The result of this blog post tutorial exercise over the first part, click to enlarge

 "Getting started with Krita" is a tutorial series of three blog post. The tutorials are designed for Krita 2.7  ( or later version ) + my brushkit V3 . So, be sure to have them installed before start. I hope you'll learn something with this series. My goal here is to share the passion I have for digital painting and help new talents to get faster rid of the technical aspect to do the essential : telling stories, sharing beautifull pictures, expressing an artistic soul, etc... 

My second tutorial cover the steps necessary to bring a black and white artwork to the world of colors. Stay tuned for the last part, I'll annuciate it on G+, Twitter or you can use the RSS of this blog to follow.  


Contents : 
Part 1.   :  black and white : setup and modeling
Part 2.   :  colorize : layer stack of blending mode  ( you are here )
Part 3.   :  finalising : render, post effect  (link soon, to be published )

Let's paint !   

Note :  I let you the care to save your document often during the process as on the part 1 . I advice the 'Krita document' ( *.kra ) files , but this time , why not just pressing 'F2' from time to time and see what's happen ? it's a feature nammed "incremental save", and it's useful to keep track of your 'work in progress' steps. 
Note 2: Click on the pictures to enlarge them. 


1. Open your artwork done on the first part. Set your zoom to 50% and center the artwork into your viewport. Don't forget to activate the mirror mode in the top toolbar. 


2. Flatten all your layers Ctrl+Shift+E or Layer>Flatten Image  , name the result 'b&w' . Duplicate your 'b&w' layer, name it 'colorbase' and call the Hue/Saturation/Windows color filter by pressing Ctrl+U. Check the 'Colorize' box.  


3. With the Hue and Saturation slider, search the main tone of your picture ( don't use the Lightness slider, keep it at 0  ) . Here I want a desaturated blue hue. Then press ok


4. Create a new 'paint layer' above, nammed 'color' with the blending mode HSY > Color . Take the airbrush preset. Do a first pass of teinting area of your artwork with pure colors and test around. Fun , right ? on a 'HSY color' blending mode layer, all the stroke affect only the Hue and saturation , not the value. So you can keep your value and paint color without destroying them.  


5. Keep painting and note the color picker (  hold Control key plus click )  works fine on a Color type of layer.  Adjust when necessary by removing the color with 'E' the 'eraser mode' to reveal the base color underneath or enrich the range of colors in your artwork by using hue from the Advanced Color Selector. I often restrict myself to unsaturated tones because it's easier to saturate or enrich later.  You can see on the screenshot my 'layer preview' ( a dialog who appear on the bottom right, it will appear also for you if you keep stylus over the layer name ). This preview will give you an idea of the painting work I do on it. 


6. Create a new paint layer named 'glaze' and with the blending mode  Arithmetic > 'multiply'. We will do now an almost similar pass than a traditional glazing with oil painting .  Take again the airbrush with mid opacity and glaze the colors, add red in the shade of the skin to flesh the model , make deeper the zone where the skin doesn't reflect light , and let see more the blood color under the skin. Crease also some deeper shade for the hair.  Glaze the eyes as if you would perform a make-up on them. Resize your brush if necessary to perform more little details. I don't advice to zoom in.  Glaze also the lips as if you were applying lipstick on them. Remember glazing will darken only the colors and so it's important to keep doing it steps by steps, low opacity strokes by low opacity strokes. Glaze the overall artwork till you reach a good aspect ; this include hairs, backgrounds, etc...  ( Note : Glazing steps is good to add stain, tatoo, patterns but to keep this tutorial clean and generic, I'll keep my basic character ).  


7. Create a new paint layer nammed 'vivid' and use the blending mode Mix > 'overlay' on it. With a dark airbrush at low opacity , vivid the shadows. It should increase the contrast in those zones and also unify the local tones. Do the same with a bright color to Enlight zone and so, increase the intensity of the lighting. With white , do little and subtle corona of light around your higher values ; such as reflection on the lips, and on the eyes. 


