I DO NOT HAVE A MANGA STYLE!!! (help?)

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    I DO NOT HAVE A MANGA STYLE!!! (help?)

    So, ten years ago, like many pre-teens, I got into manga and anime. Hard. It's all I drew, and I was happy with it.

    A few years down the road, I realize that if I want to make my living as an artist, I need to drop the anime style. For the most part, it is synonymous with "I drew this in 7th period history class on lined paper. Isn't DBZ COOL!?" I didn't want to limit myself with such a flash-in-the-pan style, so I cut myself from it. Sold all my anime and manga, and surrounded myself with other inspirations.

    Fast forward to today. I have made a conscious effort to avoid all the anime pitfalls - eyes that crawl up the forehead, spiky, gravity-defying hair, anatomy featuring a bone structure and muscle system that couldn't possibly support human life, etc. I think my style is, for the most part, still a little cartoony, but not manga-centric.

    Every once in a while, though, someone will see my art and comment on the "manga style" or "anime rendering". They say it in a well-meaning manner, but every time I am dumbfounded. I can't tell what I am doing that lights up the "anime" lightbulb in so many people's heads.

    If it's not too much trouble, take a look at my portfolio. There's a link in my signature. What am I still doing that makes people think manga? Does anyone else ever have this problem? How should I handle people that do make these comments? Is it really so distracting that you think it might offend potential employers?

    Thanks a con, CA.
    (this seems appropriate. )

    EDIT : I freely admit that there is good art out there that is also anime style. I also understand you can get work with an anime style, and it can still look lovely. (The game Doofus comes to mind.) It's just something that I do not want to see in my own work.

    Last edited by MittyMandi; July 2nd, 2010 at 09:05 PM.
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  3. #2
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    Seriously? You just sold it way? None of it was worth keeping?

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    Psychotime : I was 15-16 at the time, with no car or job. I needed the cash. :C

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    Your style is very cartoony, and it's not a Disney or DC/Marvel kind of cartoony, ergo folks will associate it with manga. The critters in image 6, the gun in image 7, the girl's face in image 8 (mouth smaller than eyes) are all pretty clearly manga-style. Most of your people I would say remind me more of Phil Foglio, but most people wouldn't have that visual reference at their fingertips.

    I think if you want to really shed the manga style you might need to learn to draw more naturalistically, and then maybe later find some new ways to simplify it. At the very least, try drawing realistic lips on your characters for a while and see if that helps.

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    mickeymao : These are all very good points, thank you.

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    Learn the anatomy of the nose :•( and nobody will ever accuse you of being like manga again.

    Draw the following noses into your notebooks from google images reference: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Julia Roberts, Vigo Morgenstern, Alan Rickman, Telly Savalas, David Niven, Maria Bartiroma, Marilyn Monroe, and Dean Martin.

    Post them in your sketchbook.

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Learn the anatomy of the nose :•( and nobody will ever accuse you of being like manga again.

    Draw the following noses into your notebooks from google images reference: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Julia Roberts, Vigo Morgenstern, Alan Rickman, Telly Savalas, David Niven, Maria Bartiroma, Marilyn Monroe, and Dean Martin.

    Post them in your sketchbook.

    This makes me wonder why I haven't created an array of celebs which correspond to every core facial feature and body type for quick reference. Have you already done this? I think this might streamline the initial creative process. e.g. "I want this character to have julia Robert's nose, Betty Page's figure, etc.")

    Also, for the nose list, add Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mickeymao View Post
    I think if you want to really shed the manga style you might need to learn to draw more naturalistically, and then maybe later find some new ways to simplify it. At the very least, try drawing realistic lips on your characters for a while and see if that helps.
    I agree with Mickeymao and like to add that learning to render values more naturalistically will give your work more form instead of flat shapes. Right now most of your transition from your shadow to light is way too crisp and graphic like, or there is not enough contrast to make it feel like a shadow. Some good examples are old masters such as Charles Bargue and michelangelo's drawings, or even more contemporary entertainment artist like Wes Burt or Marko Djurdjevic. You can always simplify the transition or lessen the contrast later once you understand the theory behind it.

