Draw ramen using "traditional media" with Clip Studio Paint


I ate ramen today and it was delicious, so here is a tutorial on how I draw ramen!

This is the picture I took for reference:

My ramen has quite a few ingredients with different textures. It will be hard if one decides to draw it with transparent/see-through media on CSP. Those media are watercolor, marker, colored pencil and the like.

Most of them have Multiply blending mode so you need to have a steady hand if you want to control them precisely; or you need to draw slowly with small strokes like with colored pencils. We will use CSP's large toolset to avoid these problems.

1. Brushes and tools

Below are the tools used in my tutorial.

1A. Realistic watercolor brushes [B]

They come equipped within CSP, and are my most used brushes. They can achieve most watercolor effects if you spend enough time.

Round/Flat watercolor brush: base color, basic shading
Soft bleed: add color in wet-on-wet style
Rough wash: add colored texture
Watery brush: add "transparency"/lighten color, add water drop effect

1B. 水彩マーカー●▲■とテクスチャーセット (Watercolor marker + texture set)

I downloaded this toolset from Clip Studio Asset. (Thanks a lot, ×ェ×-san!)


I only use two tools in the set though.

▲水彩マーカー/二色 (Watercolor maker/bi-color): Create uneven texture
テクスチャ/水彩ムラ (Texture/Watercolor Irregularity): background, water drop effect shading

1C. Tマーカー風ブラシセット (T-marker Wind Brush Set)

Another great toolset from ×ェ×-san. Base markers, multiply-stroke markers, blenders with different tips and a paper texture. They have a detailed explanation.


1D. Real pencil [P]

From CSP's default pencil brushes. I use it to draw pencil line art for "traditional" drawings, as well as coloring in colored pencil style.

Other default Pencil and Pastel brushes are useful too but I don't use them as much.

1E. Textured pen/Real G-pen [P]

Default brushes, used to make masks and colored areas (see below). Their textured border has a more organic feel suitable for traditional style than the normal smooth G-pen.

1F. Layer Mask

This is what makes our drawing process easier. On a separate layer, draw and fill an area with a solid color using the Textured pen.

Then right-click (long-press on iPad) > Selection from Layer > Create Selection. Make a new layer and click the Create Layer Mask button.

Now you can draw freely using broad strokes inside the chosen area.

Click on the mask. Draw on it with a solid color to show more of the layer, and draw with "transparency" to hide.

1J. Airbrush

2. How to pick colors

If you have watercolor, markers or colored pencils in real life, pick the colors that are close to the colors you have.

Or go to the internet and observe as many real watercolor/marker/colored pencil drawings as possible. You will learn a lot about how to use colors as well as drawing techniques that you can apply in your digital drawing.

Food's colors often have neither too low nor too high saturation. Popular colors are yellow, orange, red (scarlet and crimson variety), ochre, brown, salmon, peach, sap green, olive green, etc. Blue, violet, purple, teal, viridian, gray, black and high saturation colors are uncommon, but they can be used in shading and/or drawing tableware.

3. Step-by-step: Ramen in watercolor

3A. Sketch

I roughly draft the composition using bold strokes and some colors to note which is which (since the ramen's topping is complex).

3B. Line art

Using the Real pencil brush with a warm medium gray color, I draw the line art (on a vector layer). The line will look more real if it's a bit messy.

To draw the bowl, I use the Figure ruler to aid.

If you need to erase the line, use the Vector eraser to completely erase a line with a touch, or the Kneaded eraser to leave a pencil trace behind which looks more realistic.

3C. Divide the drawing into different parts

This is where you have to plan your drawing. For example, my ramen is composed of many parts: the noodles, beef, spring onion, fried pork, broth and the bowl. Each part will have a different color and texture than other parts; so basically each ingredient is a part. Some components have more than one color/texture, so they have multiple parts, like the bowl which I decided to be black outside and red inside.

Either way, each part has its own layer. I draw the outline of each part with the Textured pen brush [B], then fill them using the Fill tool [G}.

When drawing with traditional media in real life, you will need to use masking fluid to mask the white area of the paper which you don't want to draw on (since you can't paint the "white color" on top of darker colors, unlike gouache or oil paint). Here we will do the same. Mark all your white areas on a separate layer.

Use whatever colors you want as long as you won't mix things up. The result will look weird but that's okay; the final colors will be very different.

3D. Create new layers with mask

This is another time-consuming step. If you know how to do it, I recommend making an auto-action.