8. Create a new paint layer nammed 'texture' and use the blending mode Mix > 'overlay' on it also.  With a dark grey and a variety of preset who do textures on the canvas , we will add a soft texture to part of our artwork. For example,  a bit of grain to the skin. Be subtle , the effect should not 'jump' into the eyes, but be a secondary thin effect. If your effect is too strong , erase it.


The colorization setting for our artworks is now done. The goal was to 'block' the colors of our artwork.  Also, I kept the color choice simple on my example even if it's a bit boring and generic. But i think a tutorial example as to be generic to be enough open. The important is now about what you can do with it.  Feel free to test make-up ; tatoo , blue skin , reptilian skin , colored hair ,  etc... etc.... more material , more lighting situation. 

A bit more about the 3 pass,  'color' / 'multiply' / 'overlay' :
There is endless way to digitally colorize a black and white artwork. Here is just a 'cooking' proposition on how those three pass of layer blending mode  'color' / 'multiply' / 'overlay' can work together. They work better if you kept your black and white value bright as we did on the previous tutorial.  If you practice them, they become predictable.  I hope this visit threw the interface of the powerful options of Krita  made you discover new aspect of this app you ignored before. Repeat it again till you'll feel more confident with the steps to replicate without this page and express your color tastes with this tool and method.  

Next part  ( to be published ) we will learn the way to push the rendering to a higher definition and correct bugs.  Our picture has many issue now , and don't offer many details. By the way, those issues and bugs can have a charm. A 'speed-painting' charm. 


A question ?
 Want to share the link of your results ? 
 discuss ? use the comments, I'll be around  :-) 

25 comments

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1. todor thursday 05 september 2013, 02:39

this is absolutely awesome!! Thank you for sharing. :))

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2. Mr. Anon thursday 05 september 2013, 15:58

Great tutorial!
I am Gimp user and want to switch to Krita, and just heard about that HSV blend mode...

This tutorial reminds me that every artist has its own way to paint, especially in digital art. I learn digital painting by trial and error, most of the case without using any tutorial. Usually I paint with less layer as possible, not adding new layer but changing the brush mode, and I think I made a mistake... Your way is more easier... (;_;)

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3. kot-barbos sunday 08 september 2013, 20:07

Hell, thats awesome! I knewed about layers blending modes but didn't knew how they work and never studied this question by some reason. But this article ^^ open my eyes. I'm so impressed doing this kind by myself. And now i realised that coloring with help of layers blending modes muc easier and faster, I'd even say a hundried times faster and easier. At least for me)) Thx, David, for this article!

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4. Franck B monday 09 september 2013, 21:59

Bonjour David, toujours du bon travail... je viens d'installer Krita (win). En téléchargeant la version krita_x64_2.7.8.13, c'est la version 2.8 pre-alpha qui s'installe... avec tes brushes...
Une question : il y a visiblement la possibilité de choisir la langue de l'interface. Sais tu où on peut télécharger les fichiers de langue ? merci par avance.
Franck B
Paris

5. David REVOY tuesday 10 september 2013, 14:55

@Franck B :
merci! Oui. Pour Windows les dev continuent d amener des modifications car Krita n y est pas stable contrairement a sur Linux. Donc 2.8 et alpha pour dire en cours. Au sujet de la langue, j ignore windows. Sous Linux Krita suit la langue systeme et est traduit a 100% en fr.

6. David REVOY tuesday 10 september 2013, 14:57

@todor @kot-barbos @Mr. Anon : Thanks!

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7. Nathaniel Schultz wednesday 11 september 2013, 00:02

Awesome, cannot wait for the next part.

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8. Stramaz tuesday 01 october 2013, 23:05

Very good tutorial. A simple question: starting from a Black and White drawing is your usual main process to get your final illustration ..or not?
I usually start with a simple sketch and then I immediately color and adjust it until I get the final work.
Probably this is a good alternative way ...I need to try :)

9. David REVOY wednesday 02 october 2013, 01:00

@Stramaz : Thanks ! Yes, I often start with black&white sketch and I'm a kind of drawer who can't really keep it 'line art' or black and white ; even with a pen I need to crosshatch some value. I think I really like working values.
Coloring immediately also happen ( more and more ) but I'm still not enough skilled to can manage right value and hue at the same time. My brain often need to split this into two pass.

