Digital Art Manga and Anime Class

Funny thing when you have a nice amount of time set aside you don't really want to get a lot done, but when you're pressed for time you find that you want to do a lot more? That's where I'm at, right now! This week I start attending workshops for the upcoming school year and I'm very excited for it! So, naturally, I also have a bunch of blog posts I want to upload and talk about things I've been doing so here we go!

I've had the pleasure of planning and conducting a Digital Art Manga and Anime class with a company over the summer. Those who know my history know that I've been wanting to teach a class like this since I was in high school. I've always had to dodge specifics and not directly say that it was a "manga style" class because people don't tend to react well to that, but I figured that I had time this summer and if people didn't want to come, they didn't have to. Imagine my surprise when I pitched the idea and not only got an offer to host the class, but a record breaking amount of students wanting to sign up and join within the company! 

I took about a week to prepare and knew that I wanted to cover my favorite artists online and offline as well as techniques that I've learned on my own on my journey to becoming an illustrator as well as from a few teachers that have helped along the way. I drew this image during a workshop that students could stop by and join in. Fun fact: This was the first drawing on a tablet that I have done in a very, very long time. Like, an actual drawing instead of a doodle that played around with brushes and backgrounds.

No Layers

The first class was pretty basic and covered some essential topics such as working with the tablets as well as layers. The first picture was drawn with layers and the second without. I was afraid that I would confuse them because an ice cream cone isn't exactly manga or anime BUT it was simple enough for them to understand this skill. I also prepared presentations for everyone to follow along but after the first class I saw that they wanted much more complicated subjects so... I changed up my whole plan.

I completely designed my class around my experiences. I took from my experiences as a teacher as well as my experience as an Illustrator. Something I found that students respond well to is watching me draw and drawing what I do. I had only ever done this on paper but with the tablet and the projector I knew it would be easier and better for everyone to follow along. I use something called "Follow My Sketch" where I draw using the big screen and the students follow along either by completely copying me or using what I was doing as a guide. Some of the students drew in their free time and a few didn't so I wanted to make sure that even the students with the most basic of skills would be able to keep up.

We started with chibis because it put focus on coloring and eyes. I used Princess Sally as my model and I think that was so cool because no one could tell me boo! And no one knew who she was >_> BUT my inner 15 year old was pretty excited. I didn't get to finish the drawings but I think it's really cool to show the progress! Here are some examples of original and more copied work from what I showed the students. You can see how some used what I gave them and did their own thing completely and how some copied me for the most part. I snagged these in the process stages and they kept their final pieces! I'm so sad I wasn't able to grab the finished pieces T-T

The classes are three hours long and I take an hour to set everything up before hand. I liked being in the middle of a drawing every time the students came in so they could see what we were focusing on that day. One of my favorite moments was when the students would come in they would immediately stop talking to watch me work. Once I stopped they would all ask me what we were working on that day. IT WAS VERY NICE ;-; I've always been tied to what others wanted me to teach, and have to teach things like the software and spend a lot of time on that, but I didn't have to do that this time around! 

The next "Follow My Sketch" was more around an anime character. I had to pick Serena because she's the main reason I started drawing! I made my own original characters and fanart of Sailor Moon when I was 12 and it really was how I started this all. Again, it felt good to use her as a model and not have anyone say anything~ We focused on anatomy and coloring with this one and the students LOVED it! Again, I was only able to snag process pictures and not the finished pieces, so I can at least show those:

The final day was a skill I really wanted them to walk away with. We had gone over sketching, inking, coloring, anatomy, poses, and a few other basics, but I really wanted them to remember this one. Sometimes drawing with a tablet is tedious and you can't really get the feel you need from a drawing done completely on the computer. I've always preferred sketching off the computer and then coloring, editing and putting the finishing touches on the piece on the computer with Photoshop and Paint Tool Sai. I asked them to bring in a drawing they wanted to color and edit on the computer and they really loved that. 

Along the way, I taught them about things that I worried about growing up. What does it mean to copy someone's artwork? What is your responsibility with that? Should you credit an artist and re post their work? I taught them about listening to music while they draw and how important it was to take a sketchbook with them wherever they went. I taught them about Copic markers and Speedpaints and how useful they are to watch. I didn't want to follow a manual with my class. As long as it was appropriate to share, I told them about it. I exposed them to my favorite artists and my own techniques they can use themselves. 

The last hour of every class I let them do what they wanted. They could draw on the computer or in their sketchbook. A lot of them chose to finish the drawings we started in class which gave me so much pride! I was also really happy to find that none of them had tried listening to music while they drew and got to do it in my class. A lot of them said they couldn't go back! 

This class was everything I didn't know I wanted to do. I LOVED teaching what I am passionate about. I don't think I could teach this as part of a curriculum during the day, but I think it is a wonderful hobby to learn and have as a creative individual. I feel very fortunate that I got to share what I know with students that were interested and passionate about drawing as well. I'm also very happy to be able to share this experience on my blog! I am going to continue giving classes during the year so I'll be able to continue to do this for, hopefully, a while.