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

Untold Tales of Bigfoot by Vince Dorse Wins Reuben for Best Online Comic, Long-Form.

Untold Tales of Bigfoot wins NCS Reuben for Online Comic Long-Form

Untold Tales of Bigfoot started in August of 2012 as an experiment. I wanted to see if I could create a comic, upload it weekly, stay on deadline, and improve my skills as an artist and storyteller.

By the end of that year UTOB had been nominated for a Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Webcomic 2012 from The Center for Cartoon Studies and Slate Book Review, as well as a National Cartoonists Society Divisional Award for Best Online Comic, Long-Form, 2012. While the Cartoonist Studio Prize eluded us, UTOB did win the NCS’s Divisional Reuben for Best Online Comic, Long-Form. What a fantastic first year.

Untold Tales of Bigfoot is an all-ages adventure about a lost puppy, a lonely Bigfoot and the true meaning of friendship. While the story continues it will update every Wednesday at

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Yellow Brick Road

My take on the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. My accompanying Haunted Forest illustration is not quite as cheerful…

The Haunted Forest

Flying monkey attack! A black-and-white accompaniment to my Yellow Brick Road illustration.

Parade Day

Ah, those sweet summer days filled with ice cream and marching band music…

Shirley Temple

An illustration for a mixed-drink directory.

Shirley Temple (b/w)

A black-and-white version of my Shirley Temple illustration.