Monday, 27 August 2012

Kuretake ZIG Cartoonist review part 3: Mixed Media

In this third (and final) review of the amazing Kuretake ZIG Cartoonist range, I am going to put the products to the ultimate test: I'll be using them, and comparing them, with products from other ranges. Most artists don't use materials of just one type, or one make - it's often a combination, whether it's traditional & digital, or a mixture of traditional media.
Now, here's a vast array of materials I'll be using:

Kuretake Mangaka Flexible sepia fineliners in Fine and Medium, and Mangaka sepia fineliner in .02;
Kolinsky small and Menso medium brushes and Kuretake white ink, also used in previous reviews;
Kurecolour Fine and Brush markers (Hair and Muted Tones; Flesh and Neutral Tones; and Sky and Ocean Blue Tones) - see my previous review of them. These will be used against my trusty Faber-Castell PITT brush pens. They are water-based "Indian Ink" pigments with fairly fine brushes. I've also used watercolours and a pink watercolour pencil (not in the photo!)

Here's my lineart for this test. As in previous review, I did it digitally, then printed it with 20% opacity onto smooth card. I then added basic background with watercolour. (Artist Confession #1: for those who don't know, I love love LOVE the look and feel of 70s and 80s shojo manga. Whilst drawing this piece, I started making up a little period-set story about these two... maybe about a refined city girl sent to spend the summer in a relative's countryside manor, who befriends the gardener's little son. She would teach him good etiquette and city fashions, and he'd introduce her to the delights of country life...)

...Anyways, back to the review! I used the sepia fineliners for inking. As the boy is standing further than the young lady, his lines should be finer - so I used a combination of .02 and Fine on the boy, and Fine and Medium on the girl. The pens give great flowing lines, much like their black counterparts. I was wondering about the .02 being too thin - but it did not give any of the "scratchiness" you sometimes find with very thin liners. I am particularly impressed with the Fine flexible fineliner as it's so easy to ink with. It's great to just use the same pen for all the details, from the frills on the girl's dress to the tiny strawberries in her basket, and STILL keep the line nice and variable.

(Artist Confession #2: out of the whole creative process, the part I like the least is inking! It always takes me the longest and feels like a bit of a chore. So it feels good to find products that make mundane things like adding lineweight enjoyable!)

Next step is the markers. Before embarking on this piece, I tried combining the ZIG markers and liners with the Fabers in my little black sketchbook. I find it also helps decide on the colour scheme beforehand, without the risk of ruining the actual picture by using colours that don't go! (And as I am mostly a digital artist, I really miss the Undo button...)

The Kurecolour Flesh and Neutral Tones marker pack was an absolute lifesaver when it came to choosing skin tones. I had the idea of doing the boy's skin darker as he would spend most of his time outdoors, whereas the girl would have more of an "English Rose" complexion (although it came out as rather grey in the photo ^^''') I used Rose Beige and Porcelain respectively.

Next come the hair - ta-da, moment of truth! The boy's hair was done in a very light, barely-there Faber-Castell marker and shaded in (I think) Kurecolour Mellow Yellow (from the Hair and Muted Tones pack). The girl's hair was done entirely in Fabers. You can see that the Kurecolours give a much smoother, subtler transition, mostly due to their base, which blends well with other colours and binds well with the smooth texture of the paper. It also layers well, unlike the Fabers that "bobble" the paper slightly when layered on top of each other. On the plus side, the Fabers have a thinner brush that is good for precise shadows... then again, the Kurecolours have the fine tip for that!
 Whilst colouring and shading the clothes, I also found out that with the Kurecolours, there isn't much danger of going too dark. The colours turn to be a lot lighter than you'd expect - but it's not a problem as you can always add another layer of the same colour. The shadows on white, some of the background, and the girl's basket was done in Kurecolours, and the rest in Faber-Castells. I then added the shineys using the white ink (my absolute star product!) and brushes:
Having two different brushes is extremely convenient - I did highlights on the hair and skin using the Medium brush, then grabbed the Kolinsky small brush for the really fiddly details like shojo sparkles in the eyes!
I then used the same brushes (wet) and a watercolour pencil to give the happy pair their rosy sheeks.

So, the only new Kuretake products I haven't previously reviewed and used today were:
Kuretake Mangaka Flexible sepia fineliner in Fine - 5/5
Kuretake Mangaka Flexible sepia fineliner in Medium - 5/5
Mangaka sepia fineliner in .02 - 5/5 (a pleasant surprise!)

With regard to the markers, I would like to say that the Kurecolour markers are very easy and enjoyable to use. I definitely prefer alcohol base to water base (and not because of the smell LOL - by the way, Kurecolour markers are virtually odourless, compared to the Letrasets and the Shin Hans!). They give a lighter watercolour-style finish, whereas the Farer-Castells' look is a lot more "cel". The liners are very durable, as they went over watercolour and under two types of markers - and did not smudge once.

I am much looking forward to using the ZIG Cartoonist range A LOT in the future!

And, as always, here's the finished picture:

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