Friday, March 21, 2014

Howl's Moving Castle + breakdown

Hi guys, I'm back with the painting of Howl's Moving Castle!
Howl's moving Castle is my favorite film from Ghibli, and it's full of fantasy.
Ok, so I actually inspired by the talented artist Tyson Murphy. He did a paint over to a classical Disney film "The Sword in the Stone".
Here is the image of before and after
His work is totally awesome, so I got inspired! :D

So, I decided to do the same. I picked a Ghibli film which is Howl's Moving Castle. I picked a scene with a simple background. And I picked this scene, the scene where Howl is inviting Sophie to his secret garden's house.

So, from here, I'll explain the breakdown of the painting. I still explore more on the Ambient Occlusion technique, I was using that technique to do this painting. 

1. Shadow
Well, since the sketch and line are already available, so I continue on the shadow directly. I painted the grass without AO technique, because it's faster for me.
The lighting and shadow is already settled from the beginning, so just follow it from the scene. I put light grey and shade the shadow with dark grey but no full black. I put extra details on some parts though.

2. Ambient Occlusion
In AO layer, I use a new light grey layer, and I will start painting the AO. I started with dark grey and line the part that need to have the dark shadow. 

3. Combining AO and shadow
This is the fun part, you can finally see your sculpt looking painting. Put the AO layer on top of the shadow layer. Change the AO layer mode to multiply. And your painting is now look solid. 
Well, you can always go back to correct your AO and shadow layer. It is also easier to define your AO in your multiply mode, so draw it in AO layer that already in multiply mode. 

4. Adding some colors
Put some color in different layer on top of AO layer and set your color layer to multiply. Now, it looks like flat again. You might need to use some color gradiation. Also you can put a different color in different layer with a screen or overlay layer mode. 

5. Final Tweaking
Here is the crucial part that you have to spend time the most. So the AO technique just now is only for the base painting. Your true painting begins here in tweaking part. I added more light to create such a mood. I added a romantic feel to the scene with a warm pink color. 
The most fun part to paint for me was the cloud. I love painting clouds lol. I decided to change the original white color cloud to a pink cloud, to make it romantic and dreamy feel. Also, I added the flower petals that flying all over them. Oh, I repainted the hair, so it doesn't looks stiff. 

In conclusion, This technique is really good to help you making a base painting that has a solid look. 
But still, It took time more for me. I still have to find a way to make it faster for me.
So, that's it for the process I guess. Hope this breakdown can help! :)
Cheers :D 


  1. ohhhh the screenshot-paintings are gonna' catch up in popularity, I think!

    anyway, thanks again for a good tutorial. :)

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  3. Thanks for the tutorial! I use a technique somewhat similar to yours, but yours is way more refined :) It really makes your characters look like 3D models! I'm hoping to find a faster way to do this too, it makes the base painting take so long haha.

    1. Hi, you are welcome :D
      I'm so glad that this tutorial can help.
      For a faster way, I am still looking for that too, haha. Maybe practice will help for this :D

  4. I'm so happy I found your blog! <3 <3 <3