Although I don’t read a lot of manga, I’ve always liked manga art, especially the more realistic types of manga art like those in Death Note. Actually, Death Note is my favourite manga, because I felt that it combined a really clever and psychological plot with immensely beautiful art.
A few days ago, I was struck with the sudden urge to convert Harry Potter characters into manga characters. The obvious starting point would be, of course, Harry Potter.
So I began watching YouTube tutorials for drawing manga art, and I came across this channel which is really useful. After a few videos, I came up with a rough sketch of Harry:
(Yes, I actually forgot to draw the glasses onto Harry. And in fact, it wasn’t until the end when I realised this!) Anyway, I converted the sketch on paper into digital form via Illustrator by manually tracing the paper sketch.
This was a fairly long and tedious process, but I really enjoyed it as I could play around with the brush strokes in Illustrator to create a realistic manga look. Doing the main work in a digital medium also allowed me to tweak and refine the illustration, and as you can see, the Illustrator version looks much better than the initial hand-sketched one. And yes, I still forgot Harry wore glasses here.
The next step was to add colour, which I did in Photoshop. I really liked this part of the creation process, too (actually I like all parts of the process!). I referenced many other manga images found through Google Images as a guide to the shading. I realised that, in manga art, the shading used is often hard rather than soft, so I tried to emulate this style of shading with a harder brush and eraser in Photoshop. It’s really fun playing with layers to create complex shading shapes!
The most complicated colouring in the illustration was the hair. I was quite concerned about screwing up the hair because manga-stylised hair is always so gorgeous and seemingly difficult to emulate. After referring to a few manga images, though, I kinda got the hang of it. I started with the base – the darkest hair colour, which I chose to be dark brown.
I then began highlighting sections of the hair with the lightest shade of Harry’s hair. This is where I probably spent the bulk of my time in drawing Harry, trying, deleting and trying again different ways to shade his hair to look like a manga character. The result above is a combination of more than 30 layers in Photoshop =P!
The final steps in creating his hair was to add a second shade of highlights, with a shade darker than the previous highlights but lighter than the base colour. On top of that, I added a ‘band’ of reflective shines to his hair.
I guess this was where I suddenly realised I forgot to draw Harry’s glasses! So I drew them in, taking reference from manga images again, and added finishing touches such as the shadows of his hair and glasses to create the final version:
Here’s the whole creation process captured in a gif: