Simple Atmospheric Manga Portrait Watercolour tutorial

Watercolour is a beautiful medium, you can create spontaneous washes and effect with watercolours. Why not with manga, some manga artists uses watercolour as their preferred medium. On this tutorial is about brush control and colour washes to create unique, experimental watercolour work if you are interest in both watercolours and manga.

Lets go!

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Step 1. Draw lightly the face with a pencil, do not draw too hard. Use heavy weight paper for better absorption.  Use either Cold press or Hot press watercolour paper, 300grams or up.

Note: Watercolour Postcards are ideal for quick water colouring. You can buy them at art shops and is not too expensive. 

Make the drawing simple, you don’t want too many pencil marks when watercolouring.

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Step 2. Outline the drawing with a black liner pen. Leave some lines untouched, focus on what really need detail which is the eyes, nose, mouth, hair and ears.


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Step 3. When you have completed the outline, erase the pencil lines underneath the pen lines.

Note: I left the pencil line on the eyes for guide.

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Now is it ready for watercolour!

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Step 4. With a medium size brush start painting the edge with a single colour and apply shadow to the face. no need to paint area again once you have made a stroke.

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Step 5. Blend the edges of the colours with a clean damp brush. Let the colour bleed into the white surface.

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Step 6. Take your time building up the surface with the same colour and use a damp clean brush to bleed the colour in more.

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Step 7. With a smaller brush colouring in the eyes. apply shadow to the nose and lower lip.

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Step 8. Choose a similar but darker colour to paint the darker area on the hair and around the body.

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Step 9. Use a damp clean brush to spread the colour around the figure, creating background wash.

Do not worry if the colours blends into unnecessary areas. Just let the colours flow and make happy mistakes.

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Step 10. With a smaller brush add darker hue on the eyes.

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Step 11. apply more colours on the body and with a clean wet brush blend in the colour.

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Do not be afraid to add in an another colour on different areas. Be spontaneous with the colours.

Watercolour is all about the use of colours.

When the paint is dry, you can add final details with a white gel pen to highlights the eyes or hair.

Ta Da! You have completed a manga portrait with watercolours! 

Experiment more watercolour portrait on friend or families. Have fun with this exercise and see what you will create.


Manga portrait, by Rebekah Joseph
Manga portrait, by Rebekah Joseph
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