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Creating a Light Novel the Hard Way

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Post #511576
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2:11 am, Dec 9 2011
Posts: 15

I know many will brush past this but I am going to post anyway. I have been reading manga, light novels, visual novels, and watching anime for years. I have found it entertaining and much more stimulating than anything on american television. One day my friend let me read a short story he made with a single anime style illustration. After reading it my mind started racing as I started to formulate thousands of stories in my head. And so, I began my journey as a amateur Light novel writer. At this point in time I have two volumes being written at once. But I have one major issue. I cannot draw people at all to save my life. And so I have come here to ask, what books are out their that can vastly improve my drawing skills specifically anime. I am trying to draw the illustrations for my two series and desperately in need of help.

Post #511585
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2:37 am, Dec 9 2011
Posts: 213

i would suggest trying to trace manga and keep practicing. Or you could try and find some books online. The only real thing that can make you draw like a pro is practice and talent. But i can't draw for shit so feel free to ignore me.

Post #511595
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Sweetly Macabre

3:36 am, Dec 9 2011
Posts: 1005

Even if you only intend to draw 'manga-style' it's good to learn about proper human anatomy and proportions first - know the rules before you break them. Be sure to learn about shading and perspective too. The internet is full of information: you can try looking things up, or looking for books to buy on beginner art.

I read a few volumes from the 'How To Draw Manga' series a while ago, and they were quite good. I'd recommend those titles. But remember that practice is the most important thing for an artist! No book alone can vastly improve your skills, and it won't happen overnight, either.

Good luck~

Post #511596

3:44 am, Dec 9 2011
Posts: 257

I can't name any books for you, since I've never really used any myself. But, I can point you toward a great online source. This guy's youtube has a great deal of tutorials for generic manga-style art, and you not only get to see his drawing process (though he skips steps sometimes, since he's a pro) but you get to hear him explain why he does certain things. Very interesting.

And if it turns out that you're not satisfied with your own illustrations, I encourage you to write your novel anyway. Good ideas should never go to waste. Most light novel authors don't even do their own art, and they instead get professionals to do it for them. But, I'll hope things go well for you! biggrin

Post #511597
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3:49 am, Dec 9 2011
Posts: 1021

Please do not trace. Copy instead. When you're tracing, you're just going over the lines and can do that without thinking, but by copying, you go through the same steps that the original artist did, and you can learn much more much faster that way. You can learn by tracing, but you have to concentrate hard on what you do, and though it's easier than copying, it takes longer if you want to be good. Copy, don't trace.

Personally, I think most "how to draw anime" books are BS. They're stereotypical, and the people who draw them are often terrible artists themselves. That said, there are still good ones here and there. But I'd only use them for understanding the styles - build up a foundation in drawing before that. Don't rely solely on how-to-draw books.

The best thing you can do is start drawing people from life. Anyone, just go out and draw them. It's incredibly boring and it'll feel like you're not getting anywhere, but real life is the basis for all art, especially anime and manga styles, which tend to gravitate more towards realism than towards cartoony abstraction. Draw from real life.

Make sure to study anatomy; the bones are surrounded by muscle which are surrounded by skin which makes a character. Gesture is also important - it's knowing how to capture the pose that you want to convey. Nothing's worse than spending hours drawing a confident pose that instead looks like he's constipated. Anatomy and gesture.

You might be wondering who am I to say all this stuff, so I'll tell ya: I'm just a newbie artist myself, aspiring to be a mangaka/graphic novelist/comic artist. I've drawn anime/manga style for 7 years and only started studying anatomy and all that boring stuff a year ago. Naturally, I'm pretty fond of anime and manga and I'm never gonna give it up, but that one year improved everything. So I'd say to prioritize drawing from real life and look through lots of manga on the side. You'll develop your own style - there's no need to force it.

If you're still not sure whether to take my word for it, here's some of my art, and you can decide from there:

Ah, and lastly, I highly recommend the books by Scott McCloud, "Understanding Comics", "Reinventing Comics", and "Making Comics". I've only read the first and a bit of the second so far, but it's absolutely amazing. It doesn't teach you to draw, per se, more like the theories and methods behind drawing. And the book is all in comic form! Definitely worth a read.

Post #511603
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4:26 am, Dec 9 2011
Posts: 15

Thank you everyone for your suggestions biggrin

Hellslayer I wont ignore anyone, everyones advice Is helpful Thank you for the website it has many good tutorials on there.

Thanks Terpsichore, After looking and searching on the internet for drawing proper people anatomy and proprotions I have found many websites helping struggling artist like myself.

imp4ever where did you find this guy I never even knew he exsisted on youtube. I need to get better at reseaching people thanks for the link.

Blique I looked in your gallery in deviantart and I find it hard to call you a newbie anymore after seeing The Bloodstained Overlord and Half Prince Artwork. You give yourself to little credit I wish I had your skill cry I will take you advise and try to draw from real life, as well as study from books. I am trying not to trace so I can develop a style of my own. I mean why go through all the work of making a story and then copy the part people will see the most eh.

Post #511614
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5:09 am, Dec 9 2011
Posts: 1021

Aw, you're so nice. I just entered art college and man am I a newbie in there XD

Haha, I'm a big 1/2 Prince fan~ That reminds me, if you're interested in coloring your illustrations, coloring manga you like is a pretty good place to start. That's how I learned, and I was part of a fan community, so I was always motivated. Even now, even though my drawings can't measure up to some of my classmates, my ability to shade and color is one of the best. biggrin

Biggest tip: put color in everything (as seen here). Try not to overuse neutral tones (black, white, grey, desaturated brown) since they can make a picture look "dull".

And if you don't want to draw in color, you could try just shading the manga pages in grayscale. Knowing how to shade is important to give the illusion of three dimensional form.

Biggest tip: changes in value are everywhere. Just making the darkest part dark and leaving the rest light is bad unless you know what you're doing. I recommend the following exercises: (1) make the entire picture dark, then use light tones to draw, (2) make the entire picture light, then use dark tones to draw, (3) make the entire picture gray, and use dark and light tones to draw.

Hope that helps, and good luck! ^^

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