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April 1st, 2008

The place of OEL manga

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I thought this might be of interest to us as American mangaka and the fact that no, I don't see that as a contradiction or taboo to refer to myself as one. (In fact, I once argued with a webcomic artist over the usage of the term: the fact that, for example, we still call a non-Japanese Judo master shisho rather than Anglicising the title should be applied to manga as well) Just a general interest post to keep the community alive.

There was a thread on ANN a while back, (Yes, I know...ANN lowers your IQ points. Bear with me) and while there was your typical elitism going on, I did find a couple of insightful comments.

From minakichan:
I think the big question is the amount of derivation that is acceptable. If Americans copy too much, as some Chinese comics are accused of doing, it's seen as "cashing in" and being "unoriginal." If they take too many liberties, as OTHER Chinese comics do, it's seen as "no longer manga" and still "cashing in." If the American manga industry is to survive at all, fans need to stop taking these attitudes that manga is determined on race and buy for quality. This way, weak American manga titles like Midnight Opera will fall to the wayside, the stronger ones (like Dramacon perhaps) will prevail, and those fans who WANT to create manga and fulfill their dreams can achieve it-- not by getting success handed to them, but by working hard and studying the medium. And really, some elitist fans need to realize it's not always about money-- it certainly isn't, and American "mangaka" are paid dirt-- but that mangaka who were fans to begin with (not former American comics writers) are creating because they love the medium, just the same way that fanartists and fanfiction writers try to contribute. Those who want to shoot down American mangaka solely because of their race don't have the luxury of holding a double standard.

I couldn't have stated this any better. I am firmly of the opinion that more fans need to take this into consideration. In other words, even a classically-trained artist such as myself "can't win for losing".

Many of the points some posters make are solid ones, but while I understand that the references to OEL don't necessarily apply to me per se, and many of the stances of "they need to go to art school first" and "what happened to telling a good story?" are all things I've been harping on for years, I still can't help but see a rather hypocritical double-standard.

Considering that the "god of manga" himself, Tezuka Osamu, (he's actually in the Shinto pantheon now) drew much of his influence from Disney, should we not then say that he -- and by extension all Japanese manga-ka -- was derivative for "cashing in" on Uncle Walt's success, as opposed to a genuine love of the style and a passion for what he was creating? Once again, I see it as a cultural gulf: we here in the West are so tightly-bound to our Thoughts on Art dating back to literal antiquity that we can't seem to separate ourselves from it as a fandom. The Japanese -- who have been "ripping" things off of other cultures for close to a millennium -- have no such hang-ups. Even if it looks "derivative" at first, they manage to make it into something their own. And I think that this is what needs to happen with OEL manga: it doesn't mean we suddenly have to start drawing indie comics, but we do have to find our own styles (even if they look Japanese) and sneak our own cultural nexus into our work.

From RDespair

On a somewhat different note, my advice to would-be-mangakas would be that imitation inevitably results in pale shadows of the original unless there's understanding behind the imitation. Don't just try to copy your favorite manga. Look at the art and figure out why it does what it does. Understand the principles behind the art you enjoy and then bring your own style to the picture and the result will be much better than if you simply try to ape someone else's work.

Again, I wish more people would understand this; what I have dubbed the Picasso Principle. A manga is only derivative if it's blind copying: if you understand how manga functions (I think the best example of this is "sweatdrops" in inappropriate places and at inappropriate times) and can manipulate that, you're golden. (Moroever, you can pull what I like to call the South Park Manoeuvre if you really know your stuff*)

*-Trey Parker deliberately mispronounced the word for "hair" to offend elitist anime fans -- it was supposed to be the word for "pubic hair" and he used the one for regular hair. He then razzed the elitists for "catching" the mispronunciation while missing the fact that it was the wrong word altogether.

December 14th, 2007

Contests? Ideas?

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I would like to make a monthly contest or contests for this asylum, and I would also like to see what the members would be interested in, so I'll list a few loose ideas and leave suggestions open (nothing's set in stone yet). If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, feel free to comment and say what they are!


1. A contest based on different genres or combinations of genres. Shoujo, shonen, doujinshi, yaoi, yuri, fantasy, sci-fi, mecha, ... you get the picture!
2. General manga art contest like Homemade Manga on LJ.
3. A contest based on different aspects of comic design: Character design, setting design, costume design, weapon/accessory design, etc.

Each of the contests would feature first place, second place, third place, and honorable mentions, and each winner would get banners with their artwork on it. First place would get their comic featured in the asylum that month and the winners would be listed on the userinfo that month.

Any thoughts?

August 7th, 2007

I'll get the ball rolling

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This is a "manga" artwork of Edain, a character I created while sketching one day. He went on to have his own story created around him.

Thumbnail behind cut )

The brush I used for the white part of the wings comes from Falln-Brushes at DeviantArt; I'm not sure whether any of the other brushes I used are not default Photoshop Elements brushes. If anyone knows a brush I used that needs to be credited, please comment and tell me and I will give due credit.

This picture is from my old DA account.

And I'd like to say Hello and Welcome and Thank You to all the new/old members and watchers! Wow, I had no idea when I created this asylum how many people would join. :D

August 4th, 2007

Rule Addition

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I put in a rule about giving concrit vs. giving nonconstructive crit.

Sorry, I forgot that one.

Belated Welcome Post

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Welcome to [info]mangaka!

This is an asylum for those who make comics, as it says in the profile. Either manga-style or Western-style. You can post pages, character sketches, cover art, plot descriptions, comic promotions (as long as it's your own), DeviantArt links, resources, et al.

Happy drawing!
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