Saturday, July 29, 2006

Nudity can also represent Stupidity

Earlier this year, I took an on-line Beginning Japanese Manga class at How to Draw Manga. It was a month-long course with a lesson every week. After lesson 3, we were supposed to send in an example of our work which would be critiqued and redrawn by a real Manga artist. In my case her name was Chihiro Hattori. The drawing above is her version of my homework assignment. But here’s where it gets good. Also in lesson 4, the instructor included two drawings done by students in previous classes.

But these were FULLY developed and realized characters! They looked like they had just come out of a magazine! OH GREAT! I had only sent in a basic, NUDE drawing of my character. Why? BECAUSE WE NEVER HAD ANY LESSONS ON DRAWING CLOTHING!! These other student’s drawings had clothes and even attitude!

Of course, I felt really stupid. I took the class to learn to draw characters – characters wearing clothes in fact. My character wasn’t supposed to be sword fighting while also being naked! I thought the instructor just wanted to make sure our basics, like proportions, face, and style, were progressing. Chihiro made many kind comments but she also noted that, because my character carried a sword, it symbolized strength and her nudity represented purity. Well – no, it doesn’t. It represents a beginning artist who was following the lessons and now feels like an idiot/pervert. I didn’t have to go on-line to Japan to do that - I could have done that here! For free!

All joking aside, if you are interested in drawing Manga this is still a very cool on-line class to take and I really enjoyed it. The people running it, like Kanta Oyama, are also really nice, patient, and encouraging. And as it happens, you do get a certificate at the end of the course - even if your character has no clothes. Plus, it is kind of fun to have a real Manga artist evaluate and comment on your work.
But make sure you send in a character with clothes on it. Hey - I'm just saying!
- Just a peasant