Mark Crilley: How To Add Color To A Manga Character Using Watercolors

In this art tutorial anime and manga artist Mark Crilley has decided to team up with Sophie Chan, an artist and YouTube video creator, who has drawn for Mark his main character Miki from his published manga sensation Miki Falls. Sophie Chan has kindly drawn in pencil the outline drawing of Miki so Crilley can show you how to color her in for the purposes of this video demonstration. So many people wonder how to color in and render their anime characters which they have created and this art video is a great stepping stone to lend you some of the tips used by professional manga artists like Mark Crilley.

Naples yellow watercolor with the smallest touch of red watercolour mixed in is used to create a light wash which is applied evenly over the face and neck of Crilley’s manga character Miki in the early stages of this video in a time lapsed format. He uses smooth surface Bristol board when he uses watercolour paints to render and color his manga characters because it does not wrinkle and warp like many other types of paper.

He next moves on to the eyes of his character by applying a mid tone wash of brown completely covering the iris’ allowing the earlier pencil shading to naturally grade the brown watercolour through different tonal values i.e. a darker brown appears at the top of the iris and fades to a lighter brown at the bottom of the iris due to no prior pencil sketch marks being drawn there. Using a fine detailing watercolour brush Crilley applies a dark brown to each of the pupils to bring them forward from the iris to create an immediate sense of depth within the eyes in his watercolour rendered pencil drawing.

Sophie Chan left two highlight dots in each of the eyes when she sketched Miki for Crilley and this is extremely important for gaining that glassy reflective look which is unique to them. Crilley outlines these highlights with the same dark brown watercolour paint which he used for the pupils. He mentions to leave at least one highlight to the top of the iris as this is a common practice when drawing or painting manga characters. In the next section of this drawing manga tutorial Crilley uses a darker shade of brown watercolour paint to go over the areas like the pupil and the border of the iris again to start achieving some real contrast with the skin tones which he painted on earlier.

A light wash of brown watercolour paint is applied as evenly as possible across the top half of the hair on Miki using a medium sized watercolour brush. Using a darker shade of brown watercolour paint he begins to add undertones to the sections of hair which form the fringe of his manga character, this instantly builds three dimensional detailing and depth to the painting. Crilley selected his hypothetical light source to be coming from the top left of the picture which helps him identify where to place the tones and the highlights with his paintbrush. Crilley states that he doesn’t make a lot of ‘how to color videos’ because he has his own style and actually works by his own rules when painting, shading and drawing with color. Being self taught as an artist is definitely not a bad thing, it is very important to feel comfortable with what you are creating artistically.

Crilley now introduces some other artistic implements and mediums to further progress his paint rendering of his character Miki from Miki Falls.

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    1. that’s nice of you to think that I’m a kidand right because anybody who speaks their mind is a kid to youhuh. yet another shallow way of thinkingI was not trash talking if you think that was trash talking then you haven’t experienced much thenalso I don’t hide behind my PC. I speak my mind just the same way in real lifebut I guess you won’t believe me because you’re set on your waysyou don’t know how long/much that kid has been drawing so you can’t just assume one’s amount of experience

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    2. Its nice to see so many young people interested in art. Keep at it and don’t let others tell you that you’re not an artist. Anyone who feels that experience is the only way to have earned that title is forgetting that the newest generation of artists has already inherited it through their drive and passion. They can add to what they’ve been born with later.

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    3. im so jealous….. ive been (self teaching myself to (draw))ing for 4 years and im no where near as good as sophie or you….. i wish i was as talented….. and this is like almost drawing 1 picture a day for 5 days out of a week almost every week during school(so for 9 months…) and i still suck…..

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    4. It’s not the skills you’re born with, its the drive to learn those skills that truly decide whether a person can become an artist or not.If you aren’t willing to put in the time and effort to become an artist, that is really the only thing that could hold you back, not the fact that it feels like it’s been too long and not enough progress.

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    5. Art isn’t straight out. It’s what you, yourself, think is beautiful. Every painting is art to someone, beacuse it’s all about perspective. What I mean is that everyone can make art, even you (not that I know how you draw). And even if you think you can’t, think of those artists. That kind of artist that don’t do shit. They just splat paint at a white canvas, and sell it for $15,000.

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    6. I checked out your channel. You’re not bad at all. I actually envy you. Seriously, you have skills that some people can only dream about. Remember, Mark (and Sofie) has been doing this kind of thing their whole lives. You’re good on you’re way.

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    7. I would Just like to thank you Mark, Not only for showing us how to draw as good as you, but for helping me, I used to try to draw manga for many months, but as hard as I tried I still found that the books I was reading and the videos I was watching just couldn’t help me, but now that I have found you I can draw with confidence! I have so far drawn your Hugging teens, kissing pose and innocent girl, I am very proud of how they look and soon My bedroom walls will be covered in drawings! <3 🙂

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    8. Sophia? SOPHIA?! SOOOPPPPHHHHIIIIIAAAAA!?!?!?! (Daryl Dixon… Walking Dead reference) Sorry just pumped for the new season. ANYWAY… It’s nice to see collaborations, it’s like you guys are the masters of the anime community on YouTube.

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    9. omg! do you really feel comfortable to grab pencils and that stuffs like that?sorry about my english, im from argentina. the way you grab the instruments seems to me unconfortable. but you draw like a real artist, you`re great man!!!

