How to Draw Shojo Manga

The editorial staff of four Japanese manga magazines have compiled a guide for aspiring shojo (girls’) manga creators. They cover the basics of plot, art, supplies, layout, and submission, while using examples from popular shojo manga creators.

The biggest problem with this nonfiction, non-comic format guide is the title. It is not actually a “how to draw” book, so the title is extremely misleading. Rather the work focuses on how to assemble a manga story with the aim of submitting it to a Japanese manga publisher. The editors assume familiarity with shojo manga stories and art styles, art supplies used in the creation of manga, Japanese manga magazines, and, mostly importantly, how to draw. In other words, this is not a beginner guide.

However, that said, this is still a useful educational work. There are plenty of young artists who have the basics of drawing down, but who need help with plot and page layout and the other elements of comic creation. And for rabid fans who are particularly interested in creating manga in Japan, this can be a wonderful resource. The details on submitting to several different Japanese shojo manga magazines are included and there are notes for English-speaking audiences reminding them that being fluent in Japan might be required to be published in such magazines or even to speak to editors. (There is a note about how to speak to United States publishers at conventions and the like.) As it was originally printed in Japan in 2006, the U.S. editors strongly encourage readers to double check that submission guidelines haven’t changed, though unfortunately the Japanese websites for the magazines are not included, which would have been helpful.

What are most useful, however, are….

This review was originally posted at Good Comics for Kids. Please visit the original post to see the rest of the review.

How to Draw Shojo Manga
by collaborative editing of Hana to Yume, Bessatsu Hana to Yume, LaLa, and Melody editorials
ISBN 978-1-4278-1665-8
TokyoPop, November 2010