Step 8 Now that you have solid black lines and solid white base, you need to invert the entire image (Image > Adjustments > Invert).
This piece uses a traditional Japanese-style colour palette, with the baseline work colour being red. To achieve this we need to remove the white from the ‘Artwork’ layer, so that we can put a solid red layer behind it. Double-click your main ‘Artwork’ layer in your Layers panel. Adjust the This Layer: gradient slider at the bottom of the Layer Style dialog, so that the right-hand (white) slider is set to around 245. This removes any white from the image. Hit OK.
Create a new layer and leave it blank. Merge it with the ‘Artwork’ layer. This allows you to colour the black areas of the image using a Layer Style – I’m not really sure why this works, but it does, so roll with it.
Step 9 Create a new layer called ‘Red’, then hit Select > All (or Cmd/Ctrl + A). Fill this layer with a similar red to the one used in the final illustration. I’ve use Layer Style > Color Overlay to do this. Arrange the ‘Red’ layer so that it’s beneath the ‘Artwork’ layer. Using Color Overlay again, make the ‘Artwork’ layer blue and rename this layer ‘Blue’.
Step 10 I’m using cream as the highlight colour in this illustration. I chose not to use white as cream seemed to give it a slightly more authentic Japanese feel. This is what I was trying to achieve – a modern illustration that takes reference from Japanese artwork.
Select the Lasso tool and begin picking out the areas that appear as cream in the final illustration. Remember you are highlighting areas that you want to stand out, for example, the skeleton’s head and the bike.
If you have a graphics tablet handy, it could prove very useful at this stage.