American and Japanese styles


In a tweet this evening by @shinn87 on Twitter, he featured the image above with the following captioning:

Is there anything America cannot ruin pic.twitter.com/K3xjqyM3WZ

While I agree with the general sentiment, and admit that I do much prefer the second rendition of this character in the Japanese ‘anime’ style that we all know and love, the first style is not completely heinous either, it is simply different and reflects a different style of art and animation.

Despite my preferences for the Japanese style, I think it is important for America, and English artists in general, to retain their own style of art, which is unique in its own way. It appears much more simplistic in this image, yet in some ways is a more accurate depiction of the human face. There is also something to be said about the lack of emphasis on the breasts of the character in the American art style, compared to the obvious emphasis of the one in the Japanese style.

For those artists that can draw both in the ‘American’ style, and Japanese ‘anime’ style, these artists have my respect as the two styles are really quite different. In some ways it’s not so fair to compare them directly. While I admire the second image for its attention to detail, I don’t know the context of these images. Images drawn for animation are often much less detailed than one-offs because of the amount of time it takes to draw each frame.

Look at any anime and watch the quality of its animation decrease throughout the series, where a lot of these are sometimes touched up in DVD and Blu-Ray releases.

I hope that artists will continue to develop and maintain their own unique styles. In some ways this is why I have not been a fan of ‘How to draw manga/anime’ books for a long time, as they preach and instruct on the ‘proper’ way of drawing, making it sound like artists may only use the one style and are not free to stray from what is accepted, when this is not true at all. Explore, develop your own method of creating art and don’t be afraid to do it.