Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

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Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby Sammy Boy » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:56 am

I came across an artist named Mark Crilley who has some fantastic work. He also has a bunch of tutorials on YouTube.

I think anyone wanting to learn how to draw (even if it's not in the manga style) can certainly benefit from checking out his stuff.

http://markcrilley.deviantart.com/gallery/
http://www.youtube.com/user/markcrilley?feature=watch
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby Kotoni-Sukina » Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:17 pm

I love Mark Crilley's stuff! I'm glad someone else views his work the same way :)
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby Ante Bellum » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:06 am

Crilley's not unskilled. His realism videos show that much. Even his cartoon drawings have nice lines and tones (at the very least, they aren't unpleasant to look at). However, he seems to make the mistake of trying to force a "manga" style, which is something I see a lot of people do. It's not necessarily bad if a child emulates comics when they first start out, but it's no substitute for proper instruction. A popular artist showing how to emulate a style can (explicitly or subtly) discourage impressionable beginners from improving important skills (anatomy, perspective, form, universal things like those) and finding their own style. "I don't need to learn anatomy because I'm drawing manga" is something I've heard way more often than I'd like. I skimmed through some of his videos and I think that's what he's doing - emulating a style - while skipping over proper understanding. Why did he draw X thing in Y way? Saying "well this is how it is when this happens" isn't enough, because it's not really enough to know how to adapt the idea. The major foundations of art are significantly more in-depth than these types of tutorials can teach. He seems agreeable enough, and he's certainly no Christopher Hart, but I also don't think he's a good teacher. Actually, any "how to draw manga" media is really bad for learning how to draw, so it's not just him. Building up technical skill should remain separate from stylization, and learning the rules must come before breaking them. And really, manga and comic are fundamentally the same thing. It's not like a certain style is going to change that.
As for Crilley's "manga" style? Bland, bland, bland as mayonnaise on white bread. What makes it stand out? There are no distinguishing features. Not even something so unique as to be immediately associated with him, but enough to make it look like he has a personal style in the first place? It's just generic, and that makes it feel lifeless. There's also that all-too-common error of letting a character's eye escape their face that's shown up quite a few times. It's a shame, really, because I do think he has potential as a comic artist. He's experimented and emulated many different styles, so the "manga" thing is more restrictive than anything.
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby Thunderscream872 » Sat Sep 20, 2014 7:40 pm

Ante Bellum wrote: It's not necessarily bad if a child emulates comics when they first start out, but it's no substitute for proper instruction. A popular artist showing how to emulate a style can (explicitly or subtly) discourage impressionable beginners from improving important skills (anatomy, perspective, form, universal things like those) and finding their own style. "I don't need to learn anatomy because I'm drawing manga" is something I've heard way more often than I'd like. I skimmed through some of his videos and I think that's what he's doing - emulating a style - while skipping over proper understanding. Why did he draw X thing in Y way? Saying "well this is how it is when this happens" isn't enough, because it's not really enough to know how to adapt the idea. The major foundations of art are significantly more in-depth than these types of tutorials can teach.


I'm guessing you're not an avid watcher of his videos? I'm not either, but I used to be, and for better or worse, he was the one inspired me to start taking drawing more seriously. Throughout his videos he does emphasize the importance of learning the basics of anatomy and how to draw realistically before exploring the manga style. No, he doesn't mention it in every video, but he has stressed the importance of it.

Personally, I don't see how being in the spotlight puts him under any obligation to teach people the basics or help them build a foundation. They're fully capable of researching that for themselves.

Ante Bellum wrote:He seems agreeable enough, and he's certainly no Christopher Hart, but I also don't think he's a good teacher. Actually, any "how to draw manga" media is really bad for learning how to draw, so it's not just him. Building up technical skill should remain separate from stylization, and learning the rules must come before breaking them. And really, manga and comic are fundamentally the same thing. It's not like a certain style is going to change that.


I think what people like Mark Crilley do is very positive. Whether he is actually a good art teacher or not is irrelevant, imo. His videos inspire people to pursue drawing, whether its in the manga style or not. I think his videos provide a gateway for people who will eventually take it more seriously, but don't want to waste time on the "boring stuff". Eventually the serious ones will mature to a point where they realize they have to build more of a foundation, and even if some don't, so what--they probably wouldn't have learned anything at all if weren't for YouTube tutorials.

