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How Brian Allen Illustrates In CLIP STUDIO PAINT - Part I: Penciling

Posted by Emmy Rey on Nov 7, 2016 7:46:52 AM


Official Influencer Brian Allen, is a full-time freelance illustrator running FlyLand Designs Studio. Activision, Hard Rock Cafe, Smith & Wesson and Scholastic are just a few among several large companies he has worked with. Brian started out as a traditional artist, working with pen and ink on paper, but switched to a 100% digital workflow around 2010. He discovered CLIP STUDIO PAINT (then, called Manga Studio) several years ago and hasn't looked back since. It has completely changed the way he works, up until that point, he hadn’t found a program that could replicate his hand drawn work the way CLIP STUDIO PAINT could. The program not only improved his digital work greatly, but also made creating digital art more enjoyable all around. 

We asked Brian to tell us how he illustrates using CLIP STUDIO PAINT. He has created a full-length, 3-part video tutorial series with commentary taking you step-by-step through his process. He'll go through Penciling, Inking and finally, Coloring. Here's what he had to say:

For this tutorial, I decided to create a tribute illustration to one of my favorite animated movies, Wizards by Ralph Bakshi. I chose to illustrate the iconic poster from the movie, featuring the character Peace.  I thought a rendering of my own stylistic approach to an existing piece of artwork would be a great vehicle for a tutorial, because the foundation has already been set, and we can focus instead on the technique.


Ralph Baksi’s original classic poster art.                       Tribute illustration we will be creating in this tutorial.  

Part I: Penciling

Video of penciling process.

Step 1: Document Set Up

I set up most documents at 300 dpi 20x20. It’s very important that anything you are hoping to print be set up at 300 dpi. as 72 dpi will print out pixelated, and will get too distorted if you ever need to increase the size.

First, Create a new window and shrink it to about 25% the size of your main window. This is a smaller live preview of your image that will help you keep an eye on your composition as a whole.  

Next, VIEW>ROTATE/INVERT>Flip horizontal window. This will help you spot errors by having a view of your illustration mirrored.

Lastly, set up separate layer groups for the sketch, pencils, inks (with pre-made action). This encourages me to take the time to rough and plan the piece first. The Layer Color effect of each group is set to magenta, non-photo blue, and black respectively, so everything I draw in those layers will appear as that color.

Click here for a full list of tools that I use to create this project. 

Step 2: Gather Reference

First, make sure you do plenty of research before you start drawing, especially technical items that you may not have drawn before, getting them right adds a lot to your piece. Examples of such technical items are settings, environments, and lighting. 

Next, gather inspiration for color schemes and styles. You most often will avoid taking essential risks unless you see that it has been successful in another piece. Doing this encourages you to try things you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Lastly, remember to think of Reference as a tool. Don’t become overly dependent on it, but don’t go without it either. And of course, NEVER copy, use other art only for inspiration.

Step 3: Drawing the Thumbnail Sketch

While drawing make sure to stay way zoomed out. This will help you focus on just the overall shape of the design and avoid getting sucked into detail work.

Make sure to focus on skeletal structure and main shapes. Make sure that your figure has a strong silhouette. This means if your character was filled entirely with black, you should still be able to differentiate its parts, and it should look interesting. If it looks like a big blob, you may need to make adjustments.

Step 4: Pencils

First, turn your thumbnail opacity down and begin drawing in the Pencils Layer group.

Next, be sure to flesh out the details and shapes, making sure to use a lot of circles and curved strokes. This drawing can still be really rough as main details will be accomplished in the inking stage. Don’t focus on the style of the lines yet, or line weights, just focus on the outlines of the different shapes.

Once you have cleaned up your pencil drawing and constructed the main shapes, go in with hard pencil and clean up details. You do not need to trace over everything, just the focus points that need work. This drawing is only a guide to help you in the inking stage, so you can skip over parts that you think you can handle confidently in the ink stage. 

Lastly, is the shading layer. Quickly rough in the mid tones with a broad shading brush on a layer above set to Multiply.

BAllen2.jpgThe shading layer.

That's it for penciling, be sure to stay tuned for Part II of this three part series, Inking. I'll show you, step by step how to work through the inking process. 

For more creative inspo be sure to follow Brian on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube!


Topics: Insider, Featured Artists, News, Education, CLIP STUDIO PAINT (Manga Studio), Digital Artists

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