Introduction: How to Draw Manga Lesson 4: a Thousand Mists

About: I try to make the details simple and the simple detailed. I also do semi-professional pet portraiture. All of my instructables are certified parent approved.

Hello everyone! Here is the last lesson in my 'let's draw manga' series (it's about time, huh?).
I haven't been very active on Instructables lately for reasons I explained extensively in my last instructable, which can be found here.

This piece also has a speedpaint to go with it, which can be found here.

This is my first drawing of a person made on the computer, and I'm not particularly happy with the way it turned out; but hey, it's something.
The woman in this drawing isn't me, it's just some Irish lady playing the Irish/Celtic/Penny Whistle (which I do love playing). More information on this drawing can be found in the description of my speedpaint. If you have the time, my YouTube channel has some exclusive video tutorials and speedpaints, so you may want to go take a look at it.

Programs and tools used:
Photoshop Elements 13 and a Huion H610 Graphics Tablet (to draw; and yes, I finally got a tablet)
Corel VideoStudio X8 Ultimate (to record and edit speedpaint)

Time taken to draw:
Roughly five hours (half of which was just me trying to get the hair and that pinkie finger to cooperate).

Songs in speedpaint:
Autumn Soul and Cliffs of Moher by Peter Crowley, who so generously allows his AMAZING music to be used in YouTube videos.

Step 1: Sketching

I can't teach you how to draw. That is for you to do. I can, however, teach you how to learn how to draw.

The three things that I recommend to ANYONE wanting to draw are:

1. Practice tracing photos before ever free-handing.

Reason: Nothing will improve your sketching skills like tracing. By tracing photographs, you will force yourself to see the lines or contours of what you are drawing. Once you have a feel for your subject's build, then you can freehand. I freehanded this sketch, but I followed a reference photo closely, which brings me to the next point...

2. Use references, especially when drawing subjects in difficult positions.

Reason: People often think that 'since I see (fill in the blank) every day, I'll know how to draw them'. This is far from the case. Don't 'think' you know how to draw anything. Make sure you KNOW how to draw your subject by using a picture as a reference. Using a reference isn't cheating; it's helping. You're never so good that you can't use one. Flickr is a wonderful resource for reference photos.

3. Do quick studies, gesture sketches, and sketches from real life.

Reason: Quick studies and gesture sketches are often composed of the subject's basic elements, focusing on accuracy in positions and proportions rather than details. Being that they are quick, you can fit drawing into your schedule. Draw anything. Every time you draw, aim to do a little better; to avoid making the same mistakes you made last time you drew.

If you want to see how I drew this, watch the speedpaint.

Step 2: Lineart

Making good lineart is just as important as making a good sketch. If the sketch isn't accurate, the lineart won't be. If the lineart isn't accurate, no matter how good the detail you smack on it is, the drawing won't look right.

I recommend being very careful with your lineart. Work on a layer above your sketch. Make sure your lineart is somewhat smooth and looks decent before continuing to the next step. I made the eyebrows almost completely black because I want the hair to be black. If you want to use a brighter color, just outline the eyebrows instead of filling them.

Drawing the lines for the whistle can be hard. I found the best way to draw it was to use the polygonal selection tool to select the whistle, then invert the selection using select>invert. The selection acts sort of like a ruler, and tracing around it will ensure your lines are perfectly straight.

Step 3: Coloring

I am using Photoshop Elements 13 to draw this, so the way I color is very different from how you would color traditionally.
First, I select the perimeter of the lineart and fill it in with my skin tone on a layer underneath the lineart. This part you can do with almost any art program. Next, I use a filter called 'adjust color for skin tone, which is exclusive to the newer versions of Photoshop. To use it, first open filter by going to adjustments>adjust color>adjust color for skin tone. Click on the skin to sample the color, then move the sliders until you get the color you want.

After this, you can select and color the rest of the drawing using the following steps:

1. Lock the color layer by clicking the icon of the grid with the lock in the upper right corner of the layers panel. This will make sure you won't color 'outside of the lines', which can be really helpful.

2. Select the hair, then color it.

3. Select the shirt, then color it.

4. Select the fingernails, then color them. Give them some highlights or shine by drawing three to five light-colored lines down them.

5. Select the Irish/Celtic/Penny Whistle, then color it. I used the gradient tool set to 'Reflected' to add a bit of shine to the brass part of the whistle. Some whistles are made out of tin or even painted wood instead of brass. They also come in a variety of shapes and tones. Mine is a brass Clarke in the key of C. You can color the fipple (mouthpiece) any color you want. My real Whistle's fipple is green, but I wanted to make this one black (like a Feadog or a Dixon).

Step 4: Shading and Highlights

I'm not going to lie... shading is hard! If You are drawing on the computer, make a new layer above everything. Pay attention to your light source. My light source is coming from overhead.
Use a very light color (I used light green) to color in the shadows. Set the layer mode to 'multiply', then lower the opacity to your liking. If you want to make the shading only on the subject, click the color layer while holding down the 'Ctrl' key. This will bring up a selection of the outline of the subject. Invert the selection, then delete the excess.
Make another new layer. Use a large, soft brush with a light, warm color (I used pink) to brighten the lighter areas. Set the layer mode to 'soft light' or 'overlay'.
The hair is... ugh... a pain. Draw highlights in the hair, making sure you go in the same direction as the hair is flowing. Set the layer mode to whatever you want. I used 'soft light'. Good luck!
Make a few more layers of very soft shadows and lights; repeating the process stated above to remove the excess. Keep layering until you are satisfied. Don't forget to adjust the opacity.

The speedpaint shows this process sped up, if you need some help.

Step 5: Background

The background I decided to go with is very simple and easy to make. Fill the background layer with a light blue. Make a new layer and draw some basic mountain silhouettes in pink or light blue. Use a soft round brush with a color similar to the sky to add some mist. Repeat the process using bluer tones for each mountain. On the closest one you can add some simple detail by outlining a few rocks. Behind the mountains, draw some clouds by layering light greyish-purple and white. Cloud brushes can make this easy. Merge the background layers together. You can lighten or darken the background as needed, then blur it out slightly by going to filters>blur>gaussian blur.

Step 6: The Final Touches

You can leave it there, or you can flatten the image and adjust it as you want. I added a few layers of solid colors, then changed their layer modes to give the drawing some extra color. I also added some very faint music notes to the background. These particular notes are an excerpt from 'The Swallowtail', a traditional Irish jig. Look it up; it's a very fun little tune. The note the girl is playing isn't the same as the notes in the background.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this final lesson and that you learned something from it. If you follow this tutorial and create your own drawing, I would love to see it! Have fun and keep on makin'!