Windows of the Soul

I was excited this evening to return to the Manga Artist’s Workbook and practice sketching an important facial feature. Before I move to drawing expressions, the workbook provides opportunity to focus on the most expressive part of the face…the eyes.

I had missed this section of the book when I peeked ahead. I thought the next assignment was the drawing of expressions. I understand, though, the importance of spending time capturing the eyes. So much of what we are feeling and thinking is reflected here. The eyes are the first thing I notice about a person. I can tell whether the person I am looking at is open or guarded, happy or sad, fearful or confident, by studying the eyes.

As I prepare to create an upcoming cartoon project, I know that much of what I hope to convey will be made evident through the eyes.

Tonight’s exercise was to sketch in the eyes, on a teen girl and teen boy, using the manga style. The girl’s eyes are drawn overly large.

I lightly sketched in guidelines.

I tried darker irises and lighter ones. I definitely like the darker better, as they are more distinct.

For a boy, the eyes, while still oversized, are not as large as the girl’s eyes. There are less details too.

As with the girl, I prefer the darker eyes.

William Shakespeare wrote “The eyes are the windows to the soul.”

Not only are we given a peek into the soul through the eyes of another. Our souls gaze out through the eyes as well, in all its states of being, from joyful confidence to beseeching invitation to hardened defiance.

As I sketched this evening, I was grateful for a lesson in mindfulness about what story my eyes are telling.

Manga Perspectives

I enjoyed a couple of quick lessons in the Manga Artist’s Workbook this evening. As my confidence grows, my sketching is more rapid and precise with less erasures! I am finding that this prep work for a larger project is fun.

Tonight’s focus was on the teen girl’s face still, with upward and downward gazes. It is all about perspective and the guidelines I am using really help.

The first lesson…the up angle. The workbook provides the outline of the face over graph paper. My task is to add the guidelines to correctly place the features and then draw in the details.

With the gaze looking up, the guidelines are curved upward.

Adding the facial details.

Completed sketch.

Lesson 2 this evening…the down angle. The angle is exaggerated sharply, with the features all close together in the lower part of the face.

The guidelines are curved downward. Sketching this one, with the oversized manga eyes, made me think of a gray alien! As before, the nose and mouth are only hinted at.

The completed sketch.

I am loving this practice. As a youth, I struggled with perspective and the human body and head. So all of my people stood facing straight ahead. That’s not real life, and that’s not how I want my project to look. Even though I am using the medium of cartooning, I desire more natural poses.

By allowing these lessons to pave the way, I am one step closer to creating something bigger. The next lesson is on a variety of facial expressions. I am ready!

Manga Three Quarters View

This evening I enjoyed a return to the Manga Artist’s Workbook, for another lesson on cartooning.

Take a look at my three quarters view sketch!

The workbook provides detailed, easy to follow instructions, and the outline of the head and face, using basic shapes.

I began by adding the guide lines so that I could correctly place the eyes, ear, hint of a nose and simple mouth.

With those features in place, I erased my guide lines. Using the ear and eye brows, I added the hairline.

While the mouth and nose are left as suggestions, rather than completely finished features, the eyes get more details added. I blocked in the hair.

Reflections are added to the eyes, to create interest and depth, along with pupils that are darkened at the top of the eyes. Dark lines suggest eyelashes. And the eyebrows get filled in. The hair is drawn in, with more detail, giving this teen girl a shaggy looking cut.

This is what I loved about tonight’s cartooning exercise…for the first time I sketched very quickly and confidently. I am getting the hang of this. I didn’t over think the process or labor over it for long.

And that makes me smile. A month ago, I was inspired with an idea that I wasn’t sure I could bring into reality. But the truth I believe is being proved in my life. If inspiration gifts me with an idea, it is because I am capable of creating it.

I only have to ask for guidance. Sometimes the answer arrives unexpectedly, and looks like a manga workbook with detailed lessons in it. Soon, I’ll be creating a storyboard. By then I’ll have the ability to create this cartoon story that offers a peek into my magical life.

Manga Profile

I grabbed a few minutes this evening, and my manga workbook, to practice this new-to-me art form. The little flip style book is proving to be a fun way to learn and hone my drawing skills.

Tonight’s lesson was sketching the manga profile.

Here is my progress tonight, captured in a series of black and white photos.

My first lesson was drawing a teenage girl’s face, as she looked straight ahead. Lesson two is the profile, which feels trickier to me. Using graph paper, guides and basic shapes, such as circles, triangles and ovals, helps me get the proportions and placement right.

The workbook page provides the outline of a face in profile. I liked the suggestion of using a circle with a triangle attached, to designate the lower face. I added the guidelines.

The guidelines helped me to place the eye, ear, nose and lips.

The eye gets filled in. And a general outline of the hair is added.

A bit more detail to the eye area, and more adjusting of the nose and lips, which are kept very simple. The hair was fun to add. I erased my guidelines. The page’s basic profile remains, with my sketching added.

I am enjoying this manga workbook. In 30 minutes or less, I can complete an assignment. When I have more time, I can progress through several lessons easily. And that will bring me one step closer to my envisioned project!