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Silhouette (n.) A drawing consisting of the outline of something, especially a human profile, filled in with a solid color.


Comics is all about shortcuts.  When a manga-ka has to draw, ink, letter and tone a page a day, 7 pages a week, 28 pages a month, s/he has to come up with shortcuts -- like using silhouettes.
Character silhouettes like the one on the left are great for dramatic scenes, or mysterious scenes, or frightening scenes.


Exercise #1 - Black Cat
You can draw outlines, right? 
Tracing your hand onto a piece of paper is outlining.  Looking at a photo and carefully drawing a detailed outline is not that much harder. 
Try the photo to the right -- just outline the shape of the cat, drawing in the eyes, ears and feet with a few simple lines.  Even though you can't see the feet clearly, try to draw them in.


Now, look more closely.  Do you see any light on the cat?  Can you outline the shape of the light?  Or, if you don't see any light, can you decide which areas stick out, and would catch the light?  Perhaps ears, cheek, back and feet would catch the light.  Outline them. These are the areas you will leave white on the final drawing.
Now color in the cat black, leaving those few areas white.
How does that look?  Even though this technique takes a little time, it takes much less time than drawing all of the animal's fur and features.  It is great to use for night scenes, crowd scenes, or in a landscape to outline trees, mountains or a city skyline.


Exercise #2 - Sitting Person
Here is another silhouette.  Try to draw a detailed outline of this person.
Since the light is coming from behind, you can draw in areas of light around the whole figure.  Use sharp spiky lines to show the folds in the jacket and pants; use straight smooth lines to show light on the skin.
Add details like shoelaces, sunglasses, and the bottom of one shoe, (shown below) in order to make this figure clearer.  Make sure it is easy to see which leg is in front of the other, and which arm is in front.


   Ganbatte Kudasai!  (Keep trying!)

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