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10. Jonas saturday 12 october 2013, 23:01

I don't understand. When I use HSY → Color blend mode, my colors are much brighter than the ones I chose in the Advanced Color Picker.

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11. Jonas sunday 13 october 2013, 01:08

I think I understand now, you need to have the value already set in the black and white image when you reach this part.

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12. Cestarian monday 03 february 2014, 01:10

Nice tutorial, but when I'm coloring like this, white becomes blue and black becomes light grey. This confuses me immensely, for example what if i'd want to make a dark haired character but haven't got any black?

13. David REVOY monday 03 february 2014, 02:15

@Cestarian : Thx ! for your color invading your whites and blacks ; just paint them with white/or/grey/or/black with a 'color' layer. You can also increase the black value and the white in the 'vivid' pass by painting white or black.

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14. Cestarian monday 03 february 2014, 15:10

Thanks for your reply, but the problem is occurring when I use the 'color' layer. The darkest color (black) is Light Grey if I use the color layer, but it's perfectly fine black on any other layer.

But I'll go with your suggestion to increase the darkness in the vivid pass. Worst case scenario I'll end up with a grey haired character, practice is practice after all.

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15. Cestarian monday 03 february 2014, 15:10

Thanks for your reply, but the problem is occurring when I use the 'color' layer. The darkest color (black) is Light Grey if I use the color layer, but it's perfectly fine black on any other layer.

But I'll go with your suggestion to increase the darkness in the vivid pass. Worst case scenario I'll end up with a grey haired character, practice is practice after all.

16. David REVOY monday 03 february 2014, 15:21

@Cestarian : Yes, it can take a bit of time before getting predictable effects. My technic is based on what I used to do when painting with traditionnal media. This is the 'grisaille' oil technic ; more infos about it in this lovely video : http://youtu.be/vK9KVRH3Qm4 ; I do :
- black and white pass ( part 1 ) to get a grisaille
- Color layer ( start of part 2 ) to get dead colors
- Multiply layer ( mid part 2 ) to do the glazing
- Overlay ... this part is not in oil painting , but I use it just to reinforce the local contrast and boost/vivid colors.

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17. Cestarian monday 03 february 2014, 16:28

Thanks for the video, it was hard for a n00b like me to keep up with it though, but watching it I now better understand the thought process behind what I was doing in part 1 of the tutorial, so it helped :)

One thing I always have problems with though is selecting the colors for the skin, and sometimes the hair can be a bit tricky too.

When it comes to the skin, in this tutorial I tried to find my own skin color which turned out questionably well, but before when I drew some portraits as an exercise, I found a random picture from my wallpapers folder which had a skin-tone that I liked and picked out the skin color, then copied it to my painting program.

Do you have any tips or know about convenient tutorials about that? You seem to be really good at it.

18. David REVOY monday 03 february 2014, 18:20

@Cestarian : Thanks for your comments about my skin tones. I'm constantly working on it; and when I see work of masters ; I feel I still have to study a lot. As far as I understand it ; it's important to approach skin not as a surface , but as a 'full' material. Bones, blood, skin thickness, nerves ; all of this impact on the final color selected for the skin. Mixing this with shading of the scene, and tones of the ambiant ; and it's probably one of the most difficult material to render.
Some easy and constant tips :

- Shadows are often reddish and saturated ; no light impacting on the surface make it easier to see trought it ( and reveal blood tint )
- Greasy part tend to reflect more light than other parts and shine
- Part with small hairs can catch environment light ; like the bright blue of a sky

A good start to learn 2D material rules is on this tutorial : http://androidarts.com/art_tut.htm , one of my favorite tutorial.

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19. Cestarian monday 03 february 2014, 20:17

Thanks a lot! those are some nice tips and a great tutorial! (Ironically, I saw a link to that tutorial on the Krita forums just yesterday but never opened it, what a shame it would have been to miss out on that gold mine!)

