Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Japanese versus American visual art styles
authorfly at 11:24AM, Nov. 9, 2007
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Hello! Okay something I've been contemplating for a while now, I'm 19 years old and have spent 95% of my life in southern California very to close to the Disney, Nickelodeon, Marvel comics studios, and many much smaller animation broadcasting companies. I grew up watching cartoons from Kids Wb which were primarily superhero cartoons, Tom/Jerry and Loony Toons reruns, until my fifth year in elementary school when Pokemon became very popular. Any artistic ability I own today is the product of me drawing pokemon characters at school for fun and profit, as a result I've drawn in an anime like art style since I was 11. for years and years after this more Japanese imported cartoons began filling network slots and soon after floods of manga filled the bookstore shelfs (I spend more money than I should on manga). So I noticed many more people start to draw in the style of anime and manga, even people who were very talented as realistic artists or American cartoonists.
So after that mini biography here are the questions I would like everybody's advice on, even though my art style is anime like do you think it would be generally more acceptable to people if it looked more American? Another question does America even have a disguisable art style all its own? I guess its true that Americans are responsible for the comic industry, and the inspiration for the manga industry at the same time. Do you think that the Japanese visual style should continue to be adopted as it has been, or should more people try to create in the more realistic American visual style?
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:11AM
Broken Minds at 11:35AM, Nov. 9, 2007
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Art is art.

And the best thing? It continues to change and grow. Disney movies of the 90's looked vastly differant from the ones of the 70's. Likewise in Anime.

My point? Pick what you feel most suits you and go with it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:35AM
CharleyHorse at 5:01PM, Nov. 9, 2007
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Yeah, pretty much what Broken Minds wrote; but only to a point. You see it depends on what you want to do in and with art. If you are shooting to become a pro then you should probably force yourself to become fairly efficient with the traditional U.S. art style for the purpose of making yourself more generally marketable. If you have no intention of turning pro, however, then do whatever the heck you enjoy.

As for art styles, sure there is a traditional U.S. art style. There is also a traditional Mexican, Central, and South American art style. I'm not certain if the Canadian art style is much different from the U.S. style, though. By style I mean specific niche style or genre style. Disney style in general is much different from generic U.S. comic book superhero art style, which in turn has styles within its own genre field.

Like everything else in life that involves vast amounts of creative energies, big bucks, huge audiences and technology, it's complex and difficult to pin down, this shifting chimera called art style.

Still, the U.S. art style in comic books, that is, is traditionally realistic to semi-realistic in nature regarding anatomy in the classical western art tradition of old. Although it requires a bit of discipline to learn it's pretty much straight forward in nature. If your manga/pokemon/japanese styling has you worried about adapting then consider doing two things; arranging to take life drawing courses along with committing to a serious study of anatomy.

There's absolutely nothing wrong at all, of course, with being a Japanese art-stylist. There is certainly a market for it in the United States. I'm thinking that maybe half of DD art is in the Japanese style, even if sometimes modified with other art influences. The japanese art style is here to stay.

I am stating this, mind you, as someone solidly embedded in the traditional U.S. comic book super hero styling myself. I generally can't even make myself read manga style anything because I find the art style extraordinarily disturbing on a deep emotional basis. The truly weird thing is that I have always been a huge fan of manga style movies! I don't know why it is, but I can enjoy nearly anything at all manga in nature as long as it is animated. When it is in still frames, however, something internally insists that the art work is all wrong. But that's just me.

Personally I'm glad that manga and other Japanese and Korean and Chinese art styles are here to stay. I think they challenge old style artists to ‘think outside the artistic box.’ Let's hear it for art diversity!
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
mlai at 8:34PM, Nov. 9, 2007
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Someone
I find the art style extraordinarily disturbing on a deep emotional basis. The truly weird thing is that I have always been a huge fan of manga style movies! I don't know why it is, but I can enjoy nearly anything at all manga in nature as long as it is animated. When it is in still frames, however, something internally insists that the art work is all wrong.
That is weird. If you have a phobia for bug eyes, do coloring books featuring Mickey Mouse scare you too?

