get all of his hair done. So we've got his hair nice and bright orange. Now, this is a Scottish character. It's John Logie Baird. So that's why I've done him with a nice bright orange hair. I'm also going to open my Skin Tones panel, which I can get by going into my Swatches panel. Clicking on the Wing menu, I am going to open Swatch library. And let's find our skin tones, here we go, so I am just going to use flat skin tones for him. And as I said he is Scottish so he will be quite pale, so give him a nice pale skin tone and click on all the areas that we would expect to be flesh colored. So, there, we haven't done his hands yet, so we've just got his face at the moment being flesh-colored.
Now, don't forget these little gaps, here. Just here, we'll have a bit of skin behind his glasses. On this side of his glasses, we should have nothing, so I'm going to choose no fill in, no stroke and just click on that area, there. Now, you may need to zoom in here to be able to get that little bit there. Okay. So once we get on to the jacket, and the arm, it's a bit more difficult because we start accidentally selecting the wrong areas. First of all, what I'm going to do, is just choose a color for the jacket.
So let's go to our swatches again, and let's have a look through. We've got skin tones. Here we've got our brights, so think we might use like, have a green jacket, or maybe a grey jacket. Let's start with green anyway. So I'm going to choose green, and I'm going to click on his arm. And actually that is a little bit too bright, so I'm going to go in here, back into my swatches. And into the Swatch library menu and I am going to choose some Gradients, put some Neutral gradients. Okay, so we'll chose a nice gray color I think and click on there. And again it's a little bit too strong so I may want to just edit my gradient. So I go to my gradient palette and just double-click that and make it a little bit darker in that gray.
So we're going from a fairly dark gray to a kind of mid-gray color. Okay. And I'll click on that again. So we've now got a darker gradient. Okay. And now I'm going to click on this arm, so we've got both arms. And again, we could edit that gradient if we wanted to. I'm not going to bother here at the moment. And then we click on different parts of the jacket to start coloring them in as well. Okay, but when it actually gets to here I can't actually select that part of the jacket. The problem I'm having is I'm either selecting the head which I don't want to color or the arm which I con't want to color.
I can't actually select that jacket color. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to select the jacket by going to my Layers panel and its this layer here. And then I'm going to choose the Selection tool and just double-click the jacket to go into Isolation mode. And that makes it much easier for me to now use the paint bucket tool just to fill in these other areas of the jacket. Okay, now while I'm in there I might as well do the tie and the shirt as well. So I'm going to go back to here and choose some nice bright colors, so let's choose green for the tie.
So we'll do a nice green tie. And then we'll choose a nice yellow for the shirt. Okay, so he's got a very dull jacket but nice bright shirt. Okay and then we want to do the trousers after that but there's a little bit of the jacket still to do here and for this I'm just going to choose a dark gray color and fill in that section there. In fact let's go even darker and fill in that section there. Now for the trousers. So now what were going to do is come out of Isolation mode by just jumping back a couple of stages so that we can now select the trousers. We're now going to go down to the legs layer again, I'm going to select it so I'm going to toggle back to my Selection tool by holding down the cmd key or ctrl key on PC.
And I am going to click on that, and then double-click to go into Isolation mode. And Isolation mode means that I can select this without having to worry about selecting the background layer. So I'm going to choose a red swatch and color them red. And then I'm going to edit that a little bit later. In fact, let's not edit it later. Let's do it now. Let's choose a better color. I'm going to choose, potato. Okay, so we've now got potato trousers. Or pants, as you guys say in the US. In fact, if I want to add just a plain color.
Maybe I just want to add a regular swatch. So, I'm going to go to my Swatch library. And just open up earth tones, so I've got some nice brown colors. And I'm actually just going to click and color these brown. Now the nice thing about doing that is it's giving me some alternatives that I can choose to just apply to the layer. Without having to go through lots and lots and lots of different Swatches panel, I can use my color guide to help me choose the color that I want. Now we'll also use that to choose some colors for the shoes.
So I'm going to choose a color there for the sole, and let's choose another one there for the shadow bit of the sole. And then we can right-click on here and see Exit Isolation mode. And zoom out to see our painted character. Okay, now, the nice thing about Live Paint is it really allows you to experiment with color and paint in a way that you couldn't do with just using regular selections and swatches. So I really recommend playing with Live Paint to get the most out of it.
- Setting up the work area
- Bringing artwork into Illustrator
- Tracing artwork manually
- Creating complex shapes
- Working with paths
- Using Live Trace
- Coloring artwork
- Applying 3D effects
- Exporting artboards
- Options for saving files