Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Manga eyes are famous for their large size and multiple reflective shines, which give them a super-polished, reflective look. What is not so well known are some of the subtle touches that give them that look of extraordinary luster. Today, we'll talk about the reflective shines, and how to draw them to maximize this effect.
What do you need to show a brilliant shine? The answer may surprise you: Darkness. Without a dark area, a shine won't "pop." You need contrast to draw manga eyes. Whenever you draw manga eyes,  try to envision the shines glimmering in a pool of shadow. I just gave a critique of a very good drawing by a young artist on the Deviantart website. The eyes were well drawn, and the colors were appealing. But the shines in the eyes did not have impact, because there was no shading to indicate a shadowed area. I suggested that she darken the top half of the eyes only. She liked the suggestion. I hope I get to see a revision; it was a good image, worth a little extra effort.

Is this a tiny change, which really won't amount to much? Hardly. And you'll be able to see a visual example ox exactly what I mean by following the link at the bottom of this post.

The question is: Why darken just the the top portion of the eye, and not the entire eye, or the bottom? It's due to the direction of the light source. The most common type of lighting is overhead lighting, which is the type that emanates from indoor lighting fixtures, sunlight and moonlight. As the light, shines down, htting the top of the head, and all of the features that protrude cast a small shadow on the face. The nose is one such protrusion, but so are the upper eyelids. The, too catch the light, and as a result, a small cast shadow falls on the top half of the eyeball itself. Because this is the darkest area of the eye, adding as shine stands out particularly well.

Give it a try, and write to me and let me know how it works for you. You can see my free tutorial on drawing manga eyes on Deviantart. Here’s the link:

I hope you'll bookmark this page, and stop by for more tips and hints.

Your Art Colleague,

Chris Hart

Friday, May 18, 2012


Have you ever had a time when you couldn't come up with a good drawing? You try and try, but - nothing? Everyone has times like that. Many people recommend taking your mind off of your work by taking a break from drawing. They tell us to go for a walk along the beach, or go to a movie, or something along those lines. Sounds right to me.

But unfortunately, it doesn't usually work.  In fact, I've met very few frustrated cartoonists wandering along the shore. Pros don't often approach creative frustration by taking a break.

A brief disclaimer before I go on:  None of what I say is meant to be interpreted as an ironclad "rule." Whichever way that works for you is the best way. That said, if you are experiencing sticking points, and are looking for a way to effectively deal with them, then you might want to consider the following:

Professional artists have deadlines. Those a great motivators. But you may not have a deadline. So what, exactly, can you do to kick start your creative juices?

Start by redefining what your imagination is. It's a tool, to be used, not a sentient being, which must be allowed to wander at its own pace and in any  direction.  Press harder on your imagination to produce results. Turn it into just another element of drawing, like visual memory, reworking, and polishing. Imagining is nothing more than a technique to be applied to a problem.

I have immense respect for the imagination. How it works remains, to me, somewhat magical and mysterious. And yet, it seems to respond better if it's not treated as something unknowable, but something workable instead.

Many people believe that the imagination either flows or it doesn't. Were that true, you could never count on your own talent. It might be there, it might not be, depending on the flow.  No one can afford to work with such a capricious muse. You need to undertake a personal journey to find inroads into your own creative thinking, and devise a familiar and workable approach to taming and manipulating your own creative thought process.

Push if it doesn't flow. If the flow is absent, don't accept this as your imagination taking a vacation. Call it back to work. Think in a new and stimulating direction to reinvigorate it. Yes, by all means, allow your imagination to wander, but continue to remain at the helm, redirecting it when it attempts to veer off course - which it will. Sprinkle in fresh thoughts, which might begin with, "What if I did this..."

Directed daydreaming produces creative results.

Just some pencil shavings for thought.

I hope that was helpful!


Saturday, May 12, 2012


I'm thinking about adding new, free tutorials to my website, or doing some Youtube demos on cartooning techniques. I envision them at 5-7 minutes each. My recent Howcast videos, which are on Youtbe,  are only 2-3 minutes, and I think there's room for longer versions with less talk, and more drawing.

The free tutorials would feature more steps. The ones we have are cool, but I believe that some people would also like to see more steps and art instruction.

What would you like to see?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Thanks, once again, to all of you who stop by to see what's going on, and to all who also send emails for recommendations, or simply, to get a little advice and encouragement.

My new book, "BASIC DRAWING MADE AMAZINGLY EASY" gives you the art background you may never had time to acquire. In a clear, accessible and gradual manner, the material covers contour, shading, perspective (yes, perspective without the struggle!), symmetry and more. The subjects range from cars and motorcycles to boats and yachts, houses, household objects, still life, and a section on heads and bodies. It's got lots of exercises throughout, so you can approach your drawings as projects.

I'd love to hear what you think of it. Thanks to those who have already purchased it, within the first week, it's risen to the number 25 book in the country in art. You guys are awesome. Thanks for inspiring me all along the way. This really is a two-way street.