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
killersteak at 3:40AM, Nov. 10, 2007
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I like the Ukrainian art style.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:15PM
Darth Mongoose at 10:19AM, Nov. 10, 2007
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Why do people think that Asian style inspired art and western style inspired art ought to be pitted against each other? Why not just celebrate the diversity of the Post-modern age and the freedom of expression it brings?
I would say that the American COMIC style would be stuff that derives from the work of artists like Kirby, Kane, Eisner and Disney. Manga traces it's origins back to Disney period American cartooning too, but also to traditional Japanese artwork like the prints of the Edo period and to the highly influential work of Osamu Tezuka (creator of ‘Astro Boy’ among many other things).
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:08PM
mlai at 12:18PM, Nov. 10, 2007
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Yeah, look, Asian American synthesis:



Lineart by Bittertea, who is outtathisworld. *swoons* She cites American and Asian influences. Lineart looks kinda manga-ish, dunnit? But can you say the same about the painted version?

Osmosis, incorporation, and self-realization is what art is all about to the artist.

And what about this, and this? American or Japanese? Heheheh, wanna hazard a guess?



FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
CharleyHorse at 3:17PM, Nov. 10, 2007
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mlai, I'm thinking it's the unisex look; almost as if the artist were too lazy or unskilled to make the anatomical traits distinction. But then that wouldn't explain why I'm quite all right with animated Japanese art-style work. Anyway, I really didn't like Micky Mouse now that you mention it. I was okay with Donald Duck though.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
kyupol at 3:42PM, Nov. 10, 2007
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Japanese versus American visual art styles

The line's been blurred.

NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
Fenn at 11:03PM, Nov. 11, 2007
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mlai
And what about this, and this? American or Japanese? Heheheh, wanna hazard a guess?



Looks Italian to me.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:26PM
authorfly at 11:21AM, Nov. 12, 2007
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I like the visual examples provided by Mlai, especially the first one. Even though most people here seem to think that the Japanese and American visual styles need not be compared, I asked because I was wondering if you came across a comic with an interesting story line and characters that have allot of nervous sweat drops, anger marks, big heads, and unnecessary chibis (not that I do this) would you read it or not? The main reason I've started this topic because I have recently received some criticism on my art from a few different sources about my magna influence, two of them being one of my male classmates who said I draw like a tweaker, and another from a female coworker who asked if I could draw dolphins. I showed her a recently drawn dolphin I had with me in a sketch book, and she said “no not a dolphin like all the other crazy pictures you draw”. These comments didn't offend me but they were not the only ones, I was just wondering if it was time to update my style with a little more realism.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:11AM
patrickdevine at 12:06PM, Nov. 12, 2007
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authorfly
I asked because I was wondering if you came across a comic with an interesting story line and characters that have allot of nervous sweat drops, anger marks, big heads, and unnecessary chibis (not that I do this) would you read it or not?

I don't look for those things if that's what you mean, but they don't really bother me all that much either. So yeah, if the story is compelling enough I'd probably read it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:41PM
CharleyHorse at 4:05PM, Nov. 12, 2007
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authorfly, it comes back to what I said in my first reply; what is your personal goal as an artist? Are you going to become a professional? If so, then what specific field of art? So forth and so on.

As a career savy rule of thumb, the all around accomplished you are as an artist the more marketable you will be. So if being a well rounded cartoonist is what you are aiming for, then, yes, you need to start easing yourself into nailing the traditional USA styling in whatever genre you are interested in pursuing; Disney, comic super-heroics, whatever. We are not talking months of strenuous effort here. You can ease into it simply by following some of the numerous ‘free’ art tutorials online.

For that matter, cobble together a half-way coherent storyline/plot and start producing a DD comic along the artistic styling that you want to develop.

All of the above, however, can be tossed in the trash - so far as advice goes - if you are going to remain an amateur, interested in art for its own sake. In which case, what do you care if ignoramuses question your chosen art style or just cant get into it?

From reactions I've encountered I think it's a fairly large number of people, but probably less than fifty percent, that would turn away from a comic or a strip because the artist mixed Japanese with USA styled work. That's just a wild guess though. It does seem to me that gradually people are becoming more accepting in general when it comes to mixed art styles of the nature that you described.

I find subtle mixing perfectly okay on the whole – probably because they do not really grab my attention – but things that are specific and large tale-tells from one art style inserted into another? That sort of bugs me. It seems to bug a fair number of people.

Still, “To thineself be true.” That's not a bad motto.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
SwinS at 9:03PM, Nov. 19, 2007
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The attitude toward typical “manga”, American and mixed styles has changed quite a bit over the past decade or so. To commit yourself to one or the other will most likely bring you to a completely different place in five years than what you'd expect from current circumstances.

