Smith Micro Graphics Software Blog

Featured Artist Spotlight; Marty Henley

Posted by Kayla Cytron-Thaler on May 11, 2015 2:00:34 AM

Smith Micro is launching a series of weekly Featured Artists to promote skilled digital artists who use our software; Anime Studio, Poser, and Manga Studio aka Clip Studio Paint. These featured artists are also promoted on our Twitter & Facebook Pages. A piece of their work will be shared on these platforms every day of their featured week. Thanks for reading. Enjoy!

Wow! I was very excited to find out that I was selected to be a featured artist by Smith Micro. Thanks!

Well a little about me. My name is Marty Henley, and I’ve been a carnival game illustrator and designer for the past 15 years. I own a carnival game manufacturing business, and I also teach 2d design, 3d design, and color theory at East Tennessee State University.


For years my process for creating games included sketching, scanning, printing, inking, rescanning, and then coloring in the computer. I really enjoyed this process, but it was time consuming. Over the years I attempted the draw digitally, but nothing felt right or comfortable. One day while looking up inking techniques on Youtube, I discovered Ray Frenden inking a cougar skull in this program called Manga Studio. I was blown away at how natural it looked. I immediately started following his blog and youtube channel to find out everything I could. I saved up and bought Manga studio 5, a monoprice 19-inch interactive pen display, and some of Ray’s brushes for Manga studio.

I was amazed at how natural all the tools worked together. I was finally able to draw digitally without having to fight my tools. As a test, I made a bunch of marks with Manga studios pencils and printed them out, on the same page I made actual pencil marks and they are almost exactly alike. I’ve convinced some friends to buy Manga Studio with that sheet.


I started using Manga studio to create fan art so I could get comfortable with the program and then I added it to my professional work flow.

I could rave about the brushes and brush engine (which is amazing) but instead I’d like to talk about the rulers. The symmetrical ruler has become a source of speed in my illustrations. In my field, lots of my illustrations need to be fairly symmetrical for game play and production. What I find beneficial is that I can turn the ruler on and off as I work to give the art a more natural look, not like something that has been copied and mirrored. I rely on the rules to help create precise lines with variations in line weight. I have only scratched the surface with Manga studio and I can wait to delve into more of its tools.


As powerful as this program is, it won’t make great art and designs all by itself. Having a strong understanding of 2d design and color theory are an artist most powerful tool.

My suggested reading list for beginner artists includes:

I would suggest beginning artists read:

Read any other art technique books you can get your hands on. The more processes and techniques you know the better you will be.

Thanks for choosing me to be a featured artist, I love Manga Studio 5!

FOLLOW Marty on Twitter! VISIT his Blog & Website!

Topics: Featured Artists

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