Thursday, September 11, 2008

Intermediate Art Materials tip for Manga fans: Coloring Flesh Tones

Once a budding artist has explored and reached the limitations of "student grade" art materials, it might be time to start exploring "artist grade" professional markers and watercolors. For coloring manga faces, Copic Sketch markers are a popular choice given the wide assortment of flesh tones included in their range. For beginners, a basic set of favorite colors and a few flesh tones (like YR00, E00, E11, E50) might be a good start to try them out. The main challenge of the Copic Sketch markers is the cost barrier, and that to achieve smoother gradients and richer colors requires a large investment on bigger sets. Even though more and more art is now created digitally, every once in a while is still nice to work with quality tools in the real world. On that account, Copic markers certainly deliver top performance and convenience.Another alternative for coloring of flesh tones would be to try artist grade watercolors applied with a waterbrush or a sable brush. Raw Sienna (Pigment PY43) is a particular good choice for coloring face drawings given its transparency (for it will not cover the black outlines like a more opaque color like yellow ochre would). I used Winsor & Newton artist pan watercolor for the samples above, but Holbein tube paint might be more readily available in other parts of the world. For the latter, one could simply squeeze some watercolor from the tube and allow it to dry on a small ceramic dish for a convenient custom pan. With some practice and careful gradated washes of even a single watercolor hue, it's possible to convey volume and shadow as effectively as a handful of markers. Naturally when using watercolors, the paper support has to be able to withstand light washes to avoid excesive warping.

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