kittyocean: I give this book a 2 out of 10! (2)
[personal profile] kittyocean
Title: How to draw Shojo Manga
Original title: How to draw Shojo Manga
Author: Various
Language: English
Series: None
Reviews for other books in this series (up till now): None
Format: Paperback, slightly bigger than manga-pockets
Pages: 166 (excluding advertisements)
Publisher: Tokyopop
Year published: original 2006 (Japanese), my edition 2010
ISBN number: 97811427816658
Topic of the book: How to draw
Reason for reading: I wanted to learn more Shoujo Manga-styles (I spell it Shoujo instead of Shojo; I believe both are correct)
Recommended: No.

Back cover text:

I don't know what's with How to draw books nowadays. The back text is so much! Anyway, this book tells you the book has useful tips to develop your skills and how the tutorials revolve around a fictional character (Ena), who wants to be a Manga-ka (Manga-artist).



Comments on the back cover text:

This was one of the first times I ordered a book based on the back cover text. When I received the book, I was disappointed. This is not a How to draw manga-style images, but a book about How to draw Manga, the comics. Actually, it's not really about how to draw anything. There's little how to, but more about that later. To be short; the back text is representative, but most people will have different expectations because of the 'How to draw'-part.

First paragraph/page:

To the person holding this book,

Do you enjoy reading shojo manga? Do you have a passion for drawing characters and making up stories? If you do, then let's draw some shojo manga together! Follow along with us, work hard, and you will find yourself transformed into a professional shojo manga artist!

Comments on the first paragraph:

So many exclamation points! And the font is horrible, by the way. You can read it, but it's bold, cursive and a semi-handwriting font. Not nice to read. It also feels like a direct translation of the Japanese text, mainly because of the 'work hard' part. Okay, you have to work hard and practice a lot, but I expected to read 'Ganbatte!' (Good luck) next.

Review:

Content:

I think the title is deceiving. There is no How-to in this book. There are no step-by-steps, there are little figures.... This book is about how to make your own comics better (they assume you already draw comics) and there's text, so much text! The examples they show are all finished results, there are little examples that show you how to draw something. Have trouble drawing faces? Don't bother with this book! Have trouble drawing a fluttering skirt? Come back when you've mastered that!

This book assumes you are already a semi-pro. You've mastered drawing humans, animals and backgrounds. You know how to write a story, how to fill a panel... so what does this book teach you?

It gives you tips, not real lessons, but tips about how to make your panel-layout more dynamic. It also gives you tips on how to decide how big your speech bubble will be. Or what you can expect if you hand it over to an (Japanese) editor. It also shows you what kind of visual effects there exist, but little on how to create them.

I had some hope left for the 'digitalise your comics', but those were 5 pages, which I can summarise here: Scan, Edit away the mistakes, Make black what needs to be black, Add tones and Add effects and High Lights. Not how to do it, just mentioning it needs to be done.

To be short: editorials about how to improve your semi-pro comics.

Writing style:

The only thing that prevents this book from becoming a waste is that the editorials are actually quite interesting. It shows the world behind Manga-making, a world unknown to me.

However, while the book was filled with easy to read text, the “judges's view” about the practice comic at the end of the book are too formal and not really motivating.

They also tried to make Ena, a fictional aspiring Manga-ka (Manga-artist) a true person by making her comment on the critique she received. While it was easy to read, it was unneeded (in my opinion).

Art:

Most art is from professionals and they look quit good. I like the development sketches best, though, but they were limited. Talking about limited, the backside mentions the series Maid Sama (Kaichou wa Maid-sama), but I could only find one image from that series in that whole book. Don't mention it if it only gets one image!

Still, because most art in the book are single Manga-pages, the art doesn't match with each other. The only art that matches, is the art of the character Ena and her Editor. And in the practice Manga, of course. In my opinion, the art in this book is simply un-matching.

Conclusion:

The only reason I kept this book is because I want to read the editorials – the world behind making a Manga. That's the only reason why it gets a few points.

However, as a How to draw book... I don't recommend it one bit. This is mostly because people who buy books like this are usually not semi-pro's and those who are semi-pro's, will probably not pick this book up because they think it will be for beginners.

Rereadability:

Maybe, if I ever decide to make real comics/manga, but knowing me, that chance is slim.

Also, there's no matching drawing because, like I said, there's no step-by-step.

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