Creating Digital Screentone with GIMP 2.6.7

Have you ever heard “Necessity is the mother of all invention”? That idiom is applicable to my screentone situation. I like to use screentones in my comics and some black and white illustrations. In the city in which I live,  I come across screentones very infrequently. My other option is to order them on-line from a distributor or from Japan. Neither option really strikes my fancy. So, I practiced with GIMP and devised a way in which I could create screentones digitally and apply them to a scanned image. From what I’ve used it for so far, I’ve had satisfying results. It looks great in print or photocopied. In addition, you can create some really awesome special effect screentones with a little practice and some custom paint brushes. Below is a quick tutorial on how to create a basic flat screentone that you can use to apply to illustrations and comics digitally to give them extra depth and value.

1. Create a new grayscale image of any size at 600DPI.

2. Change your foreground colour to the tone that you’d like. Light to medium tones will have dots spaced further apart. Darker tones are created by dot placement being closer together.

3. Go to Edit> Fill with FG Color or hit CTRL + ,

4. Go to Filters> Distorts> Newsprint. Make sure to check that you are working with a grayscale file to ensure that the filter will render your image properly into a screentone. You can check by going to Image> Mode and select Grayscale.

5. Adjust the sliding bar for Cell size until the moire pattern disappears or is minimized. Move the Oversample slider to 2 at the minimum. We are going to reduce the amount of information in this image from grayscale to 1-bit (black and white only). If you were to leave the oversample at 1, the dots in the reduced image will have a grainy appearance. Click OK to apply the filter.

6. Go to Image> Mode> Indexed. Select “Use black and white (1-bit) palette”. Click Convert.

7. All Done!

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