|My whole collection at this point.
Okay, I'm planning on doing some reviews on How To Draw books, as there's a slight interest, and frankly there are some really GOOD and some really BAD How to Draw books, and nothing makes my soul hurt worse than people learning from bad resources.
First, some background on my own artwork:
I am completely self-taught in the Manga style. Well, if you'd call it Manga Style. It's now some sort of strange weird hybrid of "American" and "Japanese" and I just don't like the term "Amerimanga" cause that just sounds silly (it reminds me of the old days of "Japanimation" *shudders*). Let's just agree to call em comics. Or maybe graphic novels... or sequential art if we want to get all artsy on it.
So anyway, I started drawing in this particular style around mid 90's when I was in Middle School and just finding out about Manga and the like (I actually didn't read things like Marvel or whatever, but i loved animation as well as the daily comics in the news paper.) I had read things like Ah! My Goddess and Maison Ikkoku and I loved them. I was also intrigued by the artwork that was in all the video game manuals that we had (we were a Nintendo household. I was drawing fanart before I knew it was fan art).
It was also around this time I finally started taking art classes at a local art studio near my house - they had all sorts of younger kid classes all the way up to adult classes. It wasn't until into High School and early College that the owner/artist let me run their cartooning classes. So I've spent about a good 4ish years also teaching people how to draw cartoons as well.
Speaking of High School, I went through our entire Art curriculum, starting with Intro to Art. We had a really big high school, and we practically had an entire art wing - we had 3 full sized classrooms with huge tables and supplies, along with a full working pottery workshop + kiln and a jewelry workshop. Anybody who says that big High Schools are awful needs to come talk to me. I can't tell you how many awesome opportunities I had because we were so big (the book to select your courses was at least half an inch thick by the time I graduated. And this was HIGH SCHOOL).
I spent my four years there taking all sorts of art classes, and I was super lucky to be able to skip drawing 2 and painting 2 and I got to take AP art for two years cause I could. (and the teachers wanted me to).
|This was from around 1999.
In the meanwhile, while I was doing all of this traditional learning, I spent a ton of time outside of the classes reading manga and refining my style, which really was rudimentary at best. But I was trying. I had started collecting how to draw books around this time. I had also become completely enamored with the concept of visual storytelling in the comic medium, and my research continued as best it could.
I was still taking art classes at the Art Studio too, so needless to say, I was completely immersed in making artwork.
Then came college. College turned into a boom time for artwork for me. I had started off by taking some art classes in my freshman year, and then realized that the art department I would be working through absolutely HATED anything remotely cartoonish, and the people I saw it churn out... well. I didn't want to be that. Not saying that all art degree people are snooty, but I've been looked down at by enough graduates to get an opinion on it.
But that's a rant for another day.
Anyway, drawing in College. I spent a large chunk of my drawing time actually drawing stories and things from tabletop RPGs I was in. I also discovered the larger 9x12 Strathmore books and they fit perfectly in my bags I took everywhere. I want to say that I filled in at least a good 12-14 of these in 6 years. I drew a LOT (which really, is the secret to good artwork. NEVER STOP DRAWING).
|And I studied Computer Science and Math. Huh.
It was also in college that I discovered that I'm a notorious doodler, and all through College and jobs Post College, I would always find myself doodling. So what did I do? I saved every relatively decent doodle I did, cut em out and put em in a photo binder. This meant that after the semester was over, I took out all my notebooks and an x-acto blade and went to down cutting each of those little doodles out.
I have 3 of these full (like 2.5" thick full, double sided), and I'm working on a fourth. (thinking about the math on how many pictures I've drawn in just these books alone is mind boggling - I should do some stats on it one of these days...)
Throughout this time, I started finding other reference books, and expanding my style. I got addicted to art books - especially since I could find really good ones at conventions. They've been immensely helpful as I can look at them now and pick apart the media used and how they did it (and sometimes they'll have step by steps in the back!)
|They're all so prettyyyyyyyy.....
I also started working in Artist Alleys doing on the spot ID badge commissions and that got me a lot of good practice drawing various peoples. Toss in a few outside of college art classes (life drawing, yo), and here I am.
Still drawing. And now I'm working on my own webcomics and characters. Perhaps someday you'll see my stuff in the bookstore (man that'd be awesome). Slowly but surely I'm getting there.
To make a long story short, I've spent a lot of time researching comics and cartooning, as well as learning how to teach people. I'd like to think I have a good background to at least give you guys a good idea on what you should be looking for in a book.
UNFORTUNATELY, most of the books I own are no longer being printed or are on the shelves at your local Barnes & Noble. I will be reviewing some of those over time, but I'd like to focus on more recently published stuff.
So if anybody's got a particular book they'd like me to look at, I'll see what I can do (and if I can rent it at the local library or something before buying it).
Here's the list of books I currently have:
How to Draw Manga Series:
Colored Original Drawing
Costume Encyclopedia Vol 3: Sexy Sportswear
Costume Encyclopedia Vol1: Everyday Fashion
Dressing Your Characters In Casual Wear
Guns & Military
Maids & Miko
Martial Arts & Combat Sports
How to Draw Anime & Game Characters Series:
Vol2: Expressing Emotions
Vol3: Bringing Daily Actions to Life
Vol5: Bishoujo Game characters
How to Draw Animals
How to Draw Animation
How to Draw Comic Book Heroes and Villains
How to Draw Fast Cars, Monster Trucks & Fighter Jets
How to make Webcomics
Manga Mania: How to Draw Japanese Comics
Shojo Wonder Manga Art School (This is the first one I’ll be reviewing)
Shoujo Manga Techniques