Anyone who has been stalking me or is a frequent reader of the site knows that I am writing to you from Nakano in Tokyo.
Recently I was surprised to find out that there was a manga school right near the JR Nakano Station! This in itself is not so surprising, because there are many manga schools in Tokyo. But what makes Manga School Nakano different?
They offer lessons in English!
You usually have to learn Japanese to hope to receive instruction from a Japanese manga-ka! I went to cover a class in action at the school.
(The tools of the trade….White-out is especially important! Most manga is drawn by hand, with nib-pens. Ink is very unforgiving.)
I dropped in on a private class manga-ka, Nao Yazawa, offers. I was really shocked to find out she only does private classes for English speakers! Each class is 2 hrs long .
This is Tilde, she is a Swedish girl who has been living in Japan for 6 months now and has started to get interested in drawing comics. She took the class once before and learned the basics on how to use all the different tools.
This is her work from her first class. The inking is done with nib pens, the hair is done with tone paper. The drawing was referenced from one done by Ms. Yazawa.
Yazawa showing more of her work. The goal of the day was creating one page of manga.
Watching them draw started to make me want to draw…So I doodled a bit…Unfortunately, it is pretty hard to get a page drawn in 2 hours when you have no plan about what you will draw. I will not get to see Tilde’s finished piece, but I hope I do see her work out in some magazine!
I thought the course was good in that the instruction is private, Ms. Yazawa will teach you all you need to know as you go along, and you get to create the class and steer it towards what you want to do.
I think the downside is that you need to know what exactly you want to do or just want to learn the basics. Also, the absence of other students creates a lack of rivals. I feel like rivals are necessary to push yourself. If you are really serious about manga, you need to push yourself hard from the very beginning. But! Manga can also be a really fun and rewarding hobby as well!
I think this course seems like the perfect thing for someone who wants to learn the basics of manga-making and wants to familiarize themselves with the tools.