Ante Bellum wrote:As for Crilley's "manga" style? Bland, bland, bland as mayonnaise on white bread. What makes it stand out? There are no distinguishing features. Not even something so unique as to be immediately associated with him, but enough to make it look like he has a personal style in the first place? It's just generic, and that makes it feel lifeless. There's also that all-too-common error of letting a character's eye escape their face that's shown up quite a few times. It's a shame, really, because I do think he has potential as a comic artist. He's experimented and emulated many different styles, so the "manga" thing is more restrictive than anything.


Harsh, dude, :lol: but I do agree with you here. Crilley seems to try to hard to stay "true" to a manga style to the point where I don't think he's being original anymore. Whatever floats your boat, art is subjective, but I would like to see him do something more original instead of just mimicking manga and Disney styles (heck, at least try to combine the two just for fun). But, I'm sure he makes part of his living from his videos, so exploring too many different styles might not be a smart move on his part. Most of the people subbed to him want to see manga tutorials after all.
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby TsubasaKamen » Sat Sep 20, 2014 10:06 pm

I started learning in the Japanese style or manga after picking up one of Mark Crilley's How-To-Draw Manga Books entitled Mastering Manga With Mark Crilley. The past two years I have just did nothing on m spare time but draw each and every day. You can check out my artwork at the following link: http://tsubasasan11.deviantart.com/ (Just don't expect perfection, I'm only 2 years in to my drawing and am only a Hobbyist at the moment. :))
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby Xeno » Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:43 pm

Thunderscream872 wrote:Personally, I don't see how being in the spotlight puts him under any obligation to teach people the basics or help them build a foundation. They're fully capable of researching that for themselves.


How about him being in the spotlight, and "teaching" people to draw is exactly what puts him under the obligation. It's like someone teaching you how to build a car by only showing you how to bolt the doors on a 2004 Chevy Malibu.

I think what people like Mark Crilley do is very positive. Whether he is actually a good art teacher or not is irrelevant, imo. His videos inspire people to pursue drawing, whether its in the manga style or not. I think his videos provide a gateway for people who will eventually take it more seriously, but don't want to waste time on the "boring stuff". Eventually the serious ones will mature to a point where they realize they have to build more of a foundation, and even if some don't, so what--they probably wouldn't have learned anything at all if weren't for YouTube tutorials.


What is the point of teaching people how to do something without teaching them the basic concepts behind what they're doing? And the ability of the teacher is very important. You wouldn't let someone who flunked architecture design your next high rise, would you?

The, so called, "boring stuff" is what everything in illustration relies on. You can't be a good illustrator and not understand the fundamental concepts. Can people go elsewhere to learn how the basics? Yes, but they're already "here", so let's teach them here. And who is this guy, Steve Jobs? Good, not generic, instruction and demonstration is what inspires people to achieve on their own. Instruction is, fundamentally, about giving other people the tools and knowledge to do something on their own, if an instructor can only teach how to do a very specific thing, that person is not a good instructor.
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby Ante Bellum » Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:51 am

I'm not an avid watcher of his videos because, well, I'm sure you can figure out why. He's not obligated to teach anything. Not foundations, not half baked generic manga ripoffs. His videos are popular (and that's key, because he's got a lot of exposure and a lot of influence; at the same time, YouTube monetization isn't terribly lucrative and I doubt he gets more than a bit of supplementary income from it) with impressionable beginners who want to jump straight to drawing without building foundations. Shading spheres is boring, and there are no spheres in manga people anyway, right? Even if Crilley says that anatomy, etc. is a must, it doesn't mean they're going to listen. What's there even to learn from these videos? It's just regurgitation. Copying someone who is already copying. Maybe a child is too immature to care for anything besides becoming the next big manga artist and moving to Japan, but it's harder to unlearn bad habits than to start out properly. Regardless of his emphasis on proper basics, his videos negatively influence fledgling artists who watch them. If you're older than, say, fifteen and you rely on Crilley's videos, you need to stop. Even then, I feel like I'm being generous.
Really, that's where he and other how to draw media fail. They're not teaching anything but bad habits and that breasts are made of muscle.
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby Sammy Boy » Sun Sep 21, 2014 4:54 am

Ante Bellum wrote:If you're older than, say, fifteen and you rely on Crilley's videos, you need to stop.


