Hey, all! I've been experimenting with a new style recently, and I wanted to make a post breaking it down for anyone interested in the process:
The main difference between these illustrations and my usual style is that I don't start with line art; the figures' defining shapes are mostly separated by contrasting colors, and I only use line art, sparingly, for interior details.
Here's one figure from start to finish (all done in Photoshop):
Loose sketch, just using the pencil tool
Tighter drawing, still just using the pencil tool
On a new layer set to "multiply", I use the pencil tool and trace the main shapes with different colors, then fill them in.
Here's how that looks when I hide the guiding sketch layer and set the colors' layer to "normal"
Next, I add line art on a new layer with a lightly textured brush. I use a reddish tone because I like how it looks compared to just plain black line art. I use the fewest lines possible; just clarifying sections that overlap, like this guy's armpit and a few wrinkles in his clothing, plus his face. Rather than outline his front leg overlapping the back, I mute the colors in his back leg to create the illusion of depth.
Here's what the line art looks like when isolated
On a new layer, I add a texture to the figure. I select all, then subtract the negative space, so I just have the entire figure's outline selected. I use a textured brush to add a marble-y desaturated blue. This is what the layer looks like when isolated.
...And here's what it looks like when set to "color burn" and 70% opacity over the colors layer but below the line art layer. It affects dark colors more than light colors, so I noodle with opacity and sometimes darken the texture effect over light sections, like his skin and socks (which still end up having less of that textured look).
I select the entire figure again, expand the selection by about 20 pixels, invert the selection, and fill the background layer with a color I like.