Every Monday, we give out a free brush set to SketchBook Pro users, and we’re following up last week’s very well-received Korean Storybook Art Brush Set with another exploration of an art style with Asian roots. This time around, we’re going with a manga inspired set of brushes for adding all kinds of dreamy and beautiful atmosphere to your drawings. We call it the Manga Stamps Brush Set.
This new brush set is based on a particular type of manga that has a lot of these kinds of effects: shoujo. Shoujo is basically “comics for girls.” It’s a particular style that’s aimed squarely at pre-teens who are in that awkward late-middle-school-aged time of figuring out just what kind of person they might be someday.
Typical shoujo art styles
In shoujo manga you’ll definitely see the big, expressive eyes that are a hallmark of manga generally. Shoujo girls will often have long, flowing hair. Shoujo manga is often exploring and celebrating the innocent beauty of girls and young love, so it’s not usually laced with overt sexual themes like some manga can be (e.g., hentai). The story lines and art style is more romantic. Think girls daydreaming with sparkles everywhere. Flowers are a very prominent motif in shoujo (especially cherry blossoms). Think Sailor Moon, first loves who need to be kissed, promises that need to be kept, and cute boys who need to be figured out.
Many shoujo manga comics are in black and white, owing to the fact that these comics can be pumped out quickly and cheaply. Without color, manga artists need additional elements to embellish their art, and these kinds of details can be really effective in black-and-white comics. But, of course, don’t limit yourself to black and white! Use these brushes for creating shoujo settings like illustrating love confessions or dramatic character reveals. These kinds of details are part of the larger world of manga iconography that runs very deep. Of course, you don’t have to be an expert in manga studies to create something beautiful. Grab the Manga Stamps Brush Set and simply start experimenting with your art. These elements will work in all kinds of situations, not just comic-based line art.
Some classics of the genre
If you’re looking for inspiration and guidance about shoujo, check out some of these important influencers in the shoujo manga genre:
Installing the brush sets
Being able to share and install these weekly free brush sets in the desktop app is one of the features for SketchBook subscribers. If you’re using the latest desktop version of SketchBook, simply double click on the .skbrushes file, and it will automatically install. Check out this article for all the details about brushes and legacy versions. If you haven’t tried the subscription, you can download a free trial and unlock Pro membership for 15 days (no credit card required).