Mastering Manga 2: Level Up With Mark Crilley

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.)

2 Comments

  1. How can you mention Mark Crilley without mentioning Akiko? One great black and white comic series and kids books with illustrations.

  2. I talked about Akiko when I wrote about the first volume, and it has sadly been almost 10 years since the comic came out.

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