Thursday, May 17, 2018

Painting in the Ghibli Style

Here are two videos that demonstrate some gouache techniques resembling those used in background paintings for Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli.

background by Kazuo Oga
Background art by Kazuo Oga

The first is by Osamu Masuyama, a background artist on Spirited Away, Ponyo, and Howl's Moving Castle, doing a demonstration at a university. (Link to video on Internet Archive)

He pre-mixes four colors before starting on the sky: a lighter and darker blue for the gradation of the sky, plus a white and a gray for the lit part of the cloud and the shadow part.

(Sorry, the video previously on this post is no longer on YouTube)

Artist Victor Ishihara demonstrates creates a painting of the building from "Spirited Away." I'm not sure what Mr. Ishihara's connection is with Studio Ghibli, but his way of painting seems fairly similar to that of Mr. Masuyama.

A few observations on both demos:
1. The art is set up flat on the table, so the method doesn't depend on gravity to pull down washes.
2. The paper is pre-wet for the sky, which helps achieve those soft edges in the clouds.
More resources
Previously: Demo by Kazuo Oga
 Kazuo Oga
Watercolor Tips from Miyazaki
DVD: Oga Kazuo DVD
Paints: Nicker (Knicker) poster color (imported from Japan)


Dave said...

Another source of great matte and backdrop painting -
Just imagine how good and how fast these artists had to be.
Dave Frary

Daniele Guadagnolo said...

A few observations about Ghibli background painting.

I believe that a damp paper, even when the surface is dry and harder edges are possible, still allows more blending with water media; it's a good way to keep the gouache open for a little longer.
They often use almost full-bodied paint wet-into-wet without adding much water or white. This is a good way to achieve a uniform surface effect and paint body without sacrificing subtle transitions.

Japanese artists are used to soft brushes, which are uncommon here when using opaque paints. I tried squirrel hair brushes and synthetic soft imitations, which I regularly use for watercolor, with gouache with interesting results.

jeff said...

I wanted to point out that some of the colors in the Knicker poster color paint set are not light fast. This paint is made for commercial use and is not meant for fine art work. There is also a Russian company that makes a similar kind of paint called Masterclass gouache.

Paintbynumberblog said...

Interesting tutorials. Thanks for sharing.

jqln said...

I just wanted to point out that the paint brand he's using in the video is Holbein; Dick Blick has it online. This video is awesome, I always wondered how to get airbrushed blends like that in gouache. Thanks for sharing!

Jack Bradshaw said...

Studio Ghibli Collection:
· Nausica√§ of the Valley of the Wind (1984) - Running time: 140 minutes
· Castle in the Sky (1986) - Running time: 148 minutes
· Grave of the Fireflies (1988) - Running time: 106 minutes
· My Neighbor Totoro (1988) - Running time: 103 minutes
· Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) - Running time: 123 minutes
· Only Yesterday (1991) - Running time: 141 minutes
· Porco Rosso (1992) - Running time: 112 minutes
· Ocean Waves (1993) - Running time: 86 minutes
· Pom Poko (1994) - Running time: 142 minutes
· Whisper of the Heart (1995) - Running time: 133 minutes
· Princess Mononoke (1997) - Running time: 159 minutes
· My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999) - Running time: 124 minutes
· Spirited Away (2001) - Running time: 150 minutes
· The Cat Returns (2002) - Running time: 90 minutes
· Howl's Moving Castle (2004) - Running time: 142 minutes
· Tales from Earthsea (2006) - Running time: 138 minutes
· Ponyo (2008) - Running time: 121 minutes
· The Secret World of Arrietty (2010) - Running time: 114 minutes
· From Up on Poppy Hill (2011) - Running time: 110 minutes
· The Wind Rises (2013) - Running time: 151 minutes
· The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013) - Running time: 164 minutes
· When Marnie Was There (2014) - Running time: 123 minutes