First, let's start with what "grayscale" means. Very simply put, grayscale is a range of gray shades from white to black. A grayscale image is composed exclusively of shades of gray, varying from black at the weakest intensity to white at the brightest intensity.
Grayscale coloring is basically taking a grayscale image and then coloring it. Imagine coloring an old black and white photograph. That is grayscale coloring! You just color right over the grayscale.
There are a couple ways to approach grayscale coloring
Fully cover the grayscale with color making sure to follow the gray when deciding where and how dark or light the color you use should be.
This is the approach I tend to follow and you'll see lots of examples of in this blog and on the site. Within this approach there is a range of preciseness. You can be extremely precise and exact with your color in order to capture and enhance every detail (e.g. expertly coloring each little bump in the rooster's wattle being sure to accentuate lights and darks) or you can be much less precise and just color right over the details with one color and those details will still come through and enhance your final picture.
In the rooster example below, I would say my approach falls right in the middle. I went through and accentuated some of the bigger details (e.g. folds in the wattle) by applying the appropriate lights and darks but I did not focus on capturing all the tiny details.
However, in the walrus example done by the very talented Ann Reid, you will see that she captured every detail beautifully!
The wonderful thing about grayscale coloring is the entire range of extremely precise to not very exact yields a great result and allows the colorist to choose the approach they find most enjoyable and rewarding.
Leave some gray exposed, letting it contribute to the final image.
This can be a wonderful and stylized approach to coloring grayscale. It can provide a very dramatic result. I will be going into greater depth on this style of grayscale coloring in a future post.
I'm a Mom of 2 from Vancouver, Canada. I recently discovered grayscale coloring and loved it so much I published Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Nature because there were no high quality grayscale coloring books to be found. Join me as I write about the grayscale coloring techniques I have learned and that I am continuing to discover!