I disagree. For myself, when I watch his videos, I tend to draw something similar to what he's shown the first time, and then use that knowledge to think about how I'll be able to apply in other drawings.

For example, his videos on:

- 1, 2, and 3 point perspectives
- cross-hatching technique
- shading three ways
- illustration process (pencils, inks, and colours)

were ones I've found pretty helpful.

While I don't disagree that fundamentals are a must, I have found that his how-to-draw videos and 'mastering manga' books generally more helpful than other similar types of books I've come across, and don't find them to have handicapped me or led me down the "wrong" path.

It is because of watching his videos that I came to realise he must have studied some art fundamentals, and this made me pay more attention to those so-called "boring" aspects of learning art and spend more of my spare time practising those areas, because I want to be better and approach his level of skill. So his "how to draw" stuff has actually helped me appreciate the basics of line work, shading, perspectives, etc.
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby Thunderscream872 » Sun Sep 21, 2014 5:41 am

I think you guys are kind of misinterpreting what I’m saying. I never said Mark Crilley was a great instructor, or should be a professional art teacher. What I said what that his videos provide a gateway for people to one day take art more seriously.

Xeno wrote:How about him being in the spotlight, and "teaching" people to draw is exactly what puts him under the obligation. It's like someone teaching you how to build a car by only showing you how to bolt the doors on a 2004 Chevy Malibu.


If someone made a video entitled “How to Bolt Doors on a 2004 Chevy Malibu”, then they’re only under obligation to show the viewer how to bolt doors on a 2004 Chevy Malibu. Now if they called the video “How to Build a Car” and all they showed the viewer was how to bolt a door, then that’s a different story. "Manga" is in the title of most of his videos for a reason.

Xeno wrote:The, so called, "boring stuff" is what everything in illustration relies on. You can't be a good illustrator and not understand the fundamental concepts. Can people go elsewhere to learn how the basics? Yes, but they're already "here", so let's teach them here. And who is this guy, Steve Jobs? Good, not generic, instruction and demonstration is what inspires people to achieve on their own. Instruction is, fundamentally, about giving other people the tools and knowledge to do something on their own, if an instructor can only teach how to do a very specific thing, that person is not a good instructor.


Yes, you’re right, fundamental concepts are important, and it would be nice if he made some more videos explaining them. Think about this though, I’m gonna guess most of his audience is between the ages of 5-14, they’re probably manga/anime fans, and that’s what they want to draw. They don’t care about the basics. If he opened a video by slamming an anatomy book down and saying, “Hey, kids I know you wanna learn about manga, but forget that, I’m teaching you about hamstrings today, cause you need a foundation” I guarantee you 90% of them would click the little “Back” button and go find someone who would show them how to draw manga eyes, or whatever else they’re looking for.

Ante Bellum, your position seems to be that if he’s not gonna teach the basics then he should stop making videos? Kids/beginners often don’t care about the basics. If Crilley was making videos about realism and anatomy, I guarantee you he wouldn’t have even a fourth of the audience he has, and those kids would find someone else to teach them manga; and if there was no one else on YouTube, they would try to draw Edward Elric or the characters from Frozen on their own. They wouldn’t try to learn the basics.

Let me make myself clear, I'm not saying that his big audience legitimizes him. What I'm saying is that these kids probably wouldn't even be trying to draw at all if it weren't for people like him.

Ante Bellum wrote:Even if Crilley says that anatomy, etc. is a must, it doesn't mean they're going to listen.


You proved my point right there.

I’m not saying these are good drawing habits, but one day these kids might realize they need more of a foundation, and go take a drawing class or whatever. The majority of kids aren’t inspired to draw by reality (if they are, that’s great, and they’re probably better off for it), most of them see animation, comics, manga, etc. and that’s what they want to do. If you try to force them to learn the basics it will probably just discourage them.

Sammy Boy wrote:It is because of watching his videos that I came to realise he must have studied some art fundamentals, and this made me pay more attention to those so-called "boring" aspects of learning art and spend more of my spare time practising those areas, because I want to be better and approach his level of skill. So his "how to draw" stuff has actually helped me appreciate the basics of line work, shading, perspectives, etc.


