Saturday, October 2, 2010

Manga for the Beginner Shoujo Impression

Growing up, the aspiring comic artist I was I dabbled in manga style animation thanks in large part to series such as Robotech and Voltron. There were a number of sources to learn such as a Robotech specific comic book format ‘learning’ comic but nothing, nothing on the level of Manga for the Beginner Shoujo by Christopher Hart. Printed with very high quality paper this is not just a learning guide for one of the most popular forms of manga but one heck of a reference guide to the largely female audience shoujo style. So what does Christopher Hart teach aspiring shoujo artist? Let’s take a look

What makes up a great learning and reference book … chapter breakdown time …

Introduction – There’s more than just manga? Yup, shoujo is a very specific type of manga with a targeted audience. Learn about it in this chapter that does a solid job explaining the genre without using examples (thus showing favoritism).

The Shoujo Face – Nine sections that outline the difference in shoujo style faces vs. other manga styles then break down the eyes, profile views of the face, hair, expressions and even hats. A great review and explanation of how to create that unique look that is shoujo.

Female Bodies and Motion – Nailed the head, now time to get the body type right and incorporate the proper pose and overall shoujo look. Five unique sections to get started.

The Shoujo Girls – For the fan-boy in all of us, the breakdown of shoujo character types. Cat-girls, magical girl, tennis player, fairy, sci-fi, evil and a few more types round out nine total girl types. Just as with the previous two sections there are explanations of each section, this time centered around the types of girls. See how to draw the basic body style then fill in detail and gets tons of tips along the way.

The Shoujo Boys – Higher level categories that tackle the young teen, older teen and super-elegant boy types found in shoujo manga. From sporty to fantasy character types the boy get the same breakdown as the girls with detailed explanations. Great counterbalance to the shoujo girls section.

The Key to Successful Drawing – Manga for the Beginner Shoujo doesn’t just show fans how to draw but takes it to a new level with the tips provided. While there have been tips in every section so far they’ve been confined to the subject at hand. This chapter advises on the intricacies of how to make drawings more engaging. Have a character do a secondary action, don’t just walk but walk and talk on a phone. Bring characters to life so all the hard work put into the design of the character is not wasted on them standing around. Great resource that needs to be studied and not just by shoujo artist.

Putting it all Together – In a sense yes, but could also have been called ‘to be continued’. Now that all the intricacies of shoujo manga have been covered it’s really up to the artist to determine the story, settings and layout. This chapter will help with these details by giving tips, not a true blueprint but tips that any artist can find handy.

Overall I loved Manga for the Beginner Shoujo. I no longer fool myself with dreams of being an artist but I do love the genre and this is now one of my favorite reference guides on the genre. Fans of shoujo manga will love the explanations of the genre while those with talent can take their creations to the next level. It’s a great teaching guide Mr. Hart has created and a beautiful reference guide for any manga fan.


  1. Wow, I had no idea there was such structure to the different styles. This is more of an honored, or soon to be, art form than whats appears on the surface.

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  3. If you've been wanting to learn How To Draw Manga, this is a great book for getting started. Simply follow the instructions and you'll start to get a feel for what to do. The more you draw, the more you see what works for you and your style.