Manga Assistant’s Dream Realized: The Princess of Tennis Review

Manga Assistant’s Dream Realized: The Princess of Tennis Review

When I was 13, I wanted to be a manga creator. Between college and Japan, I forgot that dream. After reading Jamie Lynn Lano’s The Princess of Tennis, that 15-year-old dream cried out and I realized why: Lano never forgot her dream and became a manga assistant for Takeshi Konomi’s The Prince of Tennis, or TeniPuri by some fans.

Lano’s journey starts with already living in Japan for 4 years as an English teacher before applying to Konomi’s call for manga assistants. Throughout the book, Lano not only talks about how manga is made (it’s less technical than I thought) but also the ups and downs of being a 6-foot-1 foreign woman in Japan.

The Princess of Tennis is an easy and fun read. Lano keeps the tone light and friendly, and when she turns to darker themes–the invisible red tape for foreigners, real Japanese customs, and women’s 1950’s role in Japanese culture–Lano always remembers that this true story is a happy one, minus the tinted glasses.

While Lano makes her book accessible for all readers, The Princess of Tennis best fits otaku and aspiring manga creators and editors. She uses Japanese words and emoticons that anyone can find in a manga. For readers outside of the manga-reading audience, this book comes off as a borderline Young Adult novel or fanfiction, especially when the grammatical errors are considered. Because Lano’s voice and amiable nature is consistent, readers can forgive the missing words, incorrect punctuation marks, and passive sentences.

As with many books about Japan, The Princess of Tennis uses many Japanese words. Some might find it charming, but I believe that if a book is for the English-reading community, it should stay in English. I wouldn’t say, “Konomi Teacher”. Even “Mr. Konomi” is passable. Still, I’d just omit the word. In the West, using someone’s last name is also a sign of respect. Untranslated Japanese words with simple English meanings–“ohayo” (“Good morning”), “hajimemashite” (“Nice to meet you”), and “ganbare” (“Good luck” or “Do your best”)–are still in the book. I think I removed every romanized word with corrector ink just to polish the text.

Aside from the mistakes, The Princess of Tennis was entertaining and inspirational for me. Remember my dream of becoming a manga creator? Maybe my TeniPuri call is waiting for me to answer.

Manga, Comic Book, and Graphic Novel Courses for Aspiring Creators

mangacoursebaner

Manga, Comic Book, and Graphic Novel Courses for Aspiring Creators

Updated: January 23, 2018

Finding a course can be hard, especially if you’re not Japanese. Here’s a few places to find manga and sequential, or comic book, art courses around the world.

Free Courses and Resources

Limited or Fee-based Courses

  • U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Exchange Fellowships are federal grants for artists to exchange culture and experiences with Japanese counterparts. Deadline to apply is February 1, 2018. To learn more about the program, visit http://www.jusfc.gov/creative-artists-programs.

  • Manga University, known for their How to Draw Manga book series, offers a home study course ($39.99 or $49.99). There are no instructors, only PDFs and a lot of words, but the information is great for beginners and people who’ve never taken a high school art class. Check it out at http://www.howtodrawmanga.com/pages/home-study-course. I did purchase this home study course to see how it fared against other courses. I wrote about my experience with the Manga University here.
  • Similar to Manga University, Cotty Kilbanks (cartoonist/artist for Rocko’s Modern Life and Iron Man) on Craftsy has a home study manga course called Drawing Anime Style through HD videos for a set price. This course is for people who consider themselves intermediate level in 2D drawing. For more information, please click here.
  • Comics Experience, which is attached to Stan Lee’s ComiKaze, has several comic book courses–from script writing to penciling techniques–and all taught through the net. To find out more details, go to http://www.comicsexperience.com/courses.html.
  • CG Master Academy is a specialty online art academy that offers classes for character designs, digital painting, figure drawing, and perspective drawing. Classes are offered all four seasons, and the prices for each one is usually $699. If you plan on doing mostly digital art, this academy is suited for you. Go to http://2d.cgmasteracademy.com/ for more information.
  • The Experiment in International Living has a high school summer abroad program for Japanese arts. It’s a 1-month stay for high schoolers in Vermont, USA. For the program details and price tag, look up http://www.experimentinternational.org/programs/find-a-program/japan/japanimationanime-and-manga/overview/.
  • SAW-Teen-manga-courseSAW, or the Sequential Artists Workshop, is a Florida community of artists trying to improve their abilities through classes and workshops. They offer year-long art programs, weekly workshops, and online classes at random times of the year. To check their calendar, visit  http://sequentialartistsworkshop.org/wordpress/. On Saturdays from January 12th to February 16th, 2016, SAW will offer a Teen Comics and Manga Class at their location in Gainesville, Florida (SE 5th Ave at Main St, behind Citizen’s Co-op).
  • Mad About Manga! is a manga course run by Malcolm Matheson. This course costs $97 to participate. For more information, please go to http://madaboutmanga.com/.
  • For those online and interested in traditional comic book creations, check out the Comics Workbook (http://comicsworkbook.tumblr.com/about). Not only do they offer lessons on sequential art, but they have a magazine as well.
  • Katonah Art Center in New York offers classes in manga at a cheaper rate than community college prices (usually around $378 to $420 for 10 weeks). Find more information at http://www.katonahartcenter.com/classes/visual-arts/ .
  • Activity Hero offers San Francisco kids and teens art classes, including manga classes such as this Wednesday Cartooning and Manga Class for $325 (January 20th – March 16th, 2016). To enroll, check it out here.
  • Manga Class at Appel Farm is New Jersey-based art class offered through McArt à la Carte geared towards enjoyment and learning. Visit http://mcartshop.com/manga-class-appel-farm/ for more information.

University Courses Outside Japan

(English) Courses in Japan

Courses around the World

History of Manga Courses

If you’re looking for screentones, please try Screentones for Manga Artists Outside Japan page.