The Manga Artist’s Workbook by Christopher Hart: A-

artistworkbookUsing artwork and text from Hart’s book Manga for the Beginner: Everything You Need to Start Drawing Right Away (Watson-Guptill Publications, ISBN 978-0-307-46270-01), The Manga Artist’s Workbook (subtitled Easy-to-Follow Lessons for Creating Your Own Characters) takes readers step-by-step through the process of creating a character and provides ample opportunities to try out the advice using the tracing and drawing paper included in the book.

The book is divided into sections focusing on different anatomical and sartorial aspects of a character: the head, the eyes, the hands, clothing and costumes, creating natural and action poses, et cetera. The importance of using guidelines to achieve proper proportion and perspective is stressed and the approach is overall a technical one that will require some patience.

That isn’t to say it’s without immediate satisfaction, though. Because of the focus on one element at a time, aspiring artists (or relatively hopeless manga reviewers) can concentrate on adding just one thing to a mostly completed drawing. In the image below, all I did was shade in the eyes and add some hair and it almost looks like I can actually draw!

Unlike some how-to books on drawing manga that I’ve seen, the art in The Manga Artist’s Workbook genuinely looks like manga art. Its lessons are primarily applicable to shojo style, however, which might be an enticement for some and a turn-off for others. Also, as the subtitle suggests, the lessons are all about creating a character; no advice concerning paneling or backgrounds is given. Still, if you’re a shojo artist looking for some hands-on practice, you might want to check this one out.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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