Same here, man. :thumb:
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby nillapoet » Sun Sep 21, 2014 11:28 am

I like his videos. His books are way more in depth. He really stresses learning correct technique and proportions. I've also found his books are some of the easiest drawing books to follow and get the basics down.
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby Ante Bellum » Tue Sep 23, 2014 4:52 pm

Sammy Boy wrote:- 1, 2, and 3 point perspectives
- cross-hatching technique
- shading three ways
- illustration process (pencils, inks, and colours)


Last three are techniques. It doesn't matter if you know how to shade or color if you don't know how to apply it. Color theory, value, and form are basics that make those techniques - be it crosshatching or soft shading, colored pencil or digital - look believable. You can drop all sorts of shading in a picture, but if that shading makes no sense, then it won't look good. Unfortunately, his more "interesting" videos don't teach that. They create a false sense of simplicity that contrasts with actual training. It's not good to teach somebody that art is just pick up and go.

That's a pretty wide age range for...any YouTube series, really. How many five year old kids know what manga is, much less seek out how to draw videos? More realistically, that lower age range might be around nine.
Have you ever browsed the newest section of Deviantart? Kids copy drawings out of books or screencaps all the time. You don't need to teach them to emulate when they're naturally inclined to do it anyway. They're going to draw whether how to draw media is around or not.
Crilley COULD use his videos much more. He doesn't have to drill drill drill, but he barely covers the fundamentals. Guidelines dropped in seemingly arbitrarily, perspective scaling how?, body proportions? A lot of this could be covered quite naturally in a standard how to draw video, or even as a small aside. That's one of the many, many reasons I never liked Chris Hart's books (which could take up a whole thread on its own), even during my incredibly short "I wanna draw comics" phase back in seventh grade. There's no real lesson, just a series of steps to follow.
Anyway, I had a pretty lengthy discussion about this earlier, but it's up to the others if they're going to post here or not.
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby Exlon » Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:30 pm

I actually have his first Mastering Manga book and quite enjoy it. I've only done a few drawings as a result of his instructions, but most of them turned out way better than they would have otherwise. A lot of it really is practice. I was always the girl worst at art class growing up, and couldn't draw to save my life. Stick figures? Okay, but nothing beyond that.

I for one would really like more detailed instructions on drawing people at different angles and such, like drawing a character with their head bent down, but you're facing them from the front.

Here are a couple of ones I've done. (I haven't posted pictures like this in forever, so if the link doesn't work I'll try again.)

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No, they're not perfect, but I was still pretty happy with them considering my 0 level experience.
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby Furen » Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:20 pm

Woah... I've never been that fantastic. I've only said okay, this is decent to like... one thing I've drawn ever, and these are better for sure :)
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby mechana2015 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:29 am

Exlon wrote:
I for one would really like more detailed instructions on drawing people at different angles and such, like drawing a character with their head bent down, but you're facing them from the front.


This sentence sums up the crux of my concerns about these tutorials nicely, and why they are less valuable in the long run than actual purposeful teaching.
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby Exlon » Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:21 am

I feel like maybe angles feel so natural to him and not that hard to figure out once he gives an example from one angle, I was actually thinking of sending a message to him requesting that he give lessons on angles and such, since that's what I struggle with most. The rest can take practice, but I just can't figure out angles and postures on my own.
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby mechana2015 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:33 pm

That makes him a poor teacher then. Anybody who teaches anything knows to not assume that their students understand basics. He did a 'different angles' video and it, from my perspective, even as someone who draws regularly, was useless. His measuring lines for proportions were incomplete, as when he goes to 3/4 view he just slaps the eyes on with no explanation as to why he's placing them where he is, or really what's going on at all.
http://youtu.be/UGCiQySjIp4
Video for reference.

For comparison Heres a quick video talking about the Andew Loomis technique for drawing a head.
http://youtu.be/1EPNYWeEf1U
It's not in 'anime style' per se BUT it does teach something important that Creilley just plain ignores. The head is a three dimensional structure with specific form and proportion relative to itself, and that if you know the relative proportions you can really do quite a lot with the angles with a notably small amount of extra effort. That centerlineon the front plane of the face Creilly NEVER seems to draw? One of the most important structure lines on the face, manga or not, and one of the keys to keeping proportions consistent.
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Re: Mark Crilley's manga tutorials

Postby Exlon » Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:02 pm

Thanks for the link! I'll look it up sometime.
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