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.