Manga Techniques Volume 1: Drawing Manga for Beginners is the first book of seven in the Manga Techniques series. This book really does cover how to draw manga in that it helps you on the what’s and how’s of creating a manga from start to finish. Although this book is only 86 pages, it covers a lot of topics very quickly providing a lot of examples and just enough text to get the point across.
The book starts with letting you know what materials you will need, how comic pages are like, pen types and how to block black areas, inking and using white “paint” to correct mistakes or make effects. It continues with a very quick chapter on how to draw people which may leave you wanting more examples and so forth but it gets the main points across. What I like about this chapter is that it covers drawing older faces, younger children, and even gives examples of people with varying heights, weights, and looks.
Chapter 3 is the “biggest” chapter in the whole book covering a lot of subjects all related to backgrounds. It covers topics such as perspective, hatching, using tone, and drawing your environment from the sky, water, the ground, and much more. Throughout the whole book, there are always images, photos, and real-life examples of manga, manga panels, and the like. Some of the manga examples still have their Japanese text. You may be put off with not being able to read it but in a way, being able to read it is not necessary. The only section where it would’ve been nice if they did make a translation for it is when it covered lettering.
The next chapter deals with all the materials you need to make a manga. Personally, I thought this would’ve been best as chapter two but oh well, it is what it is. You can skip chapters if you want. The best part of this chapter is when it explains the manuscript paper because more How to Draw Manga books only deal with how to draw people, places, things, and so on. If you are making a physical manga, the materials presented in this chapter won’t be very helpful but the other parts may be useful like the aforementioned explanation of manuscript paper.
The book rounds off with how to make your manga, a question and answer section and a small art gallery. The last chapter gives you lots of tips from working with mistakes in panels, “blind” spots, and other useful tips. There are also four manuscript papers at the back which you can take out and use though I personally would recommend, if you can, to copy it instead so you can reuse it indefinitely for practice.
Overall, this book can be for anyone but I will say that the anatomy section does have nudity present and has a slight indication; a semi-circle; of the nipple. Just a heads up to parents out there considering this for a young child. Since it’s a short book, you can finish reading this in one sitting. There are a few grammatical (no spacing after a comma) and one spelling error but it’s not that obvious or a hindrance to learning the material. This makes a good starter book but if you want more information on certain parts, you’ll have to invest on another book which delves into the topic you are looking for.
Manga Techniques Vol.1: Drawing Manga for Beginners
by S.E. Inc.
Chapter 1: Before Drawing Your Comic
A Manga Artist’s Desk
–The tools essential to a comic artist
–Other helpful items
A Manga Artist’s Comic Pages
–Completed comic pages
–Character design sheets
–The differences in Saji-Pens
–The differences in results with different pen types
–Filling in black (called betanuri in Japanese)
Chapter 2: How to Draw Characters
–Basic head shape
–Drawing eyes, noese and mouths
–Faces drawn from different angles
–A beautiful face’s proportion breakdown
–Difference in character style
–Adult to childhood comparison
Drawing Characters 2
–Basic body drawing
–Many different poses
The Characters of Professional Comic Artists
Difference in proportions among Categories
–Different heights by profession
–Character positions within panels
–Basic men and women differentiation
–Difference’s in men and women’s hands
Chapter 3: How to Draw Backgrounds
–Adding in backgrounds for characters
–Drawing Floor Tiles
–Representing the sky
–Drawing the ground
–Representing clothing material using tone
–Using tone to represent shadows
–Flash a light on a doll
–Drawing patterns with a marker
Chapter 4: Comic Tools
–How to use a manuscript paper
–Felt tip pen
–Differences in thickness
–Many different templates
–Using an adjustable pen
Chapter 5: Let’s Make a Comic
Creating a name
–Flow of name creation
–The purpose behind name creation
–An example of a professional’s story memo
–Character design sheets
–Rough and completed page
–Difference in letter size in varying category