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Friday, March 23, 2012

How to cheat at drawing - Part 3

Evening Bloggerati,

tonight I thought I'd finish off my tutorial/guide to how I put together cartoons for my other site (www.satiricalblog.com) using Inkscape and Gimp2. 
Which can be found here:-


The first part focussed on the use of Inkscape to trace an outline (and can be found here Part 1)
The second part looked at using GIMP2 to colour the sketch (and can be found here Part 2)  

This third part looks at continuing to use Gimp2 to provide a bit of shading to the cartoon.

So here's where we left off last week...

The first step it to reorganise the layers of the picture.
Dragging the original image layer to the top of the Layer Stack in the right hand window.

Once that is done I hide all other layers (clicking on the  icon) leaving just the original picture.
This is what I'm going to use to provide the shading to the image after a little manipulation.

From the 'Colours' menu I select 'Desaturate...' usually accepting the default options in the window that pops up.

Next I want to enhance the contrast using the 'Brightness-Contrast...' option in the 'Colours' menu.

...using the sliders to just bring out all the areas of light/shade.

So far so simple.
The next steps involves using blur filters and posterise function to produce a simplified shading map for the image.

In the 'Filters' menu I select 'Blur' and then 'Gaussian Blur...'

...and then I adjust the sliders until I've got a suitable amount of blur.
This tends to be between 2-5 px depending on the size of the image.
Essentially what this step does is take out some of the fine detail, blurring together smaller areas of light and shade into larger areas.

Next comes simplifying this layer using the 'Posterise...' function from the 'Colours' menu

...using the slider I normally go for about 4-6 colours/levels of grey, what ever looks best for the image.

Now I have my shading map the next step is to overlay this on the cartoon image.
So while still on the, now black and white, shading layer I change the layer mode from 'normal' to 'soft light'.
And drop the 'Opacity' a little...

...then I make visible all the other layers

...and all that is left is saving it.

 Giving the final result:-

So there you have it, how I cheat at being a cartoonist.




  1. HAH that really is cheating. I could have guessed I guess. I'd still go over the edges with a soft edged smudge to get rid of the harshness of the contrast, but how you do it ends up being so simple it's probably not even worth it.

  2. Whether you are a cheating cartoonist or not, you are a genius, and a expert copypaster and editor.

  3. Cheating? That still seems like an awful lot of work to be considered cheating! Well done!

  4. I appreciate you sharing this tutorial.

  5. Genuinely had myself a go at this, love it :) just got to avoid the people who ask for the original drawing.

  6. Smart one, I like it. Used to do graphics like these in an online application - they sucked, as the quality was harmed due to not full availability of options. Savin' for later!

  7. This is incredible. You are very talented indeed.

  8. Kinda suspected that you were doing this, but I don't see it as cheating. Play the game, playa!

  9. Photoeditting isn't cheating, it's just a different form of art.

    This is a really great tutorial. I'm definitely gonna start making some og my own graphics. I'll give you a shoutout when I do :)