Thursday, June 20, 2013

Quick Tutorial - Create a Nicolas Marlet Pencil

Quick Tutorial - Create a Nicolas Marlet Pencil

Haven't you been completely seduced and hypnotized by Nicolas Marlet lines and curves? His ability to give life to his characters (Kung Fu Panda, How to Train your Dragon, etc...) is just fantastic.
Pencils and coloured pencils on a textured paper (probably a kind of Ingres Charcoal Paper). This makes everything look so natural and artistic.

Well, actually this is something that you can easily reproduce in Photoshop (even more easily in Corel Painter).

This is the way I proceed to make it:

- Start with a simple round brush.
- Modify the shape of the brush to get something elliptic and squeezed giving the brush a 30 degrees or a 45 degrees angle (whatever you are confortable with). This will help to fake the natural position and inclination of the pencil in your hand.
- Set a minimum size. Natural coloured pencils are never so sharp. So a 30-35% minimum diameter is perfect. If you really need thinner lines you can decrease the size of the brush easily.
- Set a minimum opacity. 0% opacity when drawing with the tablet stylus doesn't make any sense. Once again a 30-35% value is a good choice.
- Finally add a texture to your pencil. I personally used the Default Primed Linen texture with a 180% scale and linear burn mode but you can use any texture you want. Just make sure to select a texture that is visible when you draw at the actual printing or screen size. You can use pre-made photoshop textures or import yours (I will make a tutorial about this one day).
Feel free to adjust the texture size according to your document resolution. Reduce the texture size for a smaller document and increase it for a larger one.

I also applied a color dynamic to create subtle color variations (this is something that I tend to do for almost all my Photoshop brushes, it will be explained in another quick tutorial). You can uncheck the option if you don't like it.

And if you are really lazy to make it yourself here is the brush I use:


  1. Very usefull Simon! I Have to stop by your blog more often. :)
    Nice weekend!

  2. Thank you so much Simon!! This is awesome!! :D Yes, i was lazy and download it instead :) ... but i did read all the instructions :D

  3. And I have to publish more often... Thank you very much for your feedback. I will try to post more of those quick tutorials.