Not only are you one of the artists that inspired me from the start, but you've also helped me immensely in the process of getting started as an artist with your tutorials and replies ^_^ (And I've still got a few of your tutorials in queue, like the Chaos & Evolutions one which is currently next in line)

I'll be keeping an eye out for your stuff of course, and you may see more of my comments around here and there. When I'm starting to think that I'm getting pretty decent at art, I'll make sure to let you know as one of the people that helped me (directly even) to get there.

20. David REVOY monday 03 february 2014, 21:43

@Cestarian : That's nice ! Thank you, and again I wish you to find all the time and patience necessary to train your art. A last link about a 10 year old tutorial from a master , I learned a lot with this one : http://www.androidblues.com/JealousySte … ystep.html :-)

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21. Cestarian monday 03 february 2014, 23:04

Thanks :)

That one was nice and short, I learned a few things about how to work with lighting. Highlighting in particular from that one.

I feel that I can probably learn more from it later though when I've learned more than I have now. Luckily I write down all the tutorials I go through in my DA journals so I can dig them up later to re-visit. I should keep them in a single list though.

I do this because since I'm learning, and trying to do it fast (even if I'm patient enough to take my time of course, I don't rush even if I'm in a hurry, and since I got a tablet I've progressed slowly but read and watched a lot of tutorials and don't allow it to drag me down, I know it's just temporary.) Once I've had some decent success and can draw at least half decently, I'd like to set up a guide designed to take people step by step from being "bad" at drawing up to the level I'll be at in as short amount of time as humanly possible, simply by pointing them towards the right tutorials and what order to follow them in. I'm hoping it'll be good enough to help people to go from "no/low" skill to "mediocre/half-decent/above-avg" or better skill level in a matter of months. Preferably just one month really, but that's super optimistic. However that's one of my side-goals, even if it's not exactly my true motivation & ambition ;) some of your tutorials are bound to be there (the tablet calibration one is worth it's bytes in gold for example, and the open-source by choice article is something I think most people should read to be more informed on the software-side of things)

22. David REVOY tuesday 04 february 2014, 09:05

@Cestarian : Nice you keep a journal of it. It's really precious , I'm curious what type of tutorial is the more useful when starting.

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23. Cestarian wednesday 05 february 2014, 23:18

Long Post Ahead (my bad wall'o-text habit is showing, but I guess "what type of tutorial is most useful" is a complicated subject)
Well, I guess since I'm a beginner that makes me ideal to ask, but since I haven't learned all too much yet it may be a bit too soon to ask.

In general though, you can divide beginners into 3 categories

1: Traditional Art Beginners (Most/all people start here, I started here even if I got a tablet after only 3 days)
2: Digital Art Converts (People who are lucky enough to already be good at traditional art, but completely new to tablet drawing)
3: Digital Art Beginners (People at my stage; Total n00bs that are starting out on digital art, the rare "Pure Digital Artist" type)

What kind of tutorial is ideal depends most importantly on what the artist wants to do, but secondly on what category he falls into.

Usually what they want to do can be divided into 3 categaries as well. (Ignoring the differences between "Painters" and "Drawers", for me I actually want to combine both painting and drawing techniques, like one of my other favorite artists; Elsevilla)

1: Human(oid) figures & Portraits
2: Inhuman figures (Monsters/Animals)
3: Environments

I guess there are many more subcategories to each, but for example if someone wants to be good at drawing objects (like trees, spheres, tables) he falls under environments.

Most artists will want to do all 3, but they have to start at just one of those, the one that's most important to me. For me out of what I listed I'm artist category 3 and focus category 1.

