I recently read an interesting New Yorker piece on Rihanna, and the illustration that accompanied it made me want to make my own! And of course I ended up animating it, because I’m a dork.
I also recently showed a friend my coloring process in photoshop, and going through it was really satisfying for me, so I thought I’d document my process for this entire piece in this post! I made it over the course of about two or three days. The first thing I always do if I’m doing something involving portraits is do a bunch of quick sketches, to give myself a space to mess up and get a feel for a specific person’s face:
I’ll usually do a few thumbnails of the composition I want, too. Then I lay out the final sketch to ink over, which still usually ends up being pretty loose:
A lot of times I’ll make some minor changes while I’m inking. Rihanna looked a little more distressed than I intended, so I changed her expression.
Once inking’s done, it’s just a matter of scanning it. Once in a while if I haven’t got access to a scanner and I’m in a hurry, I’ll use a photo of the inked piece instead of a scan, and then using photoshop to up the contrast and put it as close to pure black and white as possible. That way I can remove the white and color the linework itself:
I don’t usually recolor all the linework at once – most of the time I’ll do it as I lay color down in the image to see what works.
I usually keep the color flat and then add an extra layer or two later to shade it.
Once that’s done, it’s just a matter of adding extra layers to animate the image.
Photoshop’s not the most elegant program when it comes to animation, but for simple gifs like this it works just fine.