Published on 27/01/14
Manga originated in Japan, though we are uncertain of the time at which it began. The art form was believed to have stemmed from 12th century line drawings, evolving over time into the modern version we see today. Modern manga publications date from just after World War 2. However, it has a rich history in earlier Japanese art. Despite this, it is not considered a real art form. Some say that anyone can draw manga. Whilst I understand some of the concerns, for my part, I did not find learning to draw manga easy. In fact, I found it a rather difficult process. As with other mediums, manga takes time and effort.
Another issue raised was that manga cannot express individuality because all pictures are done in the same style. This is not true; each mangaka has their own approach, and no two creations look the same. It’s like saying that all Renaissance or Impressionist paintings are the same, which I think is disrespectful to the artist. Leonardo da Vinci was a respected Renaissance painter, as was Raphael. When you compare their works, the differences in style and technique are very obvious. For example, my personal favourite by Raphael, “Girl with a Unicorn”, although influenced by Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”, utilises lighter pastel colours, softer tones, and rounder brush strokes. The subject herself possesses clearer, more defined features and the details are less rich.
Art is about freedom of expression through any medium, whether it be through literature, music, drama, dance or visual art. I feel that it is wrong to have a fixed criterion for art and for artists to have to conform to certain specifications. There’s a saying that “art is in the eye of the beholder”. Everyone interprets art differently and draws different meanings from it.