How To Draw A Manga Forest Background In Pencil

Beginner, Drawing, Intermediate, Pencil | 23 Aug, 2012

For this ‘How to draw’ video tutorial you will need a fine tipped mechanical pencil, some smooth textured sketching/drawing paper and an eraser. What you can expect to learn and produce by the end of this is a firm grasp of proportion and perspective within a landscape drawing but also the ability to draw heavy details like leaves and the bark on a tree relatively simply via the use of a few special techniques.

So the aim of the game is to produce a life-like manga style background featuring a few trees with some great perspective and interesting textures. The artist begins by drawing a rectangle in pencil which he will use to contain his forest inspired landscape, once he has this in place he roughly sketches a horizon line maybe 2 inches down from the top which will act as his guide for perspective and placement of the trees. To stick with the organic theme he decides to draw the foreground tree off centre to the left which will be easier and more natural on the eye whilst viewing but also allow more room for random placement of the background trees.

The lines used to draw the tree are kept loose and intentionally rough looking to mimic the bark of the tree and it is the additional textures which are added via a series of long vertical lines combined with short quick horizontal. This is an extremely quick yet very effective way of achieving textures within an anime/manga format! There is then the use of shaded inverted triangles which have been drawn at the base of the tree to represent the roots but it is also the quick loose drawing of floral and grass vegetation at the base which creates the illusion of a 3D illustration.

Again following on from the organic feel the artist draws faint loose lines veering up to the right of the page in a bid to naturally guide the viewer’s eye to his next set of trees. Drawing leaves and the use of firm deliberate diagonal lines which are used to represent depth and shade are also explained thoroughly whilst the drawing of the background trees are under way. This art tutorial is very very useful for the beginner illustrator and manga fan and with its excellent narrative is an ideal source for you to learn from.

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    1. @32janik That will be a tricky one and I often think about it because a lot of you guys have been mentioning towns. I’m just trying to figure out how to explain it simply. Hmmmmm~~ I will have to think about it more. But it’s definitely on my mind 🙂

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    2. hey XLA98, I tried sending you a msg but you have contact lock on TT. I like your idea about a river. I could talk about reflections and it would make a nice scene. Maybe a town/city with a waterfall and river running through it so I can kill two birds with one stone? 😛 hmmm, I think they will have to be two separate tutorials. (maybe not though, oh man tough decisions!) Waterfall town/city anyone?

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    3. you know i ve been wanting to make town backgrounds for my manga too….in the 1rst chapter i want to make a company building by using 2 point perspective…but i just cant make it look nice enough…do u think that just copying photos of towns and buildings for backgrounds would be a good way?

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    4. just a small critisizm. im average at drawing but love art. bit of constructive critisizm. i love your work. and love your techniques one small thing. the shadow on your primary tree i believe the organic edge is very good in natural depiction i think the line edge on your is maybe a little bit too hard and gives to me the impression of a seperate layer like a broken tree stump look, if it was a little softer it may look more shadow on trunk look. thats all other than that i <3 your work mate 🙂

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    5. Love these drawing channels, Though I like pixiv better >_> I know that made me sound like an elitist prick. >_< Anyways, I love the channel though your human figure drawings are a bit jarring but I have learned alot on how to draw humans, Japan style...

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    6. Love these drawing channels, Though I like pixiv better >_> I know that made me sound like an elitist prick. >_< Anyways, I love the channel though your human figure drawings are a bit jarring but I have learned alot on how to draw humans, Japan style...

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    7. hey! new subscriber as of today, and i am already going to go ahead and ask, could you dedicate a video to cross hatching? i get my interest from Nobuhiro watsuki’s “ruroni kenshin” which i find he makes much good use of them. simple lines make drastic effect, if you could break down the mindset required for drawing them maybe i could wrap my head around it.

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    8. Hi Mike. Could you make a tutorial about making a city, somewhat like, new York, Japane.Or like a village, also, could you make a tutorial on shapes of faces? like somewhat like yours, or some with chins, or fat faces, or muscular faces? Thank you very much, Hope you take your time to read this, Bye!

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    9. I don’t like your tutorial picture it’s to flat. I don’t like the outer lines for the trees. I use The stippling effect, a series of dots produced holding the pen vertical to paper for background trees. For the foreground trees, I use the scribbling effect to build up the shape and shading of the leaves and creating light and it makes it look free, and lose. Your trees have to be drawn to make it look like a bird can fly through it. Your drawing is to flat. Theres no openness, nature is open.

