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How To Draw Manga - OCCULT AND HORROR 
29th-Oct-2007 12:45 am
How To Draw Manga books are really something. Not only is the art crummy,  but the book even gives you horrible advice on how to write comics- basically, it seems like the most important thing to do is to identify cliches and use them as much as possible. You might think I'm exaggerating, but the book actually says this in as many words:

If ever there was a genre that thrived on freshness and new ideas it was horror, which is what makes How To Draw Manga - Occult and Horror such an amazing piece of work. It's an interesting book, in that it tells you nothing about how to build the suspense, atmosphere or tension you associate with horror; nor is it very informative about the occult. It's got a far more nuts 'n' bolts approach to teaching you how to write for the genre. For example, here the guide shows you the difference between drawing a room normally, and drawing a room in a horror comic.


I would genuinely like to see someone make a comic based on the advice in this book. I'd love to find out that someone did and it got made into the film 'The Ring' but somehow it seems unlikely. The following pictures are all from the section entitled 'How to draw scary faces':


I could probably get a lot of mileage out of just pointing out the sheer irony of some of these pictures coming from a book with 'How To Draw' in the title.

This might be my favorite part below.

That certainly is quirky!

Wait, which part is the 'goat's trunk' 

I love how the book teaches you all these fantastical things that have never happened to anybody in the matter-of-fact tone of a plumbing textbook.


 Speaking of good tips: 

So if I get depressed at work, I should drink. Got it! 

I've often wondered what the distinction is between Horror and Fantasy is, too, so I'm glad they adressed that issue early on. 

I think this tip sums this book up in one.  

(Deleted comment)
29th-Oct-2007 02:22 am (UTC)
It's not helped by the fact that he's dressed like Michael Jackson circa Blood on the Dancefloor.
29th-Oct-2007 03:24 am (UTC)

the skull the skull the skull the skull

I totally wanted this book when I was little.
29th-Oct-2007 05:04 am (UTC)
I used to share a house with a really creepy guy who had all these books, so I scanned in the best bits when I had the chance. I'm really glad I didn't pay any money for them.
29th-Oct-2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
You know what else covers females and is sticky?! It'd be be really cool to stop bullets with though, ahahaha.

Unfortunately, my dad bought a couple of those books in the series for me and my sister. It was really sweet of him, but there was a reason why I never bought those books in the first place. I feel really bad, I only managed to look through one of them!
30th-Oct-2007 03:05 am (UTC)
You want someone to jizz on you and shoot you?
30th-Oct-2007 04:12 am (UTC)
If I was in mortal danger at a gang shoot out, then yes!
30th-Oct-2007 04:18 am (UTC)
This is not related but I woke up at 2am and thought 'I will make the most of these extra hours' and sat down for a good solid day's work, and my fucking computer's power pack has packed in and it won't switch on AAAAAAAAARRRRRGHHHHHH

Only 5 hours before the computer shop opens
30th-Oct-2007 04:48 am (UTC)
AHHHHHHHHHHH, noooooooo. D: I tend to work at weird hours of the morning as well since my brain works better that way, and it frustrates me that shops/offices can't be open to accommodate my waking hours, lol.

Who's computer are you using now?

P.S. I am off to bed now so I'm sorry I won't be able to reply till hours later!
30th-Oct-2007 04:49 am (UTC)
P.S.S. I meant, whose.
30th-Oct-2007 05:10 am (UTC)
That's a refreshing commitment to proper grammar you've got there.

I'm using my mum's computer, I'm living at her house while I try to get this crap finished. Her computer doesn't have after effects or a tablet screen, though, and anyway there's no way of getting all the files over from my pc. So I'm stuck for the time being. BUMMER
30th-Oct-2007 01:58 am (UTC)
Back when I was a child - I only flipped through one of these books - I used to imagine buying all these books up and learning how to draw my own comics.

Well, okay, James, how does one learn to draw then? Back when I tried to learn drawing, I'd rip a page out of a Toriyama manga or Naruto and just copy the scene line for line until I got it. Though I haven't done that in years.
30th-Oct-2007 03:03 am (UTC)
Well, I stll don't think I really have learned to draw, but basically I copy a lot, think about it a lot, do it a lot. Read lots of theory. Have an idea of which other cartoonists you like and which you don't. i.e., develop a critical eye. I don't copy so much any more, though. Maybe I ought to, John K. says it's a very good way to learn.

