Review by Rio
What better way to teach you how to draw manga than by instructing you through a manga? Manga Techniques Vol. 5 How to Draw Japanese Manga takes a step away from the normal instruction used in the first several volumes of Manga Techniques by being an actual manga book. That’s right – you’re reading a comic book and learning about how to make your own Japanese manga in the process!
Aside from the change to reading a manga, the book has been kept in the original Japanese reading format. You will start from the “back” of the book and move to the “front” in English reading standard. You will also have to read from right-to-left rather than the English standard of left-to-right. If you’re an avid manga reader already, then this shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re new to this though, it’s a bit of a learning curve and can take some time to get used to reading in the opposite direction.
The characters used in the book are two teens named Ako (girl) and Sota (boy) who graces the cover of this book. Ako is the bumbling student while Sota takes on the role of instructor. Illustration is done by Kai Hinomoto in a shoujo-like style. Both characters are personable and fun to read with their personalities, expressions, and actions making this book much more fun and palatable than the straight-up step-by-step instructions of previous editions. With that said, it’s harder to locate where they teach you specific topics in half of the book. There are no headers at the top of the page telling you what they are teaching you right at that moment from chapter two and on. You’ll have to put place markers if you want to find specific topics without having to read the whole chapter repeatedly.
Being in manga format, they use actual manga pages and panels within the book as examples which is pretty neat in my opinion. You may also study it for character placement, panel use, panel placement, balloon use and so on as you’re making your own manga. There are even four pages of manga manuscript paper at the back of the book which you may take out and use. You’ll need a sharp exacto knife to take it out since there’s no perforation or you can decide to leave it in there if you’d rather not bother.
This book is good for anyone. Being in manga format, it’s easier for the younger readers and there’s no worry of inappropriate content at all unless you count a naked baby and nude plastic models seen above. Being a stickler, I’m a little disappointed with the placement of text within the balloons; they’re not centered and they are unbalanced; but the comic is still readable and informative. If you are interested in something with more depth, then give this book a pass otherwise this book makes a nice introduction to making a manga with a little bit of everything covered.
Manga Techniques Vol. 5 How to Draw Japanese Manga
Chapter 1 Drawing Techniques and Process
Chapter 2 Tool Selection and Use
China Ink (Bokuju)
Marker & Drawing Pen
Chapter 3 How to Draw Different Characters
Chapter 4 Background and Perspective
Chapter 5 Drawing in Panels