How to Draw Manga

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Draw Manga
Draw Manga

How to Draw Manga. Manga is a dessert of pure entertainment frosted with artistic flair. Sound yummy? The recipe is simple: mix 1 percent manga style with 99 percent figure-drawing fundamentals; repeat daily to learn how to draw manga.

Things You'll Need

  • Scanner
  • kneaded eraser
  • drawing pencil
  • figure drawing book
  • black ink pens
  • sketch pad
  • blending stub
  • drawing pad
  • graphics software
  • pencil sharpener
  • white eraser

Assemble some basic drawing tools: drawing pencils (4H to 6B), pencil sharpener, 18 by 24 inch drawing pad, portable sketchbook, blending stump, kneaded eraser, white nylon eraser and black ink pens (various line weights.)

Doodle basic lines and shapes (sphere, cube, cylinder, cone) to become familiar with the tools.

Find a book on basic figure-drawing techniques that includes step-by-step lessons and examples, such as Jack Hamm's "Drawing the Head and Figure." Follow the lessons.

Take a figure-drawing class at your high school, local college or community art center. Even after you've grasped the basics, a class gives you time, space and incentive to practice.

Study manga style. The "How to Draw Manga" series by Hikaru Hayashi and the "How to Draw Anime & Game Characters" series by Todashi Ozawa include good examples. Internet tutorials by Julie Dillon, Patrick Shettlesworth and Atley also cover the basics.

Use a scanner to import your line art to an image-editing program that supports layers (e.g. Photoshop). Before purchasing software, check for educational discounts, bundled software and freeware (like The Gimp).

Ink your drawings to produce refined black lines over the rough pencil lines. Ink by hand before scanning or ink on the computer, depending on your preference and proficiency. Color your drawings using the computer unless you are willing to invest in additional tools and training. Save your working files in a "lossless" format like TIFF or Photoshop's native format to avoid introducing compression artifacts.

Study successful mangaka like Masamune Shirow, Akira Toriyama and Rumiko Takahashi. Don't steal art - steal techniques and use them to create your own art.

Practice, practice, practice. Challenge yourself with new subjects and work on your weak areas. Draw primarily from life and your imagination, not other drawings.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your budget is limited, start with a #2 pencil, paper, cotton swabs (for blending) and the resources of your local library and the Internet.
  • Study anatomy. There's no substitute for understanding the human figure, even if you aren't drawing humans.
  • Save examples of your work. Tangible proof of your progress keeps frustration at bay.
  • Don't focus on style before you learn the fundamentals - it can lead to bad habits and slower progress.
  • Manga artists spend years honing their craft. Expect to do the same if you want to become a mangaka.

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