Mastering Manga 2 review – Learning to draw manga

MManga2_1If you’ve read my review of Manga Studio EX5, you may suspect that there is a trend in the reviews I’m making. Rest assured, it’s purely coincidence – almost. For around a decade now, I’ve searched the bookstores for various artbooks, and when it came to manga material I mostly relied on the material originating from Japan. When instructional books about manga creation started cropping up from the West, they either had a clear misconception of how the style is achieved or were jumping on the rising popularity back in the early 2000s just to make a quick buck. More importantly, many of these Westernized instructional books on manga did not have a firm grasp on basic human anatomy. To be fair, even the Japanese style has had its own failings on anatomy, but they tend to have a disciplined origin of what can be regarded as classic Manga.

MManga2_2Mastering Manga 2 is published by IMPACT and is developed by Mark Crilley, who runs a popular art instruction channel on YouTube. He creates a compilation of strong lessons and ideas to give budding artists the tools they need to harnessing the manga perspective. Grounded in various art basics, pointing out sizing, angles and proportioning, Mark creates a lesson-plan system that is effective in charting these basics.

MManga2_3It is a complete joy that Mark understands the subtleties and expressions through the linework, whether sharp or subtle, that carry the essence of what makes the Japanese art style appealing. One of my gripe about other books is that there was a lack of understanding of the relationship between proportions on the face. I would see the nose too centered, the eyes shaped weirdly. To explain a bit about the subtlety, Mark understands how much detail goes into rendering a realistic sketch and the remaining lines that should exist when you take realism down to manga level.

MManga2_4Comparing Mastering Manga 2 to several other instruction books, both from Japan and from Western artists, I deeply appreciate that Mark includes a segment of clothing comparisons. Men vs. Women, clothing folds based on materials, and clothing styles. He never goes to overexemplify many of these details, as most of the examples he gives are in earlier sections of the book where anatomy is very key to bringing out the credibility of any character-oriented artwork.

MManga2_5Furthermore, Mark also touches on posing, weather detail, environment details, depth, inking styles, and how he creates panel composition. While he does not go into full detail on these aforementioned subjects, his quick rundown allows for readers to get an idea of what they would want for their artwork. And the fact that Mark exemplifies awareness of these varying aspects allows for an appreciation by established artists and newcomers alike!

MManga2_6If you’re an enthusiast of instruction books and the manga style, I suggest adding this to your reference library. Pick up a copy at Amazon or your nearest book retailer. And visit Mark Crilley on Youtube, to see videos of how he executes his designs.

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Paperback: 128 pages
Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.2 x 0.6 inches

Note: I do acknowledge that much of the style that Mark is using is reminiscent of Ken Akamatsu, who is recognized for Love Hina and Negima!

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Jaynesis Ong
Jaynesis Ong 162 posts

He is currently a graphics designer by trade, illustrator for indie games, fashionisto, film production assistant, socialite, sampler of fine music, and taster of various new MMO games. JB likes destructive walks on the beach, visceral plot points, maniacal villains, and collapsing galactic empires.