Tips for drawing manga

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Manga has become a pervasive form of comics in the comics industry today. Many in the comics industry are fazed by the art form of manga; its big-eyed, sleek-looking lolita characters coupled with amazing scenes and storytelling within just a few pieces of paper, it is no wonder that manga art is a growing art form where many emerging fans are looking to learn.

Manga is basically “comics” in “kranji” (Chinese characters), however because of cultural differences and its pervasive style, many people tend to associate manga as Japanese-styled comics, while comics itself tends to be associated as “Western comics”.

Drawing manga is really an art that is easy to learn but difficult to master. Simple manga art can look like drawing a cartoon such as Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny, while sophisticated manga art can resemble a real-live person. Moreover, as manga is not designed to be a standstill art form, a very good manga artist is challenged not to only make their characters look good, but also to make them alive with much emotions and vitality.

Tips for drawing manga #1: To draw manga well, one must use a good reference as a guide to draw from.

A reference is a guide for artists to mimic from.

This reference can mean anything; a photograph, a model posing in a design magazine, or just images of scenes found in the Internet. Every Japanese manga artist would use a reference as a guide to create their characters or scenes. They would often mimic natural poses a person would make, fashionable clothes or even scenes for background design from these references into their art, while blending their creative juices into the art by changing features or details to keep their originality.

It is a myth that most Japanese manga artists just use their creative juice and imagination to create their art style without concrete references. This is because we tend to change our minds easily when we want to design something, and having a reference to draw from keeps manga artists focused in drawing what they really need.

Keeping good references and archiving them is a good idea to make a library for research and experiment. Lots of interesting and original character designs or ideas can be derived from it.

Tips for drawing manga #2: Focus on the anatomy of the characters

Human anatomy is one of the most basic and also the most important skill to learn in drawing manga. It is difficult because the human body is complex in its composition of muscles and bones. Just a slight deviation of


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