24th Mar 2011
I always kind of scoffed at the “How To” art books that get released. I have an art degree, I know how to draw. The only thing that improves your ability to draw is practice. You have to draw day in and day out, and draw everything you see. Then, eventually, you will start to get better at it. Yes, some people have an innate ability, but even people who profess that they can’t draw really can, once they practice and learn the connection between what your eyes see and how your hand moves.
What I really liked about this release is that it did stress the importance of practice. It had a week long list of exercises for getting used to using a pen, and a list of goals you were supposed to have achieved at the end of each exercise. Using pen and ink requires a completely different set of skills than sketching with a pencil or a marker.
The other nice thing this release covered was the use of tones. I’m lazy. If I’m going to use tones on something, I’m going to throw it in PhotoShop, and do it digitally - but this release gave instructions for using them from a pre-printed sheet. Also part of their weekly exercises was using cross-hatching to create your own gradient shading, instead of using tones. It’s nice to know all the different options that are available to artists.
I also appreciated the interviews with manga artists on how they use different materials to achieve different effects.
While I don’t see myself running out to by a lot of the “How-To’ books, this release has made me look at them in a bit more favorable light.