posted on Sep 03, 2018

Clip Studio Paint

Clip Studio Paint

by Spiridon Giannakis |

by Jasmin Darnell. 

When creating an artwork from scratch in Clip Studio, the first thing I do is create an illustration canvas with a familiar paper size, like A5 or B4, and I set the paper color to a muted pale pink or yellow which is easier on the eyes to draw on than stark white. All my sketches are made with a pencil tool I’ve customised to my liking, it’s downloadable here: alternatively the real pencil tool is good for sketches.There are plenty of custom brushes free to download through the software too.

After a very rough first sketch on a new layer, I greatly decrease the layer opacity to about 20% or 30% and add a new layer above where I’ll make a more detailed sketch using the below layer as a rough guide. I repeat this process once or twice (sometimes more) until I’m satisfied with how the sketch is looking, then I can delete any guide layers I created. At this point I often create a top layer where I trace a dark outline of the edges of the drawing for safe keeping in case the edges get messy in the blending or coloring process. I hide this outline until I might need it to reestablish the outlines later.

I start using the blend tool to refine the shapes and create shading on the image. I then add or replace sharper details with the pencil. This process tends to repeat a lot until the blended areas and sharper details seem appropriately balanced. I find that having the drawing layer shaded and finished before adding color makes it a lot easier to get a consistent look with shading and having the drawing be a dark color other than black allows the color layer to show through in the shaded areas. I usually draw with a dark red or if I’m working with initially black lineart, I lighten the layer slightly and adjust the color hue and saturation to something more brown, red or purple than black looking. I think colored lines can create more interesting effects when interacting with the color layer.

Once the monotone sketch is done, I create a multiply layer to add color, usually with an ink pen typed tool for a flat fill and it means I can select blocks of color individually with the magic wand if I want to play with the color balance or contrast (tonal correction). While a color block is selected, I can also airbrush a gradient or shading effect without effecting the rest of the image. When I’m happy with the colors, I can add more refined details with my pencil tool and airbrush. I add a normal layer above for things like highlights or darker outlines. Beneath the other layers I create the background layer. The background tones and pattern brushes often come into play at this point. I tend to gravitate towards the manga effect brushes at times but I’m especially fond of using the lace brush for embellishments and borders. Taking a monotone background pattern on a translucent layer and adding a gradient map (found in the tonal correction menu) is an easy way to give depth or texture to a simple background, I always rasterise background textures or imported stock textures before playing with them. After merging the layers and experimenting with color balance and level adjustment I usually export the image as a .jpg or .png file and it’s done!


CLIP STUDIO PAINT is graphics software, suitable for professional concept art, character design, comics, and animation and beloved by more than 3,000,000 artists worldwide. It offers a wide variety of creative features, such as perspective rulers and artist brushes, including brushes for oil, pastel and watercolor painting that feel close to traditional media.

Win one of 10 CLIP STUDIO PAINT PRO download licenses each month! (Until 31/01/2019) Please apply by filling out the survey from this link: |


Please log in or register to post a comment.