Rock It With Only A Few Colors

Table of Contents

I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read the disclosure.

You’ve Read:


Written by Juha

Sometimes it is just nice to color a drawing with simple colors and with as few as possible. I didn’t intend to color this piece black, white, grey and red. Originally I wanted to draw a portrait but somehow this is what came up.

I am happy with the end result even though this is far from what I had in mind or what I envisioned. I guess that is also one point. A drawing can sometimes take you to another place. Somewhere you didn’t imagine to go in the first place.

rock it with only a few colors


This should have been a portrait. Then I drew half body illustration. Started the coloring but suddenly found black shadows. Then got inspired by Persona 5 art style and ended up with this. So let’s go through how this image was made.

rock it with only a few colors_sketch

Base design and new features

I hate blank canvas. I mean how uninspiring it is to watch a canvas that has nothing. Then you have to start drawing… something. I had a vision of drawing a portrait. In this moment I had an email from Celsys. The company behind Clip Studio Paint. They had released a new version of the program. Except for this time it had one feature I have always adored. But now they made it even better.

3D figure tool. They added this 2.0 version of it. Making the figure more manga like and more appropriate for drawing characters with the help of 3D figure. Now, you might say “but that is cheating”. Now, is it really? Think about it. You are drawing digitally but you are not allowed to use digital tools and features? Really? Why not. I mean, these tools are there to help you. Not to make you worse than you are.

It is your decision whether you embrace digital tools as a whole or not. At one point in my life, I decided that screw it. I will take advantage of drawing digitally. I will use all the tools necessary to achieve the results I am after. That also means to use tools and features available in each art program.


rock it with only a few colors_sketch_2


3D modeling and posing

Getting back to the blank canvas. I have found that just placing something on the canvas makes the creative process that much easier. You have something you can mold. Something you can improve. Something to brainstorm at. With the help of this new awesome 2.0 feature.

I was ecstatic. I could finally produce the results I have tried so long to do with the previous 3D model. This version has all the right settings. Neck width, head proportion, leg length and waist width etc. Damn! This is awesome.

The first thing, of course, is to find some good pose and for this, I used a shortcut and just picked ready made pose and tweaked it a bit for myself. Now, is this cheating yet again.



rock it with only a few colors_lineart


These tools are here to help you. Take advantage of those. You can always study and learn how to draw human anatomy from the back of your head.

No one is denying that from you. Just do it. I haven’t yet taken that path. I know deep inside me that I should study human anatomy more.

Sure, knowing the fundamentals is always good to know. I don’t deny that. I just progress at my own pace. Mastering different parts of the drawing process in small steps.

rock it with only a few colors_coloring

Start with reference images

When I have the pose and the right feeling in place. I pick a good reference image and start to draw eyes, hair etc. A good thing about reference images is that you get some kind of idea of the end result. Now, I did not copy or trace the reference image.

Now that would be cheating. Right. That is not why those reference images are there for. You only pick ideas and solutions from those. Drawing eyes is one of the things I just want to get right and even though I have drawn damn many eyes before.


I still struggle with the skill of transferring my vision from my head to the canvas. It’s not easy. Sometimes the vision in your head is too hazy. This is the moment where you use reference images.


To clear that haze in your head. I sketch using the standard Rough Pencil that comes with the Clip Studio Paint program. I think the brush is just awesome.

There is this superb lead-type texture to it. It looks like the line was drawn to a paper. And yes, that is kind of the point. Sketches should look very loose and easy. Like the lines should flow more than concentrating on the details.

I honestly don’t always follow this “rule”. Sometimes I like to draw in the details right off the bat.

rock it with only a few colors_coloring_2

Line art and shading

When I have a good base for the drawing it is time to start the line art process. I usually do the line art with a textured brush. However, in this case, I used a different method. I wanted to draw the line art fast and efficiently.

So I picked my trusty G-pen Okuha Lineart brush and started to draw the line art. Now, when you use a brush like this. Brush with no texture. It is enough to draw one line and move to the next. With a textured brush that is not so.


With a textured brush, you have to feel the line a bit more. You slightly transfer more emotion to the line. With no texture applied to the brush. You just draw and the result is there. Fast and efficient.



Line art completed, I move on to shading. I painted the base colors and as usual, I do the majority of the shading while there is one light layer above all color layers. Still, beneath the line art layer. It just makes the whole shading process that much easier.

You only focus on the shading. Focus on the volume and make sure the shading creates interesting shadows and also that the objects form is logical.
Soon that the shading was completed, I noticed how the overall feel for the drawing was off. I mean, yes it looks good but something just doesn’t work.

More than often it’s the color choices. Values and hues. If those two are off, the drawing usual sucks. Well, at least from those parts. See, you should always pay just a little attention to the basics. I don’t pay attention too often or all the time.

I guess it might be because you know things automatically by practice? When the drawing is not working you have to pay attention to the basics.


Details and refinement

I very quickly noticed that the color scheme just didn’t work and by trial and error. Experimenting and failing. I found the almost pure black shadows. I also remembered this Persona 5 game and the style it had. Making the colors grey and taking the background to red. Gave the best result and also a new feel to the drawing.

Few minor adjustments like making the grey layer to color mode and adding the subtle details with my brand new graphics brush (G-pen Okuha Lineart 2 random enhancer). The drawing started to look good and something that resonated with me.

You know, the drawing gave me good vibes. I think that is important when you are finalizing the drawing. To get that smile to your face. even though the character looks sinister. The drawing looks good to my eyes. Putting those white lighting details to the drawing enhanced the drawing to its completion.

This was nothing that I invented. You see. I used reference images and picked ideas here and there. Combined my own knowledge and put the piece together.

rock it with only a few colors_completed

Just a reminder on creativity

There are times when you feel not so creative. I have had those lately, kind of have so much going on. I do realize that that is affecting my creative process. When you have too much in your head. How can you have room for creativity?

Think about it. How can you be creative when your thoughts go all over the place. This piece wasn’t so hard to draw. Ready-made-pose, right reference images and a bit of creativity. These drawings are quite easy to do when your head is spinning stuff.

Keep it simple.

Keep it creative.

We are only humans. Don’t punish yourself too much.

Rock it with only a few colors.

Table Of Contents

This site uses cookies to personalize content, provide social media features, and analyze website traffic. You have the right to disable cookies at the browser level, though this may impact your experience. To learn more or opt-out, read Cookie Policy. Please also read the Privacy Notice and Terms of Use. By choosing I Accept, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies.