I found this one-panel Hayao Miyazaki comic on Twitter early this morning, and immediately re-tweeted it. Turns out many of you enjoy seeing these great manga comics as well.
I don't know the specifics of this comic or its original source. In addition to creating the occasional serial comics, Miyazaki often draws a single-page comic for other authors. Every time I think I've chronicled or collected everything, I discover another series of magazine covers or book illustrations. I don't think anybody knows for certain how many of these Miyazaki-san has created.
This particular comic details the hows and whys of an artist's drawing set, including the watercolors. This is very much how Miyazaki creates his own art, so this is a terrific behind-the-scenes tutorial. We should translate the Japanese so we can read all the text, but it's good to appreciate the visual art as it stands. I enjoy the fusion of hand-written text, detailed drawings, and simple cartoon sketches. Miyazaki, as always in this medium, appears as the "pig-man," making jokes or quick asides. And if you look closely, you will also spot Kamaji from Spirited Away...always with the riffs!
I really love Miyazaki's watercolor manga comics. Viz Media does a great job publishing Ghibli-themed books, and the 1980 Princess Mononoke book is especially nice). But there should be a greater push to translate and release more of these comics on our shores. There are likely more copyright issues involved, with Japanese book publishers or Model Graphix Magazine. I have no idea who owns the rights to the 1969 People of the Desert serial. We ought to make it a priority this year to answer these questions.
You can click on the photo to view in its full size. You can appreciate all the details that way.
Update: Thanks to reader "beyond," who informed me that this panel comes from the Ghibli Museum Sketch Set, which is sold at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan. Ghibli Wiki has also provided a translation of this page, where Miyazaki gives advice in the use of watercolor paints: The translation follows below:
"My Recommendation: Transparent watercolor is good!"
"These painting materials are enough for a two-week trip and preparations for a movie."
"Transparent watercolor has a strong habit."
"Do not paint stickily and paint after wiping the extra paint and water off."
"Paint the bright part thinly."
"You had better not use white."
"Paint other colors after the under-color has dried."
"Let's mix the colors and use them."
1. Light the wool which protrudes on a new painting brush.
2. Anything is fine for a water vessel.
3. A retractable knife is enough for the pencil sharpener.
4. One 2B pencil is enough for the pencil.
5. Divide the palette into seven zones: Bright, Dark, Black, Green 1, Green 2, Blue 2, Blue 1.
6. Do not use the eraser.
7. Do not draw a guideline for a picture