Going by the different successes of the styles right now, as of 2007, the path you choose really depends on what sort of audience you would like to work for. If you've really grown attached to the “manga” style, so be it - just remember to take a look at what place it has right now in the American comics industry. I'm noticing more and more of it simply seems to monopolize off of the current anime rage and it's getting to the point where even a wonderfully developed style could be seen as simply the product of a fad.

American style is American style - it's what we've always had in the US, and will be the classic base things fall back on when said “fad” maxes out. But, until then, using an Asian comic-derived style could be potentially profitable.

Mixing is something I see very little of, but in a way, any of the mainstream American-made “mangas” do just that. We see it as foreign style, but really, it's its own creature.

As someone up there said, the best choice would most likely be to practice as a well-rounded cartoonist if it's something you're seriously looking into. I have some artists in the family who have learned over the years how to adapt the way their pieces look to conform to whatever their employers need, and it's always different. I have a second cousin who's been in the business for 30+ years and has done anything from anime-based work to traditional Sunday comics section cartoons to Marvel-esque character concepts. A truly unique personal style is invaluable, don't get me wrong, but when you're going out there to try to make a career for yourself, it's only worth something when you're well-established (or if you're one of the very few who get a lucky break).

Something else to think about, even if you're only interested in developing your own style for fun, is that to branch out and explore anyway could give you the answer you're looking for. When I started college for illustration and they refused to accept any “stylized” work in the beginning I had no idea what they were thinking, but after some experimenting with things I never thought I'd like before, I found it was easier to look back at what I thought was my ultimate style and let it evolve.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:05PM
authorfly at 1:09AM, Nov. 20, 2007
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It would be great to have a personal style all my own that was visually attractive and recognizable, as well as widely accepted by everyone. Though that is asking allot and I hope that the people out there with a talent like that would use it for something or other, I myself plan to go to community college and get an education as a writer and illustrator of course I'm also going to take classes in auto cad and drafting for a more solid career. While I'm there I'll commit myself to bridging out my artistic abilities, for a little sample of my artistic style take a look at my new avatar hopefully it has uploaded by now.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:11AM
Ziffy88 at 4:57PM, Nov. 20, 2007
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Do we really need to count different culture styles when different artists of the same culture have completely different styles. Like Darwyn Cooke compared to someone like Alex Ross.
last edited on July 14, 2011 5:01PM
mlai at 9:08PM, Nov. 20, 2007
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Fenn
mlai
And what about this, and this? American or Japanese? Heheheh, wanna hazard a guess?

Looks Italian to me.
Actually it should look more French to you.

Bittertea just managed to find out for me who drew those pictures I posted… Y'all have no idea what it means to me; that unknown artist was my inspiration since I was in jr hi school.

I am her Smeagol foreverrrrrr… m(_)m

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
Fenn at 1:32AM, Nov. 21, 2007
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mlai
Actually it should look more French to you.
France looks Italian to me.

I just meant that it reminded me of several of the Italian artists that were featured in Heavy Metal when I was in high school. Like Serpieri, Manara, and Liberatore. Of course, now that I think of it, a great number of the artists then were French, like Moebius, Druillet, and others. Good times, good times.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:26PM
mlai at 5:47AM, Nov. 21, 2007
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Yeah I loves me some o those European artists. Their lineart is frikkin awesome. I should return to that style again.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
authorfly at 1:09AM, Nov. 22, 2007
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I never would have guessed it was French, I would have thought it was Italian. I guess I don't have the eye to tell, I'm bad at that kind of thing anyway.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:11AM
cartoonprofessor at 2:05AM, Nov. 22, 2007
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authorfly
So after that mini biography here are the questions I would like everybody's advice on, even though my art style is anime like do you think it would be generally more acceptable to people if it looked more American? Another question does America even have a disguisable art style all its own? I guess its true that Americans are responsible for the comic industry, and the inspiration for the manga industry at the same time. Do you think that the Japanese visual style should continue to be adopted as it has been, or should more people try to create in the more realistic American visual style?
Your style is however you are drawing at any given moment. Don't place limits on it by ‘classifying’ it… it will always continue to grow and evolve as you grow and evolve as a person.

In short; never limit yourself by concerning yourself with other people's judgements. Your art will mean something differnet to everybody who sees it… never draw to be ‘accepted’ and your creative abilities will always blossom to their maximum potential.

The best artists always put off a sense of arrogance because they don't give a sh*t what others think. From this attitude, confidence grows… or maybe it happens the other way around?
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM

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