As part of my quest to develop artistic skills, I invested in a copy of The Complete Book of Drawing Manga by Peter Gray. (This explains the slightly Manga-esque nature of my recent self-portrait, in case you were curious. I must confess that I have not really read much Manga but it is quite an appealing style to emulate, with bold colours and a distinctive appearance.
The book is really good and talks through the basics for drawing Manga with step-by-step instructions for drawing faces, figures and animals etc. What's really helpful is that it shows you how to build up the guide lines before adding the outlines and finally some colour. The layers in ArtStudio are particularly good for this. At first, I thought it would be limiting only having six layers but it's really easy to duplicate and merge layers, allowing you to build work up in stages and then flatten it and move on if you need more layers. I've found that four layers works really well for my style: a background layer, one for sketching guides, one for block colouring and one on top for outlines. It's then possible to insert an extra layer between block colours and the outline layer to safely experiment with highlights and shadows.
Although I have had an attempt at drawing people, and I have a few ideas in this area, I thought one fun thing to do (as much for the sake of having a focus as much as anything else) would be do make some manga-style characters from The Cabbages of Doom. To this end, I decided to do the cat tutorial from the book. As with the ArtStudio cat tutorial, I modified it a bit to be like our cat, Mia (above) and then repeated it as a bit more solidly-built tabby to be more like Arthur (left). There's definitely room for improvement but I'm fairly happy with the results as a first effort.
They look quite happy too.