Manga Hair – Girls

I felt the creative urge to draw this evening. My overnight guest, granddaughter Aubrey, was in artistic mode as well. She created a batch of slime…in a soft orange color. This child is a slime making whiz. No recipe is used. She trusts her instincts and achieves perfection. Aubrey in turn watched as I worked in my Manga Artist’s Workbook, offering comments and suggestions and encouragement.

Manga Hair - Girls

Tonight’s lesson was drawing manga hair, for girls. Hair is an important feature in manga. It’s used to add glamour and personality and to increase the size of the head, which also increases the presence of the character. Ponytails are very popular for manga girls, as is long wavy hair.

Manga Hair - Girls

The examples provided for the exercise included four different styles. I let Aubrey select two for me to draw. She chose the pulled back ponytail and the long wavy style. Interestingly, she was drawn to the styles that are most popular on manga girls, without knowing that fact.

Manga Hair - Girls

Using the templates provided in the workbook, I added eye highlights, and a hairline. The round circle for the ear, on the upper head, really bothered me, as I couldn’t do much to make the ear look decent. I had to let that go!

The hair was fun to draw, however. Adding hairstyles does, indeed, add personality and differentiates between the two girls, whose features are similar. The girl with the ponytail looks more youthful. The longer hair, worn loose and flowing, adds age to the other girl.

This was an important lesson, in my ongoing quest to improve my people drawing skills. As always, sketching was fun and relaxed. This felt more like playing rather than work, which is what I desire. And, having the encouragement of my granddaughter and the lively chatter back and forth as I drew, made this lesson the best one yet!

Manga Hair - Girls

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Manga Teen Boy Three Quarters View

I welcomed a break this afternoon, and took time to sip on lemon balm tea and sketch in my Manga Artist’s Workbook. This helpful sketchbook full of lessons, by Christopher Hart, has been fun to practice in, and my skills continue to improve.

Manga Teen Boy Three Quarters View

Today’s lesson was the Teen Boy, Three Quarters View.

This angle of the face is the most challenging for me. I tend to want to skip over it. However, it’s so important for me to take a deep breath, let go of resistance, and just draw.

I’m grateful for the outlines that the workbook provides. It helps me to correctly place the guidelines so I can sketch out the facial features. I’ve peeked ahead. These outlines will disappear soon!

Manga Teen Boy Three Quarters View

Compared to the Manga Teen Girl, the Boy has a thinner face and smaller eyes. The nose and mouth are barely suggested. The ear is slightly larger than the girl’s.

Manga Teen Boy Three Quarters View

The ear gets some details. I used to hide ears behind hair. I’ve about got the hang of drawing them now. The eyes get their highlights, before the pupils are added. And a shaggy hairstyle, that follows the contours of the skull, completes the top of the head.

The finished sketch is pictured below. I’m happy with it! The three quarters view gives me pause, however, I benefit from the challenge.

I have two more angles to draw, for the teen boy’s face…and then it’s on to body work and poses. I’m getting there!

Manga Teen Boy Three Quarters View

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Manga Teen Boy Profile

I made the decision early this morning to get into my manga workbook this evening and continue my sketching lessons. That proved to be a good decision, as I had a busy day. I have a story I want to tell, by way of drawings in a cartoon panel format. Manga is is preparing me for that project.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

This practice has been valuable for me. My skills are increasing. I am much more at ease as I sketch and I’m finding the sessions fun and even relaxing.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

Here is tonight’s lesson.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

In contrast to the teen girl profile, the boy’s features are more angular. The eye is smaller and set back a bit more from the edge of the head.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

I drew guidelines to help me correctly place the eye, nose, lips and ear.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

The jaw is more squared off. The mouth is suggested with a simple line. The lips protrude slightly.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

The eye gets a highlight and definition is added to the ear. The hair flops over the forehead and eye and closely follows the contours of the skull.

I truly am enjoying these creative sessions. I have been able to draw a face looking straight ahead or at a slight angle. Profiles, looking up or looking down were more challenging. These easy to follow lessons are helping me tremendously with perspective and placement.

I was impatient to move to the next section of the workbook, but the additional practice has been great for me. I have a couple more lessons featuring the teen boy and then it’s on to drawing the body. I’m looking forward to sketching a whole person!

Manga Teen Boy Profile

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!

