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July 28, 2011


Replies: 64

Can Anime, Manga, and Anthro be considered "Real Art", And are colleges accepting to it?

TechnoSara Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011  Student General Artist

This is actually from a blog i accidentally found when looking for Art Colleges. Im looking early because ive been told its better to plan early than later on.

So i found this "blog" type thing about.. a year ago? Yeah, its STILL bothering me. It's been bothering me even more now im getting closer to college.

I love drawing anime and manga, and this kind of... made me lose A-LOT of my confidence as an artist. Now i must say, im not planning on doing anime and manga my whole future college career- i want to explore more styles and options and get better at more than just anime. Learning to do much more than one thing can really help you.

Now lets cut to the chase- i was lurking around search engines and found a Journal/blog type thing. Some of these people got bashed :icontrollfaceplz: (troll anyone?) for even liking this fun hobby.

The person writing it, and many commenters say that they went to Art Colleges to learn. Many of them liked to doodle anime and manga every once in a while.

One says that their teacher had a TRASH BIN SPECIFICALLY FOR ANIME AND MANGA. it was labled and everything. She even had "Classroom Laws" against it. The commenter was doodling a character, then the teacher swiped the paper off the desk and into the trash can, while a fellow student was being praised my the same exact teacher by drawing ANTHRO, FURRIES, ETC.

"Anybody can draw japanimation proffessionally. Just pick up a pencil! Its not art! anybody can do it!"

I really, REALLY disagree on that. You can just do it and be a proffessional and BOOM. No. It just doesnt work that way... And a TEACHER says that. What happened to accepting diversity and different ways of making art and thinking?

Now, we got a person with a different view on this comment. This was just starting, and i read more.

They were talking about how Anime and Manga cant be considered as real art in the same league as Piccasso or Leonardo DeVinci. "You just dont see anime in modern art galleries. That just doesnt happen. they're not in the same league."

That i sort of agree too, BUT.

Im following an artist on FB. YEAH FACEBOOK.

They were just in the "Ads" but i looked anyway. They were making anime-styles art in oil pastels, paints- it was absolutely beautiful. it changed my veiws on anime style, especially how a picture of two Anime-styled wemon wearing gaudy and very detailed kimonos were standing in front of the Eiffel Tower- all dyed in warm colors. Its amazing. Anw better yet- IT WAS SUBMITTED INTO A PROFFESSIONAL ART GALLERY.

Now heres the question (sorry for the long story)- Should Anime and Manga (even animal type characters) be considered "Real Art"? And are college art teachers accepting to the anime and manga style?

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Devious Comments

Gwendolyn12 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
I see everyone's posting suuper long comments so Imma keep it simple, yes, I do think Manga/Aniem is art and I draw in such style.
Why? Because that's what I like. Manga helps me express the world in the way I see. I don't do it because it's 'popular' (and actually I started drawing manga way before I discovered it's popularity, and its 'stereotype').
I don't like how people think anime's all about huge eyes and inexistent noses/mouths though. I've seen many styles semi-realistic in face shape, body structure and coloring, and still being manga. Anime is just a branch of realism for me. To improve my anime art I had, and am having to study from life. So whatever:shrug:
cryptfever Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011
Teachers are there to teach you techniques and methods in art, whilst showing you the variety of styles and art movements through history and their pioneers to give the lessons an academic edge as well as inspiring young artists to think the same way. Understanding how and why things were done are more important than just mimicking someone else's style, which is essentially what most young people who draw 'anime' are doing. Mimicking. And putting mimicked styles into a portfolio for art college is a big no-no.

Anime was not and is not an art movement and really shouldn't be labelled as a style of its own, it's a cartoon and a simplification of real life the same way as any cartoon in the world western or otherwise.

Most teachers won't allow you to draw Disney characters in lessons when you should be doing a still life or an anatomy study or something else focusing on learning, understanding and developing. Your furry-anthro classmates were likely showing a good sense of human/animal anatomy, shading, realism and a sense of learning in their pieces. If they drew anime anthro characters they probably would have ended up in the trash bin as well.

Also many students who draw anime are those close minded ones who refuse to try studying real life, or shading or anything outside their favorite fandom or think it's 'too hard' or 'boring'. They need to wise-up. If they want to get good and do this for a career they have to have the drive and the passion to study everything and not stick to a comfort zone.

eg. I hated futurism and abstract painting. I hated learning about it, drawing it and looking at it. In the end I came up with a final piece for my exams which was expected of me. By actually sitting down and doing it for myself I started to enjoy it. It's not my favorite art movement but I can respect it now.

