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Tutorial – Illustration using Mouse in Krita

Illustration without using a pen tablet ?

Illustrations in Krita using the mouse is pretty much every beginners dilemma, as most don’t have access to pen tablets. To overcome this problem, we will now learn how to ink and color our sketches using just the mouse.

Note : You can use your own scanned drawing or follow along the with sketch I have already created.

Requirements :

Time : 3 hours including sketching time.

Art : Scanned illustration to be inked.

Skill level: Beginner.

illustration 1

Line weight is key to creating illustrations having a depth to them. Therefore, when using a mouse we will have to manually create this effect of a tapering stroke.We will learn this first before working on our scanned drawing.

illustration 2

  • Open a New file in Krita .
  • Select the ‘Brush‘ tool (choose the inking brushes).
  • Set the Brush size to 12 px.
  • Set the color to black.
  • Select the ‘Bezier Curve tool form the toolbar.
  • With the tool selected draw a simple line and hit ‘Enter’.

Note : This will create a stroke using settings defined for brush tool previously(12px, black).

  • Now select the ‘Bezier‘ Curve Selection Tool.
  • Select the ends of the stroke and delete the portions the stroke in the way shown in the video below.

illustration 3

The curve will look like image below :

illustration 4

This is the exact way we will be creating lines over our scanned sketch.

  • Now open a new document in Krita.
  • Import the scanned sketch.
  • Set its opacity to 33%.
  • Create a new layer above the sketch layer and name it ‘Ink‘.

illustration 5

  • Now follow the curves along the lines of the sketch and hitEnter‘.
  • The line stroke will be created as per the width of the brush you have set. So don’t forget to check your brush too color and size before using the Bezier Curve.

illustration 6

  • Now taper the ends of the stroke by selecting the ends with Bezier curve selection too.
  • Delete them just like previously discussed.

illustration 7

  • Continue the same way for the rest of the illustration.

Note : There may areas where you can allow the lines to overlap, you can delete unwanted portions later.

illustration 8


illustration 9

No other actions are necessary right now, just follow along the process until you complete the illustration.

illustration 10

Once you have completed the base outline, you can move in on completing the spikes on the back and the eyes.

  • I reduced the brush size here from 12px to 8px, this helps create more variation.

Having lines of uniform width all over will make the illustration look flat.

I used the circle tool to create the eyes, and the Bezier curve again to create the spikes.

The spike lines are quite short, to save time you can try and manually create them the using mouse freehand.

illustration 11


Compared to the whole line art, this segment will be much easier and shorter. So let’s begin.

  • Lock the illustration layer by clicking on the lock icon in the layers panel.

Note : Its frustrating when you inadvertently go about coloring the drawing before you realize you’re painting on the same layer. So to avoid it its best to lock this layer down.

  • Under the inked layer create a new one and call it ‘Base color’.
  • Then select the brush tool and with the mouse just fill in the colors.

illustration 12

The light in this composition will enter from the top right corner.

So we will add highlights to the character based on that.

  • Create a layer and name it ‘Highlights’.

illustration 13

  • Then create a layer called ‘Dark’ above the base color layer.

Note : The shadows of the composition will be created on this layer.

illustration 14

As shown in the above visual,

  • I have used the Bezier curve selection tool to select dark areas,
  • Then used the fill tool to fill in the color.
  • Lastly, I added a background layer below the base color.
  • Then colored a portion of the sky to make the drawing stand out better.

I decided to add few more details such as the tongue and the speed lines to suggest movement. The image below is our final result.

illustration final

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Quick Tips : Smooth strokes using Krita

Let us learn to achieve smooth strokes in Krita.

Here are the requirements in order to get started with smooth strokes :

Device : Pressure pen tablet ( I am using Wacom Intous Medium).

Brush PackKrita Brushkit v8.2(Free). Download it from here.

I prefer using this brush pack by David Revoy (Its free !) and it suits my needs for illustrative work. Its not necessary you use these, you can use the default brushes also.

I will be demonstrating the smooth strokes on the viking sketch drawn below :

smooth strokes

  • Get the pen sketch as a layer in Krita.
  • Then reduce the opacity by 30%

Note : Make corrections to the sketch by going over it on another layer.

As you can see the result down below.We will be using the sketch over for the actual inking.

smooth strokes

  • Add another layer and call it ‘Ink’.
  • Choose your inking brush ( I am using the ‘deevad 1e inking gpen’ from the brush kit.)

  • In Brush tool options choose the weighted smoothing option with default settings.

Note : Weighted smoothing gives you an easier control, compared to the Basic smoothing and is quicker than the Stabilizer option.

smooth strokes

3 Quick tips for smooth strokes

1.Overshooting lines

Now to begin with the inking.

  • I start wider and overshoot my lines following the sketch (Do not mind the lines at this point).
  • Erase the overshot lines using the same brush by hittingE’(transforms the brush into an erasing brush with the same flow and control).

Keep the number of strokes as minimal as possible, for example the outline of the helmet top was done with one single stroke, your work will look neater.

smooth strokes

Overshot lines look far more expressive and increase your inking speed because the lines are far smoother too.

Given below is a comparison of sketch done with overshooting strokes compared to lines done by carefully tracing the sketch.

smooth strokes

2. Using Basing shapes for line work

There will always be areas of sketch where basic shapes can be used to fill out the line art.

  • In our sketch we can use the Ellipse tool to draw out the vikings shield.
  • Then remove certain areas and fill them out to indicate dents or cracks giving it a more organic feel.

smooth strokes


3. Rotating Canvas for easier line work.

  • Rotate the canvas by holdingShift+Space’ .
  • Then adjust the angle using the mouse.

This can help adjust any particular areas of the drawing which are a bit awkward to draw, specially when using a pen tablet where you don’t have enough room.

Use this approach and complete the rest of the inking. My finished result is shown below.

smooth strokes

Wanting to create a 3D book in Blender ? Check out this tutorial Blender : 3D Book.

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