The Aesthetics of Manga Art

Hello everyone! In this weeks’ blog, I will be talking about an art style that has been around since the 12th century, that art style is called manga. It quickly gained popularity in later years due to its revolutionary illustrations, complex storylines, and its appealing layout.

What Is Manga?

Manga dates back all the way to the 12th – 13th century. The word was created by an artist by the name of Hokusai. Does that name sound familiar? Well he made a wood block named The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, one of his most well known pieces of art ever! The first ever manga created was called Choju-giga (Scrolls of Frolicking Animals) and it was a series of drawings of frogs, rabbits and many other animals that were created by several artists. The word manga is used to describe a comic, only it’s very different from western comics. In western comics, you read from left to right, however, in manga style you read from right to left. Manga has a very distinct style, compared to western comics and that’s what makes it stand out from all other styles.

What’s So Aesthetically Appealing About Manga Art?

Manga art is known for making the emotions of characters sometimes very exaggerated yet powerful. People around the world enjoy the complex storylines with emotional development. This exaggeration of emotions helps to make the reader really feel for the characters and engage them in what is going on. The line work in manga is what, as an illustrator, really gets my attention. The lines are done by ink, and sometimes digitally, but the traditional way is by pen and ink. The lines are really clean and crisp, it’s pleasing for the eye to look at. Shading in manga is done by different colored dots, black being the darkest and light gray being the lightest since manga is traditionally done in black and white. I really enjoy how different manga artists have their own unique style for their mangas, they aren’t all the same. Overall, the distinct look with the emotional development and complex plot lines really grabs the attention of people around the world to the manga art style.

What Are Some Of The Most Popular Mangas?

Some mangas sell over billions of copies each year and are popular because of numbers, however some mangas are just popular because of their iconic art style or plot lines. Here are some examples:

  • Fist of the North Star
  • Akira
  • Astro Boy
  • Yu Yu Hakusho
  • Bleach
  • Naruto
  • Attack on Titan
  • Berserk
  • One Punch Man
  • Oyasumi Punpun
  • Slam Dunk
  • Case Closed
  • Vagabond
  • My Hero Academia
  • Rurouni Kenshin
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!
  • JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • One Piece
  • Dragon Ball
  • And Many More!

My Personal Favorite Manga Artists

Naoko Takeuchi

Creator of Sailor Moon

She has a really flowy and feminine style. Her lines are very light and whimsical. The environments are comforting and magical. I absolutely love how simple Naoko’s style is, it’s really aesthetically pleasing to the eye because of how light and simple it is.

Hiro Mashima

Creator of Fairy Tail

His style of drawing is bold and expressive. His line work is very sharp and crisp. The line work he creates is also very expressive and he definitely exhibits that in the facial expressions of his characters. It makes you feel something for the characters and relate to them. Hiro also has some bold typography choices and that’s what stood out to me as well about his style.

Hajime Isayama

Creator of Attack on Titan

I have mentioned Isayama before in a previous blog. He is one of my all time favorite manga artists. His line work is very unique and emotional. What I mean by emotional is that his characters are very relatable emotionally and this is due to his line work and his shading being so dynamic. His shading is what caught my attention, I really love how he uses cross hatching for shading instead of using the traditional dot technique that most manga artists use. Overall, his style is a combination of realistic yet unrealistic at the same time. His style, in my opinion, is revolutionary.

Manga is an underestimated art form and I feel that it’s a really revolutionary and inspirational art form that truly deserves more hype. It changed how comic art is perceived and it really changed the game in the comic world.

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