EASY MODE: "Ponyo" Wall Mural




I always knew that I would paint a mural for my daughters room.  I started brainstorming about themes late in my third trimester.  Then finally one day, while we were snuggled up on the couch about to watch "Ponyo," I had my moment.  As I watched the opening title sequence I was struck my the simplistic beauty and the amazing colors.  Very simple lines, easy to replicate and a character and story we both love.  It was perfect.

Step 1: Sourcing Original Images

First things first, I tried to find some images online of the title sequence and came up empty.  Instead, I chose to photograph my TV as the sequence was playing.  I took several of my own reference photos.

Step 2: Gather Your Paint and Make Some Water

Inspiration in hand, the next step was a trip to the paint store to pick out the wall colors I would need.  I chose three different blue/green shades that I liked and once home I decided we would need a fourth color so I mixed a new one out of the preexisting colors - making sure to mix enough for touch-ups since you won't be able to mix the same color twice unless you're measuring, which I wasn't.

Next step was to paint all of the blocks of blue and green that would be the water.  No need to mark it out, I just used a free-form method in shapes that I liked.

This is the step which I could involve my three year old in since exactness wasn't important and mistakes are easy to cover.

I marked out the area where the house and island were going to be so that I didn't have to worry about painting over the green and having it effect the final look of the house.

I used eggshell interior wall paint for the water and latex craft paints for all of the fish and other details.  A quart of each water color is plenty.

Step 3: Draw and Paint the Details

Then it was time to pencil out and paint the rest of the additions.  This is when I drew all of the fish, Ponyo's house and any other details before painting them.  Then you're ready to start painting the details.

Step 4: Draw the Lines

The last step, after all of your details have been painted was to make the black water lines.  For this I suggest using a black, wide, angle tip paint marker.  This will make it so much easier than trying to hand paint all of the lines yourself.  Also, no need to draw them in pencil first because they need not be exact.  They aren't exact in the movie so yours shouldn't be either.  Remember, don't line over anything that should be above water.  In my mural that's the boats and Sosuke's house.  If you choose to add the aprtment building, those would also be above water - so, no lines.

Also, because I think it looks better, I outlined all of the other details.  It makes them look more crisp.

I had so much fun doing this with my mother and daughter and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!



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    12 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Aww! Trust me, kids love it, but I think adults would too. I'd paint this in my room in a heartbeat.


    Hiyao Miyazaki's work is incredible. There are so many ... Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away, The Cat Who Returned, Porco Rosso, Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle. My kids love them all. Nice work on the mural!

    Sars JonesKiteman

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your help - I'm blown away by the response its gotten! What a great site, I only wish I had found out about it sooner.

    Great stuff. That artist does that a lot for those type of movies. Totoro is my favorite.
    That style is like a child's drawings style. Perfect for who else children. :)

    1 reply

    LOOOOVE Totoro! I was fortunate enough to be able to take my daughter to a screening of it for her first movie in a theater. So fantastic!