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How to get started in manga

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unsplash-logoKelly Sikkema

New manga artists can benefit from these basic tips

The year ahead is promising to be an enormously exciting one for Manga fans with an extensive selection of enthusing titles set for release during 2020. Fanatics can look forward to titles such as Given by Natuski Kizu and A Man and His Cat by Umi Sakurai, while also indulging in old favorites including Death Note, Bleach, and Naruto. Losing yourself in the adventures of your favorite characters is without a doubt time well-spent, and drawing manga can be equally as satisfying. While drawing manga may come easier to you if you possess heaps of natural drawing talent, there is no reason why you can’t put pencil to paper and take up casual manga drawing as a beginner. Apart from getting your hands on some quality drawing materials, a few tips and tricks can come in handy to help you to ease into your new favorite hobby. 

Make use of references and tutorials 

No matter how good of an artist you are, you will never know how to draw everything there is to draw in manga. However, some of the easiest ways to overcome this obstacle are to make use of tutorials and references. If you don’t know how to draw something, either use a reference or find a suitable tutorial. Can’t draw a dragon? Find a suitable reference to draw inspiration from or make use of a step-by-step tutorial that will enable you to sketch your favorite mythical creature with relative ease.

The same process will apply to anything you wish to draw — from life-like trees to imposing titans. When seeking inspiration, it is important to note that there is a big difference between using a reference and copying someone else’s work. Try to think of using references as a type of study aid for a budding artist that will help them develop their skills further.

Be consistent

When you read any of the new manga titles being released this year (or those that have been around for years, for that matter) you will notice how consistent all aspects of the drawings are. Many novice artists, however, aim to ‘try something new’ every time they draw. Although it is beneficial to experiment with different styles and techniques, it is important to stay consistent as well, especially if your aim is to publish your manga. 

If you want to create a series of related drawings and create a manga strip, it is advisable to draw your characters, weapons, and space fillers from as many angles as possible to ensure that your style is consistent throughout. Until you are confident in both your characters and your drawing skills, it is advised that you keep things simple and not attempt to make any drastic changes to your style.

Don’t fear criticism

One of the greatest fears of any artist, and especially a novice one, is criticism. While it may not be nice to hear negative remarks pertaining to your efforts, honest feedback is an important part of any artist’s journey.  If you want to follow in the footsteps of manga greats such as Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto) or Hajime Isayama (Attack on Titan), you need to be able to accept constructive criticism and see it as an opportunity to improve your skills. Try not to get discouraged by negative comments regardless of how difficult it may be, and do whatever it takes to reach your full potential as a manga artist. 

Although a surplus of natural talent will help you in your manga-drawing endeavors, there are many things you can do to improve your skills. As long as you are willing to work hard and refuse to give up, you are bound to create wonderful drawings that may also one-day form part of a much-anticipated manga release.

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