Manga Art for Beginners

Several nights ago, I posted about an exciting idea that was given to me, for a creative project. Reflections on my magical life earlier in the day led to that inspirational invitation. (Read that post HERE.)

The challenge is bringing that idea to fruition. What I see so clearly in my mind are cartoon panels telling a story, without words. And yet, cartooning is not one of my artistic strengths. Oh, but I want to try. I’m excited to try. I turned to the Source of my inspiration, the Dream Giver, the One who delights in the creative play that we engage in.

And that’s where this adventure took a magical turn.

After I completed the Magical Journey post, I asked for Divine help in being able to carry out this project. Honestly, I feel artistically inadequate. And yet, I know I am never given inspiration for something I cannot do. It may challenge me, stretch me, or push me beyond my comfort zone. However, it will not be impossible for me.

The practice sketches I did the other night did not quite capture the image in my head, the cartooning style. I asked…Show me how to draw this way. Where do I look?

Before going to sleep that night, I opened Pinterest on my iPhone and was scrolling down through pinned photos. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular. I scrolled…and scrolled…and scrolled some more. Nothing was catching my eye. I wondered why I was still scrolling. And yet, I felt compelled to keep going.

Suddenly, the photo below appeared at the bottom of my phone screen.

I stared, amazed. In all my years on Pinterest, I have never seen sketches before. I’ve never thought to search for any. What was even more amazing was that that image, that style of cartooning, matched the image I was holding in my head. I want to cartoon like that. I was grateful for the answer to my questions. You want to cartoon? Here ya go.

I will be practicing, with this sketch as my model. But before I tackle a cartoon like that, which is my preliminary work for creating my own cartoon panels, I searched for a book to give me some basics. I found two.

Manga is a Japanese style of cartooning. Although it isn’t an exact match for the style I want to create, after looking at every sketching and cartooning book in the store, it is the closest.

In this endeavor, I do not mind at all being a beginner, so the big yellow manual is perfect for learning the basics of manga. Starting with the all important eyes, this book moves page by page through facial expressions, anatomy, perspective, clothing and drawing the human form, from babyhood to mature adults, in a variety of poses.

And the little Manga Artist’s Workbook is just that…a workbook. I’ve had to move past my reluctance to draw in a book. For the pages are designed to be used for practice sketches by the aspiring artist. This is the book I started in this evening.

My first assignment was to use the template, with an affixed sheet of heavy duty tracing paper over it, to sketch a teenage girl’s face. The instructions are clear and easy to follow, with helpful tips. I like that this workbook uses graph paper, a technique my artistic son uses as well. It helps me with spacing and symmetry.

I had fun this evening, drawing a cartoon face. Although the manga style features eyes that are larger than what I will draw in my own cartoons, the tips suggested were very helpful.

There is a part of me that is impatient to do my own thing. However, the finished piece has become very important to me. This is the process to get to that completed project. Whether it takes me weeks or months to acquire the skill to create the images in my imagination, I am determined to learn…and enjoy the journey.

Most significant of all to me is that I asked for guidance…and got it…from a Pinterest post…when I wasn’t even searching for an answer there. I asked…and trusted…and let the outcome go. I followed the gentle nudge to keep scrolling and was able to recognize the answer when it appeared.

It is a magical journey indeed. I am looking forward to capturing a portion of it in this new creative way.

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