Magical Journey

Driving in the car today, inspiration was my companion. Feeling very joyful, and grateful for all that is, bits and pieces of my past were popping up, snippets of experiences that, woven together, create the story of my life.

I had a realization, as those assorted scenes from my life passed through my awareness.

I have had a magical journey.

Truly, my life has been full of the unexpected, the impossible, and the unbelievable. I’ve kept those stories close to my heart for the most part, concerned that people wouldn’t understand.

As a result, I grew up being so fearful of the magic in my life. Sadly it would take many years of ignoring the magic, hiding the magic and trying to explain the extraordinary away before I could face my fears and standing thus, with an attitude of I am not backing down, move beyond my fears.

I have at last embraced everything about myself…including the magical.

With the realizations that came today, accompanied by a sense of wonder and deep curiosity, came inspiration’s tap. The invitation extended to me is to capture some of that journey.

It would be easy for me to write about it, telling the story with words. But that’s not what this year has been about. Rather, it’s been about expanding, creatively, and expressing myself in myriad ways.

The idea came, and then grew, to sketch out a portion of this magical journey I am on. And not just sketch it, but capture it in cartoon form.

One of the things that can frustrate me is having a clear and vivid idea, and see with clarity the final result, yet feel incapable of delivering that completed project. I can see what this cartoon sequence looks like. I am struggling a bit with my abilities to create it.

All three of my children, and all of my grandchildren, sketch well. My daughter Elissa is also an excellent cartoonist. I have always been more of a realistic sketcher and prefer to have a picture to draw from.

Cartooning is a challenge for me. And yet…I firmly believe that an idea will never be given to me that I cannot bring to completion.

My project this evening has been to practice cartooning. I’ve had to simplify my drawings, step by step. I’m not there yet. I haven’t seen my little girl character emerge clearly yet. But I am working on it!

My first attempt. While this is a simplified drawing without a lot of detail, it is still realistic.

My second attempt. More cartoon like.

My third attempt, and an actual cartoon girl.

This will be an ongoing project. I’ll keep practicing my cartoons until I feel confident enough to capture my idea fully. Or…the cartoon panels will contain stick figures! Hopefully my skills will enable me to capture the story that is even now unfolding in my heart and life.

And then…I will share part of this beautiful journey with you, in a very visual way. And it will be magical.

Fashion Design in the Garden

I picked up my sketch pad and pencil this evening and moved my creative studio outdoors. The next lesson in my Fashion Design Studio book was to flesh out the stick figures I created last time, implementing what I had learned about drawing the human body.

I not only happily anticipated sketching out my first design figure, I looked forward to doing so in my beautiful backyard garden. The mild weather continues, pulling me outside. I carried my supplies to the brickio and brewed a cup of lemon balm tea while I was out there.

My cat Shy Boy thinks if I'm sitting in the garden, it is for the purpose of holding him. He grew weary of my sketching after a while and moved to lounge nearby on the fire pit. What an inspiring space to create in. I paused frequently to gaze at my herbs, grasses and flowers, and sip my tea.

Here is my progression this evening:

I started with the basic figure, striking a pose. The most challenging part of fashion sketching, for me, is going against my instincts and exaggerating the length of the torso, arms and legs. I learned long ago to draw an adult form seven heads tall. In fashion design the standard is eight or even nine. This figure is about 7 1/2 heads tall, which is an improvement for me.

Adding in details, while keeping the facial features very minimal. I laughed as I drew because as a kid, I struggled with posing arms. I usually just drew people with their arms folded behind their backs! I feel like I am getting the hang of arms and legs.

Time out for tea. I picked sprigs of lemon balm out of the garden and let them steep in very hot water. This mug with the mesh basket and lid is the perfect way to make tea for one.

The lesson tonight focused on the body not the clothes. I sketched a simple dress, using an example from the book. I was pleased with my first model.

Then the part that is always fun for me…coloring. I did the flesh tones first, using Prismacolor pencils in ginger, tan, and harvest gold, with a bit of pink on the cheeks. Using more than one color, and adding shading by imagining where the shadows would be, creates depth and a more realistic skin tone.

Clouds gathered to the west, and the falling temps drew in mosquitoes. I moved indoors to complete my lesson. I enjoyed every moment of my creative exercise, which is all part of a larger project to design a piece of clothing. I am not minding the step by step process. I am learning as I go and having fun.

