by Mark Crilley
published by Impact; $24.99 US
Mark Crilley, dubbed “YouTube’s most popular art instructor“, is following up last year’s successful Mastering Manga With Mark Crilley with another set of lessons on how to create manga-styled comics.
Mastering Manga 2: Level Up With Mark Crilley provides
- models for drawing basic body parts, such as eyes and other facial features, hands and gestures, and feet
- proportions and perspective on head shots, front, side, and three-quarter, female and male, using geometrically based guidelines
- the same for the entire body
- examples of character details, including hairstyles, expressions, glasses, and clothing
- complicated topics like foreshortening, shading, and turning an existing character into a chibi (big-head mini version)
- a gallery of 16 pages of common full-body poses
- instruction on backgrounds and settings, plus panel layouts and page breakdowns
It’s great to see him tackle such specialized skills as showing characters from a bird’s-eye or worm’s-eye view, although I would have liked Crilley to have provided more information on why or when you’d want to use a particular technique. This book is more suitable as a model catalog, showing particular steps to create a specific effect or pose, than a generalized “how to make comics” guide. (I also didn’t need a link to the publisher’s website on the bottom of every right-hand page. It’s clutter.)
There is a short concluding section, though, on how Crilley creates a page, start to finish, from notes through thumbnails to inks and tones. And his facility with characters is such that, even seeing just one drawing, I wanted to know more about the people in it. His work suggests a lot more depth to the world he’s creating, demonstrating he’s got the experience to teach.
Here’s Crilley’s 10-minute book trailer, where he talks about his goals for the book: authenticity; providing detailed art step-by-steps that don’t take huge leaps; including diverse models in terms of ethnicity; new details in character design; and adding more information for lessons that he didn’t have space for in the first book. He talks about designing Mastering Manga 2 to be suitable as a starting point if you don’t have the first book, but if you’re interested and you don’t have them, you should get both.
(The publisher provided a review copy.)