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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Shoujo Art Studio: Everything You Need to Create Your Own Shoujo Manga Comics* by Yishan Li- young adult book review  
Shoujo Art Studio: Everything You Need to Create Your Own Shoujo Manga Comics
by Yishan Li
Grades 7+ 128 pages Watson-Guptill September 2009 Hardcover / CD-R    

What I like the most about Shoujo Art Studio by talented manga artist Yishan Li is that no matter what your current artistic level is, with the help of this book and the very useful CD that comes with it, literally anyone can create his or her own manga strip or book and publish it online, if you so desire.

The easy-to-follow book and CD guide you along step-by-step through all of the aspects of creating your own characters and choosing panel sizes, background, clothes, color choices, word balloons, accessories, and much, much more. There are handy templates you can use along with the Photoshop tools that come with the CD, so you don’t need to have any previous artistic skills, though you can scan your own creations and use the CD with them to create even more original manga comics. In short, this is the ideal package for the budding enthusiast and manga artist in your family.

There are many different types of manga; just what is Shoujo Manga, and what makes it unique among the other types? Shoujo manga, according to the book, is simply comics “aimed at girls.” In Japan, more girls than guys like manga and anime - pretty much the opposite of the case in the U.S. But teenage girls like manga, too, and the creative aspects of it.

The inclusion of several male characters on the CD that can be used in your strips makes this book and CD a valuable tool for both guys and girls interested in manga. Hopefully, Yishan Li will create a book and CD with more guy-based characters and fantasy/superhero types of characters, but until that day, this book and CD is more than enough to get you on the way to creating your own amazing manga.

You’re led through the basics of Photoshop, and the many tools, like the paintbrushes and pencils in Photoshop, along with their uses are detailed. Delve into the importance of pacing your story, developing your characters’ personalities, and converting photos into backgrounds for your characters. Learn to add various tones to your pages, create your own tones, and add sound effects in the form of words, such as when a character laughs or characters fight each other. Learn cel shading, how to add highlights and details like speedlines and focuslines, and how to get the characters to interact with accessories like basketballs and motor scooters.

Some of the backgrounds or settings you can use included on the CD are a cinema, a typical classroom, a princess bedroom, a science lab, a living room, a theme park and a fancy restaurant. Combined with backgrounds you can create by either drawing and uploading via a scanner or by doing the same with photographs, these ensure that you will have hours, days, and weeks or more of fun. You might even decide to make creating Shoujo manga (or other types) your career.

I highly recommend Shoujo Art Studio to anyone who likes manga and has the creative urge to try to make their own manga comics. The book and CD are easy to follow along with and understand, and the results you can achieve look professional. By having all of the tools you need to create manga artwork combined in one book and companion CD, you don’t need to have taken art classes or be a trained artist to make your results look great - and to feel proud when your friends, family members, and people checking your work out online admire what you’ve done.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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  Douglas R. Cobb/2010 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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