Yami Shin is a Swiss mangaka, whose series "Green Mechanic" is published in France by Ki-oon. To celebrate the release of volume 6, she reveals the steps involved in creating the cover image using Clip Studio Paint!
"Green Mechanic", the series born from a Ki-oon manga contest
Yami Shin first made a name for herself in the fanzine world, before trying her luck at the Ki-oon Springboard (“Tremplin Ki-oon” in French), a large manga competition open to the francophone community held every two years. Yami Shin was the deserving winner of the grand prize, and gained a publishing contract! “Green Mechanic” is her first series as a professional mangaka where she develops a unique blend of science fiction, action and emotion.
Her lines, which she draws both powerfully and sensitively, have won her favor with all sorts of reader. "Green Mechanic" won the award for best international manga at the 2018 Japan Expo, the biggest manga/anime convention in Europe!
Check out the whole article for an exclusive interview with the author right after the tutorial!
How to Create a Color Illustration, by Yami Shin!
I sketch my illustration fairly quickly, starting with the general composition and a few colors.
I clean up my lineart. I use a few brushes as well as the G Pen on the whole.
Brush for the plants:
Brushes for stars:
I rework the brushes so that the lines are even, especially for pattern brushes that may have a different line thickness from mine, or a pattern that is too detailed, or not detailed enough, compared to my style. So, I tend to use certain brushes as bases and rework them to fit my design.
Once the lineart is finished, I overlay a color layer in Screen mode.
I vaguely apply my colors. It consists of solids for the foreground characters and elements, and gradients for the background elements.
The light source is coming from above, so I put a layer of yellow or a lighter color on top of the elements. I want to create a pretty uniform mood so I don't push it with the shadow/light contrast too much.
For most of the coloring, I choose a brush that allows me to blend colors.
I also use a watercolor-type brush for certain parts to give them some texture.
So now I have more or less my colors laid down, but there’s no atmosphere! Let’s add some filters and color layers!
I add a filter to even out the image even more and give it a nostalgic feel. You can create this effect by adding a navy blue layer in "Exclusion" mode , set to a very low opacity. This way, the illustration will be more yellow at the top and bluer at the bottom.
Finally, I try to emphasize the colors, and then, most importantly, I change brushes to finish coloring with a more textured watercolor-type brush (first, a square brush then, another one that gives a wet effect).
I used that "wet effect" brush on the hair, to give it an effect close to watercolor on paper.
Once I achieve the feeling that I’m looking for, I save the file twice. First I create a version with all the layers separated, then another on a second file where I flatten all my layers. That way, if I have a problem along the way, I can go back to my file with separate layers. You can never be too careful!
Flattening the layers allows me to go over the lineart and blend it with the rest of the decor. This is especially effective for backgrounds, for example.
I also use a dust brush to give little shiny effects.
Step 8 :
Then, I add a subtle “noise” type effect to the whole illustration once the colors are to my liking!
Note: How to add a "noise" effect
To add a noise effect to the step of finishing an illustration with Clip Studio Paint, follow the steps below.
(1) Duplicate the .clip file of the finished illustration to make a backup copy.
(2) Select [Layer] menu> [Flatten Image], then duplicate the merged layer.
(3) Go to the [Filter] menu > [Render] > [Perlin noise], and set [Scale] to “1” in the dialog box and click OK.
(4) In the [Layer] palette, change the blend mode to [Overlay] and the opacity to about 20%
The noise effect is now integrated seamlessly into the illustration.
Step 9 :
Once the drawing is finished, I add a few shiny effects! I strengthen the contrasts and saturation a little (but not too much, so as not to lose the nostalgic effect). And voilà!! The cover illustration for "Green Mechanic" vol. 6 is ready!
Green Mechanic in a few words
“Human beings have made their planet a wasteland covered with garbage. The only habitable place is the Megacity, a giant city crowded with men and robots, as well as the mysterious Ersatz, monstrous creatures hunted by the Militia. In this sinking world survives Misha, a young orphan with an overdeveloped sense of empathy. Unable to control her ability to read the emotions of others, she stands apart from her fellow human beings. Yet it is thanks to this power that she finds Reborn, a morphing robot wandering without its memory in the middle of a jolt.
This technological marvel is capable of taking any form it wants. Without hesitation, the young girl makes him take the form of Mickael, her best friend, whom she has not heard from since he was kidnapped by a group of Ersatz ten years ago. Where do these creatures come from? What happens to those they capture? No one knows ... To find her companion, Misha joins the Reinforcements, a group of outstanding warriors and investigators! In exchange for their help, she puts her psychic abilities and her ability to transform Reborn into an overpowering weapon to work for them. The fight for the truth begins! "
Chapter 1 is available to read for free here.
Exclusive Interview: Three Questions with Yami Shin!
● Can you tell us how you became a professional mangaka?
I started drawing when I was a teenager, thanks to titles like “Sailor Moon” and “Evangelion”. When I discovered the "Fullmetal Alchemist" series it was a revelation. I wanted to share my passion with others.
I mainly studied on my own, though, I did do a year of art school. I posted a lot of drawings on sites like DeviantArt. Discovering the world of fanzines let me work on my passion alongside my dayjob.
I started in fanzines with two volumes bringing together original stories and fanart. I remember, for example, creating a mini-story based on Nanae Chrono’s "Peace Maker" universe.
Two or three years later, I started to make original works. I released four volumes of about 70 pages each. At the time you could also follow the story for free online. Fanzines are an excellent way to improve your drawing, be it to improve your technique or to experience the pace of work.
I turned professional by winning the Ki-oon competition. Since winning the contest, I have been able to turn my passion fully into a living. Sometimes I give drawing lessons in schools. I still try to do a bit of fanzine stuff when time permits!
● What do you consider to be the most important points in the design of “Green Mechanic”?
For me, it's the facial expressions of the characters, especially in key moments. “Green Mechanic” is an action-suspense manga, but which also tackles certain more psychological themes. When the characters face a strong emotion, I have to capture them as best as I can.
Obviously, making sure that the reader understands the story must be above all else... But I admit taking a lot of time on certain details when the frame is more completative or when I have to convey specific emotions.
● Why do you use Clip Studio Paint?
I discovered Clip Studio Paint (CSP) when it was first launched, but I had a bit of trouble with the software at the time because I was using an old laptop computer that couldn’t handle some of the heavier brushes. So I started my first three volumes on another medium. But since I started using CSP on a desktop computer, it's like having a manga assistant! The program offers a lot of time saving tools, especially since I’m working alone. I mostly use it for black and white pages. I appreciate the fluidity of the brushes. In addition, it offers a very extensive community brush library.
Overall, CSP is effective and gives very good results. It greatly improves the quality of my pages. Personally, I couldn't do without it!
To find out more:
● Yami Shin:
Ki-oon is a manga publishing house that brings you the best in imagination: from fantasy to thriller! With its roots in the creation of original works, Ki-oon now publishes numerous titles in direct collaboration with authors from Japan and the French-speaking world.