Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Craft Book Review: Manga Cross-Stitch > make your own Graphic art Needlework

Manga Cross-Stitch > make your own graphic art needlework
by Helen McCarthy

Briefly what is this book about?
This book is about learning to design manga styled cross stitch. It includes a variety of manga styles and Japanese influences. This book also comes with a cross stitch design program and instructions on how to use it.

Who is it for?

This book is suitable for beginners in cross stitch design wanting to have a go at the art or intermediate to expert designers who want more ideas on how to include manga styles into their work.

What is included?

This book contains a wide variety of hints and tips on how to design cross stitch in a manga style. There are some very lovely features which make this book rather different to other books on designing I have in my collection.
There are also a selection of Manga style designs included ready to stitch (none of them are from established manga or anime series however) Many of the designs are actually really big they can get to nearing 10 inches on 14 count aida to just over 20 inches on the very largest designs. Some of these I'd love to sew but I cannot bring myself to tackle such a large project. At least the designs use mostly whole stitches with a little backstitch for highlights. However the charts in the book itself are very small. I had difficulty reading most of them, it is required to install the cross stitch program to view the charts. (more on that below)

The format of this book makes it stand out from other books on cross stitch design or cross stitch in general I have on my bookshelf. There is a double page spread on a selection of topics which are specific to Manga style drawings. For example pages I have found very useful include use of sound effects, use of speedlines (and different ways to chart them) and the comedy and drama manga sections which also include suggestions on how to chart various facial expressions using a combination of cross stitch and back stitch. This makes the book feel like it has such a variety of things you can try

I love the inclusion of a selection of phrases in Japanese to incorporate into your designs. There is a sampler made from Hiragana and a selection of charts which include Kanji.

Since this book is very modern it does not contain any help in designing your own stitches on graph paper or helping to chart out your own or existing alphabets with graph paper and is very oriented around using computer programs for this. So if you need info on how to design on paper without a computer (I know some people prefer to design on paper)

My favorite project in this book?

Its been very hard to choose a favorite project but I must recommend the cross stitch design of a grumpy but confused looking cat trying to find a mouse. Behind the cat is a little mouse hole above it is the Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound a mouse makes. Its very simple, only one colour and I think it would make a really cute card for my friend who is learning Japanese and loves cats.
When I sew this design I'll definitely post up the finished piece to show you all.

The cross stitch design disc included:

 The cross stitch design program which comes with this book is suitable for Windows XP or Vista and MAC OS X 10.4 or later. However this program is a demo of a full cross stitch design program, either Stitch or Macstitch depending on what type of computer you have. The program contains files for many of the designs featured in the book so they are easily available for you to print off as you wish (or work off your PC like I do). The program uses all of the basic stitches, full, half and backstitch for you to have a go at your own designs.
Since this program is a demo your own creations cannot be saved until you upgrade to the full program so its not worth choosing this book just for the program but since theres plenty more to like about this book.

If you really need a free cross stitch design program there are a few online to choose from so you could use one of them instead of the demo on this disc to start your cross stitch designing on.
At the moment my favourite free Cross stitch design program is called KG chart

For the Buzy Bobbins Index page Click here.

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