You can keep these in mind when making tutorials (what types of users would you like to help)

Then theres different kinds of tutorials. General and Specific. The one we've got here is very specific to digital art and coloring/shading/highlighting previously drawn objects, then inbetween the lines the reader can learn some things about drawing portraits even if you didn't actually explain much about it (i.e. this tutorial assumes that the artist is already at an intermediate level in portrait drawing)

However the beauty of it is that since it focuses the most on workflow and on coloring/shading, it can actually be applied to any drawing. This tutorial is as much gold as the reader can make it out to be I guess, largely because it's lacking in detailed explanation (it takes reader maturity and attentiveness to learn a lot from this tutorial)

This tutorial was useful to me, but I feel that due to the lack of explanation it's both hard for me to follow and for less patient newcomers, it could even be impossible to follow. However that is fine because this tutorial (I assume) was aimed at intermediate artists rather than novices. However for an example of the areas where I failed, My version of the picture looks like an asian adult woman rather than a young european girl, the hair is a gooey mess, the shading looks hideous, the lips are not pretty and I haven't finished the coloring part (face looks like clay) deciding that I'll return to this tutorial later when I'm more used to the tablet. My picture looks downright creepy, but I learned a lot from you about drawing realistic looking eyeballs. However, since the eyeballs are the only thing in the image that looks good, the rest looks downright creepy.

I keep my tutorials documented in my deviantart daily journals, both the previously seen and the queued. You can see them here http://cestarian.deviantart.com/journal/?catpath=/

I don't comment much on them though, except the ones I've figured out by now were particularly useless.

Let me count up here which ones of the ones that are in the seen list at this moment (up to 20) I find the most golden.

7 & 9 (Good basic concepts to know about)
8 (Real gold for a beginner who wants to go straight to pose design; stickman skeleton make for decent training wheels)
13 (Just some general info that's good to have about tablet usage)
15 (Concept that all you really need to think about when painting is light and shadow; a bit advanced for me though, but I keep it at the back of my head)
18 (This goes beyond gold; It's a diamond for a beginner of any art style I believe)
19 (Yes, you! this is something that 13 didn't cover, but is absolutely essential; No wonder it was so hard to use the tablet. I followed this here tutorial without actually calibrating my tablet, looking back that's just pure hell, nothing comes out right)

there's also something I forgot to add to the list the other day; but am adding to todays journal, that's Alphonso Dunn's 5 stages tutorial
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzydK56tr9U
and ways to draw faster (which really doesn't teach you anything about drawing faster, but perspective and proportions)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLxJItMVvf8

When you break things down, what I personally find most useful are the tutorials that teach me the fundamentals and barebone basics, but teach them WELL. And there's nothing I love more than cheap tricks (for example, the mirroring function in Krita which allows me to get away with drawing half a picture instead of a full picture, or how to draw a box (i.e. draw 2 square shapes overlapping with each other, then connect the corners)

So yeah, any tutorial that covers the basic basics of all basics is a good tutorial. this may include but is not limited to

Techniques (<- Tips and Tricks, for example rotating the canvas, your tablet ergonomics tutorial, how to hold a pen, how to determine where light hits, etc)
Workflow (this tutorial was great for that, but everyone eventually finds their own workflow I guess)
Drawing general objects & shapes (Like the "how to draw" that tells me to draw endless cylinders and spines which automatically imprints some basic technique in my head)
Drawing specific objects in non-specific shapes/angles (Head, hair, HANDS & FEET!!!, female/male body overall)
Shading/Highlighting (You go a bit into that in this tutorial, but not in detail, then there's cel and soft shading and whatnot to think about)
General software usage (Keyboard shortcuts, Keyboard shortcuts, Keyboard shortcuts, functions like layers, brushes, selecting a resolution(thanks!), etc)
Specific tool usage (in software, for example selecting the right brush, the right filter, creating brushes, using patterns, using layers, etc)


Yeah, there's just a lot to art. Lot of content to cover, and it would probably take years for one person to cover it all. But when it comes down to it, I think the very best tutorials come from skilled artists teaching everything they know in detail about the thing they think they're best at and enjoy doing the most.

So when making a tutorial you could just pick an area that you yourself think you excel in (no one would know better than you yourself what you excel at), think about it real heard and break it down into details, then make a tutorial explaining these details as well as possible in as few words as possible, but the really hard part about making a good tutorial is while still using few words; make it easy to follow for a novice.

