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Mastering Manga with Mark Crilley 30 drawing lessons from the creator of Akiko Book Review


Mastering Manga With Mark Crilley Review In Few Words (Mini Review)

I like Mark Crilley. I watched his channel a lot in the past. But I don’t agree with the methodologies of teaching drawing he implemented in his book. The only way I would recommend this book is for those who want to draw some Manga for the fun of it. As long as you don’t mind the steps jumping the book does at time.

The book lacks depth, and so there’s not much you are going to learn from it. I also recommend you to check out Mark’s Youtube channel, which is much better than the book.

If you want to become a great Anime or Manga artists, I highly suggest you learn the basics of drawing the human figure first, something the book omitted doing.

I understand that some people love how simply Mark make things are, specially with how you could produce some results with his methods. The issue is, you will find yourself unable to do anything other than what you learned from the book, which is not what many of us are learning drawing for.


Pros Of Mastering Manga With Mark Crilley

  • The chapters that shows you various examples of hairs or hands are fun to look at.
  • Makes things look simple, in a way that makes drawing less intimidating (though a bit too simple than it should be).
  • Chibi step by step guides with reference sheet to chibi emotions.

Cons Of Mastering Manga With Mark Crilley

  • The tutorials are a bit repetitive.
  • Doesn’t cover drawing the hands & feet at all.
  • Doesn’t teach you any sort of figure drawing.
  • The book jumps steps in some of the tutorials, making them harder to follow.

Mastering Manga With Mark Crilley: Overview

For the most part, I tend to read regular drawing books, to help me draw better & to gain knowledge to use in my artworks. But recently I got curious about the books that aims at teaching you how to draw Anime or Manga style of drawing. so I picked Mastering Manga with Mark Crilley to see how it goes.

Mastering Manga with Mark Crilley is by Mark Crilley, the owner of a famous Youtube video, I watched many of his videos in the past, it was fun to see him draw lines one by one. This was one of the reasons I chose to review his book first and not any other Anime or Manga drawing book. I ended up being a bit disappointed by it honestly.

The book basically shows you steps on how to draw Manga characters, from the front, side & three-quarter view, for both male & female characters. The instructions are kinda repetitive, and for the most part, they tell you to place this line here & that line there. One good part about the instructions is that they teaches you to take care of proportions, something that trips many beginner artists. It also tells you to study the anatomy, which is an excellent advice (the book itself doesn’t teach you any anatomy though).

The instructions are too specific, they simply tell you to copy exact lines to create a certain Manga style, without learning the form itself, the book doesn’t shows you how to draw the figure then draw the clothes on them, something you totally need to learn if you’re serious about drawing Anime or Manga. While the lack of nude figures makes this book more suitable for children, I can only recommend it for those who want to draw for the fun of it.

The book is mostly about line art, there’s nothing about coloring in it, which is okay, since most people would learn that first.

Covers More Than Drawing Characters

Besides the chapters on how to draw various kinds of characters, there are chapters for other aspects of drawing, like drawing on perspective. A chapter on drawing hair & even drawing chibi characters, which was amusing to read.

The various hairstyles the book shows you in the hair chapter are quite nice to look at & even copy. There are many free examples like these online though.

The last few chapters talks about things related to creating Manga like panels types & speech balloons, these short chapters had offer good guidelines. But like many parts of the book, they barely scratches the surface of what’s out there to learn.

There’s also a good chapter on kissing couples, which is my second favorite chapter in the whole book. :)

Does It Work?

Seeing how there are a good amount of people who likes Mastering Manga. I am sure it works to a degree. The oversimplified instructions is new source of hope for people who think they can’t even draw a stick figure. These are one of two kinds of people I can see myself recommending this book to. It can get you to draw Manga style to a degree, which is a huge step for those people. The Manga style taught here is a bit simplistic, and it’s less than the style Mark uses in his own channel.

For people who are serious about drawing, and want to be able to draw their own character in various ways, the teaching methodology used in this book is not good for them. Studying the fundamentals of drawing or even copying all sorts of manga drawings can do you much better.

The book itself tells you to study some anatomy more than once, which is a good advice. Even studying the Manga styled figure can help you more than copying the clothes directly, which is what the book tells you to do. Also, one of the things I didn’t like about the book is that it doesn’t teach you how to draw the hands & feet, it just shows you examples of them, and you’re on your own there.

The instructions jumps around at times, which makes them harder to follow, which isn’t since this book seems mostly aimed at beginners at drawing.

And Finally

The book could do better with more depth honestly. Since it’s titled “Mastering Manga”, one would expect to learn more from it. It would have been better if the instructions were deeper or something. Mark’s Youtube channel is more useful than the book honestly.

As I said more than once, if you draw for the fun of it, then you may pick up Mastering Manga with Mark Crilley. If you’re serious about drawing Manga, then this is not the book for you, as it won’t teach you much techniques & knowledge. If you decided to pick up this book, you may want to build more on the style that Mark teaches here. There’s much more to the Manga world than you can see here.

The one area this book is good at is showing you various examples, but many of those are available online for free. I heard there are much better books to teach Manga, I will read them at a later time to see how they are. For the time being, I suggest you look for another book.

I hope you liked my Mastering Manga with Mark Crilley review, and see you again in another review. ^^


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I am an anime artist, and huge fan of digital art. I love drawing with pencils too. But I rarely do that anymore nowadays. Since some aspects of digital art can be tricky, I try my best to explain the concepts as easily as possible.

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