Thursday, April 01, 2010

Ponyo, Kazuo Oga, and POSTER paint...


7/4/2014 UPDATE:   MAKE SURE TO READ MY NEW BLOG POSTS ON POSTER PAINT


Blog Post from 4/1/10:

Yesterday, "The Art of Ponyo," arrived. I read it cover to cover. As with most Ghibli movies, I was fascinated with the detailed backgrounds and especially the vibrant child-like colors in Ponyo. After finishing the book, I was immediately surprised to find out that Ghibli hadn't used watercolors after all (like the rumors I had heard). Nor had they used Gouache or acrylic paint. They had used poster paint for Ponyo. Not only that, but as I researched further I found out poster paint had been used for EVERY GHIBLI MOVIE BACKGROUND EVER MADE!!!

GAH! POSTER PAINT? For at least a year I have been attempting to understand how Kazuo Oga works (Oga is a background artist for Ghibli, well known for My Neighbor Totoro) .

Kazuo Oga is a master of depicting lifelike vibrant nature scenes, which bring Hayao Miyazaki's movies to life.


Based upon my limited knowledge and what I could gather from the pictures, I originally assumed Oga used acrylic paint. Investing in an expensive brand of paints, they proved to be vibrant enouph, but the paint dried so fast I couldn't get any of the effects I desired. This congested mess resulted:

I virtually gave up on acrylics for awhile, assuming I would have to be a master like Oga. Moving on I tried opaque watercolor and assumed satisfaction would be found...

The result was closer, but as time passed I ruled it out. At this point, I have tried virtually every kind of traditional paint only to find out that he uses... poster PAINT!? (and most Japanese animation companies as well.) Sigh.... After more research I learned that America uses mostly Gouache for their backgrounds, and some older animation actually used watercolor (Lilo and Stich brought this back in the present). Gouache is ok, but can be frustrating, and watercolor would be near impossible to achieve Ghibli backgrounds.

After digging, I found that Ghibli uses "Nicker Poster Colour", a poster paint that is higher grade than what is available in the U.S.. The company who produces it originates in Korea. Nicker Poster Colour is available on Amazon Japan to buy, but will not ship to the states.

According to the good folks at Conceptart.org this is what Oga had to say regarding his artwork:

"Basically, I use poster- color. Because as we have to paint much, we can't use expensive paint. Poster colors can show brightness or depth of color and, above all, it is easy-to-use. Talking about brushes, I use only two kinds of brushes, hira-fude (flat brush) and sakuyo-fude (pointed brush). For example, a sky or feathering clouds, misty distant mountains, rocks, plants… everything rough is done only by this large hira-fude. Old TV series anime used to be done in this way only. The last finish is done by sakuyo-fude carefully. I paint leaves roughly with hira-fude and add a few detailed leaves on it. Which is enough because the backgrounds of anime are shown only 3 or 4 seconds."


And according to a person who visited a Japanese studio, as recorded at Huitula.com, all Japanese utilize similar processes for background animation:


"Usually the works are being painted on just barely bigger paper than standard A4-paper, Nicker Poster Colour used with about 30 different colors in bottles. On a wet paper first the basic color surfaces and tones are being painted with a bigger brush, after which you move on to smaller details little by little. Also the straight lines are being painted with a brush, taking support from a ruler and a stick gliding on its groove. A paintbrush is used only very seldom to achieve some certain effects, still most of the painting is done with a traditional brush. Hair-dryers are also being used for drying the painting when needed."

Actually for Ponyo it utilized a combination of Poster paint and colored Pencil. Here is excerpts from the artbook:

Noboru yoshida, Art Director for Ponyo stated,"Usually I use poster paint to create the backgrounds; then I color the base in a pale color, adding subtle hues and shading on top of it. This time, with Ponyo, I added things like tints or detailed expressions with colored pencil on top of what I drew with poster paint..." He goes on to explain much more detail on pg 88 (other useful information about their unique process) but I will leave it out so you will go buy the book. ^_^


Okay, so now that I am done ranting, here is a SUPER amazing video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sw6htaSNaJc
(video of Oga painting...with POSTER PAINTS.)


[Edit: 7 November 2011 Cleaned up text and clarified some points]

32 comments:

  1. I feel educated now, thank you.

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  2. Thank you for this...you're right, it's impossible to get the same effects we see in gibli's works with acrilycs...the only way is to use posters colors. so y went to tokyo, fortunately i found some posters colours there (in shibuya). but it's not enough because i have only 7 colors. in france, i can't find this poster paint so i have to go back in japan!

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  3. I had the paint in this 2 years, and how understand it .

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  4. please contact mw if you want learn about it
    email: changeyoonggunn@yahoo.com, or sky : fomasoro.

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  5. Is this "poster paint" the same as gouache? It looks the same to me.

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  6. No it is not the same. I recently acquired the poster-paints used by Ghibli and they have a creamy flow and coverage...it seems like a mix between acrylic and gouache.

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  7. Where can we buy these poster paints?

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  8. The only place I could find it where English speaking people can buy it is on http://www.amazon.co.jp/

    Use the key words: ポスターカラー(ニッカー)

    The Japanese amazon is somewhat English friendly on purchases. The only hitch is the shipping cost. hope that this was helpful.

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  9. it says on amazon.jp it does not ship out of japan :/ and it's soo pricy

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  10. so can you actually ship it outside of japan or not??

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  11. hello!
    I've just reading this article and I was searching soooo long what ghibli used like colour for BG!
    I'm really interesting by nicker colour poster and in amazon site, they can't be ship out of japan...
    somebody know how to have them?

