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by Yashin Li
Pages: 128 (color)
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
Publishing (March 2009)
ISBN: 0740779346

Chapters:
Introduction
On the Disc
-Digital Manga-
Introduction to Digital Art
Photoshop and Photoshop Elements
Photoshop Tools
Photoshop Brushes
Creating Characters
Blocking in Base Colors
Cel Shading
Airbrush Technique
Natural Media
-Characters-
Contemporary
Sci-fi
Traditional Asian
Warrior
Child
Kawaii
-Backgrounds and Accessories-
Backgrounds
*In the City
*Harbor
*City Gardens
*European Street Scene
*Traditional Japanese Garden
*Traditional Japanese Building
*Traditional European Town
*City Shopping District
Accessories
Putting it All Together
License Agreement

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Read this book? Tell us what you thought of it! Submit your review. Make sure you include a reason why you like and/or dislike the book.
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Book Review by Rio

This is the second volume to the Manga Clip Art series and I must say that I find it much better than the previous volume. First off, it is in the same format as the original – hardcover, a circular cut-out within the center of the book where the CD containing all the artwork is held, and it contains 128 color pages of tutorials and artwork. It is also available at the same low price of $20 USD or under depending on where you buy it.

Though only one artist is involved in this volume, Yishan Li has taken the pains to do a nice mix of manga drawing styles which will sate those of you who prefer to have a variety to work on. Aside from the differing styles Li presents, overall, the quality of her drawings are kept at a high bar so you will not find any gradeschooler-like drawn characters much to my relief.

The first third of the book instructs readers on the what’s, how’s, and where’s of digital coloring from the materials needed to actual tutorials on coloring in cel shading, airbrushing, and painting (or natural media as they call it) style. What I really like about this first half of the book is how they walk you through into how to create the characters by adjusting, rotating, resizing, and adding layers. How to work with the materials within the book is key and much more important than learning how to color it, however nicely that part of the book is presented, and I must say that it was done in an easy-to-understand manner.

In regards to the artwork, they are divided into two sets; characters and everything else (i.e. backgrounds and accessories). The female characters within this book were set in the following fashion styles: contemporary, sci-fi, traditional Asian, traditional European, warrior, child, and kawaii (aka chibi’s). Each “fashion style” features four pages of sample characters that may be made in three drawing styles done by Li. These samples feature a nifty box that shows you exactly which parts were used to make the characters and beside each character is a list of the specific part used. A rather nifty addition for those who want to ape a particular look.

For such a gender specific book, I think it would have been nice if older women were also available. All the characters within the book can be seen as, at most, middle-aged and younger but where are the grandmothers? I understand the book is marketed towards the younger generation who are more interested in their own age group or younger but I find it disappointing that the older generation are not represented in some way. If you’re artistically inclined, though, this wouldn’t be a problem but artistically-challenged individuals will have to make do without the golden girls.

Moving on to backgrounds and accessories, I have one thing to say: bea-u-tiful! I can’t stress that enough! The backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous! The amount of details and the composition of the backgrounds are downright fantastic. I almost feel like they were taken from photos – they’re that good. With such great backgrounds, I feel sort of put out that there isn’t more though eight is a lot more than what was present in the first Manga Clip Art book. The accessories are just as detailed and I will say that you will find nothing to criticize (except maybe that the game console Li drew is a PSP when everyone knows that the DS is so much better! ;D ).

There is one downside to what I just said and that is with all the details found in the backgrounds, there are bound to be some things that get missed. Case in point, one particular background had lines that should’ve been cleaned out. Being an artist myself, things like that bother me as I consider such errors as sloppiness. For those of you who don’t want to fix them or can’t seem to find them, this is not really a problem as the average person who looks at drawings don’t look at the details and won’t see these mistakes.

Last but not least, this book is also allows buyers to use the artwork for commercial purposes. For full details on what you can and cannot do with the assets, check out the license agreement here. All artwork are is PSD format with layers intact and ready for you to manipulate. With that said, with PSD files only available in the CD, that requires you to have a software that can handle it. Though Photoshop would be the best software to use, there are free alternatives like GIMP out there for you.

Below are some scans taken from the book. Have a look!
tips ~ europe ~ modern ~ chibi 1 ~ closeup ~ manipulate ~ chibi 2 ~ fighters ~ background ~ chibi 3 ~ cg ~ asia