Rating: 5/5 – Sound Advice for Anyone Looking to Go Professional.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow.
We live in a best of times/worst of times setting where comic book publishing is concerned. It’s become so simple to get your book published that anyone with enough drive and desire can do it. That’s both a good and bad thing – if everyone can do it, how can publishers separate the professional artist from the fan-art jockey or the casual hobbyist? More to the point how can we as creators separate ourselves from these groups and become true comic book professionals (assuming that’s your desire in considering this book).
Christopher Hart doesn’t have all the answers for you. Don’t let the title fool you, this book is not a guarantee that you will get published as a manga artist. It’s not an easy road to follow, and as mentioned previously, there’s a large number of people all vying for the same types of positions. Hart will, however, give you a leg up on those other people (unless they all buy this book and follow the same ideas contained within it). You’ll learn what publishers are truly looking for when they make hiring decisions…and it’s not just your portfolio. You’ll determine if you’re really a professional artist yet or not, and what it takes to become one. You’ll figure out if you need to find an agent to help represent your work. Those three areas alone make the book worth picking up, as Hart gives a solid assessment of each area, even telling you things you probably don’t want to hear, but need to. Beyond that, other areas covered include going to art school, creating doujinshi, and defining intellectual property. Things you should know or consider if you’re thinking about making manga a career choice.
Hart’s book is honest, and doesn’t pull punches. Do you do well at conventions selling your fan art prints of other people’s property? That’s great, but don’t expect publishers to take an interest in you, no matter how good your work is. What a publisher is looking for in a creator is much different than what the fan or patron on the other side of the table is looking for. Hart provides examples of ways you can make yourself more appealing to publishers by appearing professional in as many was as you can, and it’s much more than just a nice looking portfolio and a positive outlook. There’s nothing wrong with simply wishing to create manga as a hobby or simply for the love of it, but this book was not created for those individuals. This book is a hard look at what it will take to up your game and get your name out there.
If I could fault the book for anything, it’s that that it ought to be read by any creative professional or professional-aspirant in the comic book field. Don’t let the word “manga” on the title fool you, this book offers solid advice for anyone who’d like to do more with their sequential art. While there are chapters that are quite manga-specific (Doujinshi, or self-created manga, for example, and how to use it to attract attention), they can just as easily be used by a comic creator of any stripe, and I fear the book may limit its potential if potential readers assume it’s only for a particular subset of the comic-creating crowd. So I’m letting you know here – don’t assume!
Christopher Hart has made a name for himself creating numerous how-to books on cartooning and manga. If you’re any regular shopper at the Michaels chain of craft and art supply stores, you’ve no doubt come across his books whether or not you’ve picked one up. How to Get Published as a Manga Artist is one book you shouldn’t overlook. It won’t make you a better manga artist, but it will make you a more professional one.
Reviewed by: Al Sparrow – firstname.lastname@example.org
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