I follow a guy on twitter named Derek Laufmann. I love this guy’s work and bought his art book (SPOILER: It’s amazing). He recommended a program called Manga Studio (now named Clip Studio), which was on sale at the time for only $20. This program is AMAZING.
I consider myself pro-level with Photoshop as a designer. But I’m a bit of a noob as a digital artist. I have gotten better but still really struggle with the “feel” of Photoshop and a Wacom tablet. My digital work has always been inferior to my traditional media skill. Manga studio may have just completely changed that. It’s out-of-the-box brushes are fantastic and within an hour felt so much more like the art tools my eye and hand know. It does have tons of quirks that frustrate the crap out of me but this is a cheap program! I pay more every month for Adobe Creative Cloud than this product cost me forever and it is a really solid application.
Anyway, I’m really having fun with this. I grew up drawing a very comic-book-realism style and I finally feel like I might be able to nail that digitally. I’ve been working on some sketches that might become the menu backgrounds and have been playing with UI stuff too.
Here’s one of the first sketches I did in Manga Studio:
Here’s me getting the feel for coloring with the various tools:
Playing with what a menu might look like, characters still unfinished:
And testing some UI component style and stuff:
The character at the top of this post was one of the last things that I did. I was playing with masks and other things that will differentiate characters and personality at small sizes. Note that I also have been sketching more non-digitally as well: