Hi Surface Pro Artist readers!

I'm Raye Rodriguez, an animation student at NYU currently interning at Frederator Studios in Burbank. 

The first time I attempted to use Manga Studio was several years ago when I was just beginning high school. I was looking for a program that would give me better line quality than what I was getting in Photoshop. The interface confused me and I could never get my lines to look clean (I was having a weird anti-aliasing problem that I never fully understood). After several unsuccessful attempts at using the program, I eventually gave up on it.

I probably would have never gone back to the program if it wasn't for my dad (creator of this blog!) constantly raving about how great Manga Studio 5 had become. The picture I'm going to walk you through today is the first complete image I've ever drawn and colored solely in Manga Studio.

I started with a messy sketch of my character Rosemary that I unfortunately did not save. From this first attempt I realized that I had no idea how to draw Rosemary's arms and legs in extreme perspective.

I used what I think is the coolest tool in Manga Studio to help myself get Rosemary's anatomy down. I took one of the program's premade 3D characters, put her in the pose I was trying to draw and adjusted the camera's focal length so she was in perspective.

From there I was able to look at the 3D model as a reference for my sketch. I had to fudge it a little since the premade doll and Rosemary are so anatomically different (Rosemary's head is huuuuuge), but the model still helped a lot. 

I used the Pen Tool's G-Pen with stabilization at around 9. 



Next I made my first pass at inking. I used the Turnip pen with stabilization somewhere between 25-40….Big difference I know, but I don't actually remember. It was… more than before. I didn't focus too much on line weight yet, I was just trying to get it all down.



Here's where I really started to get into detail with the lines. I made areas closer to the camera and areas where lines overlapped darker, and added a border around the entire figure.


Next was coloring! Of course, I accidentally forgot to save a picture of the flat version (sorry again)…

I started by using the Auto select tool to select areas of the same color. I used the Brush Tool's "Bit Husky" brush in the India Ink section to fill in the selections. I made different layers for each color in order to make shading easier later on.

Once the flat colors were down, I locked each layer one by one and added the shading and highlights.

The last stage of this picture was adding the background. I made a pink gradient using the Gradation Tool. I used one of the premade Color Patterns on overlay to add a bit of texture. 

Then I pasted a lacey Monochromatic Pattern into image. I had to rasterize it before I was able to edit it at all. I moved the bits of lace so they frame the picture. I had to duplicate the border layer a bunch of times to increase the opacity and use Layer Properties to adjust the colors… There's probably an easier way to do all of this, but I couldn't figure it out.

And that's about it! I have to say, Manga Studio really has come a long way since I tried to use it all those years ago. I wish I'd had it back when I was really struggling to understand how to create good digital line art. 

I'll definitely continue experimenting in this program and using the 3D models as references when I get stuck.

Thanks for reading!!


AuthorRick Rodriguez