Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Recommended coloring tools for Manga quick sketches

Once you get enough fun out of the mini colored pencil sets, it might be time to consider graduating to artists' pencils. For intermediate artists, it might be more productive to invest on quality tools that will yield better images with less effort. After all, leisure time is too short and precious to spoil it with the frustration of using inadequate cheap art supplies. A nice tin set of one of my favorite colored pencils, Faber Castell Polychromos, would make a good addition to any artists' tool box with performance that is hard to beat. They are oil-based and highly pigmented, so they have a smooth laydown, are immune to blooming ("cloudiness" that sometimes appears when layering some waxy pencils), and blend easily. The 3.8 mm pencil leads are quite break-resistant and do not crumble much on the work surface as the tips wear down, so they are pretty clean to use anywhere.A black ink Platinum brush pen was used to quickly doodle an outline to color, so the incorrect proportions of the arms and hands could not be easily corrected (Bonus points if you had already noticed that, proof that your observation skills are improving already and that it would have been better to work out the figure structure in pencil first!). The point of the demonstration though was to simply show the value of using an adequately-sized set to avoid the flat coloring look often seen in children's coloring books where a single color is used for each section of an outline. I had a set of 48 pencils available which gave me enough choices to pick 3 or 4 closely related colors to render each area of the sketch and give them some volume and texture. Skin tones were colored with 3 different pinks, the shirt with a couple of blues and purple, and the hair with some brown earth colors plus some dark blue for shadows. Bottom line, a larger colored pencils set provides greater choices and more flexibility to create brightly colored and more expressive manga drawings.

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