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Lifestyle

April 11, 2013

COMICS: Manga magazine offers girls tools of the trade

TOKYO — One of Japan's largest comics publishers hopes to spur a new generation of female artists by giving them the tools of the trade.

The March issue of Nakayoshi — a girls' magazine devoted to manga, or Japanese comics — contains a special supplement including a tool kit and instruction guide to drawing like a professional artist.

The issue containing the "Super Saikyo Manga-ka Set" (The Ultimate Manga Artist's Kit) is almost sold out, according to publisher Kodansha.

After the issue went on sale in February, the supplement turned into a hot topic on Twitter. Even professional manga artists joined the discussion.

"It's so cool! If you closely follow the instruction guide that comes with the toolkit, your drawing skills will definitely improve," tweeted Keiko Nishi, a manga artist best known for "Koi to Gunkan" (Love and Warships).

Lily Hoshino, creator of "Otome Yokai Zakuro" (Maiden Spirit Zakuro) and various romantic works, also took to Twitter to praise Nakayoshi's kit: "This [supplement] is a fun toy for even a professional manga artist."

The supplement includes sheets of drawing paper and screen tone sheets, which can give manga a highly professional look. It also has templates to help beginners draw human faces and animals more easily.

Nakayoshi's kit also has a tracing tool to draw professional-quality illustrations and a guidebook with tips on topics such as marketing works to publishers.

The March issue also announced an illustration contest for drawings using the kit provided in the supplement. Winners will be chosen in four genres — romance, sensational, comedy and suspense — with beginner, intermediate and advanced levels to encourage more entries.

According to the Nakayoshi editorial department, the supplement was a joint project by the department's supplement team, which is responsible for planning and production, and the new manga artist award team, which finds new talent.

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