When it comes to drawing manga regularly over a long period of time, it’s only natural that the artist will improve from so much practice (though occasionally the opposite happens). Ume Aoki has clearly been polishing her artwork over the 8 years she has been drawing Hidamari Sketch. I was hoping someone had already made a chart like this, but it seems that isn’t the case. So I took it upon myself to put one together.

Click for full size! 2440×2000 3.4MB PNG

Compressed 711KB JPG here.

5/19/12 – v1.03: added two Kuwaharas
5/16/12 – v1.02: fixed text anti-alias issue and added date/note.
5/15/12 – v1.01: fixed alignment issue

What you see here are 4 images for each character from volume 1, 3 images for volumes 2-6, and 2 images for the currently 11 chapters not yet collected in volume format (totaling 74 pages). Most portraits are 20-30 pages apart. I tried to choose panels that were originally printed in grayscale instead of magazine color pages converted for volume release (since those tend to have a lot of contrast issues). The guidelines being: the portrait must show most of their faces, eyes open, without making a comical expression. Sometimes that wasn’t possible, which is where you’ll see converted color pages or otherwise non-standard images. Also, don’t take this as an exact guide to when the minor characters appear, since in the case of Natsume and Mami there are sometimes no shots of them with a neutral face. I think it generally turned out pretty well, though. Probably around 10 hours to finish?

Some observations:

– To no one’s surprise, Miyako’s mouth is open most of the time.

–  The second picture of Sae from volume 1 came from the inflatable pool chapter adapted in S1EP06. In this chapter only, her hair is inked black rather than having its usual screentone effect. I would imagine Ume had a hard time meeting the deadline on this one. Sae’s appearance in general greatly fluctuates at the beginning. She’s even wearing hair clips in the chapter where they paint the apartment sign! The TV Animation Guidebook includes some Sae sketches that Ume sent to the anime production team, and in them she specifically states Sae should not wear hairclips.

Nowhere to be seen in S1EP02.

– The Landlady always looks great, of course. Ume darkened the screentone effect on her hair only recently.

And it looks like Nakayama attempted to become a main character in volume 5!