Sunday, June 3, 2018

Book Review: 'How to Draw Manga Faces' by Stan Bendis Kutcher

Stan Bendis Kutcher has created an exceptionally complete drawing book that may be focused on artists who create comics, but is so well written and filled with a surplus of visual diagrams that it could just as easily be a textbook for basic figure drawing classes in art schools. But Manga art is the goal here and Kutcher states that goal well. As he explains in his book, `Manga is in essence comic art or characters done in Japanese way and style. Anime is the sequential `animation' of imagery which would include many of these eastern Japanese stylistic elements found in Manga. Unlike more traditional western comic art and animation, Manga and Anime have many characteristics in common which consistently makes the style recognizable. In Manga the backgrounds are often more luscious and realistic while the actual figure may at times be more stylized.

Manga portrait/facial art is the goal here and Kutcher states that goal well: `Comic art or sequential art is a means to capture a sequence or moment in time by telling a story. The aim of this book is to advance your understanding of anatomy so that your overall quality will improve in both the short and long term.' From that statement of definition of this art form Kutcher proceeds to share the materials needed for creating Manga face drawing and from that point the lessons are on!

He divides his book into chapters that slowly advance the reader from the materials to the completed drawing. In the opening chapter he thoroughly discusses materials, listing all the items necessary from pencil and ink and paper and including digital mediums to draw with, mixed media - very complete and accompanied with photographs of each of the tools needed just to make it simple. Next he advances to Basic Face Proportions (forms from one to 3 dimensional), Manga Eyes in Detail, Features and Expressions, Old School Manga Faces, Modern Manga Face (exceptionally fine illustrations here and through the book), and the 4 step Manga. His emphasis is on basic anatomy and he offers ample illustrations in drawings.

Then comes the magic - just sitting back and slowly leafing through this book for the beauty of Stan’s art. Stan Bendis Kutcher is a very fine artist, and now he proves he is as fine a teacher. All artists approaching the figure should buy this book! Grady Harp, May 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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