Book Reading Review: Manga in Theory and Practice by Hirohiko Araki

Manga in Theory and Practice: The Craft of Creating Manga

  • Author, Illustrator: Hirohiko Araki
  • Published by: Viz Media Publish Date: June 6, 2017
  • Pages: 280 Format: Hardcover
  • Retail price: 19.95

Having created one of the longest-running series of all time, Hirohiko Araki has now decided to lend audiences and manga fans a helping hand in honing their own skills, with Manga in Theory and Practice: The Craft of Creating Manga.

Within this guide, Araki reveals his balance of characters, setting, story, and themes, combined with his “golden ratio” for character design. Considering manga consists of both story and visual artistry, he offers many tips and encouragements for striving mangaka (or manga creators) as well as general comic fans and hobbyists (despite the Manga title, there is really no difference between the mediums when it comes to applying Araki’s ideals).

Manga in Theory is an entertaining read, though it may benefit to already be familiar with some of Araki’s work beforehand, even though the book is riddled with lovely panels to exemplify his practices and teachings. Though he encourages practicing to better one’s artistic talents, it would have been appreciative if he were to show how his work was when he first started, or even earlier. True, he includes examples from earlier publications, but I believe it would benefit readers to see how a rough draft looks before all of the polish – or even how his art evolved over time.

Regardless, Manga in Theory and Practice is a must-read for manga fans: not only does it inspire creative endeavors, but also allows a glimpse at the machinations behind the madness. Additionally, the hardcover design of the book reflects the recent re-issuance of the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure collection (also released by Viz), a making this a fitting addition for current fans of Hirohiko Araki’s work.

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