Right-click on a part > Selection from Layer > Create Selection. Then create a new layer, and press the Create Layer Mask button.

Repeat the step with all the parts (except the masking fluid layer) (and maybe rename them so you can tell them apart). Turn the weird-colored layers off (maybe put them into a folder), but don't delete them - you may need them later.

Select all the newly-created layers (with mask) and change the Blending mode to Multiply (if they are watercolor or marker, you don't need to do this with colored pencil or pastel drawings).

3E. Paint with watercolor brushes (or other media)

Now you can freely draw on your masked layers.

I often draw the base color with the Round watercolor brush (go over a part 2 - 3 times for a darker color).

Then I Lock transparent pixels and make the color uneven by using the Running color spray (white color) and Watery brush, or make gradients with the Soft airbrush.

The fried pork's base was drawn with the Watercolor maker/bi-color brush.

3F. Additional shading layers

I add more shading with multiple layers, all set to Multiply blending mode; and some overall shadow layers. These layers usually don't need masks, but if you have difficulty with drawing any part, you can use a mask to aid like with the above steps.

My brush's choices for this part are the Flat watercolor brush (it has a more defined edge than the round one by default, but you can change that), the Watercolor maker/bi-color brush, the Soft bleed and Rough wash brush.

3G. The white highlights

After everything is colored, right-click on the white highlight/"masking fluid" layer > Selection from Layer > Create Selection. Then click on each colored layer and press Delete. Do it for all colored layers.

3H. Create watercolor border

Put all the colored layers into a folder and duplicate it in case anything goes wrong. Then on the copy, right-click on the mask of each layer and click Apply Mask to Layer to merge them.

On the Layer Property tab of each layer, turn on the Watercolor Border, then move the slider close to the image below. Do it for each layer (again…) The white highlight will pop out and looks more real, as well as other watercolor wash.

3I. "Draw" with watercolor texture

For the background, I will use the Texture/Watercolor Irregularity from ×ェ×-san's set.
Drag-and-drop it from the Material tab onto the Layer tab. Move the rectangle's handle to resize it as you wish.

Click on the watercolor texture layer > Rasterize…

Click the Create Layer Mask button then click the mask created. Use the Textured pen brush and "transparent color", draw on the mask to hide the ramen bowl and chopsticks' area.

Then go to Edit > Convert brightness to opacity...

Lock Transparent Pixels then use the Soft airbrush to "draw" colors onto it like the coloring step above.

I also use this technique to replace one of the shading layers of the bowl to avoid the uniform look.

I duplicated the watercolor texture and "erase"/"draw with transparency" some more on the mask to make a "table" of some sort.

3J. Add paper's texture

Create a new layer below everything and fill it with a warm white/cold white.

Drag-and-drop a paper's texture onto the Layer tab and click the Overlay texture button.

Finished image:

4. More tips and tricks

4A. Draw liquid food

In my ramen example, you can see two types of broth: the thick type (curry) and the thin type (noodle soup broth). How you demonstrate them depends on your observation. I have some to share:

The thick type has a somewhat uniform texture, like this green pepper sauce.

The thin type makes you see what is underneath (food/holder) clearly and as such needs to be drawn in multiple wash (in our case, layers or brush strokes)

In my ramen bowl, you can kind of see the ramen beneath, but without a defined border (so not the thick type but not too thin either). I draw them with a small-tipped soft airbrush on a transparent-locked base layer.

In all cases, highlights (white or very light color) appear as dotted or dashed-line around the border where the liquid comes in contact with other materials.

4B. Color reflection

Most materials are reflective to some degree. Reflections not only come in the form of white highlights but also in the color of each part.

Which means if two materials (either food or its holder) are next to each other, you should mix some color from one to another. How much you should use depends on the materials (plastic bowls will reflect more color from food than the vegetables it holds for example).

There are two ways to draw color reflection: by same-layer coloring or multiple layers. You can use one way or both.

4C. Markers

Markers are transparent as watercolor, but the colors tend to be bolder, more saturated and less jewelry-like. It's hard to achieve perfect gradient with real life markers; as such, the airbrushing-on-transparency-locked-layer technique won't do well. Just use the blender brushes in the set.

D. Colored pencils/Pastels

They are not transparent, but need to be drawn in small-width strokes and as such they are see-through. The mask still helps to keep the long strokes inside the border though. Use the Kneaded eraser to lighten colored pencils.

Hope you can find something useful in my tutorial! If you like my tutorials, visit me at my pages! Let's have a chat:D



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