Initially expecting Manga Art by Mark Crilley as a step-by-step tutorial, it was surprising to see it is practically a portfolio in a book. I always thought Manga characters were cute with those big round eyes. It is interesting that Asians, usually with not so round eyes (not meant to be derogatory here since I happen to be one) drew characters this way in their animation. I was drawn to this mainly with my daughter in mind. Although drawing was one of my hobbies as a little girl, I don’t mind accepting the fact that I may be a little bit too old to learn this technique but can’t hurt to try.
The book is sectioned into five chapters namely Characters, Japan, Science Fiction, Conceptual Art and Styleplay. While the book is complete with illustrations all throughout, they are respectively assigned to the categories which also bears the same chapter title. The illustrator details the time he spent in Japan to perfect his skill at Manga which is found on the second chapter. Each illustration has an accompanying narrative of what the artist was thinking at the time he was drawing it and also the techniques and materials that was used. He then goes on to engage the reader to try the same technique and suggested tweaks by changing elements to it such as the background, venue, etc. The possibilies are limitless to create your own. These tips are scattered throughout the book (found only on select illustrations) enclosed in pastel green boxes.
I appreciate all of the illustrations as it really showcases the author’s expertise but I have picked 2 favorites since it both had elements touching on my personal interests in those characters. The first character reminds me of myself, how I normally dress during autumn and winter, and not only that, he mentioned “minimalist,” something I consider my own style to be when it comes to art and also carries on to other aspects in life. As a matter of fact, I like the umbrella girl so much I hope the illustrator won’t mind if I used a cropped version of it as an avatar. The other character is the fish rider on a Koi. I happen to love Koi fishes.
It is presented in high quality laminated paperback with thick glossy pages and is sewn for durability. It is a visual book, not too much reading yet very engaging to me personally. I consider this to make an interesting coffee table book and something one could give to an Anime enthusiast or to any illustrator who is looking to venture into this particular style of drawing.
[I received a free copy of this book from bloggingforbooks.com]