Book Review: Shoujo Art Studio
By Yishan Li
Published by Watson-Guptill, imprint of Random House
Review by Linda Yau
How many readers of shoujo manga would also enjoy the process of learning how to create this form of art? I imagine there would be a sizable number of people willing to take a few lessons or two. Now then, how about reading Shoujo Art Studio: Everything You Need to Create Your Own Shoujo Manga Comics and beginning from there.
Shoujo Art is a digital art instruction hardcover, which includes a compact disc. The book and disc breaks down the steps of creating a shoujo manga story in a digital environment for the student.
The book begins with a brief history and rules of what shoujo manga is. Then the book explains what physical tools are needed, and quickly moves onto the software necessary for this book. Following a crash course on the tools in Adobe Photoshop Elements, (a free consumer version of Adobe Photoshop), the author continues for the rest of the book explaining what is aspects for a shoujo manga. Creation of characters, or backgrounds, tones, or any aspect of a general shoujo manga is not necessary, because this is where the compact disc is useful.
There are over 100 Photoshop samples of shoujo manga/comic elements. Samples of characters, page layouts, backgrounds accessories, word balloons, focus lines, and others are within the compact disc’s directory.
Now for using this book, there are some expectations, and the necessity of having some tools and programs before using this book. However, in the larger picture users would most often have these programs available. This book is suitable for the computer aware person, and while there is some instruction for PC use, there is a Mac curve here. Also in spite of the general samples provided, there are limitations in how many variations can be, thus if there is an actual aspiration of being a professional shoujo manga creator, then it would be advised to actually go and take lessons. This book is used as a fun activity for people to try and create a basic shoujo manga. If there is a shoujo manga that is created from this book, then it would be for the student to actually write a story that can go with their creation.