Catbird : A painting experiment with MangaStudio 5

I’ve been forcing myself to learn to paint in MangaStudio after years of relying on Photoshop. I knew MangaStudio was great for making comics, but I wanted to see if it could supplement/replace Photoshop in the digital painting department. I’ll start here with the finished piece, then a few process steps posted down below.

Catbird by Vince Dorse

The pencil tools are great in MangaStudio 5. I quickly roughed out a simple idea for this image and polished it up with the colored pencil tools in MS to use as my guide. Next step, painting.

Catbird pencils in MS5
Some areas I flatted (the tufts of leaves) and went back in with different brushes for the details. I wasn’t sure which would work best — acrylic, pencil, pastel — I decided the pastel was best for the leaves in this image. Other areas like the sidewalk and tree trunk I went right in with textured brushes and started layering in colors.

Catbird WIP Dorse
The figures were painted with colored pencil and watercolor — wasn’t sure which I’d like better — but they ended up working well together. I also used a blender brush to smooth some of the transitions.

Catbird WIP DorseLater,  I used the same methods to paint in some very simple bushes and trees in the background (see image up top) and did a quick levels adjustment to improve the contrast. Overall, a successful experiment since I learned a little more about the painting brushes in MS5 and it made me want to experiment more. I still prefer to work in CMYK, and MS5 doesn’t have that capability yet. So I had to convert and adjust in Photoshop when I was finished. Not my favorite workflow. Maybe I’ll find a workaround the more I experiment.-v

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