Drawing Manga Animals, Chibis, and Other Adorable Creatures
written by J.C. Amberlyn
Though manga can have many different styles, it is known for its cuteness. If you’re an artist or someone wanting to learn more about making art and interested in all the sweetness possible in manga, there’s a guide specifically for you.
Drawing Manga: Animals, Chibis, and Other Adorable Creatures is just as it sounds. The little squirrel on the cover is adorable, and so are the many drawings inside. To be fair, there are a few more serious drawings inside, like dangerous-looking Asian dragons. But, by far, this is where the pages emanate adorableness. Just try to resist it.
There are three main parts of the book, which are then broken down to give more detail. The first chunk of the book, entitled “The Basics of Creating Manga Style Characters,” has the sections “Drawings Heads, Faces and Expressions,” “Drawing Eyes,” “Drawing Animals,” “Chibis,” and “Mascots.” The next big part of the book is “Mythological and Real Creatures.” Its sections are “Mythological and Supernatural Manga Creatures” and “Manga Creatures Based on Real Animals.” The third and final part of the book is “Using the Computer to Create Manga Art,” which has a single section, “Computer Techniques.” Altogether, it’s a 160-page book.
This isn’t J.C. Amberlyn’s first book on teaching how to draw. You can tell she has great talent, not only for making things look real (or purposely unreal), but also for expressions. Her cute drawings can be almost painfully cute, and that’s meant as a good thing. If you want to know how to make things adorable, you’ll want a teacher who already has the knack down.
Like many art books, Amberlyn shows step by step how to get the drawings done. She also gives tips. As indicated above, with the sections of the book, there are a lot of different things an artist can draw from here. The mythological part can be especially fun for fans of manga and Japan, because it shows how to draw Japanese monsters and creatures. There’s quite a list: Ryu (dragon), Kirin (Asian unicorn), Koma Inu (Fu dog), Bake-neko (monster cat), Neko-mata (forked-tail cat), Kappa (river sprite), Tengu (heavenly dog), baku (dream-devouring being), and Suzaku (red bird). This mythological part tends not to show how to draw the animals in as much detail as elsewhere, but it does have descriptions on the beliefs and legends of each creature.
Amberlyn writes in her opening, “Japanese manga often celebrates cuteness, so the cuter, zanier, and more ‘sugarhyped’ it is, the better!” Artists can use her drawings for their own or be inspired to make their own adorable creations.