Princess Mononoke Print design process - illustration step by step gif by Stephanie Male
Artist life

Princess Mononoke Print Character Design Process

I’m having an amazing month at the moment, it’s been amazing because I’ve found myself being really inspired and motivated. So, I’ve decided to jump on it and get a move on for my next convention: the Cardiff Anime and Gaming Convention on August 17 & 18th. So, cue some good ol’ Princess Mononoke fan art.

My first point of call, as always, was to do a new Studio Ghibli print. I love redrawing Hayao Miyazaki’s characters, they have such strong personalities that I love just putting my own spin on them. Spirited Away is usually my go-to Ghibli film but this time I fancied illustrating some Princess Mononoke fan art for a change.

Princess Mononoke Fan art = Fun art

Princess Mononoke fan art print - illustration process by stephanie male

Starting with a few rough pose sketches, I quickly decided this pose was my favourite for Princess Mononoke. It gives off an air of vulnerability as well as bad-assery.

After deciding on the pose, I set out tightening up the pose and making it more anatomically correct. Using the time to all flesh out some of the larger details like the hair, earrings and headband.

Princess Mononoke Colour study - rough and messy - stephanie male illustration

Once I have a looser outline, I do a super quick colour study- it looks a total mess. But I’m okay with that, its just a rough test so I can work out what colours to use later.

From the last outline, I add a few new layers in Photoshop and start drawing out the final outlines. Drawing the head, body and knife on separate layers allows me more control over the outlines. So if one part looks too big I can easily edit the size or angle without messing about with the lasso tool.

Adding the fun part….Colour!

Remember the mess from before? I use those loose colours to inform my flat colouring layers. I also colour the outline layers using clipping masks and darker tones.

Once I’m happy with the flat colours I start roughing out the shadows and tweaking them until I’m happy. Throwing in some gradients here and there for more effect.

Finally I add in the finer details including the blush and freckles to the shoulders and cheeks. I also add in a few highlights to make the character and illustration pop, mainly adding them to the eyes and lips.

And Voila, my Princess Mononoke fan art print is complete!

Alright, so it’s not that easy and takes a number of days hours until I’m completely happy with it- or at least until my partner shouts at me to stop tweaking it.

You can grab a copy of this print from me at Cardiff Anime con in August, or you can purchase it through my shop.

Do you have a similar process for drawing? Want to know more? Let me know in the comment below.

Thanks for reading! x

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