Jan 15, 2013

Book Review: MASTERING MANGA with Mark Crilley

I am very excited to be putting out my second review for F+W Media and was quite pleased with how well the first review was received. As an artist we often do our best work when under duress and really put outside our comfort zone and that would be the central theme for my experience with this book.

Compared to most Manga aficionados, I would say that my knowledge on the subject is quite basic. While I do enjoy some of the animated manga series, I have never incorporated the style into my own artwork. So as a total manga noob, MASTERING MANGA with Mark Crilley was a good place to start.

First off, the book is written and illustrated by Mark Crilley whom is the creator behind the very successful and award winning AKIKO comic. Mark put himself in the book as a narrator of sorts and takes you through the process of drawing Manga in a linear and gradual way, from drawing faces to full body characters and then how to give those characters life. Mark even manages to squeeze in some two and three point perspective tutorials, which are beneficial for any artist to read.

I wish that the book had included more advanced examples of action poses or the kind of machine gun totting/sword wielding Manga that appeals to people like me. I also wish that there had been a section on Manga centric coloring (color palettes, techniques etc.)

As someone whom is deep into the genre, Mark does a great job of explaining the rules of drawing Manga and how as an established style it is very important to follow these important visual cues or else you run the risk of your manga looking half baked.

I think Mark deserves extra kudos for one particular aspect of the book and that is a section that includes how to draw plus sized men, women and children. Comic art and Manga often chooses to show people in a much idealized way that completely ignores that we live in world with people of all ages, shapes and sizes. Mark acknowledges this and goes on to show the reader how to depict a senior citizen or an overweight women or husky child.

All in all I found MASTERING MANGA with Mark Crilley to be a very useful technique sourcebook for someone like myself and I believe that it would be very beneficial for other artists that art getting into the genre or just want a nice Manga reference book to have on hand in their studio.

(Below is cool guy we can call “MANGA SHAUN”, generated while following along with the books lessons.)