I wasn't kidding about the book I reviewed.
I haven't drawn anything but flies and odd looks in nearly twenty years. Even then, I was more given to painting monsters and landscapes in oils and acrylics than I was to drawing.
In a nutshell, Hart's Young Artists Draw Manga is so good, and the instructions so easy to follow, I was able to draw the li'l cutie below with only twenty minutes' practice -- with a no-frills sketch pad and one of those fifty-for-a-dollar plastic Papermate pencils. (You know -- the kind with the needle-thin stick of lead inside, the kind that always leaves crumbs of graphite on the page if you apply more than two grams of pressure.)
You won't see the drawing in the Louvre any time soon, but I'm kinda proud of her - especially as I shelved all forms of visual representation some time ago in order to pay closer attention to music, writing, and martial arts.
I'd like to see what I'm doing a year from now, with real equipment, and an hour or so of daily practice under my belt. The symmetry needs the most work, and I need to be less hesitant with the pencil-strokes, but I'll just betcha I'll be producing butterfly-winged princesses and cuddly li'l quasi-dinosaurs in no time.
Once again,folks: I'm 47, I haven't drawn anything since my twenties, and I was always much better at music and writing than ever I was at any manner of visual art. If I can pull this off in just a few minutes, imagine what an eager kid armed with a copy of Hart's book could do.
Perfect Christmas gift or birthday present, if you ask me.