Barnes & Noble.com – 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.Â 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.Â There may be more to it than that, that’s just what I got from checking it out in the store.Â Still, fire carp.Â 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 whichÂ has been repeated about 10,000 times in subsequent books about drawing figures in comic art and other such illustration.