Manga Matrix

Barnes & – Books: Manga Matrix, by Hiroyoshi Tsukamoto, Paperback

I caught this in the bookstore, checked it out, and it has to be the weirdest of the big pile of “how to draw [style of comic art]” books that I’ve seen.

The “matrix” in question is, at least partly, just the idea of creating a two-dimensional grid, and putting thingson either axis. Then each cell in the matrix is a possible combination of different things. So, like, if you select the square in the fire column, and the carp row, you draw a fire carp.  Seriously, that’s apparently the big secret.

There are a whole bunch of other levels on which the Matrix applies, like costuming and personality and the like, and the author rightly insists that this can all lead to an infinite number of possible character ideas.  There may be more to it than that, that’s just what I got from checking it out in the store.  Still, fire carp.  How can you go wrong with fire carp?

What makes the whole thing extra fun is that this was clearlynot written originally in English, and the translation from Japanese is, well, it’s not quite “all your base are belong to us — take off every zig,” but it gets close sometimes.

It’s way more interesting than the discussions of how to build up a character from stick figures, cylinders, spheres, and boxes which was laid out pretty completely back in 1984 in How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, and which  has been repeated about 10,000 times in subsequent books about drawing figures in comic art and other such illustration.

6 thoughts on “Manga Matrix”

  1. Damn, that’s weird. I dig the cover, though. Purty.

    “Someone set us up the Fire Carp!”

    “How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way” will always hold a special place in my heart. “For Great Justice!”

  2. I have this book, picked it up in chapters the other day. I agree with you about the way the book is written it could clearly use some more direction in it as it took me a while to figure out that the book is pretty much 5 pages of technique and 170 pages of examples of how this method is used.

    Your right though this big secret is rather simple to use, but its gets complex very fast if your trying to do something other then monsters and random creatures. For random creatures this method and a dart board is gold, but for a main character or a main monster something that will show up often in your comic or art it could take pages of charts to get what you want.

  3. Hey! I also own this book and I think it’s pretty good. I like the exemplars in it, especially the art for “Boundary Sky.”

  4. I loved this book. The system works really well for me.
    the art is really amazing, and the way that they explain personality is very helpful.
    And BTW, Fire Carp could totally kick all of your asses.

  5. Sounds like the consensus is that Manga Matrix rocks, fire carp and all. I concede. :)

  6. Hey I was looking at this book, is it worth getting? Or can you basically get the whole idea of what to do by the first seven pages :P If so I’ll just run over to the book store and read those seven pages instead of buying LOL

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