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Manga Deny

Here is the final fruit of my labor. Manga Deny, though it looks simple and mostly unimpressive, it is one of my most ambitious works of 2006, a relatively artistically fruitless year for me. I say ambitious because all in one night I painted my first scene in perhaps ten years, started the path towards intentional discovery of a new style (manga), and a bit of putting it all together.

In a single day, December 21st, I created this piece from start to finish. Here is the process I went through to make it happen:

  • Drove by work to pick up a small canvas.
  • I rummaged through the storage closet and decided which art supplies would be useful for the project. I was able to locate some plastic palette dishes, 3 brushes, and a selection of acrylic colors left over from my basic design class at PSU.
  • I decided on a jungle setting, perhaps because Fred the Monkey would be in the scene. A vague memory caused me to look up the cover art of an old SNES game, The Secret of Mana. I printed the image for inspiration. It probably didn't influence my jungle except perhaps my attempts at mixing colors.
  • While at Target I searched for art brushes only to discover they don't have brushes of any variety (perhaps availability changes seasonally?), not even for home improvement! So I had to make due with what I already found around the house.
  • Completed the acrylic background painting.
  • Details (fine black outlines, sun, yellows and highlights throughout) were added with Copic markers over the acrylic.
  • Read the interesting overview of the Manga comic style as presented in Manga Mania (Christopher Hart). I browsed through the artwork in the book and tried to quickly absorb some inspiration.
  • In preparation for my Manga drawing, I followed one of the step-by-step drawings in the book, sketching a simple youthful head in the manga style.
  • Penciled the outline of the girl's figure and the monkey with balloons.
  • The pencil was erased and covered with a black ink pen with varying line thickness.
  • Scanned the drawing.
  • Converted the line drawing to 2-bit (black and white) in Paint Shop Pro and redrew several of the shifty lines with my graphics tablet and pencil tool.
  • Created a layer with just the outlines.
  • Created another layer beneath the outlines and digitally painted in each region with a choice color, adding dark and light variations and blending for illusion of depth.
  • Softened colors and applied an art media filter to give the colors a faint painted look and texture.
  • Digitally photographed the finished acrylic painting, color and lens corrected, cropped.
  • Positioned the figures over the background, added basic shadow and printed on glossy paper, matching size of the original painting exactly.
  • Cut out printed figures and back-taped them onto the painting.

This digital final version is technically the best because the incorporation of the elements is seamless. The cutout and taped version is a little less professional. Unfortunately I didn't have a way to paint the figures directly in the painting because the details would be too small, and the brushes I had were poor.