Elements of Manga Style Book Review

Elements of Manga Style Book Review

Elements of Manga StyleSometime back, Brazilian author João Henrique Lopes contacted me about his book on manga art, so I told him I’d take a gander and review.

If brevity is the soul of wit, then Mr. Lopes (or prehaps more properly stated as Senhor Lopes) has mastered this.  His book, which was originally published in Portuguese and now translated to English, is only 96-pages long ( 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.2 inches in size).  As such, it isn’t a very big book, but the point is to say what one needs to say without wasting a lot of time, and that’s what is done here.

While this book is a book to help those wishing to draw in a manga style, this isn’t a book to teach you how to draw.  Instead, the book looks at what elements compose the “manga style.”  What are these elements? It goes beyond the “big eyes” (which he goes on to dispel some of the myths of that), but things like some of the more simplistic artistic methods used by manga-ka (as opposed to some of the more complex methods used by Western comic book artists).  The book looks at things like a character with glasses and the nose (or apparent lack thereof), or how characters interact with something like a chain-link fence (doing the art so that the fence doesn’t interfere with the character’s face), how character hair styles are done, etc. However, it doesn’t just go with characters, but scenes, lettering, and even the text balloons used.

Not being an artist, the items discussed in this book weren’t things I’d ever really thought about before.  After all, for me, “manga” is just the comic books that come from Japan.  However, as I read the book, I couldn’t help but think back to my first experiences with manga in 1989, and how much different manga was compared with the American comic books (or even comic strips) that I was used to.  There are a lot of interesting things that distinguish manga from other comic arts, and these are the things that this book will make an aspiring artist looking to draw in a manga style a better artist.

Another thing that I liked was in Appendix A, where the book looks at “mutations in hair designs,” which shows a few select characters like Naru from Love Hina or Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess and how their styles have changed over time, whether for good or ill. I would state that this goes beyond hair design changes, and more to overall character design changes.

So, if you are someone looking to draw in a “manga style,” I do recommend this book simply because it will make you aware of the little things that go into making art “manga style,” and that’s not just giving character big Bambi (or Donald Duck) eyes.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Want to comment? Leave a Reply! Some HTML (for bold, italics, etc.) permitted. Use [spoiler][/spoiler] to hide spoiler content. Block quotes are <blockquote>Text you want to quote goes here.</blockquote>. No personal attacks on other comenters, please. Spirited debate is OK though. ^_^

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by WordPress