For me cartoons are the end product, not the learning process. I see school/college like a giant block of clay and every time you learn something new you chip away at the block, until you are left with a refined and sculpted area to focus on. Mine was concept art and illustration that I focused on. For others it would be cartooning, comics or animating. But we all started off the same.
MyFebronia Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
Be unique.
webnatu Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011  Professional General Artist
lol, if you have a teacher telling you that anime and manga is not art, just reply: If Duchamp put a freaking toilette in a gallery and call it art, then I declare this anime which I'm intentionally framing and placing on the wall ART.
There's many artist who are incredibly AMAzing that produce manga like artwork.
Kittenpants Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011  Professional General Artist
Well, anime is one of the hot-button issues for art teachers right now, because it's SO stylized *and* SO popular... and because there are so many students who refuse to branch out from that style in order to improve or diversify their work.

Here's the thing about teachers (highschool, university, and private tutors)... they all have their preferences, biases, and teaching agendas.

Non-visual-art example: I know an English teacher who despises fanfic as the worst kind of mindless derivative filth. I know another English teacher who writes it, adores it, collects it, and has a fanfic assignment she added to her curriculum to make writing fun and try to keep the kids engaged in the classroom. Is one way "right" and one "wrong"? They're just different. And a kid might get one teacher one year, and the other the next, and have to adjust.

I had an art professor who dismissed anything realistic as "merely illustration, not ART", and the less representational your work was, the better your grade. I had one that believed sharpie-on-tracing-paper was the purest expression of design, and anything with too much shading or color was "fussy and overdone". I had one that detested all cartooning and would even mark down realistic figure drawings *if you could see any contour lines*. And one who had a vendetta against blended shading and insisted on crosshatching, hatching, or stippling as the ONLY acceptable forms of shading. One wouldn't allow us to use erasers. One painting professor hated acrylic paint as a medium and refused to use it, not even to show us examples in the classroom (she was "teaching" an acrylics-only class, I wish I were kidding).

When applying to take a few classes at the local university just to get some live-model time after I moved to an area devoid of an art scene, the head of the art department refused to accept two-thirds of my art classes as transfer credits and busted a 300-level course down to a 100-level credit because he thought I was "too uppity and full of myself" because I was honest in telling him I wasn't pursuing a degree, and that I had my own website and studio, was working as a professional artist, and had been an art tutor for years. (He never looked at my portfolio, because he said "he didn't need to" to know what my place should be as a student, clearly implying that I "didn't know my place". It was like I'd gone back in time 100 years and was begging for acceptance at a private ivy-league school... not a state ag college where my application had already been happily accepted!) (Needless to say, my money will be going toward paying a model to come to my studio, rather than contribute to this jerk's salary.)

Anyway, that rant and horror story aside...

Different teachers have different hang-ups. And admissions reviews are INCREDIBLY squirrely. It MIGHT be that including a single anime-style piece in your 20-item portfolio is enough to drop your rank in the application pile. Or it might raise it. And there's no way to know the tastes of the portfolio reviewer before you get there. And it will drive you crazy unless you just do your best and give up on trying to control the results. And once you're in the classroom, all you can do is keep quiet until you learn your professor's preferences, and stick by their rules and learn how to play up the style they like best. Yes, it's sycophantic and stupid, but the benefit is that through the years of classes and working with many teachers, you'll be forced to learn and improve at several different styles that you might not otherwise have tried in order to cater to their biases. And in the long run, that really does push your growing edge in a lot of ways, and it does make you a better artist. (It can also leave you feeling dirty, cynical, and like a sell-out. Some argue that this is great preparation for the professional art scene...)

