When I tell people I have a manga book out and a Barbie comic book coming out, the response is usually the same, “Oh, so you draw!”
To which I have to explain with embarrassment, “No, I don’t.”
This is usually followed by confusion, but I’m not in a rare situation. Many times when there are books that involve pictures, one person writes and another person draws. That’s true when it comes to manga and comic books.
Here’s how it worked: I sent in a proposal of all the chapters of the book. Because it’s a how-to-draw book, I have it start with basics. Readers learn how to draw eyes, faces and bodies first. Then I move onto common manga character types, like ninja or butlers. I wrote out the book so that it would be very detailed, showing twelve or so steps for each character. This came out of my frustration with other how-to-draw books showing only three or so steps.
Melanie Westin, the artist I worked with, drew to match what I’d written. We’d talk on the phone maybe once a week and email back and forth with the drawings. After Melanie sent me her drawings, I added more writing, detailing each step as I saw Melanie draw them.
Then I wrote a script for it. Comic book scripts general go something like this: You number the page and the panel, then give people lines and describe the action. For instance, you say, “Page 1, Panel 1.” Then you said “BARBIE:...” (or whomever) and put in what she’s saying. Then you give a description of what’s happening in the panel. Next, you would say, “Panel 2" and continue. Page 2 will start with, “Page 2, Panel 1.”
With the manga book, I worked closely with the artist. With Barbie, Papercutz chose the artist they wanted and the editor has been the go-between for the artist and me. I’ve seen some of the panels, and they look beautiful! Barbie: Puppy Party will be released in September.