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REVIEW: How to Draw Shojo Manga




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FeralKat



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 402
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:54 pm Reply with quote
I have a habit of buy all the new how to draw manga books that come out (But not the Christopher Hart ones...) for fun. This one is excellent and I agree with the reviewer.

I've noticed that the shojo HTD books are a lot more practical than other ones I've read. This one's up there with Viz's Shojo Beat Manga Artist Academy & Digital Manga's Shojo Techniques: Writing Stories & Drawing Basics. Sadly the latter ones are out of print, but are pretty easy to find. Smile

All of these books are more about planning, pacing, and executing comics, rather than a straight up how-to-draw, which I think is sorely lacking these days.
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PingSoni
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Joined: 05 Dec 2008
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Location: Lansing MI
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:50 pm Reply with quote
I also have a large collection of how-to-draw manga books. (My favorites are the Graphic-Sha ones, which I use constantly.)

I like this book, though I think the title might more honestly have been How Shojo Manga is Drawn, as it is so specific to the process of drawing for Japanese magazines.

People who read all the side-panels and end notes by manga-ka, use the translator's notes at the back of volumes, and buy things like the Fruits Basket Fan Book, will probably find this book to be interesting, whether or not they are comic artists themselves, precisely because it is a widow on the world of shojo comics.
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reanimator



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 1324
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:32 pm Reply with quote
FeralKat wrote:
I've noticed that the shojo HTD books are a lot more practical than other ones I've read. This one's up there with Viz's Shojo Beat Manga Artist Academy & Digital Manga's Shojo Techniques: Writing Stories & Drawing Basics. Sadly the latter ones are out of print, but are pretty easy to find. Smile

All of these books are more about planning, pacing, and executing comics, rather than a straight up how-to-draw, which I think is sorely lacking these days.


You know, it's better to have more how to plan and execute manga than how-to-draw types. For one reason, drawing style is irrelevant because the trend is constantly changing. Plus, just like any illustration, manga/comic art is just a caricature. Another reason is that any style of illustration with clear meaning and good execution carries out the story far better than pretty drawing with messy execution. That is one reason why I have hard time finding fun-to-read American comic books, either major or independent. Many of them have excellent illustrations, but plan and execution are downright boring. Manga art is not perfect either. Sometimes I find confusing illustrations which is mistaken for something else.
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FeralKat



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 402
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:47 pm Reply with quote
That's exactly why I find American comic so dry. I find that they rely too heavily on text. Not enough showing and too much telling! Smile I hope Tokyopop brings over more books like this one!
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reanimator



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:31 am Reply with quote
FeralKat wrote:
That's exactly why I find American comic so dry. I find that they rely too heavily on text. Not enough showing and too much telling! Smile I hope Tokyopop brings over more books like this one!


I know what you mean. What you saw was comic books which fall into this category. (I'm going to use Dir. Peter Chung's words from AWN.com...)

1. The writer-oriented type, characterized by a narrative laden with running commentary (often the interior monologue of the main character) which makes the drawings seem gratuitous-- in fact, a hindrance to smooth reading, since the text seems complete without them-- and which makes me wonder why I don't just read a real book instead. To me, this style is antithetical to the nature of visual narrative. A comics writer who relies heavily on self-analyzing his own story as he tells it: a. doesn't trust the reader to get the point; and b. hasn't figured out how to stage events so that their meaning is revealed through clues of behavior, rather than direct pronouncements of a character's thoughts.

About couple months ago, I bought few semi-independent comics which falls into this category.

2. The artist-oriented type, characterized by nonstop action/glamour posing, a fetishistic emphasis on anatomy, unclear geography (due to the near absence of backgrounds), confusing chronology (due to the total absence of pacing), and the sense in the reader that the pages have been contrived to allow the artist to draw only what he enjoys drawing and leaving out what he does not, regardless of its function in the story being told. Many young artists aspire to work in comics because they enjoy drawing the human figure. Typically, they collect comics to study and copy the techniques of their favorite artists. The mastery of illustration technique is laborious in itself and they have no time or inclination to read the stories in the comics they buy. Then they eventually become working professionals, drawing comics which are bought only for their flashy artwork.

I don't know why artists has to cramp their "epic" or "elaborate" story into a thin 20-30 page format for $5.00. This is not just big name publishers, but also small time independents as well. In some well-illustrated independents, their technical quality of illustration is great, but panel-to-panel continuity is just boring as hell. People will spend money on one comic issue if there is good story pacing with cliff-hangers to convince them to wait for next issue.

Just because American comic book are bad on visual narrative, Manga is also bad on creating clear drawings. There are so many unclear "blobs" that I've noticed in manga illustrations where I couldn't figure out if that blob is a head or ball. Sometimes the certain silhouette is so unclear that a character is having another appendage...

Anyway, here an inspirational statement word from Kazuo Koike. The creator of Lone Wolf and Cub at 2008 Paris Expo: http://animeanime.jp/report/archives/2008/07/post_116.html
When asked by French fans on drawing manga drawing method, he strongly emphasized that French has to draw one's original story that makes sense to readers. There is no need to imitate manga style.
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Brutannica



Joined: 18 Mar 2007
Posts: 234
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 9:59 pm Reply with quote
What if you submitted manga in those contests from abroad, in Japanese and using a Japanese pen name? Would they still throw them out?
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reanimator



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 1324
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:56 am Reply with quote
Brutannica wrote:
What if you submitted manga in those contests from abroad, in Japanese and using a Japanese pen name? Would they still throw them out?


I'm no expert on how Japanese side works, but I don't think Japanese publishers will accept any foreign work just because it's in Japanese language and pen name. Just being optimistic, I believe they do accept your work as long as you meet their submission criteria. I'm pretty sure that your mastery in Japanese language and presentable quality of your story materials are one of the criteria.

Besides, non-Japanese artist like Felipe Smith gives out important info on publishing in Japan. It's up to you to keep yourself informed all the time.
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