Drawing & Coloring with Xara
Step 1 - First I make my rough sketch with pencil and paper. The sketch starts out pretty rough and scribbly just to get down the basic characters, background and composition. I like to draw pretty loose so that the picture has a feeling of spontaneity and fun to it.
Step 2 - Once I have this rough sketch done, I refine it. I tape a new piece of paper on top of it, place it on the light table and draw over the lines. You can also use tracing paper for this step, but I prefer normal paper as it's cheaper and less smudgy.
Step 3 - Scan your drawing as grayscale and save as a JPEG. Step 4 - Open up Xara and import the JPEG file. In order to draw over this rough I change the value of the dark contone by opening the Color Editor and setting the Dark contone to 5fcaff or any light blue color will do.
Step 5 - Add a new layer in the Page & Layer Gallery by selecting New Layer. Name this layer "Drawing." This is where you will draw your lines. I also like to lock the position of the rough sketch layer to prevent accidentally moving it. To do this, click on the little lock icon. Step 6 - Next, you'll want to set your default line properties. I like to select a sort of all-purpose line that I can use to draw with and after I finish all or a few lines, I go back and adjust them. The settings I generally use are: line weight - 2 pt., stroke shape - cigar, fill - none, freehand smoothing slider - 25%. Step 7 - Begin going over your lines one by one adjusting as you go along or waiting to do that after you’re done.
Step 8 - Once you've got all the lines how you want them—including changing the thickness and stroke shape of the lines—you're done, at least with the linework. You'll probably want to color in your picture too. Step 9 - To color your illustration you'll need to create at least one more layer. Add a new layer and name it "Color." On the Page & Layer Gallery select this layer and drag it below the Drawing layer. You may wish to make the Drawing layer uneditable so you don't move around the lines by mistake—up to you. Step 10 - The method I prefer to do coloring is to use the Pen Tool (Shift+F5). I can simply click points around an area for a certain color until I close the shape by clicking on
the first point. Then I adjust the shape with the same tool by dragging/pushing the outer edge of the shape so that it fills the area outlined by the lines in the Drawing layer. This works well although you may wish to also use the Shape Editor Tool for even better adjustments and adding new control points. Be sure your colors have no outline. Step 11 - Once you have all your coloring done you can add gradients and transparencies, fills and bevels, and other effects to add interest to your pic. Step 12 - When the drawing and color are complete, save your original Xara file and then export it in whatever format you want. And that's it!