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Mischief Blog

Tutorial: Mischief and Manga Workflow

Blog Created 3 years ago

6 13

Yishan Li is a comic/manga artist living in Edinburgh

She's has worked in the industry for more than 10 years and has published books around the world in the UK, USA, France, Germany, Netherlands, and China.

Yishan Li

I love my job, when I'm not travelling I'm usually working. Freelance life may seem quite relaxed (working from home and wake up whenever I like), but in reality I normally end up working 12-16 hours a day because, unlike working in an office, there’s not a point in the day where you can say "ok, times up. I can go and relax now.". However, because I love drawing so much, the busy schedule rarely makes me feel exhausted or bored. There’s nothing that gives you the same pleasure and feeling of achievement when your book is done nicely and a beautiful glossy copy is in your hands.

I will show you a simple sketch of a manga girl using just Mischief

My normal choice of software is a combination of Photoshop and Manga Studio—lines and flat colouring in Manga Studio then export to Photoshop to finish the colouring. Recently, I have discovered Mischief and been drawing a lot of coloured pin-ups using it.

The more manga you read, the more difficult it is to say what manga-style really is. Manga has so many genres, some with big eyes, some that are more realistic, and some are more like comics. For me, it's about the format and storytelling of a book. 

Spontaneous Sketch

Sometimes I will do very rough sketches to find possible poses and compositions. For this piece, I didn't have a plan so started with a spontaneous sketch to see what ideas came. 

The ability to undo is one of the best things about digital drawing. This means i can try out different options of a picture without worrying that it will ruin what you've already drawn. 

These days, 99% of my work is done digitally. I used to be a paper and pen person, and hated the feeling of a “fake pen”, but once I found out how much more detail I could put in an image and how much more efficient I could work (not to mention I didn't have to buy expensive professional pens and paper again), I was totally converted.

Eyes can help decide the expression and mood of an image.  

Eyes guide the expression of the face, the angle of the eyes decides the angle of the head, and that's a good start for the pose. 

When practicing manga, remember there's not only one type of "manga eyes" out there. Manga eyes come in all shapes, they are not all big and shiny. Try drawing all different types and different expressions. In general, younger characters have bigger eyes than older ones, and female characters have bigger eyes than male ones. 

Adding Details

Here I add hair and some more details to the body.  I usually use more lines where the shadows are.  This way, things like hair don't look too flat. 

Hands can be difficult to draw

Even after 15 years of drawing them I can still get them wrong. Using references like photos or even your own hand can help a lot.

At this stage, I have decided to have her as a fantasy/fighter type of character, so I added the fighting fingerless gloves. 

Simple Colours

Because Mischief is more like drawing on paper and doesn’t have colour adjustment tools, you need to decide what colours you want before adding them in.


Shadows and Highlights

Shadows and white highlights give the face dimension.  You need to decide where the light source is. In this case, the light comes from above.

Remember to keep shading simple. I personally don't like to make too much because i can make the face look a bit messy. 

Mischief isn't Photoshop

Mischief doesn't have the selection tools, layers modes and filters you would rely on in Photoshop, but on the plus side, it’s super easy to learn, the file are much smaller, runs much faster and it feels just like drawing on paper (especially if you use a Wacom Cintiq like I do).

When I need to colour more complicated images, i normally use Photoshop. A great feature in Mischief is the ability to move sketches to Photoshop as layered PSD file at any size. This is very handy because Photoshop images are generally very huge especially if you need to print it out poster size.

Mischief is a great software to use for concept designs, sketches and simple paintings. 

The Finished Piece

Here is the finished sketch.  I hope you enjoyed my walk through of creating this piece.  If you would like to look at the Mischief File, you can click HERE TO DOWNLOAD.

Yishan Li

Thanks to Yishan for creating this post for us.   To learn more about her and her work, visit her website www.liyishan.com.

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    leonixburner August 29, 2016 at 04:58

    this looks awesome

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    creepygirl July 05, 2015 at 20:50

    i love the drawing!

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    okuma_10 June 04, 2015 at 06:47

    Sweet!Love it.

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    shonniboo June 04, 2015 at 02:24

    Definitely downloading this, I really loved this interview. I used to be heavily into manga, now not as much but those "manga eyes" stuck with me lol!

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    Urssus June 03, 2015 at 15:16

    Wow! Thanks a lot, all ready downloading the art file.

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    Master_Luke_69 June 03, 2015 at 12:17

    Beautiful! I generally don't like Manga, especially those with the big eyes, triangle faces and green/purple hair... But THIS is awesome!
    I donwloaded your artwork to learn all about it.

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