Review: Manga Studio 5 for Beginners


The fine folks over at Packt Publishing graced my desktop with the latest Manga Studio instructional book written by Michael Rhodes. The book is a whopping 400 pages long! But don’t let that deter you, it is an easy read and once you get rolling along, the time passes quickly.

I am a proponent of learning by doing, but sometimes you just can’t figure something out and that is where Michael’s book comes in. I say this, as I know many of us just dive into software thinking we can magically master it in a matter of minutes. You also know this is not true and that most complex software takes diligence and patience to learn. So it’s good to know that Michael’s book is smack-dab full of tons of “how-to” sections as he too knows you learn by doing. So that is a big bonus for me with his book. Written with plenty of “time for action” lessons, the book takes you step-by-step through lessons. It’s good to have some theory, but we’re here to also DO something and the book takes that into account.

The other thing to consider is that Manga Studio 5 is a total rewrite of the software. This wasn’t an upgrade; it was taking back to the drawing board and improving it. So, this makes a book like Michael’s even more valuable and informative.  I started using Manga Studio back in 2007 with Version 3. I STILL find new things and techniques on a monthly basis (or more sometimes). So, let’s get to the book itself.

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Click To View Full Size

Written for the absolute beginner, it takes you from installing the software properly (including getting those pesky extras installed) all the way through a majority of the basics you’ll need to master the essentials of Manga Studio. But, if you have been using Manga Studio for a while, there are still things you will discover as you go through the book. So, the book is worth the purchase price at some level. I even found a new way to create and organize my panels as I read Michael’s book, so a veteran like me can still be taught new tricks!

The book covers these essential topics: Formatting Your Stories, Roughing It (sketching), Putting Words in My Mouth (lettering and text tool), Pencil Mechanics (drawing), Ink Slingers (inking), Coloring the World (basic color theory), 3D Objects, and exporting your drawings. There’s plenty of well written instruction with a nice sense of humor tossed in to make it interesting. Michael knows certain aspects of Manga Studio 5 can be tedious (setting up a custom color palette for one) and keeps it interesting enough for us readers to slug our way through the process.

Overall the book is well written and even entertaining. For most of us, learning the basics for Manga Studio 5 is essential, especially since it is a whole new program now. You can buy either a digital version (I find these very handy and ecologically minded) as well as a printed version of the book. You can find them on the Packt site HERE or on Amazon HERE.

Posted in Featured News, Helpful Hints, Tutorials.


  1. I was hoping for a video tutorial when I clicked the link (almost set up the popcorn)… but thanks for the tip on the book. I feel like I use barely 10% of MS5 for my purposes and that there’s a host of stuff I’m missing out on because I don’t realize it exists.

    This will be helpful.

  2. I was using manga studio 4 for a long time before I got 5. 5 is worth every penny, the changes to the interface alone saves me a ton of time because I can just work instead of trying to figure out which floating window had what. I still do my coloring in photoshop and my lettering in illustrator though.

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