If you’re just starting out on the path to your goal of becoming a manga artist, it can be hard to properly visualize how your characters’ head, limbs, and torso should be positioned for a specific pose. Practicing by sketching with a human model is a time-tested way to hone your understanding of how to draw human anatomy and clothing, but it still poses a problem.
See, most art classes don’t feature models for such manga staples as, say, a girl in a sailor suit firing a pistol. An alternative would be to hire a model on your own, but that’s beyond the budget of many artists who’re still in the amateur stage of their artistic endeavors.
But as long as you can scrape together about 2,000 yen (US$16.26), there’s a new website that will supply you with thousands of reference photos to help kick-start your manga dreams.
A few months ago, we took a look at a website that offered pre-drawn, ready-to-use manga backgrounds. Manga no Shiryo.net (“Manga Materials.net”) doesn’t go as far as doing the actual drawing for you, but it does offer extremely thorough packs of reference photos that you can use to create your own drawings with.
▼ Pleats as far as the eye can see.
Each of the site’s downloadable photo packs is priced at 1,980 yen (US$16.10), and of course the very first is of a woman in a school uniform, because there’s no other single outfit that’ll get as much mileage in manga creation.
The sailor suit package contains 1,652 pictures of model Ainya performing 43 different types of poses. In addition to waving, holding an umbrella, looking at her cell phone, and braiding her hair, Ainya also shows off more action-packed moves such as swinging a baseball bat, kicking, and popping off a shot with a revolver.
The Manga no Shiryo.net website has examples of artwork produced by tracing over the photos, although it goes without saying that serious artists will want to instead do their own line work while merely referring to the provided pictures.
▼ This short video shows off just a few of the poses in the sailor suit set.
If the schoolgirl outfit doesn’t hold any special allure to you, there’s also the Female Fundamental Poses pack, which has Ainya in non-schoolhouse attire performing 32 poses in 1,421 photographs.
But unless you’re planning to tell the thrilling story of a group of arctic explorers lost in a blizzard, you’re going to need something other than a plain white void behind your characters. Manga no Shiryo.net is once again ready to help with its Small-Town Shopping Arcade and Backstreets background pack.
This is just the beginning of what Manga no Shiryo.net has planned, too. In the near future, the company plans to release character model packs for women wearing suits, maid outfits, and winter clothing, plus a dedicated batch of reference photos for human hands. Upcoming backgrounds will include shrines and temples, coastlines, traditional Japanese homes, and neon-soaked cityscapes. Each one is likely to be priced at Manga no Shiryo.net’s standard 1,980 yen, and while that outlay might mean purchasing a few fewer volumes of the manga you love to read, it may end up being money well-spent if it helps you create a comic you’re proud to draw.