The next few lessons will focus on details of the body. I'll be sketching hands and feet, faces and hair, and capturing the full body in many different poses. And then, after I am quite comfortable drawing fashion figures, I'll begin learning elements of clothing design, such as collars and bodices, pants and pleats.

It's a journey…a leisurely fashion design journey. I am loving it.

Love, Laughter, Wine & Good Food

From the title, you might surmise that I have had a really good Monday! However, the reality is that I felt drawn back to the travel journal I am creating, after the recent trip to Italy. As I wrote about previously, I didn’t have time to journal the way I thought I would, during the trip. Instead, I decided to journal about the experience after the fact. 

I am appreciating how the acts of sketching and writing are allowing memories to surface. Like bubbles, they rise up and pop, surprising me and making me smile. 


On day two of our tour, we left Rome, and entered Tuscany. We stopped at the little medieval village of Lucca for lunch, and later enjoyed a wonderful tour and five course meal at a vineyard. As I flipped through photos on my phone today, I felt inspired to capture Dayan’s first Italian pizza in a sketch. I also drew the bell tower of Lucca, with the trees growing at the top, creating the illusion of hair. 

Although I would not learn about the significance of Italy’s bell towers until later in the trip, Lucca’s towers were the first to catch our attention and our interest. 

Love, Laughter, Wine & Good Food
We capped off our day at Fattoria Il Poggio, a Tuscan farm featuring vineyards and olive groves. What a magical evening. Our group dined al fresco, at long beautifully set tables under twinkling white lights. The wine and the food flowed freely. I learned that night that I would be fine, eating plant based in Italy. The food was marvelous. 

Love, Laughter, Wine & Good Food
As I wrote in my journal, I realized the true magic that wove itself through the evening involved relationships. That night, over a long and delightful dinner, strangers became family. Perhaps because of the wine, or the music, or the incredible beauty that surrounded us, 43 people bypassed the acquaintance and friendship stages and connected on deeper levels. 

We laughed, we sang, we danced, we dined on amazing local foods and drank wines created right there at the vineyard. We fell in love with Italy and ourselves and each other. 

The memories from that night warmed my heart and made me smile as I wrote in my journal. 

And then they jostled another memory, that sent me searching for a piece of paper. 

Love, Laughter, Wine & Good Food
My family! My Globus family! Judy and Chelsea and Hilda, Norm and Rohini… We all wrote our names and email addresses on a piece of paper labeled “Traveling Companions”. Let’s all stay in touch, we said. I’ll email you, I promised. 

I have not contacted my traveling companions, my new family, since I have been home. I found my paper with their names and email addresses. Perhaps this is why I was drawn to journal today. Perhaps this memory needed to surface. Regardless, I am grateful for the reminder that this day of the trip was full of so many good things, including gaining 41 new family members. 

I will begin emailing them tonight. It is time to catch up with my family! 

Love, Laughter, Wine & Good Food

Creating a Travel Journal

I had a great idea, before I left on the Italy trip with my daughter Elissa and grandson Dayan. I bought each of us a journal, with unlined blank pages, to use as travel journals. I had a romanticized vision of sitting on a hotel balcony each evening, while in Italy, capturing the day’s memories in delightful sketches and meaningful words and quotes. 

It wasn’t a bad idea. But it didn’t happen. I’ve never traveled before with a tour group. We were busy from early in the morning until late at night, experiencing all that we could of the country we were visiting. I never once sat on a balcony. And although Elissa used her journal to write down thoughts and collect mementos, I never opened mine. At all. 

Creating a Travel Journal
After I returned home, I tucked my unused journal into a drawer…and left it there, until today. This morning, as I asked the Divine, How shall we play today?, the journal came to mind. The answer to my question seemed to be, Create a travel journal…

My response was something along the lines of, I think that horse has already bolted out of the barn… which was a cheeky way of saying, I think it is too late for that. I felt a wee sense of sadness about that fact that I had not used my journal. 

Time has no meaning to the Divine. Was it really too late? My thoughts returned to the journal throughout the day. Create a travel journal…Create A Travel JOURNAL. There is no barn. There is no horse. Create. 

This evening, I pulled the journal from the drawer, grabbed a drawing pencil and began a travel journal. Although I didn’t capture the memories each day while we were in Italy by sketching them, I did capture them. I took photos with my phone. And I wrote a daily blog post. 

