MANGA SENPAI  How to design gestures of characters | How to make manga by Japanese manga-ka
October 20, 2019
Manga Senpai has come. Spring has come. Do you know Japanese Kafunsho? Most of Japanese people experience hay fever in this season. In Japan especially around Tokyo, pollen counts really high. Japan becomes Pollen Island now. It really bothers us. I want to explain a bit… In Japan so many pine trees as a result of tree planting. And their enormous amount of pollens flow into Tokyo city in spring. And Japanese people breathe in the pollens. When the amount pollens hit the limits of a person can breathe in them, it causes allergic sneezing and many other annoying symptoms. So Manga Senpai took a drug to control the symptoms. So I’m bit high. -You mean you took a medicine. In previous episode, I talked about how to draw dynamic poses. To draw dynamic poses, You need to be able to find the gravity point of standing human figure and be able to draw it. You need to be able to draw the human figure standing naturally. That’s what we did previously. Why do we need to know that? Without the idea of the gravity point and the balance of human figure, you can’t show the idea of movement effectively. So drawing dynamic poses is the next step of the standing figure. Today, I want to tell you how to draw dynamic poses… but before that, I’ve got a question related to the dynamic poses of characters. Please tell us the question, Yumoto. -“Do you have any advice for applying gesture in manga character design?” I got it. I got a picture. I understand your question. It’s brilliant that you focused on the gesture of characters. Many people focus only on characters’ face expression. But not on the gesture of hands and fingers, and legs and feet and so on. People can rarely pay attention to the expression of a body. So it’s great that you noticed that gesture is an important aspect. Very nice. It’s great that you have an idea of that you need to draw an attractive gesture. When there’s a frame like this, hands are out of the frame. But it’s very effective if you draw hands in a frame since hands are very expressive. So we can use hand gestures to express a character’s feeling. For example when you want to show a character is worrying, you can put its hand on its head. It’s good to have that idea. And today I’d like to tell you that I don’t research enough of characters’ gesture but anyway… I tell you that what I think when I draw gestures of characters. It’s a technique that I heard when I was young. Everybody, Youi ha iika… how do you say it in English? -Are you ready?
-Yeah! I wanted to say “Are you ready”. Good. Firstable, in Japan, there’s a concept called Otoko-gata and Onna-gata, used in Japanese traditional dance-drama, Kabuki. In Kabuki, male actors act female characters. When men acts women, When they do that they are required more womanish gesture than real women. They don’t seem like women. They seem just a man. We can say opposite. There’s a theater called Takarazuka Revue in Japan. It’ an all-female musical theater troupe. So women plays male characters. Like this, in Japan sometimes people acts characters with sex different from their own. So what the characteristics of gesture of male/female characters? There’s a basic rule:
open is man,
close is woman. Oh-oh. -Why is that? Do you know the rules? Well, you do. It might be a well-known tips. Anyway I tell you for folks who don’t know this. Basically, when you open the arms and legs inside to outside, the character seem more masculine. When a character sit like this, it seems masculine. When a character close the legs, it seems feminine. And… This is a phone. When a character takes a phone with opened arm, it seems masculine. And I heard this from a Kabuki actor who acts female characters said, when a character takes a phone with crossed arm like this, this gesture seems feminine. You can apply this idea to character drawing. When you draw female characters, you can draw knees bit inwards. It seems more feminine. Also the toes. It makes the character more like a woman. If you draw them outward, it seems mannish. You may always keep in mind the basic rule of open and close when you draw characters. If you want to draw cute feminine characters, you can draw their arms and legs inwards, and when you draw them outwards, they seem more masculine. -Sometimes we apply the closed gesture to male characters.
-Yeah. -When do we apply the rule to male characters? When you apply the closed gesture to male characters, you can do that when you want to feminine male characters. Like when he is androgynous. -Or when you want to show a shy character. This idea might be bit outdated because ideas like open is man and close is woman are based on the stereotypical view of sex. Today these gestures might be understood as one of characteristic of a person. So in today or tomorrow’s manga, this idea might be applied based on what kind of character you want to show, rather than sex of characters. If a character is theatrical,
-Theatrical… the character might use open gestures. If it’s shy or sensitive, it might use close gestures. That’s one of ways to show characters. Anyway keep the idea in your mind and present what kind of characters they are through their gestures. Anything else I can say about gestures…? I can say there’s angles that is more picturesque. Gestures like holding a paper. Gestures like reading books… Or cellphones… This is my smartphone. When you hold them naturally, it’s not really picturesque. You see? This mediocre spaces between fingers… When you draw mediocre gesture your drawing might be also mediocre. So you need to find more picturesque gesture like this. It’s bit more picturesque. I believe there’s some picturesque gesture of holding a smartphone. Though they are not really suitable way to use a smartphone actually. Anyway there’s more picturesque poses than realistic poses. Let’s find it. Many manga artists are drawing this kind of poses. Check them out and you’ll find out that how well they design poses. They should be designed well and drawn from good angles. They shouldn’t be just a copy of realistic poses. Based on realistic poses, design picturesque poses. That’s a important point. Plus… I believe fingers of characters… Rather bend them in mediocre angles… Just bend it backward a bit. Basically these curves are more beautiful. Like you draw a character pointing something with a finder. In real, maybe people point something like this. But it’s not picturesque. So make it stretched and show this curve. It becomes more picturesque. Do you know that President Trump extends his index finger in his poster? By photo editing. Why? Because it’s picturesque. It’s just a slight change. It’s interesting that he sticks to it. Something like that. It’s important how you direct your drawing, your manga. It was bit international isn’t it? That’s it for today! Bye-Bye, see you next time! There’s a subscribe button at the lower right corner. Please push. -What is that movement…
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