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    Don't forget Jimmy Durante and Barbara Streisand, for those non-conventional characters (who can still be appealing in their own way).

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Learn the anatomy of the nose :•( and nobody will ever accuse you of being like manga again.

    Draw the following noses into your notebooks from google images reference: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Julia Roberts, Vigo Morgenstern, Alan Rickman, Telly Savalas, David Niven, Maria Bartiroma, Marilyn Monroe, and Dean Martin.

    Post them in your sketchbook.
    You forgot jimmy durante.


    DAMMIT SOMEONE BEAT ME TO IT?!

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    I honestly don't think you need to worry about being pigeonholed as a "bad anime artist" - yes, some of your pieces have a loose affinity to anime styles, but your portfolio doesn't scream "ANIME!!" Some of the softer "cute" pieces put me more in mind of children's book illustration than anime.

    I think the pieces that have the strongest "anime" vibe might be the cute cartoon girls and the semi-realistic cartoons with the flat color. I think a lot of it's the flat color and smooth, uniform line, and the faces of the girls.

    Maybe experiment with more texture, different line quality, different approaches to shading and coloring; try some loose messy stuff to break away from the "clean" anime look. Also maybe experiment with both greater naturalism AND extreme stylization in styles that are as far from anime as possible. Look at German Expressionism or graffiti art or some of the funkier western cartoonists (some oldies but goodies: Lyonel Feininger, Cliff Sterrett, George Herriman.)

    (Ironically, I often get clients asking for anime styles even if that's not what I initially show them. There's been many a time I've presented a first round of character designs and heard something like "this one is cute, but can you make her more anime?" Of course I bite the bullet and make it more anime. Whatever pays the rent.)

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  17. #12
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    Everything you learned before is still with you. If there's any manga influence showing, it's because you still like the way it looks.

    I wouldn't get too hung up on labels, personally. There's no need to toss out everything that works just because you liked it back when you were younger. If you keep changing, growing, improving and adding to your repertoire then you shouldn't have big issues with employers unless they want something completely different than what you've got. If they're looking for grotesque horror, for example, you're not going to win them over with cartoons. Otherwise, though, I'd say just don't worry about it and keep learning.

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  18. #13
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    I don't understand what makes the anime lightbulb go off either. But your stuff is fine and doesn't scream it. Don't even be scared of being influenced by it a little bit. Just keep on improving, practicing and learning. There's a lot of shit being published (Tokyopop, Dark Horse, Other) that is advertised as manga and it's just some western folk trying to copy it in their own mind what manga is. And they're making money off of it. Some, a living.

    Your stuff is killer and diverse. I especially like the one with the steampunk dude. The giraffe kitty is interesting as well.

    People will make a lot of weird comments like "anime-styled apples". I've seriously read a thread (another forum) on the internet of this girl who did a study of apples and it was called "anime-crap" by her high school teacher. She posted the image and it just looked like a normal study. It's absurd.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    You forgot jimmy durante.


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    Jimmy Durante narrated Frosty the Snowman? I liked that as a kid. Fun little Christmas movie... Before I became a demonic crazy-ass atheist but still a cute movie.

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    Lies lies lies, you must still watch anime...

    One of your pictures is pokemon even!!

    I'm not sure what other things you surrounded yourself in... and it really depends where you want to go (but either way, being able to draw real things is a good base knowledge to have for branching out on... which makes the cartoony style a strange thing to learn first?)

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    If we're talking about noses....how come the nose of all noses is not even listed? Michael Jackson!

    The anime influence is there. I started out drawing anime as well, back in the day. I'm slowly learning how not to use the "tricks" by drawing naturalistic and building upon my foundation of anatomy. Do the same and with time, you will slowly but surely see the anime disappear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Learn the anatomy of the nose :•( and nobody will ever accuse you of being like manga again.

