on January 21, 2013
The cover of this book is very deceiving. At first glance you'd think it was a typical how-to book, but it's honestly a lot more than that. I'm an experienced artist so that should be kept in mind during my review. Without further ado, let's get started.
Before I get into the contents of the book itself, I'm going to do a small review on the art style. This isn't your "typical manga style" It's very unique and really fun to look at. While it might not be everyone's cup of tea, it doesn't affect how this book can teach you.
The first couple pages go over basic art supplies. It's a basic beginning to any how-to book, but this artist shows you that you don't really need any big fancy equipment to draw well. That's something that I wish a lot more books would tell you, beginning artists tend to be overwhelmed by supplies or are misled to think that better supplies make you a better artist (which is not true). This artist goes over general art supplies such as pencils, pens, recommended erasers and paper, as well as brush pens.
There are then two pages on line weight which despite being such a small section has lots of nice little tips that would REALLY help out a beginning artist and even remind some of us more experienced artists.
Following those two pages is yet another two pages with this particular artist's basic digital coloring process. A nice little addition, but not particularly an important part of this book. It felt a little like filler to me, but if nothing else, it's a cute pose reference.
Now we start getting into the actual meat of the book. It starts to loosely go over basic human anatomy (the differences between males and females, legs, hands, feet, a small body type comparison, a bit of posing, some perspective)
Then it moves on to how to draw faces, eyes, noses, mouths and ears. Then it goes over some basic expressions and their progressions. It then goes through adding hair (with a nice little braid tutorial) and some different hair colors. All very nice little bits to help add some more personality to your characters. However, this isn't what the book is about (as you can tell by the title).
Now at page 59 we start on what makes this book very unique, clothing. It starts out by teaching you about various fabric types including: stiff fabric, draping fabric, silks, short fur, long fur, corduroy, leather, vinyl, and rubber. While this isn't a big section, it does give useful tips on how to make fabric look different with the strokes of a pen or pencil. Something that any artist can learn from. It then goes over different styles of shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, coats, and blazers. While these aren't step-by-step, they do make for good references and the artist gives little tips along the way. There's then a small step-by-step of quilted and puffy fabric that even more experienced artists can learn from.
The book now moves onto different styles of pants, shorts, skirts, and swimwear. There aren't many step-by-steps here either, but plenty of tips and references. We then move onto frilly and formal dresses (with a thrown in guide on lace that anyone can follow). Dresses are only touched on in this book, BUT in the second book there's a lot more (I'll be reviewing that book as well.)
We now move onto accessories such as hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, socks, slippers, sandals, sneakers, heels, and boots. A really nice part is that the shoes actually have step-by-step instructions. Feet and shoes are really difficult for beginning artists, and even experienced artists such as myself can struggle with these. The little tips and tricks included are very helpful. It goes over purses, bags, jewelry, and glasses next. There's even a page on drawing umbrellas (which are seen all the time in manga.)
By now we're on page 99, and nearing the end of the book. This last section goes over a few basic "stereotypical" school kids. It's a cute little addition that teaches you how to add some differences between your characters. In this section there are also a couple step-by-step guides on drawing these characters interacting. The last few pages of the book go over some perspective with backgrounds and some nice little tips on making scenes to put your now fashionable characters in.
This is a really fantastic book overall with plenty of great tips and absolutely amazing references. The art style is unique, and I love it, if it puts you off though, DON'T WORRY. The style does NOT hinder your ability to learn what this book is really trying to teach you.
While I do think a beginner would benefit from this book, it will NOT teach you how to draw human bodies for the most part. Start out with something more general that will break down human anatomy for you, then move onto this book to help make your characters more unique and fashionable.
This book does have a bit more female fashion than male fashion, but overall it's nothing that should turn you away from it. If you're the kind of person that struggles with giving your characters different and unique clothing, this book will help you 100%. It does not include a section for undergarments however.
I easily recommend this book for anyone's collection.