Monday, 13 August 2012

Kuretake ZIG Cartoonist review part 1: Colour

Recently, I have kindly been asked to try out and review some great new artist materials. Kuretake is a Japanese company with a long history of producing high-quality ink, and they have recently released a new ZIG Cartoonist range. There's an amazing variety of products, including alcohol-based markers, fineliners, inks, and brushes. It is extremely exciting to be able to test them!

I am going to produce several reviews, focusing on different products. Today is part 1, Colour!

Here's a sketch that is going to be inked and coloured. I habitually use heavier (130gsm) sketching paper with a bit of texture, as it is easier to pencil on. (Whilst it's great for sketching, perhaps something smoother would've done better for colouring work - as we shall see later!)

The pens I shall be testing are Kuretake Mangaka Flexible Medium and Fine (I used black ones, leaving sepia for later!) They have a nice flexible tip, allowing to create variable line thickness in one stroke. I am also giving Kuretake Mangaka fineliners a go (from the picture below, I will be using 0.8 in black and 0.1 in violet).
The brush pens glide very easily on paper, and are great for thicker outline of clothes and figure. The 0.8 fineliner is a touch too thick for my liking (I usually work within 0.2-0.5 range), and the 0.1 violet is quite thin. Because I am using non-smooth paper, the line feels slightly scratchy.
 The inks dry very quickly (within seconds!) so it's time to put them to the eraser test. Erasing pencil lines often scratches off fineliners and brushes, making the lineart look faded. After a few minutes of vigorous rubbing, the brushes fade a bit and need re-applying in places. The fineliner, however, stays put!

It is  colouring next, and I have nice marker sets to play with :) Kurecolour Fine and Brush markers in Hair and Muted Tones; Flesh and Neutral Tones; and Sky and Ocean Blue Tones. Each pack contains 12 colours and promises "alcohol-based dye, quick-drying, Xylene-free, permanent" effect. Let's see!
I am always on the lookout for good skin tone markers. The ones I have picked up before often turned out either too pink or too beigey. Kurecolour Flesh and Neutral Tones contains markers of just the right tones (roses, peaches, nudes) although the colours look slightly too "samey" (ultimately, that makes the pack go for longer!) The brush tip is flexible, the colour easy to apply. The fine tip can double up as liner, too.
I found that the colour blends well (without the use of a blender pen) and also layers well. As you can see there's only one fineliner smudge (maybe the impatient artist's fault!) and generally the fineliners and brushes perform well when coloured. Quite a lot of the marker did seep through the paper, so I think bleedproof paper is a must.

The same can be said about colours from the other two packs. Doing the background (sky and sea) was a delight! Sky and Ocean Blue Tones pack has blue barely-there shades such as Ice Tint and Iceberg Blue   that are very handy for subtle shadows.
 Lastly, it's my favourite part - adding white highlights! For this, I use Menso Kolinsky brush (small) and Kuretake white ink.
The brush is just the right shape and thickness, nicely streamlined. The ink is opaque, not too thick, and touch-dry in 6 minutes! What's not to like?!
Overall, I am really really pleased with these products!
Kuretake Mangaka Flexible Medium/Fine  - 5/5
Kuretake Mangaka fineliner 0.8 - 4.5/5
Kuretake Mangaka fineliner 0.1- 4/5
Kurecolour Fine and Brush markers: Hair and Muted Tones - 4.5/5 (it's lack of a darker skin tone that put it slightly down for me); Flesh and Neutral Tones - 5/5; Sky and Ocean Blue Tones - 5/5
Menso Kolinsky brushes - 5/5
Kuretake white ink - 5/5 (will be using it on EVERYTHING now!)

And of course, the finished picture:

Coming up soon, Part 2: Monochrome!

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