Sometimes I like to pretend I can draw. The fantasy usually ends after I've put down about four lines on a piece of paper. I crumple it up, discouraged at my lack of talent. Christopher Hart, on the other hand, is probably one of those people who sits down and starts moving his pencil around really fast, and then voilà! There's a portrait of a gorgeous manga guy with soft eyes and windblown hair and excellent style.
But we forgive Hart for that, because he's written a book to show us how to do it, too. Manga for the Beginner Shoujo (Watson Guptill) is a guide to drawing shoujo manga -- where the teenage characters of the genre are sparkling and shiny. Think goth girls, cat majorettes, shy fairies and evil fighter girls. And don't get me started on the perfect guys. The book breaks down each type of face and body, step by step, so that you can create your own characters. (There's even a section on "pretty hair" that I kind of want to use as a real-life beauty guide.)
If you're into shoujo manga and want to take the next step by creating it, you totally need this book.