Illustrator Study: Hajime Isayama

Hello everyone! My post for this week will be focusing on one of my favorite illustrator/manga artists’, Hajime Isayama. His work inspires me as well as many other people around the world. Isayama’s art style is very expressive and unique as well as his story telling and the way he conveys emotion through the characters he creates for his stories.


Hajime Isayama was born August 29, 1986 in Oyama, Oita, Japan. Once he graduated high school, he pursued his career of becoming a manga artist by enrolling in a cartoon design program at Kyushu Designer Gakyin. After he graduated, he went on to create manga of his own. One of his most popular and most well known mangas is Attack on Titan. Isayama made his first publication of Attack on Titan back in 2009 and it’s still on going with only 5% of the story to go. The series, 4 years after it’s release, got an anime adaption that took the world by storm in 2013. The anime currently has 3 seasons with it’s 4th finale season in the works. The series has achieved many awards over the years like the Fine Work Award (2006) for the early serialization of Attack on Titan, the Kodansha Manga Award (2011), the 17th Michelazzi Award (2014), as well as the Harvey Award (2014). Hajime Isayama has also made other manga like Heart Break One, Attack on Avengers, Orz, and The Killing Pawn.

Isayama’s Art Style

One of the reasons why I love Isayama’s work is because of his art style.

Isayama’s art style is very raw and emotional. The expressive lines really help to convey the emotion to the reader. His line work is also very bold and detailed, that’s what is very captivating about his style, he’s not afraid to be bold and go out of the box. The cross hatching technique he uses for a lot of the examples I have shown above, gives the characters depth and I like this shading technique because it doesn’t look smudged instead it looks clean and crisp. He only uses a little bit of greyscale tones under the cross hatching to give it some form of color and that’s what I find to be unique about his work, it’s very simple and minimal. It also brings emphasis to the characters’ features, for example, the face. Isayama is very good at bringing really raw emotion to the face with cross hatching and many different types of lines. I find what he does extremely well is making his characters look realistic even though it’s animated.

My style of drawing is kindled by Isayama’s work and style and he is one of the biggest inspirations for me because even though some people told him that he wasn’t very good in the beginning, he defied that and he improved so much. As an artist you can only improve.

I highly recommend that you go check out some of his works and read his stories, thank you for joining me!

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