Reading progress update: I've read 9 out of 144 pages.

Manga Mania Shoujo: How to Draw the Charming and Romantic Characters of Japanese Comics - Christopher Hart

I'm not going to do this for every section of the book, but this is literally the first page after the introduction.


The page is titled "Shoujo Girl's Head," and proceeds to give step-by-step instructions on how to draw a generic anime head. It's basically:


1) start with an oval head shape

2) add guidelines

3) draw all the face bits

4) make the eyes super shiny to make her look young and innocent


Not so offensive, right? Only until you stop to think about it for more than a second.


This is the first page. There is no description of the materials the reader needs, any techniques the reader should use, or what proportions the entire face should have in the first place.


While I'll give Hart some credit for noting that anime eyes tend to big, therefore the reader should take consideration and adjust the face's width accordingly, the scant few tips he offers are vague and unhelpful. It amounts to "cute characters should have large chins and small jaws" and "add the eyebrows, which are thinner on a girl." How big is too big of a forehead? How small is too small of a jaw? How much eyebrow is too much? Hart assumes that every single youthful anime girl has a single type of face, and all you need to do to draw one is trace his version. I'm dead serious-- he never once offers any advice on how to draw different feminine facial types, despite most of the book being devoted to girls.


The boys in this book, for the record, fair slightly better, as they get both "generic skinny teenager" and "sexy skinny bishie" body types. 


Just for comparison, my favorite how-to art book (Draw and Paint the Realm of Faerie by Ed Org) was still describing how to hold a freaking pencil by page 14.