Creating a Travel Journal
Creating a Travel Journal
I started with a two page spread of Rome, where our adventures began. I included a quote that I love, We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” Using photos as inspiration, I sketched some of the highlights of that first day of our tour. I reread that day’s blog post and wrote out the phrase that so caught my attention as we wandered through the Vatican, Conquer your own space. 

I sketched quickly, so as not to overthink what I was doing or doubt my ability. I had fun. The images I drew are symbols that remind me of special memories: Dayan’s first morning in Rome, looking out on the city from the hotel window, flowers growing atop a building, the Colosseum, which represents all the historical monuments we viewed, and a statue overlooking the Tiber River. It too is symbolic of the many amazing sculptures we saw while in Rome. 

Creating a Travel Journal
I enjoyed creating a travel journal entry, even if it is after the fact. I know it touched a deep place within my heart, because emotions were evoked. My eyes filled with grateful tears. I’ll include a quote about Rome in the bottom left corner and call these first pages good. As I sketch future pages, capturing the Italy journey day by day, I will be kind to myself and forego criticism. I will have fun, creating a visual representation of a wonderful shared adventure. 

Perhaps a I’ll sketch next time while sitting in the backyard garden. It is the closest thing I have to a balcony. 

Creating a Travel Journal

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration

I am loving the inspiration I am getting from the set of vintage encyclopedias. Printed in 1951, these outdated volumes have no resale value, however, their creative value is high. 

Tonight I had fun creating another artistic project using one of the vintage pages. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration
I carefully removed a page from the “I” volume of the encyclopedias. Using an article about Imagination as my background, I wanted to create a a piece of art that I could frame and display. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration
I sketched and then inked in a dainty milkwort plant, using another vintage page from The Book of Knowledge set as inspiration. I had pre-selected a frame and used the glass as a template to cut the encyclopedia page to the correct size. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration
I enjoyed coloring my completed sketch. The encyclopedia paper is very thin, causing me to color carefully. However, the old paper takes color extremely well. The pencils glided over the page and the colors blended well. 

In a short time, my something-new-from-something-old work of art was completed. It looked great in its simple wooden frame. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration
I knew I wanted to display this artwork in my bedroom. But I didn’t know where I was going to display it, within the room, until I carried the piece through the door. And then it was immediately obvious. Of course. There, on my little bedside table, next to the old phone that Greg’s dad converted into a lamp years ago. The framed art fits perfectly there, a fresh look on an old page, that I created. Behind it all, both figuratively and literally, is imagination. 

And the little milkwort flowers make me smile. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration

Testing My Belief

Just two days ago I sorted through my underlying fear around my ability to carry out a creative idea I have for a coloring book. I stared that fear of failure down. And I came up with a working title for the coloring book, which was my action for the day, my arrow of desire. I felt good about what I learned about myself that day and about my determination to follow through on my idea. “I believe I can do this”, I said. 

Today I drew this creative activity:

Draw components for coloring book. 


“Are you kidding me?” I asked aloud.

For the first time since I began this artistic adventure, I was tempted to drop this slip of paper back into the glass pitcher and draw another one. Who would know? 

This activity seemed to arrive too soon even though I had felt ready to move forward on this project two days ago. Truthfully, when I thought about it, the timing was perfect for drawing this second action step. Here was a “strike while the iron is hot” nudge to keep my resolve firm.

Long busy day or not, sketching was what I had drawn for today’s creative activity. If I returned the action and drew another, no one would know. Except I would. The Divine would. We agreed to play with creativity this month. We agreed this was for my growth and that this month is a preview of a future possibility. I held to integrity. 


As I sketched late this evening, making quick impressions of various objects that could find their way into Beautiful Wandering: A Coloring Adventure, my mind quieted. The sketches aren’t great. I need a lot of practice. However, I know I have the ability within me, rusty with disuse, but it’s in there. I will draw every night. I will draw, and draw, and draw some more, exercising that creative muscle gently but consistently, until it is well developed again.

“Are you kidding me?” I asked this morning. 

Tonight in the stillness I heard the Divine. 

“Were YOU kidding me?” 

Ah…no. Tears filled my eyes. I wasn’t kidding. I want to open creatively in this area. I want to birth this idea, and birth it I will, with blood and sweat and tears and messy starts and stops. And I will also birth it into life, with deep love and joy. 

The labor pangs have begun.