Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Do You Mean Manga Isn't Art???

Wow, I can't believe it's been five months since the last time I've posted anything. It definitely doesn't feel like five months...

Anyways, sometimes while I'm working on pages, I can't help thinking about the art teachers I've had in high school. I wonder what they would think of me working on a manga? I know there are artists who really enjoy drawing manga, but who are disappointed by the negative reactions from their art teachers. Unfortunately, I totally know how that feels.


In high school, I took a lot of art classes. I had a teacher for drawing classes and a teacher for painting classes. My drawing teacher was a very laid back guy...he even had his hair dyed pink at one point. Anyways, he didn't mind when we incorporated anime or manga style into our artwork, because he was also a cartoonist. When he taught, he taught us how to draw seriously, but at the same time, he allowed us to experiment with what we liked.

On the other hand, there was my painting teacher. She was an older lady with a very traditional style. She had a whole portfolio dedicated to depicting elderly women. There was nothing wrong with that--her work was actually pretty cool. And whenever I drew realistically, she would just rave over it because she liked my style. In fact, she really wanted me into enroll into the college level art classes, which she also taught. But I didn't, because she did not like manga. Not at all. If she saw me drawing manga, she would become visibly disturbed as if that's not art or something. And many times if she saw a student drawing manga or anime, she would say something rude about it. She felt that it all looked the same, which is only the case for an untrained eye. Read enough manga, and it becomes clear that every artist is a little different...

Anyways, that would not work for me because obviously, I like being a manga artist.

As far as fine art goes, manga doesn't fall into that category, but it's still art. Although she liked drawing realistically, there was no reason for her to force her personal preferences on others. If she was more open-minded, imagine how much encouragement and depth she could have added to those in the class who were already anime artists.

She could have taught them how to incorporate beautiful classical art skills into their work in order to make it better, instead of being discouraging and knocking them down. They could have learned to use realism to improve their anime style, instead of being forced to abandon what they liked to do.
Work in progress ^_^

If I met her today and told her that I'm working on a manga, I wonder what she would think? Would she tell me that I shouldn't be wasting my time with such a "reproduced"style? Well, I would challenge her to do this: Write a script. Convert that script into pages of visual representation, and then draw 300 pages. 300 pages of art: lines and shadow and contrast. On top of that, add dialog. Add words. Add atmosphere.

Would she be able to do it?

I don't think so.

But if she was able to do just 10 pages, I think at the end of it all, she would change her mind. Drawing manga has more complexity than it seems. The trick is that it can appear simple and effortless. It's art.