Saturday, August 27, 2011

Basic Anatomy for the Manga Artist Impression

A lesson in anatomy targeted at manga but useful for any artist.

Christopher Hart does it again. Basic Anatomy for the Manga Artist takes a complex topic, human anatomy, and spins it in a manner which is easy to digest for any aspiring manga artist while remaining invaluable as a long standing reference guide. The large format and vivid visuals help to drive home the core lessons and it offers great starting off points for artist to explore as they develop and continue their own style. Let’s take a look at the contents of this latest guide and see how they can impact each artist.

Introduction – What the books about and what readers will get from it. Introduction folks, pretty self explanatory but nice to see the table being set by Mr. Hart.

1 – Basic Head Elements – Before working on the body, Hart takes a look at the skull, the muscles and tendons and all components of the head from eyes to nose, mouth, ears and their placement. A few specific examples (vampire boy, yeah!) round out the lessons but the point is a well constructed head looks great on a great body. While not as deep in the facial expressions of his former books what this does is build upon those other offerings and allow the reader to get into the core content, the body.

2 – The Foundations of the Body – Readers explore the skeleton and its various aspects as well as positions and how shape changes while tackling various height aspects of characters. The full body male and female muscle diagrams should be printing and hunt around the reader’s preferred drawing location as they are excellent references and what muscles are where and how they should be emphasized.

3 – Topographic Anatomy – Building on those muscle diagrams and looking at how their moving, flexing and posture is shown with skin on top, this is all about the action poses and looks of the character and really gets the mind working and thinking about how the body should be drawn for characters in motion.

4 – Body Symmetry and Asymmetry – Not every body part is perfect and aligned so this makes drawing easier in knowing differences in arms, legs, not too drastic, but subtle can work. Much more detail in this chapter as these lessons are detailed and really will help separate the casual artist from the truly hardcore and dedicated.

5 – How Movement, Light and Perspective Affect the Body – One of the final pieces is adding in the proper shadow and position to bring a character to life. The muscle, tone and bone structure change when movement and light is added so pay attention to grab your targeted fan base with realistic looking characters that live in their environment. Beyond just anatomy, this chapter is universal to every type of art as light and shadow should always play a part.

6 – Putting it all into Practice – The light at the end of the tunnel, the end game. Seeing these examples from Hart drives home the lessons and tips he provides.

Overall Basic Anatomy for the Manga Artist is a solid, solid entry in the learning to draw manga field of books. The lessons hit the topics intended and teach a fair amount about the skeletal and muscular framework of characters and how the manga style lives on top of and is affected by these. What a reader takes from these lessons varies on that reader’s art style but the base that Hart establishes here is solid and a great foundation for new and experience artist.

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