Saturday, January 8, 2011

How to Draw Anime For Beginner, Le Trung

How to Draw Anime For Beginner by Le Trung is a basic drawing book that helps aspiring anime artists accumulate some basic skills which will help them achieve some skills. It is available at for Kindle and a physical soft cover copy.

I'm not sure I would recommend this book for the regular Kindle, since the images will be too small to be really helpful. The textual descriptions are somewhat spartan. The translator may have done well in translating the book, but it should have had a proofreader with some skill go over the text to correct for grammar, spelling, and other minor errors that plague the book. Amazon's rating system gives the book three out of five stars.

I cannot compare this book to others like it yet, since it is the first book on drawing anime that I have read. However, I can say that it has dramatically improved what was, before this book, a neglected style of art. Now, I can safely say that I can draw anime characters reasonably well. However, I find that my awareness of historical fashion would well aid my art in this respect.

Drawing of female figure with typical elements...Image via WikipediaLe Trung's art in the book is very simple. I don't know if this is the limit of his ability, or simply keeping things simple for the very beginner. It took me about three weeks to go through the book. At times, I felt that he used too many pages to get across some points, which may artificially elevate the price by increasing the number of pages in the book. To be quite frank, I don't think it's worth $20 for the hard copy, nor $10 for the ecopy. Perhaps it may be worth half the asking price.

I will be reviewing and studying from several more anime books in the coming months.The images following were composed by me over the three weeks it took me to go through the book.

Basic geometric shapes to start
This basic geometric exercise is something I see often enough in a variety of different drawing books. The point is, I think, to help me see things in three dimensions instead of two dimensions. Like a basic computer twenty years ago was only capable of very primitive 3D representation, so too is my ability limited.

This is not the first time I've done this exercise. In fact, I did quite a number of these when I first started taking sketching and art a bit seriously.
Basic Anime faces

This is the basic anime face: large eyes, tiny mouth and nose, and great big reflective ovals in the eyes. It took me several hours to start to get the basic oval shape of the face and still somewhat plagues me. However, this was the first anime head that I was somewhat pleased with.


Girl in Kimono

 Catgirls and elfgirls apparently are fairly common creatures within the anime canon. I was kind of pleased with this effort.

Finally, to the left, a girl in kimono. I think these are the ones I will take to most as my skills progress.

However much I love anime, I have to say that traditional watercolours of the Orient turn me on more. Simplicity, elegance, calming colour harmony, are all astonishingly beautiful.

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

At the Ghost Hour: The House of the Unbelieving Thomas, Paul Heyse

Portrait of Paul Johann Ludwig von HeysePaul Heyse portrait      WikipediaAlthough I am entirely unfamiliar with the writer, Paul Heyse, he is notable in Germany. He was the first German to receive the Nobel Prize for literature. He is also said to have been the most noteworthy since Goethe. (Wikipedia) This review concerns a haunted house tale, "At the Ghost Hour: The House of the Unbelieving Thomas" which is available at

The tale gives us a good picture of the two ghosts which seem to have all the foibles of regular people. They haunt a home, but the occupants are not really bothered by them.

The home, though, is known to be haunted and is therefore shunned by most people. That is, except for a man, Wenzel Kospoth, who kept the house. After hearing about a mother, Frau Cordula, and daughter, Gundula, being persecuted by their neighbours as witches, he had the cottage made available for a small fee.

It is, however, the neighbours and Christians who dabble in the dark arts. They are the ones who have the séances with ghosts and practice of the dark crafts. The witch, as they call her, merely uses herbs to help people, by which she was persecuted.

hearts and arrow
A young doctor happened to be outside of Ghost Lane when he fell and struck his head. His friend quickly brought him under the attention of Frau Cordula. Over a period of time, he is healed of his wound.

He tries to go back to his old life prior to the incident. However, he is somewhat in love with the girl, and out of love with the woman to whom he had previously been in love. It is at a séance that it is revealed that he has indeed fallen in love with the witch's daughter. Though he had tried to deny his feeling for her, this revelation proves to be too much. He no longer feels love for his former affection.

On his way to Ghost Lane, he discovers the house on fire. None of the neighbours lift a hand to help. He is forced to break in by himself to assist the mother and daughter out of the dire circumstance.

I find the irony to be the most intriguing in this story. It is the witch who uses simple medicinal herbs to assist the sick and the Christians who use the arts to purposes that might be construed as Satanic.

Although not well connected to the story, twice I found it quite funny when Heyse referred to the short length of Gundula's skirt and how one might see her ankles for it. Not exactly what I consider short, but it is found to possibly be objectionable. This is to point out how extreme this period might be considered in terms of Puritanism.

The story is a good novella, and well worth a few hours time.
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