Title: Chibi Art Class: A Complete Course in Drawing Chibi Cuties and Beasties
Publisher: Race Point Publishers
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Spiralbound
Genre: Art Book, Educational
Publication Date: March 16, 2019
Before I start this off, this is a bit of an embarrassing moment on my part. I was going through my files and came across all of my digital manga that I was provided for review. I came across a PDF for Chibi Art Class and wondered what it was. I searched The Outerhaven and realized I had not reviewed it. I actually tensed up because I never like missing out on something that was provided to me for review. What sank my heart, even more, was that I was given this book four years ago!
It must have gotten mixed up in my files and just tucked away in a corner somewhere without me realizing it. While I will make no excuses, I always like to come through on any promise to a company that I make… even if it is four years too late.
At least I’m trying to correct my error.
With that out of the way, let’s dig into this book!
As the title would suggest, this is an educational art book designed to teach you how to draw Chibi characters. The book is divided into five sections: Chibi Basics, Chibi Cuties, Chibi Beasties, Inspiration Gallery, and Practice and Coloring Pages.
Before we even get to those sections, the book prepares you well by providing you with, not only, a list of the tools you will need but helpful explanations as to WHY you need them. They even make brand recommendations to help take the guesswork out of getting the right tools into your hand! There are even suggestions based on what you’re doing such as outlining or coloring in black and white or color. They even talk about different techniques such as using markers, fine-liner pens, pencils, and even watercolors.
The first section explains how the bodies of Chibis work. They even accompany it with a body sketch that is segmented for different parts of the body such as the eyebrow, nose/eyes, chin, etc, so you can get the correct distance and spacing on your drawings. It’s not just a front view either as they have side view, ¾ turn view, and even some examples with basic poses such as sitting or waving hello.
Next, it goes into a multi-page detail on the eyes alone. Of course, anyone who knows anime and manga knows that the eyes are almost always given the most attention on a character. They can sometimes contain the most detail, too, which is why there is such a large section dedicated to them. Here, you will learn different styles, expressions, and even coloring techniques for the eyes! Very handy!
Hair and outfits follow and I will say this is where it falls a bit short. Yes, there are a TON of different ways you can do hair and clothing but the examples here are a little shallow. Before you judge the lack of variety, it does show you the basics such as wrinkles, folds, how to arch socks to match the feet, etc.
Lastly, it goes into coloring, highlights, shading, and backgrounds for your drawings. After all, your Chibi sometimes just needs to live in a world and that world could also contain props that are covered as well.
When all is said and done, you are given a few practice Chibis to try and draw on your own. It goes through each step from concept and sketches all the way to the finished product so you can follow along at your own pace.
With the basics out of the way, the next two sections (cuties and beasties) are very similar to each other. Each section provides a myriad of examples for you to try, each with step-by-step instructions to get you used to drawing either a cute-looking Chibi or a beast-like Chibi. Here, the book doesn’t really hold your hand per se. This is primarily like the final part of the first section where they are giving you practice Chibis but they do give you tips for drawing things such as more props or, in the beast cases, ears, tails, etc. So, there is some additional instruction there to help you round out the basics that you’ve already learned.
The Inspiration Gallery is exactly as it sounds. It is filled with props, clothing, eyes, and other pieces that you can try to add to your own Chibis. After all, artists do need inspiration sometimes and this section has a lot of variety in its content to help you out.
Lastly, the Practice section is very thin… only coming in at 5 total pages; however, by this point, you shouldn’t really need it since the cuties and beast sections were practice sections in and of themselves. It does encourage you to try your own so with everything said and done, you might as well take the plunge and put all of the lessons you learned into practice!
Overall, the meat of this book is really within the first section where it teaches you everything that you need to know about drawing Chibis. It explains things very well and in a comprehensive and easy-to-understand way. The remainder of the book is simply just built to put all of those lessons to use through practice and examples which is good because it allows you to see the different types of Chibis you can create with a wide variety to choose from.
Of course, no book will ever make you a perfect artist right out of the gate. Practicing over and over again is the only way to get there but if you are lost and needed some good information to start off with, this is a great book to pick up. Once you get the hang of the style and techniques here, you’ll feel encouraged to try other coloring and drawing techniques. As a base, though, this book should do you just fine!
Overall Rating: 4/5
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This item was provided for review by Race Point Publishers