Tag Archives: graffiti manga illustration

Manga Illustration with Copic and Watercolor

Jun LiHere is a manga illustration I did using Copic markers, water color paints, and Pigma-sensei manga inking pens.

The drawing was done on Bee manga paper, which works amazingly well for Sakura/Pigma-sensei pens as well as Copic markers. It has amazing erasing qualities, pencil marks essentially disappear unless they are extremely dark. The paper is heavy duty, bright white with a smooth finish, so nib pens shouldn’t catch on the paper.

Water color paints do make the paint curl a bit at the edges but only if applied excessively.

Now for how I created the drawing:

First I sketched it out with a 0.7  mechanical pencil with hard lead. I use this a lot for sketches, but if you want a variation in lead softness I suggest you use Faber-Castell pencils. These are excellent quality and come with many different hardnesses.

The drawing was inked with a 0.4  Sakura Pigma-sensei pen. This type of pen creates a smooth even line, takes about ten minutes to dry completely, and is Copic and waterproof. However, it is not eraser proof and consequently I end up re-inking line drawings after erasing the pencil lines. The ink fades to a spotty gray after being erased with a mild pressure.

The first layer of color for the girl was done with Copic markers. From there I layered darker and deeper Copic tones. I tried to stick mainly to city-colors that would still stand out from the gray. Good choices are jean-blue and brown as seen on the girl above.

The background was painted with watercolors in two layers: basic and shadow. The graffiti was an experiment on my part with the combination of Copic and watercolors. I used Bee manga paper so the results I share with you may be different than using regular printer paper or another gloss.

The fish graffiti was done with Copic markers and duller with layers of gray watercolor, which created an interesting effect. The Copic color seemed to ‘splatter’ across the page in gray, dull red, and dull green spots. This created a favorable texture, in this case, because it was graffiti, but I suggest you use caution in layering Copic and watercolor in other projects. I tried to create rounded shapes to give the illusion of paint sprayed on the wall. The main Jun Li graffiti is a mixture of yin/yang in red and green and my name. The rest are random and unimportant, thus they are left uncolored and only outlined.

Finally, the highlights and stars in the background were done with white paint and a fine paintbrush. Be careful to apply the stars sparingly or they will appear like snow or they’ll seem unnatural. Too many stars and patterns start to appear. Try making a few constellations as well as random stars, and give them different sizes to simulate brightness.

I hope you found this article helpful. Please drop me a comment if you have any questions or comments.