The way to minimize this sort of thing is to:
1. Develop a portfolio that emphasizes realism and general technical skill, which are lauded by every art school. Make sure you have at least one good still-life, one good portrait, one good full-body drawing, one good landscape, one good "showin' off perspective" piece. Make sure you have at least one good pencil piece, one good charcoal or ink piece, and at least three that show off your grasp of color theory. Make sure your portfolio is 2/3 traditional media at a minimum -- digital works are optional in a portfolio (some schools regard digital art with as much suspicion and derision as they do anime). Make sure your portfolio demonstrates you have a solid basic grasp of composition and chiaroscuro-to-define-form. Make sure your portfolio is at least 2/3 realistic, but that you have a few stylized pieces in there just to show you can, and it's better if the styles are obscure or unique, rather than mass-market or overdone. And after you've done all of this, expect your professors to treat you like you've never heard of these things before. See #3.
2. Apply to schools that advertise an appreciation for the styles of art you like best. A college that offers a "special studies in manga and anime design elements" class, as well as an animation curriculum, will probably be more accepting of an artist with some anime in their portfolio than say, an Art Renewal Center-approved atelier specialising in the old-world master technique.
3. Cultivate what the Buddhists call "beginner's mind". You can learn from any class, any professor, any situation, if you keep your mind open, stay curious, treat it all like just a challenging game, and don't take anything personally. It will also be better for your blood pressure, fragile dorm furnishings, and relationships. ;) (Obviously, I should have taken my own advice before going in to talk to the department head, huh?)
SydeBiased Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Like someone mentioned before, anime is a rather broad catagory that people tend to mistake as a sole style. If you watch anime, you will be able to notice the difference in "style" between them. For instance, the art in the anime "Dragon Ball Z" (which I strongly dislike) is far different from the style the manga "Death Note" adopts (which I view as more visually appealing and anatomically correct).

I believe anime is strongly underestimated in the real world as people view it as "easy to master" and that "anyone can professionally draw it". It is one of the most difficult to master in my book, but like I said, the styles within anime vary, and some styles are simply easier to do than others. But using actual humans as reference and sort of adopting the anime style to create your own look is how I approach anime as far as art goes.

That being said, if you're planning to draw huge-eyed, horrifically underweight little girls you probably won't make it far. Professors want to see something incredible and eyecatching which is often directed towards viewing realistic styles. And let's face it, if you're planning on only drawing anime, you are not going to make it far. You have to be capable of more than that to make it through. Thus, all in all, I personally would not rely on anime to create a portfolio or impress my college professors.

But I think it comes down to what the professor's personal views are on anime. If they dislike it, I wouldn't stand against them for it, especially if your style is intensly cliche. And I can't think of too many jobs that require skill in anime art here in North America or anywhere other than Asia. Sure, some gaming companies specialize in it and there are some clips of anime-style in movies (take Kill Bill's O-ren scene for example, though I don't define that style as anime really).

So don't get too hung up on anime. Try some other things, otherwise developing your own style through anime will take some creativity and work.
ViTong4 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011
my friend does her unique comic style and she got into UCLA school of the arts [ultra competitive ~ 10 % acceptance or less ] and California college of the arts and got tons of merit scholarships that basically cut her tuitions down to about a tenth of their original cost. Her art was very unique in style and content though.

I've asked many art director or admissions people at colleges. they are accepting to manga art and anime .... just as long as you've adapted it to your own style beyond the generic big-eyed cutesy style.

If you have the generic style of cartoon art and generic compositions, themes, and pictures in general, your chances are pretty much nil. Hope that makes sense. I'm still in summer minimal-thinking mode.

If anime and manga is all you can do and you're applying to a field beyond illustration and animation, you will come across difficulties when it's time to do class assignments in other styles. Even in illustration and animation courses, knowledge of realistic anatomy and shading and such are usually necessary esp. when doing backgrounds and buildings.

I chuckle inside when people try to define things as "real art" because they often have their own ideas on what "real art " is.
SoulStarforger Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011
Manga isn't a style, it's a category of styles. It itself cannot be called "real art", since it's just a bunch of styles that hold some similar factors (to prove my point, the authors of Full Metal Alchemist and Shugo Chara draw nowhere like one another, with the exception of manga-like eyes.) However, the work produced by a mangaka is art, no matter what anybody says, whether they like it or not. The style of art doesn't matter, because art is simply what is created. Art level is an entirely different story, however. Mangakas can be professional and go to nice, fancy art colleges so long as they have the ability to draw/paint/etc. in a variety of styles, and have a good grasp on the basics of drawing, however. Colleges don't care about how the individuals prefer drawing. Teachers aren't prone to accepting mangakas because a lot of them are too stubborn to learn/do anything else. (A lot of the manga artists out there refuse to learn other styles/learn the basics of lighting, shading, etc./learn to draw realism. It's probably why teachers feel such contempt for manga artists.)
Katara-Alchemist Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2011  Student General Artist
They are real art. The only problem is when people think they're the ONLY type of art out there and that they don't need to branch out and learn other styles.
dhinteractive111 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011
The real drawing show us now

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