Learning to Tell Visual Stories

I spent hours in the car today, as Greg and I drove to pick up our grandson Dayan and bring him home for spring break. It is wonderful to have this college aged young man home for a few days. As we neared Joplin, I considered what to write about tonight. I realized I had not practiced my drawing for several months.

Last year, with Inspiration as my word and theme, my artistic side explored creating art in many mediums, including sketching. This year I have focused on written stories. But of course, stories can be told in many ways, through words, films, photography, vignettes, plays, music, songs…and drawings. In fact, an idea came to me last year, to tell a magical story through several sketches, something akin to cartoon panels. Cartooning is not one of my natural gifts, however, I knew I could learn. I found a fun book called The Manga Artist’s Workbook that has been perfect for me to work through.

I decided this evening I needed to get back into the lessons. After all, I have a story to tell.

Learning to Tell Visual Stories

Returning to my manga workbook, I remembered, with a slight pang of guilt, that I had skipped a section. When I finished with the section on drawing the teen girl’s head, in a variety of positions, I jumped over the next lessons…drawing the teen boy. I was in a hurry to move on and feel accomplished enough to create my own sketches that will tell my own story.

Tonight I saw this as an error. I’m playing by my rules. I can do what I want here. However, what I truly want is to gain expertise in this form of drawing, and storytelling. I can’t rush that. I will benefit from the additional practice that these lessons provide.

Learning to Tell Visual Stories

Here is my progress tonight, drawing the teen boy.

Learning to Tell Visual Stories

Beginning with the basic shapes for the head, I learned that males have a more angular jaw than females, a square chin and a thicker neck. The eyebrows are thicker as well, with less arch and while still large, the eyes of a manga teen boy are smaller than those of a manga teen girl.

Learning to Tell Visual Stories

A simple shadow creates a hint of a nose. The hair follows the contours of the head. And the mouth is indicated with a couple of lines.

Learning to Tell Visual Stories

And here he is, facing forward, a completed sketch of a manga teen boy. This lesson took me a few minutes to create. I sipped hot tea as I studied my work, feeling satisfied.

I am enjoying manga. Beyond the joy I receive from drawing, I am learning important lessons about body anatomy, placement and perspective. The sketches are drawn more quickly each time and with greater confidence.

I have four more lessons to complete, in this section on the teen boy’s head and face, and then I can move on to expressions, for both males and females. No more skipping around. I’m happy I backtracked and drew this manga boy. He looks happy as well.

Learning to Tell Visual Stories

You can order this fun workbook by clicking the link below.

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