This here tutorial is hard for a novice to follow, could be impossible. for some. Calibrating the stylus tutorial is perfect for a novice to follow (you even go into details) tutorials that don't require great skill.

Explaining how to do that is hard, I don't even know. When I make tutorials they're usually very easy to follow, but super long too (walls of text)

If you want to apply some video-game logic to making a good tutorial, watch this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCPcn-Q5nKE

I'm sorry; I'm going into more detail.

Basically, a good tutorial is gradual, to make it good you must start at an elementary school level stuff. For example, how to draw a sphere, cylinder or box (for drawing) how to color an area with a single color (not worrying about shading or highlights, like this one does)

I'm sure you understand what I mean by now :P (Sorry for talking in circles like that)

The basics are

"As few words as possible, but as many details as possible" (One way to do this is to make a tutorial with minimalistic explanations with links to heavier, detailed explanations about every single thing being taught in it + a foreword that says "avoid reading the detailed information links until after you finish the tutorial" by minimalistic explanation I really mean 'why' so for example the foreword should also include "Because: if you stop to read too often you'll lose your flow and have to warm up again" or something like that.)

"Start at as low/easy a level as possible" (Like drawing stick figures or simple shapes like boxes or circles)

"More action, less text" (Keep people engaged in the tutorial so they don't have to take long breaks to read and lose their flow, this here tutorial is a perfect example of doing it right, however the drawing in your example is pretty much too complicated for a beginner, i.e. he needs to already have a good enough understanding of fundamental basics to know how to draw a portrait and all the elements of it (shape the eyes, draw the hair, proportions, etc) to be able to progress through it)

If you want to cover advanced topics in tutorials (like right here, coloring + shading is pretty advanced, perspective is advanced too) it's a good idea to make a series of tutorials starting at something so easy a child could do it, that eventually leads to an advanced technique. Like shading with colors rather than b&w transparent brushes level of advanced technique.

I think the most perfect example of a good art tutorial for a beginner is this (1-4 at least, haven't followed the rest)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-fx2ptn … Kr&index=1

There's a lot more to say, but I'll lay off, you get the picture or at least what to think about when making a tutorial by now.

TL;DR:
Short answer to your question is:
The most useful tutorials for a beginner are the ones that teach the barebone basic fundamentals of things (absolute novice level stuff), like drawing simple shapes, applying colors to lineart, how to hold a stylus, making a light source and determining where it hits, applying shading to the image after that, the most basic techniques out there (like drawing a "crosshair" and turning it into a head, or shaping the hips of a female) it's the tutorials that teach you how to actually draw (assuming the most you can do at the start is read and write), concepts and how to make use of these concepts/applying them to your images (like shading or coloring techniques, perspective, proportion, etc) however, to make those tutorials interesting it's important to wave a carrot into the readers face. For example if you're a skilled artist (You are.) you can flash a nice picture you made and say "this is one of my pictures, and I would like to teach you about this technique and that concept" or like the "how to draw" guy did (in video 3 I think) teach super basic stuff, and then draw something cool with only the things he's taught so far, however my opinion, that one is a bit late showing off what this tutorial will teach you how to do (this here tutorial does it well, flashing the finished image into the readers face on the first page), but better late than never.

24. David REVOY thursday 06 february 2014, 12:07

@Cestarian : Hey, Thanks for the long break-up !
You really spent time on it, and your links and documentations are a really clean feedback, giving me a better idea of some basics skill I never covered in my drawing/tutorial arts.
All of this will help me to improve my next tutorials.
I really liked "More action, less text" , "Start at as low/easy a level as possible" ; I really think my tutorial collection is still missing this sort of essential skill ; a sort of big first 'to-do' , or from-scrash.

Also, I realize my " Getting started with Krita" is targeted to user not really beginner with drawing.

So, I'll think about it, it might take me time to do ( I'm working right now on a movie , plus I'm learning & training for new drawing technics because my taste had evolved with time but my technic not really ).

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25. Cestarian thursday 06 february 2014, 16:46

Awesome! Glad to have been of help :)

Just remember to place the carrots too!

I look forward to your movie :)

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