Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login


Submitted on
August 28, 2012
Image Size
1.3 MB


20,129 (15 today)
800 (who?)
SAI Character Coloring Tutorial by R-ena SAI Character Coloring Tutorial by R-ena
For Paint Tool SAI. I was too lazy to open something that gave access to text, so please read the comments or you might just be staring at a bunch of odd pictures inside a purple box.

Tools: Pencil, airbrush, brush, watercolor, optional blur.

- Lineart, use brush tool on 20~40ish dilution.

0 - Base colors, just use the pencil tool with 100 opacity.

1 - Color in the eyes and do a simple darker shade over the top half with the watercolor tool.

2 - Make a layer set as "shade", make a circle in the middle of the eye for the pupil and a few specs surrounding it, play with the airbrush tool at the softest setting with low opacity to make the inside of the pupil a little lighter than the outside (press "Z" to make it transparent, so it works like the eraser), make another stroke at the bottom of the pupil with the brush tool if you want to.

3 - Make a "screen" layer and use a largish pencil tool setting, use the same color as the lighter shade you used on step 1 to make a bubble in the bottom of the eye, then just make a glare in wherever you want the lighting to be from.

4 - Use the softest airbrush setting on low opacity to make a gradient-like effect over the base color for the skin.

5 - Make a new layer over the base color for the skin, in the layer effects, select fringe and add the shades using the watercolor tool with 40-50ish dilution. If you like softer skin shades, you can use the blur tool to give the shades a softer look.

6 - Make another layer without fringe and add some dull blue or purple shades, don't over do it.

7 - Use airbrush again to make a gradient effect over the hair.

8 - Again, use fringe in your layer settings and the watercolor tool to add shades, this time you can use a little less dilution if you want.

9 - Throw on an overlay layer or two with light and dark shades to add color to the hair, use the airbrush again for this, with the same settings. If you want to, make a screen layer and add some harder light effects.

10 - Airbrush over the base color.

11 - Watercolor and fringe again, for some shades you might want less dilution and for some you might want more. For clothing you can usually use a pretty big sized brush, and then for the sharp folds just use the eraser tool and cut through the big folds. That doesn't work on every fold, so you have to play around a bit.

12 - Add overlay, multiply and screen layers with the airbrush tool.

I use this method for coloring characters the whole time, so it doesn't change after this until the end. Most everything I learned about this style was from studio members. :dummy:

If anything made absolutely no sense, or if you are curious about stuff, please let me know.

Completed: [link]
Add a Comment:
PaoGoth Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2014  Student General Artist
geniall!! *-* lo adoré! Neko Emoji-42 (Kawaii Moe Smile) [V3] Neko Emoji-42 - (Kawaii Admiring) [V3] 
Tart-a-Tea Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Shinky-Pink Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014
Mind telling me your waterbrush setting?
R-ena Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2014   Digital Artist
I don't remember my exact settings for this, but right now they are set to this.
I change them as needed. :)
deshanrocks Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
what are your airbrush settings?
R-ena Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2014   Digital Artist
These are my airbrush settings:…
deshanrocks Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
harumikanaka Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Um, thank you for this! I'm going to try it out in a bit. Oh and I was wondering if you could tell me your prefered brush settings? (although I've been using sai for quite a while, I've noticed that I'm still pretty bad with finding my way around the tools which is probably one of the things preventing me from improving)
R-ena Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2013   Digital Artist
My main tools are the water color, brush, airbrush and pencil tools. I change the settings for them depending on what I need them for. For watercolor, which I use for shading, I have blend set for around 25~50, and dilution is around the same amount, but only if I'm not coloring on the same layers as the base colors. For this style, brush is generally at around 25~50 dilution as well for the lineart. Opacity is at 100% for both, I leave all other settings at 0.
Drgig Featured By Owner May 20, 2013  Student General Artist
thank you!
Add a Comment: