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Illustrator Coloring vector cartoons in illustrator.


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Hello. I have searched a lot about this on the web, but I couldn't find anything concrete. Basically, most tutorials mention how you scan a sketch, make a clear outline in photoshop and import in illustrator.

Then I would need to use pen tool and create shapes. It will all be in 1 "line layer". I understand this part. But then always the guides say, "then you create/use flat colors in a separate layer behind the lines layer".

NONE of the guides I've found show how exactly to color and what they mean by having flat colors in a separate layer under the lines layer ...........
All of the guides just show the colored version without steps how to reach there. It's all so confusing... I can't find the help anywhere on the internet, and I know what swatches, fill, gradients and live paint are, but still that doesn't help with knowing how to use flat colors in a separate layer under the lines layer when trying to vectorize a sketch (or trace scans or other paper medias).

Any help would be deeply appreciated.
FLAT COLOR basically means single shade of color... not a gradient fill... It's usually used in the initial coloring of an image. I'm not talking single color for the entire image, but assigning colors for a part or parts of the image. Take the word COLOR .... C in green, L in red, R in yellow and the O's in blue. It may not even be close to the final colors you plan in an image. Think "TEST COLORS".... colors that you might change later.

I assume you're on Illustrator..... Illustrator has Global Swatches. It allows you to edit the swatch and have all the colors using that swatch in the artwork updated at once.

What is the point of this... ease in selecting the individual components in the color layer. And as the basis for the gradients, fills, shadows and hilights... which are done on separate layers above the FLAT COLOR layer.
Hello, dv8_fx. Thank you very much for your help.

Although, my main problem would be: how do people apply flat colors while working with outlines of their sketches... Do they copy all outlines to a different layer, and then only stroke the upper layer, with no fill, and only fill the lower layer, with no stroke?

I'm asking mostly because once you create a shape (for example, "left eye"), you can already select fill for it. And I am clueless about whether people indeed copy the outlines and stroke 1 layer, fill the other one, or do something weird I found today:
-> a guide mentioned that you can go to Object -> Flatten Transparency , and then the strokes and the fills will get separated 1 by 1..... I am not sure what this really is, and is this what people use... And apparently the fills and the strokes still remain in 1 same layer, which is again, very confusing...

If only some guide/tutorial would show applying colors and shadows step by step, so I wouldn't have to guess what was done and in which order, using which technique...
I forgot the how to color part..... There are a several ways....

1. Use Illustrator’s Pathfinder > Unite feature on a copy of the line art. With the resulting compound path, you can select each interior shape and color/recolor as desired.

2. Use the Offset Path feature with 1 or 2 pixels for the offset to add a bit of overlap. This will ensure there are no gaps where the filled areas meet the line art.

3. Create the the fill shape of each part of the complete image that needs to be colored. This is like creating the image a second time but as individual shapes to fill with color. .... it's like - color by numbers......

Which one you use depends on the structure of your image.
OK... I haven't used illustrator for sometime... now its like CS....

Flatten trasparency creates the shapes needed for the color fills. This is assigned as the FILL LAYER.
In truth... Except for the early days of illustrator... nowadays they don't about how to create the fill layer. I'm surprised myself.... probably the writers assume that everyone has used Illustrator and would know how to do it. Same with COREL DRAW....
I see. So there are several ways to arrange fills, and it depends on situations. I guess it will take me experience to fully understand the ways of working with vectors, although you have helped me considerably.

I am really grateful to you.