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    10. I think I sent a message to the wrong chap. Sorry. however, I have sold more paintings and drawings on this earth then this bloke ever has. Theres nothing nature about this blokes drawing, it’s to dam flat. Nature is not lines, it’s lose. There’s nowt special about this stupid tuturial. I bet you can’t draw.

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    11. @ben croftDude, manga is lines. So if you draw trees, theyre gonna be drawn with lines. And if you really sold drawings, youre just one of millions of wannabe artists. Youre way too aggressive and offending and arrogant to really be an artist. You cant force a style on anyone so stop acting like you can

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    12. I’m glad you’re proud of your drawings. However, we didn’t come here to see your drawings. Please don’t go onto other artists’ channels to bash them and brag about how much better your own drawings are. It comes off badly.

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    13. i never have thought about drawing round texture on the tree barks… u sir have opened my eyes! n my comic is in the part where forests are everywhere.. thx for the tip :3 owh and those ground texture! why didn’t i ever thought of that! I’ve been drawing random pebbles on the ground to indicate it’s actually a ground.. Thx u koizu.. Thx soo much 😀

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    14. This is going to sound a bit out-of-the-blue… but sir.. I have the EXACT same pencil as you… :DAt least I think so…. I have a name sticker covering the brand but I’m pretty sure it says [bought it from paper plus, like a boss]…. “KOH-1-NOOR HARDMUTH TOISON D’OR 1950” 2b pencil

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    15. I like your style ^_^. I’ve been looking for good ways to draw forest backgrounds. I’ve gone through countless drawing books and a lot of them don’t go too far in depth with forests. This video is just what I needed to continue my drawing education. Thank you for putting this up and I will be checking out your other videos. Keep up the good work.

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    16. Yeah that would be great. I recommend trying an old fashioned village with a river or stream of some sort going through the middle of it. Of course that might mean adding a bridge or passageway going over it. Pretty hard task to do, but it would be awesome if you could do that. That would be covering maybe housing, bridges, perspective, water, etc. and would be an awesome (probably long and time consuming) video tutorial. Just my recommendation, but only if you’d like to. Don’t work too hard.

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    17. actually nature does follow many patterns, and i think its just artistic license use to make it look wild and varried. but i do like the video you helped me. i want to use a more realistic style for trees however (and i know how) so this helped me a lot with the merging of styles for the bark.

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    18. to people u say that the artists arent good i have to say im 13 and im good at drawing people.when it comes to back grounds im not good so just pause and if it didnt turn out good u can always keep trying if you think it will waste paper well how cares if it helps you then who really cares just thinkI DONT CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK IM GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!everyones good even if you draw stick figures your really good just remeber im good!!!!!!!!!

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    19. It’s best to establish a little bit of background first, so that you draw your character in the correct perspective, and you can establish whether or not the lighting of the environment is going to make the character look different, but don’t go into much detail until after the character is drawn.

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    20. does anyone remember when youtube loaded the whold video and you could skip form different points in the video???I like the video so far @ 1:46 but if I try to go back and rewatch what I have loaded so far it will start the video all over >_< DAMN YOU YOUTUBE! DAMN YOU!!!

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    21. would like to see Mike Crilley painting the forest in watercolor and pastel

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    22. wth mark has already published his work before Mike started making youtube videos. Why would you call Mark a copying bitch? Both Mark and Mike are great. I support them both but to see ppl like you accuse youtubers… GTFO

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    23. Lol, I knew one of the fanboys would take this the wrong way.1) I knew Mark made YT vids before Mike.2) This video was posted before Mark made his own forest background drawing vid.3) I used the phrase copying bitch in the same way you would swear at your best friend when they make a mistake, you know that they’re big enough to take it as a joke. Basically, I was using sarcasm to hide my accusation of Mark copying the idea from this vid for his own, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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    24. Basically, I light heartedly pointed out that Mark Crilley took an idea from someone else, you are one of those sad little people who thinks Mark Crilley is their own child and therefore they have to defend him when anyone puts a toe out of line. Because of that you got upset bby my comment, I told you why you were wrong, end of conversation.

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