I think I've realised that I can't really make fun of these books because of what I do for a living. I don't want to come across as arrogant!

There are some good art books out there. Although I never owned it, Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson's Illusion of Life is very good. I actually found a breakdown of their principles of character animation (weight, squash and stretch, silhouette, etc.) on the internet when I was 17/18 and learned from that. I also had a Burne Hogarth anatomy book, from which I learned construction, a little. Mainly, it's better to study the work of animation artists than comic artists, since generally animation artists have superior draftsmanship skills and can teach you a lot more. There's a lot of learning materials on animation on the internet, which I devoured voraciously when I first decided I wanted to be an animator.

Funny you mention Toriyama! I've been reading Dr. Slump and early Dragonball recently, they are sooooo gooooooood
13th-Mar-2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
Well at least the artwork is competent, have you SEEN the stuff Cristopher Hart shits out?

Also I forget the name but there's a parody "how to draw manga" manga that is hilarious.
13th-Mar-2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
I rewrote the intro to this to be a little more clear, and I think it actually touches upon something slightly more profound than I'd originally thought. I'd previously said elsewhere, as a joke, that 'originality is a Western conceit', referring to how content Japanese comics creators are to rehash ideas and not try to find an individual style or voice.

I think I might have hit on something, here. While cliche is the devil to western writers, the Japanese are the inventors of the super-cliche. A comic like One Piece just takes every cliche about Pirate Fiction and tries to do it more outrageously and hyper-kinetically than anyone before. Hook hands become Anchor Hands. Treasure Chests become walking treasure chests that spit fire. Pirate ships become super giga mecha pirate ships that turn into robots. This is something to think about.

Edited at 2009-03-13 03:07 pm (UTC)
13th-Mar-2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
I know exactly what you mean, and I agree. Some western artists tend to fetishize the whole "having an unique style" thing which I think is something that's going to come about naturally unless you're a complete robot, sometimes at the expense of actually using valid visual shortcuts and techniques. I think a good example of this is Josh Lesnick who started off with a style based closely off Ryusuke Mita but then decided his work had to look completely unique. I think he eventually has got to a point where his style is both unique and effective but for a long time all you could definitely say about his comics was "Yep, definitely drawn by Josh, whatever it is"

Also animators are trained to "stay on model" which is basically to imitate slavishly what the character designer laid down and most manga studios are organized more closely like an animation studio than western comics are (Even the assembly line like marvel and DC tolerate characters looking completely different once a new artist comes aboard)
13th-Mar-2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
hahaha!!! i had a good laugh out of those. scan some more!! a while ago my mate bought one of these books, the how to draw women one. we counted 7 or 8 pages devoted to crotch shots.
13th-Mar-2009 03:11 pm (UTC)
I'm amazed that 'Here's looking at your kid' hasn't become a thing
13th-Mar-2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
the used bookstore i go to had a ton of these things on sale once. even at a buck apiece i didn't want to waste my money on them.

i'm 100% certain there's a HOW TO DRAW HENTAI book out there which means the author left out one very important sticky thing.
13th-Mar-2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
Spunk, right
17th-Mar-2009 02:45 pm (UTC)
i'm guilty of the messing up facial features one
actually i think i saw that advice flicking through a how to draw manga book when i was 12 nooooooooooooo im aafflicted
(Deleted comment)
5th-Apr-2009 09:39 pm (UTC)
I'm sort of revising my stance towards these books. Previously I thought all these books were teaching was 'how to be a generic copycat', but there's a little more to it than that: The Japanese method seem to be that a writer should learn all the genre clichés so he can expand upon them, rather than avoid them. We in the west strive to avoid cliché, the Japanese embrace the super-cliché.

One Piece is a good example of this. The writer took all the clichés of Pirate fiction and added the words 'HYPER NEO THIRD STRIKE' to them. Hook for hand? ANCHOR FOR HAND. Treasure Chest? HAUNTED TREASURE CHEST ROBOT. I've come to realise that this isn't neccessarily a worse way of doing things, just a different one. Without knowing it, I've made work based around super-cliches, too. They're fun things to play with.

(Deleted comment)
6th-Apr-2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
But if Wendy O had a SUPER CHAINSAW or a GUITAR SAWING FACTORY with hundreds of guitars on conveyor belts, it'd be a super-cliche!
18th-May-2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
hey harvey i know u dont like this book so much but do you have it in pdf?? can you provide a link so i can download it please?
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