Book Review: Manga Cross Stitch

Manga Cross Stitch by Helen McCarthy
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Mr X Stitch Book Review

I’ll be honest with you, when I first heard about Manga Cross Stitch by Helen McCarthy I had my reservations.

Although the idea of manga cross stitch sounded good in principle, I feared that this would be another prescriptive book that showed you how to do specific things in specific way, with little creative freedom. We’ve got enough of those already. I am really glad to say that I was completely wrong!

(To save you some time, click on the image below and visit our Amazon Affiliate store, so you can buy it right now!)

Manga Cross Stitch provides you with the tools and knowledge to make convincing manga pieces of stitchery. Once you’ve read the book, you can take any of the pieces provided and mash them up to make any number of potential combinations. It’s a book that wants to show you the ropes and then tell you to go skipping.

Helen McCarthy is a lady who knows and loves her manga, and it is evident as you read the book. It starts off with a nicely succinct explanation of manga, anime and stitches and then breaks out into six chapters, each covering an aspect of this particular creative genre.

Manga Cross Stitch example 1The chapters cover topics like Screentone and Visual Effects, Lettering, Cute Characters and Action, as well as the necessary chapter on materials and techniques. Each topic is covered in some depth and there are plenty of examples used to illustrate the learning. The design of the book works really well in balancing the excitement of manga with a well laid out manual to end up with a book that gives you plenty of ideas and the inspiration to go off and try them.

The examples that are provided throughout the book are terrific and reflect all the key aspects of the genre. Robots, cute creatures, samurai warriors, you name it, you’ll find a pattern (and a really good explanation of it in here). Once you decided what you want to create, you can download the pattern pieces from the disc provided with the book and go for it.

See Also

Manga Cross Stitch example 2

I really like this book. I like the fact that it approaches both subjects – manga and cross stitch – with respect and does a great job of honouring them. Big pictures, easy instruction and a thorough appreciation of the subject come together with style. It fulfils its objectives completely, and leaves the reader able to go off and create their own designs – and that I like. It empowers. Terrific!

Manga Cross Stitch – Make Your Own Graphic Art Needlework by Helen McCarthy is published by Andrews McMeel in the US and Ilex Books elsewhere.


View Comments (23)
  • I have to say, this book sounds perfect for me and a friend of mine. I got her a Celtic cross stitch book for her birthday two years ago and I think she’s getting this one this year.

    Happy Birthday Mr. X Stitch! I check this blog every day and dream of being awesome enough to grace its pixels one day!

  • My best reference is the internet. I know there are amazing books out there, but there are so many amazing things on the internet, so many helpful people. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to collect amazing books. I just can’t afford to. 🙁

  • oooh i’d love to win this book!
    it’s been years since i cross-stitched but in a recent move i found all my old supplies tons of fabric and patterns i’d designed which all seem a bit twee now!
    my stitching references mainly come via t’internet nowadays

  • My favourite stitching reference is this blog of course!! Other than that is always great.

  • I wish I could afford stitching books! I love to look at them when I can, but I mostly turn to the interwebs for any references. TT_TT

  • My fave book- anything I can get from my local op shop! Recently loads have turned up on blackwork, hardanger and William Morris ( not bad for New Zealand!)

  • that…book…is…AWESOME! I have to pick up a copy!
    The best references in my library, unfortunately, are a bunch of out of print pamphlets that my grandmother gave me. They’re fantastic!! I’m also a slave to technology…then again, aren’t we all!

  • That looks like a way cooler book than I expected. Thanks for the review.

    As for my best reference book, well, I’m not sure I have one. Maybe Encyclopedia of Needlework by Thérèse de Dillmont since it covers everything, even if it is a bit out of date. Or, like Stitchalicious, I also like the A to Z of Embroidery Stitches.

  • I’ve just gotten into cross stitch and embroidery and two books I find to be a must have are “Subversive Cross Stitch” by Julie Jackson and “Not Your Mama’s Stitching” by Kate Shoup Welsh.

  • I use the internet for researching stitching of all sorts and my all time favorite book for eye candy inspiration is Alabama Stitch by Natalie Chanin. Any book that tells you how to “love” your thread is a treasure.

  • This looks like an awesome book.

    I have several reference books, but this has to be my favorite, “365 Alphabets: Cross Stitch All Through the Year”:

    I bought it a long time ago, but I have used it the most. It has a lot of fun fonts, from balloon letters to teddy bears to food to these cute little safety pins that look cute for baby stuff. I have used it several times to make a “Burp Me” burping towel for baby shower gifts. The alphabets are versatile and easy to use… easy to change the colors too.

  • Yeah, another person here whose main ref is The Internet. But more specifically, it’s really easy to search for video game sprites these days with the increase popularity of spritestitch stuff. I used to painstakingly capture stuff while playing the games on an emulator, which was a little time consuming, but a fun way to do things. 🙂

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