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    10. Bash? being a dick?Get your facts right dunceJust because im not an ass lickersaying “OH SHE IS SO PERFECT IN EVERY FORM”God lord.Her anatomy is pretty bad, but she is a good artist.And thats true my dear, want it or notIf you want to live in your own cutish worldKeep reading the comments that make you happy then..Its just a comment read it or not.Also, i can express my opinion if i want toJust because your a fan doesnt mean you need to be blindIm a sophie fan since..2008

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    11. Can anyone help me? This is irrelevant but I assume someone should have some knowledge of this, if I wanted to watercolor should I get water color paper and draw on that? or should I get drawing paper and use watercolor? because I wanna get strathmore 400 series paper, but I don’t know if to get watercolor or drawing paper… lol

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    12. It’d probably be best to first draw the rough small on just normal paper. Then go and draw the good copy and make it all neat and everything on the drawing paper. Then, if you have one, use a light table to trace your good copy from the drawing paper onto the water colour paper. Then use water colour on the water colour paper. :)However, you could also just draw as normal using the water colour paper, just try not to leave many eraser marks. ^^

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    13. Ohh this girl and her sims life <3But your are only 11..You are just a kid who doesnt know how to draw but HEY! is your gift ///facepalm/well...no wonder why you hate disney...you love kesha..you love those commercial pop singer whores.. oh kids these days ;w;

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    14. OH SUREthe classic excuseLEAVE MY DAUGHTER ALONE IM HER MOTHER/FATHERit wasnt me!!! it was my cousin!!You are really 11.. you are so new to the internet but im notSorry kidWhy a mother will call “fucked whore” to someone?Kid, watch your mouth, and what you write! you are just a kid!

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    15. We are not stupid, and we dont believe..that kind of excuses anymoreYou are an idiot, thats all, . //facepalmWe are not noobs on internet..kid Have you ever thought of that?Please stop being pathetic and go to play with your sims KAY? THNX

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    16. Really? Leave my kid alone, and I’ll leave you alone you fucked up pervert. You bully these kids on the internet to laugh about it. If you want to disrespect me, I’ll track your computer number and call the police. So, what’s your choice?

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    17. HAHAHAHAHAHSuuuuure kid!Even if it was truthsaying “you fucked up whore”Doesnt help you at all with the policeLOL’ED so hardKid…go play with your virtual life.kk? thnx”dad be mature D: dont insult minors on the internet i can call the cyber police if you keep saying me those horrible things DDD: a 40+ years old saying “you fucked up whore” to a 15 years old? plz dad ;w;”Seriously?Kid,…..DAD, please both grow upSaying

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    18. No just noKid nobody believes youYou made a mistake..a huge mistakeThen…you are acting like your dad..to make me shut up?Kid its the internet not your school you cant call your dad here(and even less. if your “dad” is such a bad mouthed ..old -lolz)

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    19. Kiddo,If you made a mistake, because well… you are not..a genius obviously… If you made an stupid comment, and you are loosing, dont use the dad/cousin/mom/sister/brother/dog excuseBecause well you only look more idiot,No you cant report a minor for being a “noob” (new) to an 11 years old.//facepalm read some cyberules, for realPathetic,

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    20. friend: whats that foofy thingyme: whatfriend: u no foofy thing thats super speedme: ohhhh time lapesfriends: thats not what its calledme and friends: looks at apart where he said itfriends: hes wrongeme: DONT WRONGE MR. CRILLEY HES AWESOME HES A GOD

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    21. Kid, are you trying to impress someone?Sending me a private message saying the same thing and then posting this in public?Kid you earn like 0.1cnts per channel viewsDont be stupid kid learn a little before trying to be a troll (pss, dont call your dad because i call you a troll! )

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    22. Nope, you are not.We all know that.You are just a girl who loves making videos and doing arts and crafts, I also love soccer, that’s my number one priority for sports, .Now you are trying to be a troll?First, you where normal yet stupid Second, You where a 11 years old girlThird you where your cousinFourt, You where your dadAnd now your excuse is that you are a “troll”No sweety, trolls are smarter,You are just a lonely girl who plays sims all the day,Who doesnt know how to draw

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    23. I don`t know many english words and didn`t understant some of them(??? ?????… ?? ????????? ? ???? ? ?????????! ?? ????????! ???? ?? ??????????? ?????????, ???? ???-??)) And in the end. Mark ?rilley, You are amazing man! All of Your lessons very usefull for us. Thank you!^^

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    24. Hahaha I have the total opposite opinion! It’s just more fun in my opinion and the color choices are never ending, you only need a few core colors and water o.o, it’s just the brushes you need to choose wisely ^^. Plus I feel like the blotchiness you get from layering makes the clothes look better :3

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    25. Each to their own I guess, I find Copics fun as well, I do enjoy watercolours but I find them more of a hassel to use, I can just grab my marker wallet and start with Copics, with watercolour you need to mix paints whenever you need a new colour (or else buy tonnes of colours), mixing copics is much easier and you have to find water and everything lol. But I do agree, watercolours are fun to use 🙂

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    26. I am inspired from you. I draw anime/manga myself, and I am only 15. I taught my friend Adrienne about manga, and I hope one day you can give her points, since you draw manga a bit more than anything I have seen. I appreciate your teachings! Keep me updated!

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    27. I used to draw when I was a little kid but stopped drawing. I wanted to draw anime because I thought it was unfair that I didnt know how to draw anymore, so my first video on how to get started was Mark Crilley. So much memories, you’ve taught me so much :3 ? I started watching your videos when I was 9-10 and now Im 14… Turning 15 November 11 2013 :DI will still always watch your vids…. ~Love, Christina:3

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    28. hi just started watching your vids and i must say they are fantastic,please could you give me some tips on what type of pencils to use and paper etc would reall appreciate it has i want to start drawing this kind of art,big thanks

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