Guest Post: Danica Davidson & Rena Saiya, Authors of Manga Art for Intermediates

Danica Davidson and Rena Saiya have released Manga Art for Intermediates: A Step by Step Guide to Creating Your Own Manga Drawings,  and they dropped by the offices to share some information about their backgrounds and their new book. Please welcome them.

Danica Davidson:

The first book I sold to a publisher was Manga Art for Beginners. It was because of my background in manga – covering it as a journalist, adapting it into English, and working in the editing process. I’ve reviewed a lot of manga, too, just like Julie here at Manga Maniac Café!

Since Manga Art for Beginners I’ve written a series of adventure chapter books for kids that take place as if Minecraft is real, and comics in the Barbie and Tales from the Crypt franchises (yes, I know – but I like to be different!). Now I’m back with a new book on manga, Manga Art for Intermediates.
Manga Art for Beginners aimed to make up for two issues I had with many how-to-draw manga books in America: (1), they tended to rush through the drawings, and (2), they tended to look more like a hybrid of manga and American comics instead of just manga. Like the previous book, Manga Art for Intermediates shows more steps on character drawing (an average of 15-30 steps, as opposed to the four-or-so steps in other how-to-draw books). It also is in the manga style of art. But in addition to the character drawing aspect, Manga Art for Intermediates has information in the beginning about how professional Japanese manga artists work: what pens they use, what paper they use, what software they use, what they do if they make a mistake. Much of this information, which I have not seen in other how-to-draw-manga books, comes from the knowledge of the book’s co-creator, Rena Saiya.

Rena Saiya:

I made the decision to expand abroad while living in Japan after several years of a career in the Japanese manga industry. I thought it would be interesting if I could publish my manga books through foreign publishers directly. I also have experience as a manga-creation teacher in both Japanese and English, and that was helpful when I co-created this book with her.


As for the content of the book, I tried to put basic techniques or information which would be most common among Japanese mangaka. I thought genuine information would be required for this book. As for drawing tools’ information, I chose ones which you could find in some internet shops. [*Danica’s note: It took some searching for me to find the pens Rena said mangaka used. You don’t find them in many stores in America, but it turns out they’re a quick find online!]

We tried to choose popular characters as much as possible and I intended to design a kind of typical type of each character. Therefore by learning the characters, you can put prototypes of them in your head. It becomes a kind of database and it would be helpful when you design your original characters.

Danica Davidson:

So the two of us worked back and forth, kind of like how we’re talking back and forth here. We would Skype at the evening my time, the morning her time, and then email back and forth to decide how best to bring this book about. I’m not aware of anything else quite like it in the American manga market, so I hope readers enjoy it and learn a lot!

You can purchase Manga Art for Beginners at your local bookstore, or by clicking this link. It is available in both paperback and digital formats.