Reviewed by: Azure
Released by: Kodansha International
Publishing Country: UK
Author: Haruno Nagatomo
Age Rating: n/a
Page Count: 112
Volume two of Draw your own manga builds upon the topics covered in volume one. Topics include drawing characters of different ages, hands, expressions, folds, tone effects and colours. The books also features an interview with manga creator Shinji Mizushima who draws baseball manga.
As the book opens it makes it clear than it is building on the topics of the previous volume. That said it actually manages to come at things freshly, so that very little material is totally repeated.
The first chapter focuses once again on drawing characters, the book jumps straight into the variations of proportion between men and women at different ages. Many how to draw books focus only an adult men and women, but a manga artist needs to be able to draw any age the script requires. The book then covers a number of trouble spots including hair and hands, both these sections are really just collections of reference images; made useful by the author’s helpful and insightful tips. The section covering clothing, particularly folds is also helpful, discussing how clothes hang on both the male and female body.
Beyond the basics also returns to tackling tones and effects, the usefulness of some of this information will largely depend if you use digital or traditional toning methods. Some tips such as what tone to use when toning different material is useful no matter which you use. Other sections have suffered with the translation, particularly the section on sound effects. The effects have been translated into to English which means they’ve been redrawn and quite frankly look ugly. The debate about translating sound effects in manga is still ongoing among manga fans, in a book about manga art some consideration should have been given to aesthetics as well as translation.
One of the strongest sections is the one on perspective and backgrounds. Nagatomo takes the reader step by step through creating and correcting an illustration so that it’s correct. By demonstrating step-by-step what are normally very complex points are made much easier to follow.
The final section covers colouring, whilst CG is mentioned the book focuses on traditional methods such as paint and ink, much of this is in black and white but the section also includes colour pages which cover using ink and copic markers. The tutorials aren’t very in depth but they do cover the basics for each medium.
Like the other books in the series Draw your own manga: beyond the basics is also about trouble shooting. It makes a point of talking about common areas where artists slip-up and explains clearly and simply how to do things properly. This explanation is also aided by clear, easy to understand translation. At the end of the day artists have to rely on their own hard work to improve and develop their own unique style, that doesn’t mean How to draw books don’t have their place. Draw your own manga: Beyond the basics does a superb job of helping with trouble areas, worth a look for artists who have weak spots they just can’t overcome by themselves.