    Draw the following noses into your notebooks from google images reference: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Julia Roberts, Vigo Morgenstern, Alan Rickman, Telly Savalas, David Niven, Maria Bartiroma, Marilyn Monroe, and Dean Martin.

    Post them in your sketchbook.
    Fantastic! Some great caricature subjects right there!

    Back to topic... Your style is very cartoony as someone already pointed out, and there are some manga sensibilities in there, especially with the girl. The face and hands are probably the things that stand out to me. If you really want to push away, try doing some realistic stuff and pay attention to what makes the real world different from manga. Ultimately you'll draw what you like, and maybe it leans more towards manga, but having the knowledge of real anatomy will inform your decisions.
    At least that's my philosophy. I'd rather draw in a style because I choose it rather than because that's the only way I know how to do it.

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    Your style kinda looks like it's taken in parts of that western comic style which seems like a rebelious response to manga. Ironically it has itself been influenced by it. I kind of prefer the Japanese way over it but that's just me.

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    This sounds like kids in school yard, the old " IM NOT GAY ", maybe theyre winding you up?
    But to the point, your style reflects your taste, and its good that you have a wide range of inspirations. Look at Joe Mad's style, its got influences of west and east, but it still looks good. So it can be a good thing. However its also falling back on what you know rather than changing dramatically, which is difficult to do anyway.
    Outlines in your work will make your work cartoony, try getting rid of them?

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    Figures in front of a simple graphic shape are often associated with manga.. in your portfolio and da account theser are the batgirl, the two furry badges, the engineer girl and the astronaut/star trek girl.. oh, and also Pokemon.

    That said, you switched one pair of face symbols for another, in this case you went from Manga to american cartoonish style.. read this if you have some time left:
    http://whitetrashpalace.deviantart.c...9660607?q=&qo=
    http://whitetrashpalace.deviantart.c...9660702?q=&qo= (you don't have that problem with the nose but with basic anatomy)

    I just took a break to post this.
    But sometimes I also draw stuff
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    hehe, Google seems to autocomplete jackie chan nose.

    Last edited by megaten; July 3rd, 2010 at 10:01 AM. Reason: Can't spell.
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  31. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nezumi Works View Post
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    I think the anime peeps through most on the fox with purple hair. I love the soft grass illustration, that has no anime (for me)

    Muscle shape, anatomy are what I struggle with. I think it's helpful for everyone to work on. Drawing people is definitely a plus. I wish I had more time to do that.

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    Anime is a pretty vague category.

    There is so much a mesh and mix of different influences it isn't even funny. There are those who mix anime with french illustration style (which I love!) anime that is semi-realistic, big eye cute anime, freaky abstract anime and so on. Don't pigeonhole yourself. Do what you like and look/copy artists styles until you figure out what direction you want to go in. If you wanna be super original go for it, if not that is great too. The point is to get good at what you like.

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    I don't really see the problem, why not just draw however you want to draw and worry less about what people label your style as?

    That said, for a lot of people out there anything that looks a bit cartoony automatically falls into the category of "anime" or "manga" simply because they are more familiar with those terms than any more appropriate ones - ergo they don't really know what they're talking about and may as well be ignored. I wouldn't call your portfolio anime/manga-ish at least, but I refrain from using that term for anything that doesn't look like a screenshot from one of the more mainstream anime shows.

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    To be honest, I can't get anything from "your style" because there isn't enough up there to figure out what you do. I mean you have drawings, but I dunno how to explain it other than saying it seems to be a mish-mash of stuff that doesn't give me a direction or focus to your work. Because of that "style" is really the least of your worries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Learn the anatomy of the nose :•( and nobody will ever accuse you of being like manga again.

    Draw the following noses into your notebooks from google images reference: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Julia Roberts, Vigo Morgenstern, Alan Rickman, Telly Savalas, David Niven, Maria Bartiroma, Marilyn Monroe, and Dean Martin.

    Post them in your sketchbook.
    Wow!
    Thank you for this (and others for adding soem noses to the list), really great list.
    I did it, was really fun!

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