A Faster Way to Color Illustrations

I found a great time-saver for coloring my illustration work, and I thought other illustrators could benefit from it as well, in case they have similar processes… I hope this is helpful!

The way I used to color my illustrations was this:

  • Scan sketches
  • Redraw linework in Photoshop on a layer above the sketch
  • Create new layer for colors beneath my linework layer
  • Use marquee tool to block in areas (within black lines) and fill with appropriate color

This method gave nice results, but I’ve always been in search of a way to make the process faster. Finally I’ve discovered it! I found these 2 Photoshop plugins by BPelt, which you can download for free here.

Now here’s my new, faster process:

  • Draw my linework above my sketch layer like I’ve already said.
  • Duplicate linework layer
  • Create new layer and flood with white, and place it underneath the duplicate of the linework layer.
    Combine the duplicate linework layer and the flat white layer (Command or CTRL-E)
  • Turn off Sketch layer
  • Select the combination linework/white layer, and apply THRESHOLD (under Image>Adjustments>Threshold). This removes the anti-aliasing on that particular layer.
  • Apply the FILTER>BPelt>Multifill (that you’ve already downloaded and installed)
  • Apply the FILTER>BPelt>Flatten
  • Turn on the original Linework layer again
  • Apply the correct colors to the large areas of the multi-colored layer using the Magic Wand tool.


Now I lock the flat color layer, create a new layer for shading, choose each area and find a darker hue, and brush it in using soft brushes (with the color selected from the Color layer to mask out unwanted shading, like using an airbrush).


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