Sunday, May 11, 2008

Draw Your Own Manga- Honing your Style by Haruna Nagatomo

In the last book in the "Draw Your Own Manga" series, Haruno Nagatomo discusses what the conventions are of different kinds of manga series, from supernatural to shonen-ai and action manga. The book also shows the different ways of showing actions, such as jumping, skipping, chasing, arriving, and so on, illustrated with pages from actual manga such as Devilman by Go Nagai, Ah! My Goddess by Kosuke Fujishima and so on.

The book also has an interview with the artist Monkey Punch, writer and illustrator of Lupin III (although he says he prefers to be called by his real name, Kazuhiko Kato). In this extensive interview, he covers how he came up with his style, what influenced him, and how he recieved his pen name. The longest section tells of how he came to be a manga artist in the first place, which started with him drawing pretty much all his life, and publishing his own manga magazine when he was 27, along with other artists. He happened to get lucky because he drew the cover of the final issue, which they sent to publishers all over the country.

Most of the book is devoted to the actual drawing and getting the artist thinking about what they are going to draw. If their story is set in a school, what does the school look like on the outside? What do the various classrooms look like? What do the uniforms look like, and how do the summer and winter uniforms differ? What kinds of personal items do the characters carry, and so on.

This is an excellent book for teaching want to be manga artists how to succeed in their work, giving them things to think about in terms of the style that they are going to be drawing in. But... the story side isn't covered at all, so this book is more for manga artists than manga writers, and the whole story aspect isn't given much coverage. I'd have liked to see some kind of coverage of the writing aspects given some time, but that didn't happen here.

So, this book is good for artists, but not so much for writers.

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