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  12. Dear EVERYONE who has tried to purchase Nicker Poster paints from Amazon...I'm sorry I was mistaken. They only ship movies, books and other such things internationally. Unless someone else knows of another source there is no way to get Nicker Poster paints...however Gouache does a pretty good job!

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  13. I think it should be possible trough deputy shops. You basically let the product be bought from an Japanese shop and then they ship it to you. Like that you can buy items not used for international shipping. Tho never tested it with stuff like this and considering the size of the bottles the weight and shipping and handling costs would cost a fortune...

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  14. Contacted few Deputy shops and it looks like they all mark those paints as FLAMMABLE which is not possible to ship outside of Japan coz of theire restrictions. I tought those colors are waterbased and without flamable content lol.. Well looks like its an thing of impossibillity to get these colours in Europe .....

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  15. that's so depressing, I haven't tried it yet but even though gouache is quite opaque, it's colors aren't as vibrant as poster color, they tend to "die" after thei'r used, I guess I will have to stick with my dear digital technique

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  16. In this forum thread (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=924554) someone recommended HKS Gouche from Schmincke as a good substitute for nicker poster paint. Haven't tried them yet tho.

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  17. Well yeah thats my post lol... Schmincke HKS gouache is the most expensive gouche on the market. One 20 Ml tube costs around 10 Euro. The retail price for 10 tubes set is 99 Euro. For that amout you could buy 36 Nicker 40 ml poster paints... The math is easy lol

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  18. a friend bought niker color poster from korea, and I had nicker color poster too by a korean friend who sent it to me ^^ so try on korean amazon or other stuff like this.

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  19. I am artist since grade school and after I traveled and work abroad i left my poster color i been using since my college days and when I come back for more than a decade i saw my poster color again and try to used it and whew...still same grades of color ...so I think i also have better one but I believe if you are a good artist...you can find ways whatever colors you will be using...

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  20. For those of you in Europe, you can buy Shinhan poster paints from amazon.de. Shinhan is a korean brand, and the paints are basically the same thing as Nicker.

    http://www.amazon.de/Shinhan-Artists-Gouache-Poster-Color/dp/B002J5HVOM/ref=sr_1_50?ie=UTF8&qid=1327567012&sr=8-50

    I'm linking the 30 paint set because it's only 3 euros more than the 24 paint, but there's only 1 left in stock right now. They have more of the 24 paint in stock.

    Also, I don't think Nicker paints are THAT cheap. The 24 paint set is 8,800 yen on the manufacturer's website, which is 86 Euro. That's more than I paid for the Shinhan 30 paint set, including postage. They're much cheaper bought in Korea (about 40 euro), but there's the same ban on commercial shipping abroad. If you know someone there it might be worth it to get them to buy some and send them over, but remember to factor in potential customs taxes.

    I'll post once I've received the paints and had a play around with them :)

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  21. what is the difference between the Shinhan and the Nicker poster color ?
    thanks

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  22. Holbein Acryla Gouache should do the job, it's exactly that, opaque mixture of gouache properties and acrylic flexible binder.

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  23. Holbein is expensive, but I also doubt that the paint's named "Nicker Poster Colour", I did have "Pentel Poster Color" which works really good and super cheap. But I not sure you guy can buy in here coz sometime during summer, my mom go back to Vietnam and bring some for me. And hi Mike, I'm a sophomore Illustration and animation at MICA. Nice to mee you.

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  24. Any updates on availability on shinhan or nicker poster paints in Europe? I checked out that amazon link but it doesn't seem to work any more.

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  25. Huh... Nicker colors are poster paints. I got a set when I was in Japan (required supply for a class I was taking) and I couldn't quite figure out what it was. Not watercolor, not gouache. I was leaning towards acrylic but even then it wasn't quite right. Poster paint. Huh. Interesting.

    The colors are really vibrant. It functions like a gouache, but the resulting colors are more opaque. More vibrant. Like an acrylic. Thought you might like to know.

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  26. Hi guys, Im from germany. in 2008 I was searching for this paint, what the studios used in BG, Yes it is Nicker Poster Colour, after I find out , i contact the Company In Japan on email. And I buy a 32 Colour set, the Company Ship the Colour to me and i have them and its is so amazing what the colour can. You have Intresting to buy the colour this is the Contact of the Company. I wish you the best und a good work.
    sorry for my bad english.

    Contact

    Email nicker.colour@eagle.ocn.ne.jp
    Tel. (03) 3502-0955
    Current account No. 0009648 Nicker Colour Co., Ltd.
    Nicker's address: No.7-24, 1-chome, Uchisaiyaicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0011, Japan

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  27. Hello everyone my name is jerry and I'm located in the United States California and was wondering if anyone had luck getting these paints here or anything they could tell me that would help? How did those Shinhans turn out to those who used them?
    Thanks

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  28. I have Kazuo Oga Blu-ray video and it's great. It's a must-have item for people who love art.

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  29. I HAVE SOME POSTER PAINT, I HAVE LISTED IT ON EBAY. ALOT OF THE WRITING IS IN JAPANESE, BUT THEY ARE A BOX OF 12 COLORS NEW, THE BOX SAYS PENTEL POSTER COLOR, CREATIVE PRODUCTS FOR CREATIVE EXPRESSION. MADE IN JAPAN, YOU CAN DO A SEARCH ON EBAY FOR PENTEL POSTER COLOR. EMAIL TXSOUPEE@AOL.COM.THANKS

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  30. Kazuo Oga is a amazing artist however its not always the medium its how he uses it .=)

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