solution for scanning issues

I’ve been working on a piece for some time now, and I generally like the results I get from Toon Boom. One irritating thing it does when I scan, then import/vectorize, is it makes a new pallete for the vectorized image.

Having scanned an awful lot of images into my movie, I now have tons of palettes with one color in them, since when I delete the new pallette I wind up with red where there used to be black.

I finally discovered a work around to this problem. After importing and vectorizing one or more images, go to each image in the drawing pane, use the black arrow to select it, then click the desired color in the desired palette. This will change the color and allow you to delete the palette created by the import/vectorize process.

Kinda too late for the work I’ve done so far, but not too late for what I have yet to do.

yes, I’m aware I’ve spelled palette three different ways. At first I wasn’t sure (no offense, but I ain’t french-- if I was how could I vote this guy Bush out of office?) how it was spelled, and then it was fun, and then I clicked into my Toon Boom and just looked. Brilliant.

… and yes, I am aware that a sizeable portion of the English language comes from French. Where else were we gonna get it at the time? They were right next door!! And not a bad bunch if I do say so myself.

'Nuff said.

Hey, Rob, I thought I’d say hi. I’m working on a new project that doesn’t involve TBS, so I only occasionally pop in and peek around.

I saw your post and I’m grateful for the info you supplied. It’ll come in handy when I finally get back to creating a Toon Boom animation.

Don’t you love it when you create a thread and then end up being the only one contributing to it? I seem to be doing that a lot lately in iMovie (which I’m using for my new multimedia project). I write in, ask a question and no one answers. Then later on I add an update with whatever info I’ve found plus an answer to my own question, just in case someone might benefit from it. Gets a little lonely sometimes, so that’s why I figured I’d jump in with a response to your sharing post.

Plus, I do miss the old Toon Boom Regulars.

Best Wishes,

Hey Elwood!! Great to see you!

I was thinking about you this summer looking at a book the librarian loaned me for the summer (it ain’t event catalogued yet!) featuring drawings and stuff written by illiustrators about their dogs. Seems like one of the drawings reminded me of your style. The book is some kind of fund raiser for an animal thing of some kind…

yeah, this darn import thing…now I have about seven kajillion palettes, and it really is too late to go back and change all of the drawings since they are already painted…whateva.

I’ve also been working on using watercolor backgrounds, which means I had to, umm, learn how to use watercolor, learn to paint, etc. I’m not doing too bad…

And I get to be a teacher again next week instead of a stay at home artist. By the next vacation I get we’ll have a little baby boy running around. Pretty cool stuff.

Hope to check in on the both of ya soon.

Hello Rob,

Your water color technique is coming along really well. I can see that you are moving in a more “loose” watercolor direction than the “flat wash” approach I use, but I’d like to offer a suggestion that might be worth investigating.

The key (at least for me) to getting a nice, rich layer of watercolor is to use high quality watercolor paper. And I highly recommend using quality brushes. I use a number 7 Da Vinci Maestro Kolinsky brush that I get at Dick Blick’s and Arches watercolor paper. Dick Blick also makes a decent in-house Kolinsky brush that is much cheaper. I just got the new watercolor brush by Arches and I’m trying it out for the first time today. Seems like an excellent brush, though I’m not convinced it’s superior to the Da Vinci or another I use, the Raphael brush. We’ll see as I do more work with it. Here’s a link to the Dick Blick site:

So, if you are interested, here’s my approach to creating my art using India ink and watercolor. I posted some of this info a while back on the Flash Filmmaker Forum. You can see the results of my approach on my website.

I begin by working up my sketch on tracing paper until it feels right and then make a nice clean B&W copy on my Canon copier. You can use a computer to scan it and print out a copy. I use a copy because it’s easier to see the image through the watercolor paper–it’s darker than the sketch done in graphite line. I then tape the copy to the back of a piece of Arches 90 pound, Cold Press watercolor paper and place it on my lightbox. You can use “hot press” Arches, for a smoother texture and “rough” for a more textured look. I prefer the middle ground.

Dip pens, like a Gillott or a Crowquille, tend to rip into the soft watercolor paper, so I use my trusty Pelikan #120 Fountain Pen filled with waterproof India Ink (I use some old stock of FW brand that is running low, but is not acrylic base like the new stuff, which I haven’t yet tried). Pelikan no longer makes the pen I use, but I found one online at for $79.50 (the Tradition M250) that looks very similar to my 120.

Here’s the link to PenCity:

Fountain pens are good because they have a slight ball on the tip, which glides more easily over the soft, textured watercolor paper.

The M250 a 14K solid gold nib (good for flexibility) and uses a Piston Filling System, which is very important! They warn against using waterproof India Ink, but I’ve been doing so for years without a problem. Just need to clean out the pen from time to time to avoid clogging. FW ink (at least my old stash) is non-clogging, so that’s important, too.

Okay, back to the process.

I ink-in directly on the watercolor paper, basically tracing off the image coming through from my sketch through the fairly transparent 90# Arches watercolor paper. When it is inked and fully dry (wait 5 minutes), I run it briefly under the faucet to get the whole thing wet, front and back. Not long, just so that the water has covered the full surface of front and back.

I then quickly grab a small office type stapler that opens flat and staple the paper all around the outside edges to a multi-thickness corrugated board. An old pine drawing board will work too–something that won’t buckle when the paper dries taut. If I’m in a hurry, I’ll dry it with a hair dryer on low, though most often I just let it air dry. You can also place a lamp over it to quicken the drying time. A lamp set too close to your paper will sometimes make lumps on the paper surface.

When dry, I lay in my watercolor. Of course, leave it stapled to the board. Makes it nice, too, because you can rotate the board all around to get the color in hard to get at places, etc. I use Pelikan pan-type watercolor, but use tube watercolors, or whatever works for you. Be sure to use Waterproof India Ink for the ink-in, so that the inked line doesn’t bleed as you add your watercolor.

You can begin adding the watercolor BEFORE it completely dries if you are doing a big area and want the dampness to help lay a flat wash. You can also begin even earlier, while the surface is quite damp if you want it to blend with watercolor.

I use small plastic multi-well watercolor palettes to mix my colors. I mix enough to cover whatever I need, like a full sky or whatever–if trying for a flat wash, you don’t want to run out of your nice even color two thirds of the way through!

When you’re done and the watercolor is dry, use a mini-screwdriver or pen knife to remove the staples. Cut away the stapled area and that’s it.

This is the technique I use for all my illustration work and I also used a similar approach for all the drawings (about 550) in my animation, “Little Green Monkey”.

I know this has taken up a lot of space on the Toon Boom Forum, but I figured it might be helpful to anyone attempting to create (bitmap) backgrounds using watercolor.

Best Wishes,

Great stuff…

I’m going to print this out so I can read it before my next painting. I’m a bit sore of eye and somewhat illiterate after my second day of “stupid meetings” the week before school starts.

right now I’m using some cheapo bienfang 140lb watercolor paper, but one of the images I painted scanned very poorly due to the paper texture, so I have been messing around with bristol board. I’ve since checked out another book from the school library that tells me hot press may be smoother and more what I’m looking for. The work I did on bristol wasn’t too bad, but it ain’t the best thing for watercolor since it doesn’t really take the paint in very well. I’ll continue to mess around with different stuff. I can always change backgrounds later on in Toon Boom (there, product placement) without much hassle.

thanks again Elwood.