I was sent a review copy of Mark Crilley’s new book Manga Art and I was looking forward to reviewing it.  I opened the book up and read through it pretty quickly.  I guess I was expecting a book that taught you about how to draw manga as the cover also points out it is “Inspiration and techniques from an expert illustrator.”

The book is actually a huge collection of Crilley’s artwork.  Now his artwork is pretty damn amazing and whether he is doing sci-fi, chibi, backgrounds, mechs or many other different genres the Eisner-nominated artist really shows off his talent.

The book will show a piece that Crilley drew and he will offer his commentary on the piece.  He talks about the many different styles and the tools he used to create such pieces whether he used pencils, colored pencils, pen and ink, if he created the piece digitally, and so on.

While the book is interesting it probably is not a book meant for me personally.  Now I am totally loving the artwork.  Ican appreciate the book in each piece that Crilley presents and what he has to say about that piece.  The thing is I am someone with zero aptitude for drawing.  Honestly I make the worst looking stick figure characters ever so, for me, learning art techniques from someone as amazing as Crilley is looking putting premium gas into a a 1972 Pinto hatchback.

So who is the book for?  If you are an artist, especially a fledgling artist, this book is great in instructing you different techniques in the creation of artwork.  Even if manga itself isn’t your thing it is you can learn many things from shading to depth.  I will point out again that this isn’t a book that teaches you HOW to draw.  But if you are an artist and read the paragraphs that go along with the artwork you may fully comprehend what Crilley is talking about, how he accomplishes what he draws, and how that could help you in your own artwork.

If you are a fan of manga or love drawing manga?  Then this book is definitely for you.

On some of the pieces Crilley will mention that the artwork shown were originally drawn and created on YouTube videos (check out the YouTube by clicking here).  While I didn’t explore the YouTube to fully check out these videos it is really great for an artist who looks at the finished piece in this book to be able to go to YouTube and see how it was conceived and actually drawn.  That is pretty damn sweet.

What I will say is the production on this book is outstanding.  The pages are quite glossy and really makes every piece of art showcased in this book look phenom.  There are 110 illustrations total in the book with plenty of talk on conception, artwork, and techniques.

Even if you aren’t a manga artist but are just a big fan of the genre then you will probably have a great time reading this.  I’m impressed enough by Crilley’s artwork that I think I will at least check out some of the different manga novels he has done.  I’d love to see his work in sequential form.

This is more of an overview then a review because I really can’t sit down and rank a book of a man who showcases his art then tells you how he accomplished it.  I mean the man knows his own stuff so obviously it would be an A+ rank.

If you are a fan of anime, manga, comic books or if you are an artist who would love to find out different techniques then I would recommend this book highly to you.  It is chock full of amazing illustrations and having a breakdown on every single one of the illustrations is quite nice.